Friday, August 15, 2008

In His Own Words

My cousin Frank wrote an account of this experience. Here it is...He sent it to us in an email and I thought I would post it just like that. He's the one in front wearing the white hat.

"Dear Family, Friends, and Running Buddies,

I wrote for somebody that wanted the complete story of my run. I thought I would share it with you all.

The 2008 San Francisco Marathon: Call it an epic adventure or a story of survival.

At the start the weather was cool and comfortable. There was magic in the air. Thousand of runners were gathering in the dark with the city lights adding a nice glow. The excitement was building and we were ready to go. The music engulfed us. The elite runners took off at 5:35 and the waves of runners followed. That moment it was great to be alive and in the City. The smell of fresh bread greeted us on our way then came the smell of stinky crabs at Fisherman's Warf. We ran along the waters edge on the bay and then up to our first speed bump, a short but very steep hill. No problem. We ran past Fort Mason and through Chrissy Field. We were then faced with the most daunting hill up to the bridge for about a mile. No problem. Then on to the bridge where they split one lane for runners to go both ways. It was a problem. To add to it, there were wind gusts so strong our bibs were almost ripped off. We were just happy to be running across this treasure. The only problem was a lot of people didn't understand runners etiquette which was needed to transverse the tight roadway. At times I and others felt like yelling "lead, follow, or get out of the way", but I remained jovial and darted around the wafflers with my pace group. My brother Steve and nephew Rafey greeted me on the bridge and snapped lots of pictures. After the bridge we faced the second biggest hill for about 3/4 mile. No problem. The training really helped on these two hills. We then got to coast down a hill for a awhile and then off to flat stretch. We entered Golden Gate Park and ran up a slope/hill that lasted forever. At the halfway mark my legs reminded me of the hills I ran. And then out of the blue a "convergence". All of the Half Marathon runners that were running the second half descended on us. Again no runners etiquette. Again, I was thinking "lead, follow or get out of the way". This did slow me down somewhat. We continued through the park and around Stow Lake which is quite scenic. It was a real familiar site. I was making good time. We ran down Haight Street. It was a nice run all the way to Market Street. I was in good shape. We went through a flat stretch which was not scenic. Miles 22, 23 and 24 included industrial/commercial buildings and three hills. I got over the first hill keeping pace and feeling good with just a little heaviness in my legs. Hills 2 and 3, not so good. The scenery didn't help. Mile 25 was beautiful and inspiring but my legs were cramping due to all of the challenges along the way. It was my slowest mile. No matter what, I knew I had to finish strong for the last 1.2 miles. I sucked up the pain in my legs and I came racing in. I totally sprinted in the final .2 There were plenty of people cheering including family and my Pace Group. I am not sure how I did it but I did. I did have my "dark side" moments. My goal was to break 4:30 but I am happy with the 4:39.24. My brother Steve thought under normal circumstances I would have run 4:20. The culmination of all the hills and slopes were really challenging. The training did prepare me for the hills but you have to experience them to really know. It is something you have to process and work through as you go. I hope you enjoyed my story. I am now doing a lot of walking to help me recover. The only injury I have is one black toenail. I am plenty sore but in a good way. I will start running in two weeks. Next up: The San Jose Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon in October. It is smooth and flat. I can really gauge myself with this one. To follow is the Honolulu Marathon in December. I will be training with some of my running buddies for this one. I have truly been bitten by the running bug. May you all be bitten by something new and exciting in your lives.

Peace, Love and Joy


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