Also on the third weekend in April, and more than 2000 miles east to northeast of San Francisco, the city of Boston along with New England is celebrating the Patriots Day weekend. On Monday, 35,000 fans will file into Fenway Park and take in a Boston Red Sox game. The game generally starts around 11:00 a.m.
Also on Monday, the 118th Boston Marathon will make its way from a small town southwest known as Hopkinton and will finish on Boylston Street in Boston. More than 500,000 spectators, and possibly close to one million, will watch 36,000 starters making the 26.2 mile journey. Each one will have a marathon story to share.
Last year after the tragic events during the Boston Marathon, a number of us made a donation to The One Fund towards the victims. After a few days, I wanted to qualify for the 2014 race. In June 2013, though I ran my best marathon in nine years, I fell short by 14 minutes in the Wipro San Francisco Marathon.
This last week has been quite an experience. Up until this week, my best long run was 16 miles and was wondering if "this was over my head" to do this run. However, a couple of running friends from the San Diego area have been visiting me for the past several days. Along with four of their friends, we decided that we'd do this early on Sunday morning. We ran the first 18 miles of the San Francisco Marathon course and did a switchback in Golden Gate Park before heading north to Lake Street. The weather at 5:00 a.m. was cool but it warmed up when the sun rose on this Easter Sunday.
At 14th and Lake Street, my friend's Garmin read 23.1 miles and we covered the distance in a surprising three hours and 23 minutes (3:23:18). It certainly wasn't what I expected given the training. My friends knew beforehand that I would do this distance with them and finish with the 5K DSE Roller Coaster Run in the Presidio. I've done this on Easter off and on for several years now. With 100-plus runners doing this each year, hopefully there would be no problem completing the toughest 5K in San Francisco.
With Bill and Greg who know something about marathons and ultra marathons. Thank you Paul for the photo.
Getting to the location with about 25 minutes to spare, the concern was to keep from stiffening up. Meeting up with Paul, Greg, Bill, Johnny and a few other DSE members is always fun. Getting the last slices of the banana down along with some water was good as well. In the last five minutes, it was walking, slowly jogging and stretching again.
My friend and Pamakid teammate - Tony was the race director. Amazingly after a great effort and PR in yesterday's Ruth Anderson Ultras, he had the energy on this day. A little after 9:00 a.m., we took off for the climb to Presidio Blvd.-Pacific and back.
The run went a lot better than expected. Coming back, I was pushed by long time friend - Jim and teammate - Patrick. Other than feeling a little soreness in the quads due to the downhill, everything went well. The 5K took 28:47 and the combined marathon distance took 3:51:41! This wouldn't have happened without those I saw and ran with on this day. No longer do I have a Garmin to track any of the miles so depending on friends, those who've measured courses and mapping it on Google is a plus. Definitely, the total time was a total surprise and didn't realize it until five minutes after crossing the finish line. During the run, I was thinking a lot more of what the run was for. Finishing was essential!
Being this close to a Boston Qualifier has now pushed me to run another marathon. I guess there's one still in the tank! Later this week, I plan to enter the Two Cities Marathon down in Fresno in early November. San Francisco, unfortunately isn't in my plans though I may run Santa Rosa in August.
With this run in the books, the mindset is on Monday's 118th Boston Marathon. Several of my running friends are there for an event that they'll never forget. Seeing the photos and stories on Facebook has me recollecting the memories from 1999, the one and only Boston I've run. For those of you who have never been to the city, it is a very historical one besides just the marathon. I recommend visiting it one day.
I'm sure on Monday, all of us won't forget this marathon and the memories that it will provide! Hopefully we'll see the likes of a Meb, Ryan Hall, Shalane Flanigan and/or Desiree Linden on the podium!