Sunday, August 7, 2011

This is my favorite race photo. Ever.

And I'll tell you why, because it's not what you immediately see. Yes, I look super cute in my fluorescent green tee. Even more super cute with my name on my bib. Not why it's my favorite.

And not even because I'm totally getting air, indicating my haul-assity at this point in the race.


Look behind me. See that dude? The dude who is grinning like this is the most fun race of his life? That's a beer in his hand. No joke.

So last weekend I ran the 2nd half of the San Francisco Marathon. It was a bit spur of the moment; frankly, I'm almost at the next elite level at American and need like one more trip home, so this was all about the miles. When I booked a quick weekend home, I discovered it was also the marathon, so I registered.

The website made it seem that the 2nd half - which started in Golden Gate Park, wound through the Haight and down to the Embarcadero - was less hilly than the 1st half, which went through the Presidio (uh, yeah - I will never forget that 2-mile long ramp of a hill) and over the Golden Gate Bridge.

And then I got to the expo:


But no mind, I had a great weekend planned with family and friends. Stayed with mom, saw the boys.

And headed into the city to stay with Ken, who made me - get this - homemade pasta for a carb load. Next morning, I was on my way.

Seriously, how cute are my arm warmers?

But turns out, I didn't really need them. Temperature was perfect, despite what you see here:

Do you see the heat lamps? Yes, I'm serious! Those are heat lamps! I mean, really, San Francisco? There is simply no reason for those in 60 degree weather. I felt tremendously badass all of a sudden, recalling the dead-of-winter-and-it's-15-degrees and-I-can't-feel-my-face runs. We New Yorkers know how to run with nothing but body heat. Well, pants, too.

I resisted the urge to drop the p-word loudly. I thought that might be bad juju for the race start.

Speaking of which, we started in GG Park, right around the 14-mile mark for the full marathoners. I have to say that at mile 14 in any run, you're skirting the BMZ. (Bite Me Zone, for you See Cindy Run newbies). To then have 5,000 runners - all pumped up on starting line classics such as "Welcome to the Jungle" - suddenly merging with you, all fresh-legged - well, let's just say I would have completely understood had one of them punched me in the back of the head. I told myself I deserved it, should it suddenly happen. It didn't.

But the run was completely awesome. Back to those hills. Website person? Liar, liar, pants on fire. Hills all over the place, and big ones at like miles 9 and 10. Regardless, I had a great time. And since the photographers got some of my best race photos ever, I'm going to show them off.

So back to the guy and the beer.

It's San Francisco, so any marathon that has a David Bowie cover band along the route:

Is bound to have some great sights along the way.

My favorite was a group of spectators dressed like devils. What else would the devil offer during a marathon, when your mental and physical strength should only be matched by the faith you have in yourself to finish it?

But not just beer. At some stations, they had shot glasses of Bloody Marys. And you all know how I love me some Bloody Mary. That one was hard to pass up.

But they were also there at the end, as we rounded out mile 12. Holding signs like, "Come. Sit. It'll be nice." This time, however, the devils meant business. They were holding out entire cans of beer. I remember seeing a guy weave over, shrug his shoulders as if to say, "Hell, why not?" and take one.

(And the Lord sayeth to the Serpent: 'No sweat, he earned it.')

I remember digging this guy immediately and thinking to myself that here was a runner who had already accomplished something so great - and now he was having enough fun to not take the end so seriously. That was inspiring. So all the way to the finish, I tried it out, too.

And when I got my pictures back, I was stoked that Mr. Budweiser was behind me. For as long as I look at that picture, I'll have a reminder of how much fun a marathon can be.

No PR for me, but given the hills, I was more than content.

One of the first races where I didn't spend the rest of the day obsessing over my time. Instead, I spent the afternoon with about 20 friends and family at Pier 23.

How fitting that Kerry sent me this today:

Yep, the 26.2 is for fun.

(Well that, and fundraising for cancer research. Yes! It's a shameless plug! And if you haven't visited my ACS page, do it now. Now.)

I've decided that the next time I'm struggling on a run, I'll envision myself with a beer in my hand, smile on my face, photographer in front of me. Nice cap on a fun and fulfilling weekend. And now I'm only about 800 miles from platinum status.


  1. love this and the photos!
    i want to be that beer guy when i grow up.
    i'm way to serious and don't have nearly enough fun.
    congrats cindy! xoxo

  2. so glad you are back!!!!!
    I am very happy!
    Now I can keep track of you.
    I will be just like other moms!
    well, almost.
    Love you.

  3. those are definitely the most rock star race photos I have EVER seen. Mine are ALWAYS taken with drool pouring out of my mouth. Always.

    I would trade the ghirardelli chocolate at the end of Nike Women's for beer. Totally.

  4. thanks guys!

    Jo I love seeing you again on Tuesday nights in the park ... let's try to do our own run sometime. And as for the pics ... please, I have NEVER had a good Brightroom photo. I think all their photogs secretly hate me. And I'm so taking the beer next time.