1997 dawned overcast and windy as I zipped up my warmup over my singlet
and headed up to Kezar stadium. My friend Brad and I boarded the
bus at 6am for the short trip across the foggy Golden Gate to the vista
point on the Marin side.
We spent a cold hour and a half stretching, applying Vaseline to strategic body parts, and drinking Gatorade to prepare for the race. Below us, we watched some folks even crazier than us finishing a swim across the bay - they must have started before 6am!
Finally, they announced the line-up for the start, rang the bell, and we were off! It took nearly 3 minutes before we crossed the starting line, but once on to the bridge we quickly fell into our stride. The crossing was foggy, but still beautiful, and we were feeling great.
At the toll plaza across the bridge we were treated to the comical sight of about 40 men lined up facing the hedge on the far side of the lot. I don't know where the women went...
We cruised nicely for about 5 miles, heading downhill from the Presidio along the Embarcadaro, and cutting across to Columbus, where we saw Ian cheering us on. Then we headed up Grant into China town, around by the TransAmerica Building, and back to Embarcadero to head south of Market.
At the 10 mile mark we were greeted by a very enthusiastic Ann Burgraff, who had PowerGel for us, and ran beside us for a quarter mile, giving us energy the entire way. It was great to see her.
The next major milestone was the Haight St hill, from mile 13 to 15. We charged up it, but it took a toll on Brad, so we stopped to walk a little. Before we reached 15, however, we started running again.
Just in time, because we soon saw Paul Nakada and Jer and Laura Sherman, who gave us high-fives and lots of encouragement. We then ran into Marnie, who had provisions in the form of PowerGel and Gatorade. Thus replenished, we ran on.
At about 16, Brad felt ill again, so we stopped altogether for about 5 minutes so he could recover. We then continued slowly down the hill towards the Great Highway. He recovered his wind, and we made reasonable time to mile 19, where we met his fiancee and replenished our PowerGel again.
At this point we attacked the toughest hill of the marathon, heading up from the Great Highway towards Sunset. We then cruised out Sunset for a mile and a half, and started back. Up to this point, Brad had been running well, but he started to flag again. Finally at about mile 22, he decided to walk the rest of the way, and told me to push myself for the remaining 4 miles.
Thus encouraged, I charged ahead and began passing people left and right. I had the fortune to encounter my coach at mile 23, and he was very excited to see me running so strongly so late in the race. I pushed hard up the last few hills, and didn't slow until about mile 25, when I was hit by a nasty quad cramp. I walked a few steps to let it unclench, and then kept on - nothing could stop me now!
I powered up the last hill and across the street into the stadium, arms windmilling, legs pumping. Finally, I was on the track, passing people, focused on the finish line. I didn't even hear Paul and Jer cheering from a few feet away, didn't see Marnie taking pictures, just headed for that finish.
After the finish, I kept my feet, and walked it off a little. Marnie went to the medical tent and got me a mylar blanket and some ice for my quad. I stretched a bit, got some food in me, and headed home for a warm shower and 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
|Client:||San Francisco Marathon|
|Location:||San Francisco, California|
|Site Volume:||~7000 runners, 26.2 miles|
CAST OF CHARACTERS/ROLES
|The support team was
terrific. With Ian cheering at 5 miles, Ann bringing much-needed
PowerGel at 10, and Marnie, Paul, Jer, and Laura at both 15 and the finish,
I had a great cheering section.
Throughout the marathon, the 800 Leukemia Society Team in Training runners were supported at nearly every street corner by someone holding a sign or shouting "Go TNT!" The encouragement was great!
Marnie really came through with PowerGel and Gatorade during the race, and lots of TLC afterwards - thanks, kiddo!
|Tom Shields (NetGravity)||Marathon Runner|
|Brad Frietag (Oracle)||Marathon Runner|
|Marnie Triefenbach (Significant Other)||Support team|
|Ann Burgraff (NetGravity)||Support Team|
|Ian van Hoven (NetGravity)||Spectator|
|Paul Nakada (NetGravity)||Spectator|
|Jer and Laura Sherman (NetGravity/Oracle)||Spectators|
|I trained for about
6 months, starting at 3 miles a day (where 6 miles was the farthest I had
ever run), and working up to about 35 miles a week, including one 20 mile
I didn't particularly watch what I ate, although I did eat a lot of carbos the few days before the race.
My knees held up quite well - I wasn't sure they would when I started. I experienced no injuries.
|Hardware:||About 6'7", 220 lbs|
|WebServer:||Java (in the morning)|
|ISP:||Team in Training|
|Content Type:||Gatorade and PowerGel, mostly|
|The marathon was a great success for me. I finished in 4 hours 34 minutes, as the 1999th male across the line. At this point, I do not know if I'll ever run another - this one was good enough for my lifetime.|
ISSUES/THINGS TO NOTE
|I started off strong, and finished strong. The items of note are as follows:|
|1.||Marathons are *really* long. 4.5 hours is a long time to run.|
|2.||Don't forget the PowerGel, it's a must.|
|3.||Thanks for all the support, everyone! I really appreciate it!|