The Expo was fantastic! In my opinion, it was even better than the Nike Women's Expo last year, but maybe that's because I spend almost 2 hours in line there waiting to have my iPod engraved. There was so much to see and try. My favorite booths were:
- PureFit bars -- delicious and vegan and wonderful stats
- Kin-E-Sys -- best sunscreen around
- Running Divas -- I got a shirt that says "Half Marathon Mom!"
- Atalanta -- great running skirts, and I got to meet Catra of Dirt Diva!
Catra and me!
There were seminars at the Expo and I got to hear Dean Karnanzes speak. Good thing I got there 45 minutes early and got a seat, because it was standing room only. He was funny, humble, and his legs looked like anatomy models with every muscle and tendon fully visible. One guy in the back asked if Dean could just come to the back so he could look at his legs!
Saturday night Audrey and I went to Greens in the Marina for dinner. Really yummy vegetarian food, but I started having really bad stomach pain right when we got there (no idea why!) . We had a great time talking and laughing, but by the end of the evening, I just wanted to be curled in the fetal position, and even Pepto Bismol wasn't doing the trick.
Neither of us slept much, and the 4:15 alarm felt very early because it was. But no stomach pain anymore -- hooray! Got dressed and caffeinated and grabbed a taxi to the race start.
Audrey and me before the start of the race.
There was a sweat check at the race start which was wonderful because standing around in SF at 5:00 in the morning, it's cold! But I thought sweat check meant you could toss your bag around mile 1 or 2 -- nope. Means you are supposed to drop your bag off before the start of the race! We were in wave 4 (more about waves in a minute) and thank goodness for the nice spectator man who took our bags to the half marathon drop point within moments of our starting gun!
The wave starts were GREAT! Every 5 minutes, a new group of runners would start, with the full and the first-half people all together. We were in wave 4 (1:45 - 2:00 est finish time) and were able to run right from the start, unlike so many races where you're just trotting along trying not to trip anyone around you.
The first few miles were nice -- lots to see, not too hilly until we entered the Presidio, and again, that wave start thing meant that although there were almost 20,000 runners, you had room to move! At about mile 5 we were approaching the Golden Gate Bridge and I was getting really excited. Running across the bridge really was worth the early start time. It was overcast, but that just made the bridge look mysterious and cool. It was really windy on the bridge, to the point where I was holding onto my hat at times! I think the out and back on the bridge was about 3 miles, so we had time to really enjoy running where most people never can! And they had it set up great: one lane for outgoing runners, one lane for incoming runners, and a "buffer" lane so there was some room between you and the cars.
After the bridge it felt tougher, but nice spectators helped pull us along. There were a few more hills in miles 10 - 12, but nothing crazy like you might think you'd find in a San Francisco course. At this point, Audrey was really digging deep, since she'd only ever run 9 miles as a training run, so this was all new territory! But we kept moving along, with me running a few steps behind her, so as to let her set whatever pace worked for her. Well, FAST was what worked, because we crossed the finish line in 2:00:35 (official time).
Me and Audrey after the race -- all smiles!
We gratefully accepted the shiny post-race blankets (the finish point was the coldest part of the whole race!) and the post-race snacks. And headed back to Audrey's apartment for lovely post-race SHOWERS!!!
After getting my car from the BART station, I had the first of many post-race treats. This one? Diet Pepsi and Cool Ranch Doritos (my lunch of choice in my 30s!). YUM!!!