2013 San Francisco Marathon

Basically, my sister’s idea to run a marathon with our dad on Fathers Day was the best ever.

before start

It sort of didn’t feel like the best idea ever when the alarm went off at 3:45 (I slept horribly the night before the race) or while we were standing in the dark, chilly morning on the Embarcadero, but once the race got started, it was awesome.

I decided to try a new fueling plan after my horrific bonk at Wildflower. I had four vanilla Hammer Gels with me and planned to take them at miles 5, 10, 15, and 20.

Miles 1-6 (Family time)
(8:37, 8:15, 8:34, 8:09, 8:15, 9:23)

After my total pacing disaster at CIM in December, I was determined to not go out to fast. We all agreed we’d go out at 8:50 pace for the first couple miles and then re-assess. Obviously 8:50 pace didn’t quite happen, but this was a perfect way to start. I took my first gel at mile 5 and water at every aid station. I was feeling great.

z1

Miles 7-13 (the bridge to the park)
(8:14, 7:54, 8:14, 8:01, 7:48, 8:20, 8:21)
After the climb up to the bridge, I started to pull away from my family. It happened sort of gradually, and I felt kind of bad for ditching my dad on Fathers day, but my legs had settled into a slightly faster pace that felt good. I knew I was not in shape to PR and I still had a lot of miles ahead of me, so I tried to keep myself from pushing too hard.

I saw Mike around mile 10 which was a fun surprise. He was out for a 2 hour run but I didn’t know if he’d stop somewhere along the course. I took my second gel at mile 10 according to plan.

Miles 14-19 (Golden Gate Park)
(7:40, 8:08, 8:18, 8:26, 7:54, 8:12)
I got a big boost when I passed the start of the second half marathon and heard my name but couldn’t pick my friends’ faces out in the crowd.

When we lived in Daly City, I got a little tired of the park, but running through it during the race was like a nice little homecoming. It felt familiar but not stale, and although some people hate the fact that there are no spectators, I liked the chance to just zone out in the forest. I took my third gel at mile 15 and was still grabbing two cups of water at each aid station.

I didn’t really check my watch much during the race because I went into it with no expectations. My training was short and light, and the whole point of this race was just to enjoy it. But there was a race clock at Stowe Lake and for a quick second, I thought about my chances of pushing for a BQ time. Math is always harder 15+ miles into a marathon, but it didn’t take long to realize that wasn’t going to happen and I should just stay relaxed.

Miles 20-26.2 (the Haight, the Mission, Dogpatch, Mission Bay, and the FINISH)
(8:14, 8:13, 8:09, 8:40, 8:12, 8:11, 8:23)
It was around mile 19 that I realized the fourth gel just wasn’t going to happen. My stomach didn’t feel too bad, but I didn’t want to risk it and figured I’d taken in more than usual during a marathon, so I’d probably be fine. My legs started to feel a little dead on Haight street, so the steep downhill into the Mission was kind of painful.

The park had been overcast but it was sunny in the Mission, and that made the long uphill stretch on 16th street pretty tough. I peeled off my arm warmers, kept my eyes on the ground (it was BRIGHT!) and began to embrace the suck. I glanced at my watch and realized I would probably beat my time from CIM, which perked me up a little bit.

The Lululemon cheer station around mile 24 was the one of the best things about this race in 2010 and this year was no different. The loud music, and all those people with so much energy were just what I needed to push me through the last two miles.

Once you pass AT&T park, the bridge looks really close, but it feels like the LONGEST mile ever. I had absolutely no finishing kick at all and was really thirsty. But as soon as the finish line came into view, I smiled and got myself across in just under 3:40.
Z

My dad and sister weren’t too far behind, finishing at 3:57.
finished

I absolutely ADORE the San Francisco marathon. I love the hills, the bridge, the park, the weather, and the fact that my friends and family were all out running too.  It’s one of those races I’ll keep coming back to as long as I can.

stats
3:39:51 (8:24 min/mile)
770/5763 overall
96/1896 female
22/455 age group

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11 Responses to “2013 San Francisco Marathon”


  1. 1 alyssa June 18, 2013 at 9:08 am

    The fastest!! I want to be like you. Soooo well done & great to see you so much this past weekend!

  2. 2 Kate June 18, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Sounds like your new fuel plan worked well!

  3. 3 Mr. & Mrs. P June 18, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Wow.. what a great job…. We did a half and it was tough for us… Our goal was just to finish!! =)

  4. 4 Cathryn June 18, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Great job (and beautifully succinct recap).

    So glad that yelling your name gave you a boost in the park, you were looking so strong at that point! I honestly am in awe of anyone running the full, I can’t imagine it! Great race!

  5. 5 Angela June 18, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Aw, what a great race! You also got some awesome pictures! You’re almost inspiring me to run the full sometime. 🙂

  6. 6 Stephanie June 19, 2013 at 10:10 am

    That must have been super awesome for your dad. How special.

  7. 7 Naomi June 20, 2013 at 8:16 am

    You killed it again! I love that your family ran this together – what a great, great way to spend Fathers Day! Love that article on Embracing the Suck – I really need to learn to do that more.

    I thought of you much during the race. I get so much inspiration from your enthusiasm for running – it’s so contagious!

  8. 8 Marya June 22, 2013 at 10:08 am

    That sounds like a really great Father’s Day. I bet your dad was super happy. Miss seeing you and Mike but reading your blog keeps me inspired. 🙂 Happy day, Cate. 😉

  9. 9 Marya June 22, 2013 at 10:08 am

    (ugh the smileys!! i keep forgetting.)

  10. 10 Sierra @ Always, Sierra June 28, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Congrats on an awesome race! I love that you and your sister ran with it with your Dad, definitely an unforgetable Father’s Day.


  1. 1 My San Francisco Marathon Story Trackback on June 19, 2013 at 9:46 am

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