About two years ago, Aaron convinced me to run the San Francisco Marathon (First Half). I do not remember how exactly it happened, since I never really understood the appeal of a race that long, and I distinctly remember the fate of the runner in the original marathon. But Aaron is a very persuasive guy, and I do love a challenge, so I signed up.
Despite knowing better, my training was quite terrible for the event. I was on a family vacation immediately beforehand, so I did laps around a park near my relatives’ house in Minnesota. It was training at the wrong time of day, in the wrong weather, with the wrong elevation pattern, and for the wrong distance. (The most I ran during training was an eight-mile stretch on the Thursday before the actual race.)
The race itself was not as bad as I thought it would be. We started near Cupid’s Span along the Embarcadero and headed up along the shore through Fisherman’s Wharf and the Marina, up across the Golden Gate Bridge and back, through the Presidio, and ended in Golden Gate Park. So basically the best view ever to distract you from the agony of lactic build-up.
Here we are smiling at the finish line:
I am smiling under that mask because I was still high on endorphins when that was taken. Soon after that, I felt like my legs were underwater. It took enormous effort just to move them so I could get onto the shuttle bus taking me back to the start of the race so I could go back to the hotel room and shower and change. The next couple of days were pure pain, and I told myself I would never do a race like that again. (Aaron went on to do the second half of the SF Marathon last year, and he did the whole thing this year. Another friend of mine ran the full marathon in 2010 and was in such good shape she had not even broken a sweat by the finish line.)
Jump forward to this year, and Aaron has convinced me to sign up for a full marathon. Not just a marathon, but a trail marathon in the Marin Headlands in December. We keep joking bout how terribly our training is going, and that this race will be the death of us. Of course, by then I should already be dead from my GoRuck Challenge. Maybe if I think of the GRC as training, the Northface Endurance Challenge – Dean Karnazes’s favorite course – will seem easy in comparison.