The race actually went by pretty quickly, well at least the first 22 miles...
We started off on the perfectly flat Embarcadero by the Bay Bridge, then continued along the water past several piers, up over a huge hill at Fort Mason (miles 1&2), then a steep downhill into the Marina.
From there, we kept it flat running along Crissy Field (miles 3&4) before an enormous climb from sea level up to the Golden Gate Bridge (mile 5).
Over the bridge and back (the fastest 3.5 miles of the race, miles 6-9), then through some rolling hills to Golden Gate Park (miles 10-13).
We looped and swerved all throughout Golden Gate Park in some much-appreciated shade for miles 13 to 18, then were plopped out right onto Haight street (next to my newly discovered favorite Whole Foods!).
We followed Haight street pretty much clear across town, with plenty of quad-bursting uphills and knee-buckling downhills, but at least we had the lovely scenery of Tibetan Gift Corners (whose popularity still perplex me), tarot card readers, and drug paraphernalia shops...in true San Francisco fashion.
By mile 22 we were on the other side of town, where it's mostly flat. In fact it probably seems completely flat unless you've just run 22 miles. Then it seems mountainous. I struggled my way through the slight inclines and declines, waved hello to Global Gourmet as I passed it, and somehow managed to keep up with the 4:55 pace group that I so desperately wanted to beat.
Mile 24 held the last water and aid station, so I knew the race was coming to a close. However, those were the longest 2.2 miles of my life! I passed the 4:55 pace group at the aid station and made it my goal to stay ahead of them for the last 2 miles. I allowed myself to walk as I needed it as long as I stayed ahead of them, which would mean staying ahead of my previous time!
As I finally passed the mile 25 marker, suddenly one mile seemed like the longest distance ever. How could I possibly go one more mile?! But I shuffled, jogged, walked, and pretty much crawled to stay in front of the pace group and eventually made it to mile 26, where I saw my cousin and uncle cheering me on.
The last .2 miles flew by as I could finally set my sight on the finish line. I ran as fast as I could to the finish, which was probably comparable to a turtle, but hey--I got there!
I crossed the finish line, stumbled to the volunteers handing out medals, got my picture taken, loaded my arms with food, and met up with my family.
But before I leave to go foam roll, stretch, and ice my incredibly sore and stiff legs, let's not forget about what powered me through those taxing 26.2 miles--some pretty awesome scones!
I really loved these scones for breakfast the day before and a few hours before the race, and they even got a thumbs up from my health-food-hating grandpa! Now that's saying something. Feel free to personalize them with whatever mix-ins you have around, just know that they're best right after they come out of the oven, pretty good the day after, but a little dry after that (yes, I ate them three days in a row...).
Dried Fruit and Nut Scones
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup chopped dried fruit (I used a mix of cherries, apricots, golden raisins, and dark raisins)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used a mix of pecans, almonds, and walnuts)
1 tablespoon chopped crystallized ginger
2 tablespoons cold butter
3/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup skim milk
coarse sugar, for sprinkling on top
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (oats through crystallized ginger).
3. Add the butter, crumbling with your fingers until there are no large chunks of butter visible.
4. Stir in the yogurt and milk, folding until the dry ingredients are moistened and a ball of dough forms.
5. Scoop the dough into 1/4 cup mounds or separate into 12 even pieces. Place them evenly on the baking sheet (they don't spread too much), then sprinkle the tops with a little coarse sugar.
6. Bake for about 20 minutes, until set and golden brown. Serve immediately.