Friday, August 3, 2012

Official race photos from my first San Francisco Marathon...

They say a picture says a thousand words and so I always cherish my race photos from any marathon as the photographers often manage to catch you with your guard down, all sweaty and with how you're feeling shown clearly on your face.

Still feeling strong less than halfway
Running San Francisco Marathon
I can't tell you how delighted I am to have broken the four hour barrier for my first San Francisco Marathon, especially as I beat my first L.A. Marathon time by over a minute too.

After crossing the Golden Gate Bridge twice
San Francisco Marathon runners 2012
San Francisco Marathon runners 2012
It really was the perfect weather for running, the light mist and breeze over the Golden Gate Bridge and back was a refreshing start to the 26.2 mile race. It's a shame they weren't able to get a photo of me actually running on the 75 year-old bridge, but it was quite densely packed with runners both ways.
downhill San Francisco Marathon 2012
Uphill San Francisco Marathon 2012
The thing I'll remember most about this marathon is the hills. Running up them and down them. Fortunately I've done some hill training over the last few years and I always say hiking Runyon Canyon with my Labrador Cooper most weekdays helps immensely to build up my leg stamina too.
San Francisco Marathon 2012
San Francisco Marathon 2012
I love to travel light when I'm running, but there's so much stuff you have to carry with you just in case. You need all your running gels, some water to start until you get into the rhythm of the water stations, salt pills, tums, cash and a phone for emergencies. This marathon I also ran the whole way carrying my sunglasses. 

With the early start and overcast weather conditions I didn't need to shield my eyes from the sun, although they usually come in handy to stop things getting in your eyes, especially if you wear contact lenses like I do. By the end though I'd contemplated ditching them several times, but they made it to the Finish Line with me.

Final miles of the marathon
Final miles San Francisco Marathon 2012
Under Bay Bridge San Francisco Marathon 2012
In the final stretch of the marathon I really had to dig deep. My right knee was hurting and my energy levels were dropping. I literally couldn't stomach any more running gels. When you hit 20 miles, those last 6.2 miles always seem that much further.

Last push for the Finish Line
Final dash Finish Line San Francisco Marathon
Final dash San Francisco Marathon 2012
I'm a really cautious runner and never want to peak too soon for fear of not completing a race, so I always try and hold something back for the final sprint tot he Finish Line. It's usually like wading through cement, but it always feels good to finish strong rather than having to drag yourself over that line.

Crossing San Francisco Marathon Finish Line
Crossing San Francisco Marathon Finish Line
Crossing San Francisco Marathon Finish Line
At the end of the day aside from the immense sense of self satisfaction and accomplishment you get from completing a marathon, it's all about the medals. This time I not only received the finisher medal for San Francisco, but also the LA/SF Challenge medal for completing the two marathons consecutively this year.

It's all about the medals
2012 LA SF Marathon medals
When you stop running your legs feel a bit like jelly and there's only so much you want to smile to have your picture taken covered in salt, sweat and whatever else you've managed to dribble down yourself during the race.

In a daze after crossing the Finish Line
After San Francisco Marathon
I have to say I'm proud to have run the San Francisco Marathon, but I'm certainly not rushing back to try it again next year. Maybe in another couple of years I'll try it again, but for now I've safely ticked this hilly marathon off my to-do list.

I completed my first San Francisco Marathon in 3:57:08
After San Francisco Marathon
I've been resting my legs for the last few days and letting my knee and blistered feet recover. Today is the first day I feel up for a run, so it's time to lace up my shoes again and get back out there.

Honolulu awaits...

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