Monday, November 16, 2009

Nike

Alright, this was a marathon I had always wanted to do simply because of the Tiffany’s pendant and the firemen in tuxedos (and I had never been to San Francisco and I really wanted an excuse to go)…the rest, well, it’s a mainly women marathon, that in and of itself kind of got to me a bit…but I’ll get to that.

I flew into San Francisco on the 15th, race was the 18th, and flight home on the 19th. Originally was going to visit a friend and then she had her situation change so I was on my own…I had names of people to contact but I kind of was OK with being there on my own. My flight was through Denver and had an hour so I had mimosa, and then a second…then found my flight was delayed so had two more…oops…maybe not a good idea but oh well. A bit buzzed I get to San Fran an hour or so later than originally planned but that was OK. Called my dad, let him know I got there safe, had a little confusing finding the BART but eventually did and was on my way into the city. Got off the train, grabbed a slice of pizza to soak up the mimosas and headed to my hotel. I wasn’t able to check in yet but dropped my bags and got directions to Fisherman’s Wharf…via cable car. That was an adventure. I would NEVER drive in that city!! Got to the wharf though and wandered around, saw seals, Alcatraz, the Golden Gate…eventually got a ride back and then never managed to use the pass I bought again because lines were just too long. On the way back stopped at the expo, what there was of it, I was definitely NOT impressed by it to get my packet and then went to the hotel to finally check in. After changing and resting a bit I decided food was in order, but Obama was in town and a place I had scoped out was not able to get to because streets were blocked off…yeah, that was fun. He was at a hotel directly across from the expo so talk about a major cluster f***!! Anyway, eventually found a bar, ordered a beer and figured out that unlike in MN where most bars also serve food, this was not one…I ended up getting another slice of pizza later, but was interesting because I was talking to two guys there that were originally from MN (learned this because I heard them talking about the Vikings) had fun at this bar when I heard a song I had requested from the band playing too. Eventually headed to another place (after getting my food), this time right near my hotel, where I ended up talking to a guy from Texas and friends he had made earlier in the week (he was there on business). The others left but he and I headed to a karaoke bar I had seen earlier, didn’t sing, but hung out a bit, then went to a dive bar around the corner…eventually called it a night though…next morning was a bit rough, but I did get up to have lunch with the Texas guy before he headed home…Spent most of Friday vegging around the hotel, before eventually going out for food…was going to have a quiet day, hit Ghiradelli, wanted to go to Fisherman’s wharf again, but couldn’t get a cable car and never checked on buses…anyway, did have fun just browsing Union Square…and eventually was out again at a few bars around the area and had a nice evening meeting a few different people. Saturday was a bit rough again because of someone insisting shots should be done…yikes…but I eventually got out and had an excellent meal at a restaurant. No reservation and it was busy for later, but I was allowed in if I could be out by 6, which was easy since it was 5 when I got there. I ended up talking to the two women who were seated right by me and had a very excellent meal…(good enough I had it again the next day after the marathon!!). I was supposed to meet some friends maybe for dinner but just couldn’t get myself out and hadn’t been able to get out and see Kara Goucher talk either, which is a bummer but oh well. I had heard Joan Benoit-Samuelson on Thursday so that was cool.

So Sunday morning, race morning…I was up and out the door around 6:15, I was only 2 blocks from the start, all downhill too…so that was easy enough. Weather was around 50, slightly humid and nice so I was in a skirt and short sleeved shirt with my tube sock sleeves and then stuff for my drop bag. When I got to the race start, I was able to get a hold of Dori and her friends and hung with them till race start. For the first time I carried my phone with me, as well as my camera, which I will never do again…more on that later. Race was a cluster at the start…I couldn’t even get into the corals and I know people out there were not running the 9-9:30 I had been kind of planning to run (that’s till the hills hit!!). I had no idea what I could do but figured 4 hours was maybe right…but seriously, Nike does need to work on getting this start handled better. There is a half and a full and most of the half I swear are up with the full and both are the same course and there are 20,000+ people so really makes for a mess. Luckily streets are wide and easy to get around. You head through the financial district, then past Fisherman’s Wharf and then turn some corners and would see the Golden Gate if it’s not foggy!! Headed then around a place where you could see a huge hill in the distance…not a fun climb!! And it went up and up…eventually there is a decent downhill, and then more ups and downs along the way. Good aid stations, decent crowds, some fun inspirational signs…when you get to mile 10, there is an awesome downhill to the beach and it’s gorgeous views…then you turn and the half breaks off and the full gets to keep going…and out and back and then another section where you are near the half runners again, before heading out along the beach, slightly uphill, but not overly noticeable, till you really climb and look down on Lake Merced, you go down around the lake, listening to a good band, they were playing Crazy by Prince as I ran past and I liked that. Mile 21 on the end of the lake before you start heading back to the ocean is where Ghiradelli is and who really wants chocolate then? I know I didn’t, but took some for later…water was a bit past there (should’ve been closer!!) and back up hill and finally to the band and back up to the top mile 24 and it finally is all downhill to the finish. You really can’t see the finish line till you get around a truck that was probably after mile 26, which I never saw…but when I finally saw the finish line I was never so happy to be done with a race. At one part around the lake I was even thinking I didn’t even care if I finished (and I was doing this for grandma) I just wanted to be done (and there was no good place to quit anyway), I didn’t care about the firemen or the pendant…but well, finally there was the finish line, I crossed, officially it was 4:19:19, saw the cute firemen, in tuxedos, holding silver platters with the Tiffany’s pendants…got my box, then went and got a picture taken with one of them…then off to get my shirt (I do like the shirt, nice bright turquoise color), got a banana and tried some chocolate milk, then wandered my way out, got my bag and headed to the shuttle…the line was so freaking long and the wait was probably 45 minutes to an hour…that I paid $10 to do as well….there were city buses I could’ve been taking had I realized, I mean seriously, if you have to pay to get back, you should not have to wait that long (or for that matter, walk that far)!! Eventually I got back though, showered and went to do something. I was supposed to go watch the Vikings if they were on somewhere, a bartender had promised to put them on, but they were done by then anyway, so I just hung out, had a beer and chatted with a couple of guys there…eventually left and got some food and then back to the hotel to crash. Got up, had breakfast and headed to the airport the next day…only to have flight out delayed because the incoming flight was delayed…and that made me miss my connection and since it was weather (even though weather was not bad and there was no reason they should’ve had to delay and apparently this happens all the time, so if they know that it happens why they don’t arrange things around that I don’t know…anyway, I was on standby for the last connection out of Denver, 10th on standby on a full flight in fact, and no, they wouldn’t pay for my hotel if I had to get one…so then I go to get to the planes and I get pulled out of the baggage line to have my suitcase measured…this is the same suitcase that I’ve owned since 2000/2001…the same suitcase that has traveled with me, oh, on I’d guess at least 20 flights since I bought it, maybe more…the same suitcase that never gets checked anymore since airlines charge now…the same suitcase I flew out with that FIT IN THE DAMN BIN and no, I didn’t need to check it…and of course the measure thing wasn’t quite working because the way the wheels are on the bag it wouldn’t go in fully…I was on the verge of tears and thought I’d end up in jail for talking back to the airport people…I was that mad…anyway, eventually got it proven that my suitcase worked and go through the line…got to Denver, of course missed my connection and had to stay overnight for $70…and up early, exhausted to get to work…and after all that, really decided travel isn’t fun anymore and I just don’t want to do it anymore…if I didn’t have a trip booked already in December, knowing I’d need to get away with as tough as Christmas is going to be…I would not be traveling again I don’t think. It’s just too hard and not fun anymore.

So, that’s the trip…Nike…I wouldn’t do the full again. I’d consider doing the half for the pendant again, but it’s not the most fun race in the world due to the poor organization at the beginning and end….plus it’s such a Team in Training event, that even barring the bad behavior TNT gets a bit known for (ie 4, 5, 10 across the road, walking, lining up at the front to walk etc), there are just so many coaches and such along the road that are all about TNT, they don’t cheer for any of the other runners, and especially when you are there on your own, hearing people yell only for TNT is a bit disheartening…and I’m not even one that does it for that, most times these days I don’t have my name on my shirt (unlike first few) so they can only cheer on bib number or things on my shirt (like Boston when they yelled go Irish for the 100% Irish for a Day shirt I had on), but you do sometimes need that little something to push you forward, and it was definitely lacking.

1 comment:

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