This was the race that I’d persuaded the Husband and the Bro to run. The guys had been for one or two training runs over the Ramsden visit and we were all signed up. The race was held at Lake Merced, a small lake on the southern edges of San Francisco. It’s in a part of the city notorious for fog, damp and chilliness, and next to San Francisco State University. It was SFSU’s Dons Battalion who organised the race – I think they’re a Uni army cadet battalion but I may well be wrong. There’s a path all round it – mostly paved with a short stretch of gravel. I’d meant to run round the lake for a long time now, so was excited.
We sloped out early, leaving the little man at home with his grandparents and we got there with plenty of time. Just as well – just one porta-loo for everyone. But it was a tiny race…I’m poor at counting but maybe a hundred or so runners?
Flags were marched in and posted in the ground. The National Anthem was sung. I got a bit weepy. And then we were off! I lost the boys pretty much immediately and sped off on the first, primarily downhill mile. I started too fast, I always do, but I thought I could hang onto a decent pace for a short distance. So I did – picking out my next ‘victim’ and slowly but surely passing them. It’s the first time I’ve managed to do this, and it was a bit of an ego boost! I was concentrating so hard on the course and on my running that I hardly noticed the lake. Later on, I asked the Husband if he’d seen the lake during the race and he looked at me stupidly. Apparently it was visible for most of the run, but I didn’t see it at all.
The course was basically downhill for the first half and uphill for the second half. There was a nasty little hill in the last mile. I’d been following a girl with gorgeous hair for a mile or so and was intent on passing her. But all of a sudden I was running past her and she was walking!! ‘Come on, run’, I encouraged her as I passed. And about a minute later she caught me and said ‘Okay, I’m back’ and then proceeded to pick up the pace. I tried to stay with her but couldn’t quite make it. So much for my magnanimousness. But quickly the Girl with Nice Hair and then I came up to the finishing chute and we were done.
Because this race is so small, there were no chipped timing. I don’t mind this at all. But their timing system was quite exciting. You got your own personal soldier who ‘claimed’ you at the end, told you your time and ripped off part of your bib, writing your time, age-group and gender on it. This chit was then passed to another soldier with the results board. Old-fashioned but it worked well. My Personal Soldier told me I’d run it in 33.50. My watch told me 33.44 and because it did take me a few seconds to get to the start line, I’m confident in my watch time. That’s an 8.29 pace. Totally thrilled with that, thank you.
No photos of me finishing. The downside of being the fastest runner in your group.
The first time I’ve ever written that sentence.
I had time to grab some water, pop to the car (parked next to the finish line, a benefit of small races) and get the camera in time to watch the Husband run strongly to the finish line. He ran it in 37.56 which was a great time. And then we waited a few more minutes for the Bro to run in. He finished in 44.20 which was a fantastic time for him!
Now I have a confession to make. Because it was such a small race, I had wondered/dreamed/hoped that I might place in my age-group. I’m faster than I’ve ever been before (although I have no illusions of speediness, I promise) and I knew that this would be one of my best ever chances of placing. So once the boys were in, I sent the Husband to have a look at the results board. He came back and told me I was 5th…medals were three deep. Oh well. I went to look for myself and realised I was 4th. 25 seconds behind a lady who passed me in the final half mile. Darn it!!! I felt like the poor Olympians who came in 4th! On a smaller scale, obviously.
But all in all…a fantastic morning. The race was only $20 – thus no chip, no medals, no mile-markers etc. I love the swag and the razzmatazz for big races and I am relatively happy to pay for it (within reason). But I would rather pay a smaller fee and have simpler races…and get to race more often. So thank you Dons Battalion and your lovely soldiers for hosting such a great little race!
And then the guys headed home and WHAM, I did a Wonder Woman style change of clothes (seriously, spun round in a circle until I was ready) and pranced elegantly and effortlessly off to the baptism of our friends’ little gorgeous boy!