Saturday, July 30, 2011

Back to the Basics - San Francisco Marathon

When I started to run (never fast, mind you) back in 2003, I kept track of everything - how many races I ran and of what distance, and so on.

I still do, but to a much more limited extent (pretty much just marathons and half marathons). 27 and 70-something. 14 and 34 states, respectively.

And, it is pretty easy to remember that I've done three duathlons too.

When I say "back to the basics", I guess I mean from a pre-race preparation standpoint. I'm in San Francisco, California right now, waiting to start what I hope to be my 28th career marathon finish. (I've started 29 to date, but DNF'd at both the West Texas Crossroads Marathon in Odessa and an edition of the Surfside Beach Marathon. Both at mile 23, by the way.)

My best friend, and coach (when I want to be coached, that is), Bill Dwyer tells all of his runners a couple of things - 1.) Friday night is when you should attempt to get your best night's sleep before a marathon and 2.) the day before your marathon you should be off of your feet as much as possible.

I did those two things this time - as opposed to last month's Kona Marathon where I attended a charity 5K, flew from Houston to Los Angeles to Kona, got four hours of sleep in a hotel bed and the finished the race with a PW (personal worst) and an IV. Yeah, one of those that go in your arm. Nice! :)

And I used to blog all the time.

As I begin my journey to February's Rocky Raccoon 100-miler, I plan on going back to my roots - and doing more races! I have five marathons already scheduled - 2 for September, 2 for December and, of course, Houston in January.

When I schedule out-of-town marathons, it is really based on whether I can fit it into my schedule or not. That is, around my full-time job. The only reason that I am doing the San Francisco Marathon is because I am working in the central California valley during the week. It was easy to say, "I'll stay over the weekend and drive up and run this marathon."

I rarely am ever concerned about the course profile, etc. It is all about the travel logistics. The biggest thing this weekend for me is getting the 2 p.m. late checkout on Sunday.

My wave starts at 6:22 a.m. (The elites go off at 5:30 a.m.) The start is six blocks down Folsom Street. (I'm at the Marriott Courtyard at 2nd and Folsom in the Financial District.) As long as I keep it under six hours (which I dearly hope so with the GREAT weather), I should be fine.

I'll repeat that rationale of thinking in September when I go to Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Quad Cities, Illinois (really Moline and Burlington, Iowa) and fly out of Omaha, Nebraska and Chicago, respectively.

So it is almost 9 p.m. Pacific time and I have plenty of water and Powerade here, Tylenol Extra (which I've been taking since yesterday) and food for in the morning. I'm more planned then I've been in a long, long while.

Did I say that the weather was GREAT?!

People are wearing jackets and coats. For me, that is absolutely perfect! I'm debating between wearing my 2010 Chevron Houston Marathon finisher's shirt or my Penn State long sleeve technical shirt. Either way, I'll represent well!

Small world story today. As I was going down the elevator here at the hotel, a woman stepped on it at the 11th floor. Oddly enough, I recognized her! She had on a 2008 Love The Half jacket (which is a program that my friend Paula Robertson of Dallas put on for many years to encourage people to run more half marathons.)

We walked about half way to the Expo when some things that she was telling me confirmed that it was Maggie Mount of Rockwall, Texas, who was chasing half marathons on the list and has done the Texas Marathon Triple. I told her that I was the finish line announcer at both Kingwood and Seabrook. And that I knew that her and her husband, Robert, from it! I texted Seabrook race director Robby Sabban and his reply was, "Great stuff!"

Once I got to the Expo, I saw Dane Rauschenberg - a Penn Stater who ran 52 marathons on 52 weekends in 2008. Marshall Ulrich and Bart Yasso were both there signing their books, but I didn't stop to listen either one of them speak. (I think Marshall was yesterday and Bart was today.)

The Expo was nowhere near like anything Houston, Boston or New York City does.

I had lunch at Amici's and had a mini, 7-inch pizza titled, "Philly". I figured I might try to channel the 4:51 from last November. I'd like to get back there, but I have to remember that I can't run a PR marathon time while doing a 100-miler either. The restaraunt was very close to AT&T Park where the San Francisco Giants play.

I walked around and in the Park a little bit and then went back to the hotel and actually slept some during the afternoon.

Even though I don't train traditionally, I know that I can finish a marathon at any time. And tomorrow, I hope to be no different.

I'm really looking forward to be running more marathons - and enjoying them!