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  • Rock n’ Roll San Francisco Write-Up

    Posted on May 2nd, 2014 Michele Sun No comments

    Sometime in mid-March I got my comp entry for Rock n Roll San Francisco, thanks to GU , and the race was on Sunday April 6th. I have been going to physical therapy for my plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis for several weeks already, and my doctor had just Ok me to start jogging but not too fast or too much. But I really missed the energy and excitement of running a race, it’s very hard to give up a race entry. However I have learned my lesson, in a very hard way, and I told myself that I would stop if it hurts. So I registered the race, faithfully continued PT session twice a week and did my at-home exercise every night, and was getting very pumped about the running RnR SF.

    On Sat I went up to the city to pick up my race packet and this was my first time stepping into a race expo since last April. Yes, I haven’t done a road race for an year already, and my last race was Paris Marathon on April 7th 2013. It has been so long ago that it amazed me to think how long I have been out of things I enjoy doing. Being a typical Rock n’ Roll event, lots of cute merchandise to look at and I had to try so hard to resist the temptation of buying more shirts or socks…etc. I need to save money for medical bills and upcoming New York Marathon this fall.
    photo 1

    I walked around the Expo floor and didn’t see any geeky stuff that’s particular interesting, but did try a pair on of Newton running shoes but of course I wouldn’t buy any new shoes the day before a race. I met up with Stan for a little chat, then went to S.F. Japantown to have onigiri as my carbo-load. On southbound 101, I can’t believe that I am driving home knowing in only few hours I would be driving up again, but I prefer to sleep in my own bed before an event.

    At 3:45am the alarm stirred me up, and I can’t remember when was the last time I had to get up this early for a race. So many things felt like “previous life” to me now, but at the same time I just stepped right back to the old routines no problem. I put on my GU shirt and all my standard running attire, and excited about meeting up with my BFF Anita. Yes, at the very last minute I dragged her into this race. We met up in the City and Josh drove us to the start line at Golden Gate Park, who got dragged in for race support the last last minute :-p
    photo 2
    There was absolutely no parking near the start and Great Highway was shut down, so got to thank Josh for dropping us off. I went to check in my gear-check bag while Anita was totally clueless about any pre-race process and tasks. She is a runner who doesn’t do races, but was here with me to support my race. Anita and I don’t run together often and we actually don’t run any race together except our annual Christmas Relay, but she is so supportive when I asked her to come running with me this time. The sky and Pacific Ocean were just dark that couldn’t make out of anything out there while listening to pre-race music blasting out on speakers. “I love race energy” I said, and she thought I was looney.

    I didn’t study the course map thoroughly beforehand, but vaguely remembered it being very close to a reversed SFM route. We would start from the Golden Gate Park near the windmill, run to and cross the Golden Gate Bridge, run through Presidio, along Embarcadero and finish at the Civic Center. The first few miles were pretty straight forward — uphill, and in a way it’s a good for warm-up. I was struggling with my RunKeeper app and Anita laughed that “now I know how long you haven’t been running;” guess that’s very true, isn’t it? Since I couldn’t get the GPS to work, might as well ditch the gadget and just run with how I feel and enjoy the run and camaraderie.
    RnR SF Course
    For whatever reason, this race didn’t have the usual music bands on the course, for the first 6 miles or so we only came across few circus acts and there was no cheering squats either. We ran up Lincoln Blvd which I am very familiar with, and despite the lack of training this hilly course didn’t throw me off at all. We reached the Golden Gate Bridge and the crowd was just too much to enjoy this portion of the run. By now the sun already came out and it’s hot with people and traffics around us, and I think this is the first time I didn’t enjoy running at a “destination race.” We turned around at the vista point, and Anita and I had to constantly looking for each other in the massive crowds. After we came off the Golden Gate Bridge I asked Anita if she wanted a GU Gel at the water stop and she commented “you really know how to do this kind of things” šŸ™‚

    The course continued down to the Crissy Field and finally I heard some music when approaching Sports Basement. I felt some tightness coming from my left Achilles, so I told Anita that my left foot hurt a little and I have to slow down a bit or even walk a little if necessary. She told me just be careful and take it easy. We continued running along the wharf and many runners started slowing down or walking, probably a combination of the raising temperature and fatigue. Once we hit mile 10 on Polk, there was an alarming pain shooting up from my left foot and I immediately slowed down and eventually came to walking. I told Anita that I would start walking from here and she not only joined me but half jokingly said “will be nice to have coffee now.” Josh looked up on Yelp and told us he would run to a nice coffee house ahead of us, and had us calling him once we got to Union.

    This is a very unique experience for me to enter into a race knowing that I might DNF, have never walked this much at any race, and of course not to mention walking into a fancy coffee house in sweaty running shorts during a race. So in the middle of Rock n’ Roll San Francisco, I walked into a spacious, bright and minimalist Saint Frank Coffee. Josh had pre-ordered the Mocha for me which was individually hand poured Little Brother espresso with 64% dark Valrhona Manjari chocolate, and it’s so smooth and tasty. We each got our coffee and joked that would be nice to have some croissant to go with that. We continued our walk for the last three miles, and started seeing the race staffs closing down aid-stations behind us. I crossed the finish line in less than 3 hours, and relieved that I did not DNF this one.
    photo 5

    I limped toward the medical tent. and immediately two volunteers came up to offer me a seat and wrapped my left foot with ice and told me to sit there for 20 mins. This is a first for me also — getting medical help at a race. My left foot was swollen very badly but I knew it could be much worse if I had continued running that last 3 miles. I looked at my hard earned medal and thinking that though today didn’t go exactly like a race should be, but I am so happy to come back running and take part at a race. And most importantly, running this with my best friend though she teased me nonstop about things I would do for a medal šŸ™‚
    photo 4


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