Sunday, July 23, 2017

San Francisco Marathon–Robin - 2017


7/23/17, San Francisco, Ca


26.2mi R




7th AG / 287


Troy Soares


Troy and I celebrated our 10th Anniversary with the Boston Marathon.  This year we are celebrating our 15th by running the 40th SF Marathon together.  in 2003, our 2nd year of marriage, Troy ran the last 20 miles of the SF Marathon with me.  In 2013, Troy and the girls chased me as I did this marathon.  A lot of great memories!


We get up at 3:45, ouch!  The main concern for Troy is getting through the first half marathon by my side.  He’s had an Achilles injury since his Ironman and sitting at work has made it worse.  For this reason, he’ll finish with the other 1st Half Marathoners.  The concern for me is being able to get my bathroom use time in before the race starts.  The other important thing I’m doing is practicing my race hydration for IM Coeur d’Alene at the end of August.  Troy had great success in IM Boulder drinking lots of water and sports drink on the course.  I hope to be able to test it on myself.  I’m wearing my Fuelbelt and carrying Vitargo.  Never used it so it is a bit risky trying it on race day.  I will make sure I drink a cup of water at EVERY aid station too!  I will shoot for a sub 3:40.  3:35 (8:12 per mile) would be great but 3:38 (8:18 per mile) is much more realistic.

The bathroom thing seems to go well.  We go to drop off our gear bag and there are no trucks or volunteers. The race starts in like 25 minutes!  Not good.  The half marathoners and the 5Kers have their gear checks working great.  We are not going to wait so Troy designates himself as the sherpa and ties our jackets around his waist.  So glad we didn’t bring cell phones!  Even though I feel warm with my long sleeve FCA shirt over my jersey, I decide to wear it anyway.

We head to Corral 2.  We meet a gal, Karen, who is racing her 249th Marathon!  She’s a believer too so we all pray together. Very cool!

The elite runners take off so we go in 2 minutes.  I feel like I could use the porta potty one last time but it’s too late! 

Ready, set, go!  Just as we are about to cross the start/finish line Troy sees our friend Jesse Ellis taking pictures. “Jesse!”, he shouts.  Jesse smiles and snaps a quick picture.  The chances of seeing him with all these people out here is crazy.  That is a God moment for sure!

I feel good the first few miles but I need to go to the bathroom.  We are right by the 3:35 pacers.  Around mile 3, Troy checks for an open porta potty but no go.  Troy seems to be hanging in there.  Thank you God!  It really is a treat doing something hard with Troy.  That’s how it’s been from the very beginning of our marriage and I hope we can keep it up!

By mile 5, we are running through the Presidio. I’m averaging 8:05 pace according to my Garmin. I’m very happy with that!  I find an open porta potty and get it done in less than a minute.  The 3:35 pace guys are ahead now.  Not worried.

Up the first major hill, not bad!

At mile 6 we hit the bridge!  It’s foggy but we don’t care.  It’s still beautiful.  The ground is wet and they have workers next to areas they have placed mats over.  Hope no one falls!  This whole side of the bridge, northbound, is completely closed to us runners.  Must be because of the 40th year and all the people (find out later it was because of threat of terriorism).  We soon see the top runners coming back. We are totally shocked to see most of them wearing headphones.  Thought those were banned, especially for elites!  One guy has a huge set on his head.  Interesting!

Troy is doing great!  He feels good!  Yeah, thank you Lord!  We really are having fun!

At Mile 8, my Garmin says I’m averaging 8:05.  We run around a viewing area/parking lot on the other side of the bridge.  Troy tries to use the porta potty but it’s packed.  He only needs to make it 5 more miles.

Back over the bridge we go.  Lots of people coming across! 

At MIle 12, my Garmin says 8:05.  Nice and consistent!  We are going to hit Golden Gate Park soon and that’s when I’m on my own!  Troy and I are thanking God for being able to do the 1st Half together.  He tells me to keep drinking and make it a goal to use the porta potty one more time to insure I’m practicing my hydration well for IM.  He reminds me that those last miles I’m going to have to push just to hold the pace.

We split off.  He’ll finish and then see me as I run nearby around mile 16. 

At Mile 13, I’m averaging 8:07.  I don’t see the 3:35 pacers.  Still not worried.

The 2nd Half of the marathon starts soon.  Those runners will become mixed in with all of us.

Pretty soon, I see fast bunch go by ahead, 2nd halfers.  I merge with them and it’s crazy how fast they are passing me.  Then the 2nd halfers are off in another direction.  This goes on and on the whole time I’m running in GG Park.  So confusing!  How they came up with these courses baffles me!

My whole right leg just starts to hurt everywhere!  Please, Lord, let me make it! 

SFMarathon Robin & Troy5I don’t see Troy at 16 but just after 17.  He’s smiling and waving.  Then he jumps in with me and says “smile”.  Someone is taking our picture for him.  I tell him that my leg is hurting bad and he prays for me.  Just a little way down the road it feels better.  Thank you Jesus!

At Mile 19, The sun is out now and I’m averaging 8:05.  Good, brought the pace back down.  But now I’m looking at the miles, and my Garmin thinks I’m at mile 19.5.  That means my pace is definitely slower than 8:05.  Another reason not to slow down!  The leg is better but I still feel unstable on the outside of my knee…I had the same thing at this time but worse in 2003!

Even though SF is a hiller town than San Diego, this course is much more forgiving and hilly!  Surprising!

Back on the streets.  We are meandering our way down to the bay where we’ll pass the Giants stadium and head back to the Bay Bridge area where we started.  This means a lot of downhill running! 

I hit “the wall” or mile 20 and I’m hanging in!  6.2 miles to go!

At Mile 23, my garmin says 8:06 and the distance is 23.6.  Oh man!  What a pain!  Getting closer to the bay!  Only 3 more miles!  I still don’t need to use the bathroom.  I’m glad because it’s a pain but I know I’m not hydrated.  I keep drinking water at the aid stations and I’ve finally finished my 3 flasks…should have finished those miles ago!

I’m feeling tired and it’s really hard to push.  Please God, keep me focused.  I’ve told myself that when the next pace group goes by for the 2nd half, I’m going to try to hang on.  Soon they come by and I push hard.  I’m not exactly staying with them, but they are close!  Yeah!  I can break 3:40!!

At mile 25, my garmin says 8:07 and 25.7.  I see Troy. He is cheering and smiling.  He says something about 3:40.  Did he say the 3:40 pace group is catching me or that I can beat 3:40. Oh boy, better push to be safe!


I see the finish chute soon. 

Yeah!  Go, go, go!  I dig deep and put in my fastest mile for these last 6. 


Yeah!  I hear my name and it’s Jesse Ellis!  I smile and he snaps my picture.  Just a little more!  3:38! 

Thank you Lord! What a day!

Now it’s time for some anniversary fun!