Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Race Report: Lake Merced Half Marathon

[This is a guest post by my wife, Kristine!] A few months ago, one of my college friends, Katie, posted a challenge on Facebook: "Let's run the Lake Merced Half Marathon!" She sweetened the deal by also inviting our favorite Salt Lake City denizen, Michelle. The three of us lived together in college and it had been years since we'd seen each other. What better way to celebrate our reunion than to test our bonds of friendship over 13.1 miles!

I'm already in the throes of training for Nike Women's, but fortuitously, a half-marathon fit neatly into my training schedule. Michelle got in on Friday afternoon, and along with Katie, we proceeded to do a lot of things you should not do leading up to a half marathon. 

Post Race Gramming

  1. Stay up super late the nights before the race:  We haven't seen each other in forever! We needed to catch up, and that involved late night chit chat about everything that girls talk about. 
  2. Hike Mount Tam for 6 hours: I promised you this was not our original intent. We were only going to do a short hike, and then go for oysters. But when you are SO close to the top, and the promise of amazing views is only an hour away, its hard to turn back, even though you know you should. 
  3. De-hydrate: This was an effect of #2... since the hike was impromptu, we didn't bring enough water or food, so we bonked on our hike, and came back parched. We spent the rest of the evening trying to re-hydrate. 
  4. Wake up late on race morning: Outcome of #1
  5. Eat a lot of food really fast: Since we woke up late, I shoveled down scrambled eggs at home, and then ate my usual yogurt and berries in the car. I was predicting cramps, but luckily #6 bought me some time to digest. 
  6. Get lost on race morning: We ended up in the wrong parking lot, and got to the start line 13 minutes late. 
Despite all of these missteps, that half was probably the most fun I've ever had running. I've typically eschewed running with others because I like to set my own pace, and I know I'm not the fastest runner. I train alone, accompanied by the soothing voice of Ira Glass. I don't mind it, and on long runs, it can be quite meditative. 

Luckily, the three of us had a really similar pace on race day, and we ran the three laps around Lake Merced side-by-side, telling stories, continuing our weekend-long catch-up, and supporting and cheering each other on! By the time we got to the end, we all marveled that aside from our aching knees, it didn't feel like we had even run 13.1 miles! 

Not totally last. Just 2nd to last!
My takeaway is this: The social aspect of these endurance sports is so important! The team, whatever it is, helps you so much mentally. It makes what you're doing fun, manageable, meaningful, and memorable. Also - my friends are awesome and I want to do more races with them. :) 

P.S. Andrew joined in the fun too and totally finished in half the time it took us to run it! He then ran around as our sports photographer :)