A Little Trail Race for the End of Summer

A couple months back, a grad friend of mine, Dustin, asked me about local trail races. I recommended a couple that I had run, including Race Thru the Redwoods. About a month ago, he asked if I was going to run it and I said, maybe, depends on how I feel post marathon. Well, about a week or so after the marathon, I was thinking about the race and decided it would be fun to run it. I knew it had a good climb in the middle and I am not comfortable running terribly fast on trails, so I knew I would not go out and do something dumb like try to race super fast three weeks after SFM. So along with my teammate and good friend, Leslie, decided to join my grad buddy and just fun run the Redwoods race. (Plus it was only $30 and goes toward the local community in Felton.)

The sign is more intimidating than the race

The sign is more intimidating than the race

Saturday, the day before the race, we joined Elise and Sejin for a speedy long run and then, Leslie and I headed up to UCSC to cheer for the SCE men who were racing in the kick off race for the cross country season. We had thought about running it too, but after seeing the speedy guys we were glad to have decided on the Redwoods instead!

SCE Men Represent

SCE Men Represent

Sunday morning, we all met at my house and headed up to the entrance to Henry Cowell State Park. I’ve had some parking problems at this race before but this year it was really easy: close to the start and free. We grabbed our bibs and ran into Bob and Jaime, who were cheering, and Jose and Dan, fellow SCE teammates who were also running. After a easy warm up mile, with some cheering for the kids race, we hopped into the pack to start the race. Race Thru the Redwoods (yes they use “thru” rather than “through” and yes, it drives me bonkers) is pretty small, capped at 700 runners, and is a self-seeded start. The start came quickly (no countdown or anything) and we were off.

Low key start

Low key start

Chasing Leslie

Chasing Leslie

The first mile is all on road through the parking area and entrance to the park; I’m pretty sure it is just to add a mile and get the course to the full 10k distance. Then we are on to the trails, some of which is pretty loose sand, and with our drought, very dusty. It was fun running with Leslie for the first mile or so, but then we settled into our comfortable paces and made our way through the trails and up the big climb that begins about half way through mile 2 and into mile 3. It’s pretty steep and even though I feel good on hills, I had to hike a portion on it (partially due to forgetting to my inhaler before the race). As I was coming to the top of the climb, a couple of the volunteers told me I was the 2nd or 3rd woman. I knew there was a woman ahead of Leslie, so I knew that would mean I was the 3rd woman. Pretty cool! (But not accurate…)

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Where are the rest of the runners?

Where are the rest of the runners?

After the turn around, I saw there was one woman not that far behind me. Even though I was really running this as a fun run, I liked the idea of finishing 3rd, so I did my best to keep ahead of her. About three-quarters of a mile from the finish (give or take), I saw Jaime, Bob, and Miriam cheering. I gave them a smile and kept on pushing through the trails. Just as I came up to the finish, the woman behind me had caught up. I tried to give it a good kick at the end but she had more left than I did and scooted past me. But I quickly learned that Leslie had finished third, meaning I finished fifth. And as Leslie reminded me, I did just run a marathon, so I was pretty happy with a 5th place. My finish time was 48:14, about 4 minutes faster than when I ran the race last in 2012

2nd place AG

2nd place AG

We hung around for some of the raffle and the age group awards, where we all did really well. Leslie placed 1st, Dan placed 2nd, Dustin placed 3rd, and I took 2nd in our respective age groups. It ended up being a great morning and our only complaint was a lack of race day registration and no coffee at the finish! 

Do you trail run? What’s your favorite trail race?

Food Friday: Assembly

It’s fitting that I’m not posting my Food Friday entry nearly 11am (PST) as that is brunch time and that’s the meal I last had at this week’s choice: Assembly (located right in the middle of downtown Santa Cruz). It’s no surprise that Assembly is popping up on the blog, especially since I’ve been there four times in the past couple weeks… seriously, I’ve been a lot. But this is a caveat to this recommendation, the food is delicious but the service is…well… an experience.

From Assembly FB

From Assembly FB

Assembly is the newest addition to a list of delicious spots started by The Penny Ice Creamery and followed by The Picnic Basket. And my love for the Penny is unrivaled. All of the these spots all follow in the farm-to-table movement, supporting l local farms and serving what is in season. And let’s be real, they are all a little pricey. But all serve Penny ice cream! (Anytime I have a friend come to visit me in Santa Cruz, I try really hard to make sure they get to taste a yummy Penny creation!)

Enjoyed this with corn chowder with the hubs: Seared Padrón peppers with heirloom tomatoes, avocado crème fraîche, pickled corn and cotija cheese. (photo from Assembly FB)

Had this salad with corn chowder for dinner with the hubs last week: Seared Padrón peppers with heirloom tomatoes, avocado crème fraîche, pickled corn and cotija cheese. Yum! (photo from Assembly FB)

I’ve been to Assembly several times for dinner, once for lunch, and once for brunch. Each time the food has been delicious and they always have options for me (I only eat fish when it comes to meat). I know they will also make accommodations for dairy and gluten intolerant diners. (Although they seem to be limited in those options, but still good to know that you can ask). My favorite experience at Assembly was at lunch. A friend from over the hill (Santa Cruz speak for anyone who has to drive over Highway 17 to come into town) joined me, we sat on the patio, and the service was quick and friendly. I enjoyed a chickpea bowl (a meal I’ve had twice, once with the egg and once without… both delicious!). Brunch was good, but the mimosas are expensive and I really just want hashbrowns at breakfast. I suppose they are too lowbrow for farm-to-table folks. ;) And the food I’ve had at dinner has always been delicious (if they have salmon on the menu, order it! So good!).

Girls night out at Assembly

Girls night out at Assembly

But as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the service at Assembly does not equate its delicious food. Unfortunately, I’ve often had the experience of mediocre service in Santa Cruz. We Central Coast citizens need to demand better service! Especially when we are paying the prices at places such as Assembly. Don’t get me wrong, I think the quality of the food merits its cost, but I expect when paying a bit more to have prompt and friendly service. Thus far, I have never experienced any rudeness or lack of friendliness (although I know some have) but it does seem that quick and attentive service is not a priority. Assembly has only been around for a few months, so I am hopeful that it will improve. I think having an additional server on staff each night would help a great deal as they always seem stretched a bit thin. But if you order a glass of wine or beer, it makes the wait that much more pleasant.

Love the ambiance of Assembly (from their FB)

Love the ambiance of Assembly (from their FB)

Have you been to Assembly yet? What are your thoughts?

Reflecting on Training for SFM

As I was training for The SF Marathon this year, I was pretty quiet about it on the blog about my training. After being so vocal on my training for the LA Marathon last year, I consciously made an effort to keep my goals and training to myself (and my closest friends & family, who inevitably are affected by my training). I have a couple of reasons for doing this. One is that I tend to over analyze and stress myself out about races and by constantly posting about my training and goals, for me, is basically insuring a stressed out Meg on race day. Second is that we all train very differently and I am hesitant to put my training out there as it might work for me but not for you, and I’m not a certified coach. However, now that the race is over and was successful, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the training. (If you are really into following my training, I do post my runs to Strava and sometimes to dailymile.)

Got to enjoy the company of these runners for the last part of one long run! I'm definitely a social runner, and if I can coordinate runs with friends, I will!

Got to enjoy the company of these runners for the last part of one long run!

I had originally planned to use the Pfitz Advanced Marathon training as it has worked really well for my gal Erin. But as the time drew closer to begin training, I started to worry about relying on a book – fearing that what if something went wrong in training, would I modify correctly? Would the mileage work for me? So, I decided to work with my coach again. He had helped me secure a 5k PR in March and I like his way of approaching marathon training. I have wrote about it before, but one of the benefits of working with a coach is that s/he can help you to modify your training as it progresses which a book or online plan can’t do.  For me, in this case, I was getting a little speedier during training, so my speed workouts got a little quicker as the weeks progressed. Another nice thing about working with a coach is you have someone to touch base with if/when a workout doesn’t go as planned. For example, when I was in SoCal I had some tempo work that just fell apart. I knew mentally that it was likely due to traveling and poor diet, but emotionally I couldn’t really convince myself. I doubted the work I had put into my running. So I emailed the coach and he also felt that it was traveling and diet, and just to focus on the next workout. And you know, my next workout went great.

My mileage is different from many marathon training plans and I would not recommend it for first time marathoners or runners who don’t run a lot of mileage normally. But I only have two 18 milers during my 12 week training period and I don’t go over 18 miles. But I still high mileage weeks, have many mid-week runs in the 9-10 mile range – including my speed workouts. Some of the philosophy here is about time on my feet, thinking more about time than mileage. Also, many of my long runs (while shorter than some plans), included many race pace miles. And it is important to use these runs to practice race-day fueling (an important lesson I learned from not successfully fueling at previous marathons!). That being said, I think for a first marathon having at least one 20 miler in the training is important, if only to get it in your head that you can run that far because you will doubt it come race day. (That being said, I totally did not do this for my first marathon and still survived, just slowly). My weeks’ mileage ranged from around 48 to 54 miles. My lowest week was the week before the marathon: 39 miles. Race week I ended up with just below 50 miles.

Action shot on a group run

Action shot on a group run

At the beginning of my training, I did a lot of track workouts: 200s, 400s, 800s, etc. But my last month or so of training, had less of these and more longer, road workouts: longer tempos and many mile repeats. I actually think this was very helpful in my training. I run these type of workouts on a stretch that is fairly flat but not track flat, so it feels more like race conditions. Nailing the longer workouts really helped me mentally feel prepared for race day. Again this was what worked for me and really was helpful when I was traveling because I didn’t have to find a track but rather just get out on the road. However, it can be hard if you don’t live in a place where there are long stretches without stop lights or intersections.

Lots of hills in my training to prepare for 26.2 miles that looked like this...

Lots of hills in my training to prepare for 26.2 miles that looked like this…

Finally, I included a LOT of hills in my training. Every week I had a least one run dedicated to climbing but I also tried to include some hills in my long runs. This was as much for physical training as it was for mental training. While I was in Washington, I included a 5 mile run that had a 1 mile climb of about 500 feet. As I entered my taper weeks, I included one last run on the Wilder Loop (a climb is challenging but is rewarding with its awesome views) with my SCE teammates. It was the strongest I had felt on that route and I was able to keep up with some of the guys. This was the run I kept in my mind as I got closer to race day, it was what I needed to believe I could conquer the SF hills. The choice to include all this climbing was to try to best prepare myself for the race course. If you are beginning your marathon training soon (say for CIM?) you probably don’t need all that hill work. Rather find what runners have found challenging about the course and try to replicate that on some of your training runs.

To wrap up, I’m including the screen shots of my training calendars for my 12 weeks of training.

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 7.54.53 AMYou can see in May and June, I had multiple days with multiple runs. This is a little deceiving as for three of my long runs, I had a race in the middle of the mileage. While I did not include any double run days in this training session, it can be a way to build endurance – especially if you don’t have one large chunk of time to get in some longer runs.

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You’ll see that post race I took a solid week off, no running and not even cross training (although I was going to go to Body Pump that week but life got in the way). I know many people return back to running sooner (and some told me to take more time off) but you should do what’s right for you, so listen to your body!

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 7.55.18 AMFinally, as evidenced by the photo at the beginning of this post, I love running with friends. I was lucky to enjoy the company of many of my teammates from Santa Cruz Endurance, and especially to those women who modified their workouts to join me or even paced me on some of my speed work – you know who you are and I’m so grateful for you!

Running friends make the best friends :)

Running friends make the best friends :)

And if you haven’t read enough about the SF Marathon. Here are some of the race caps I’ve been enjoying over the past week (in no particular order):

Food Friday: 2 Blocks Up

Alright, last Food Friday post from my traveling way back at the end of June and beginning of July. I am ending with a family spot in Bremerton, Washington: Two Blocks Up. The cute little restaurant is co-owned by the hubs’ aunt and cousin. It’s a fun little stop just a short walk up from the ferry in Bremerton.

Catering Goodness

Catering Goodness

We always hit up the cafe when are in Washington and not just because it family owned (although that definitely encourages all of us to get together there!). But the food is really good! On Thursdays they have taco specials and they alternate other specials throughout the week. When we were there last, the hubs had their pulled pork sandwich special and he said it was really good! (I don’t eat pork so I had a yummy chopped salad instead.) They also make espresso drinks and Italian sodas, as well as serve beer and wine. Usually they are open until mid-late afternoon but for special events in town they are also open. They update their Facebook page with special menu items and events.

Love the interior!

Love the interior!

The vibe of Two Blocks Up is simple but personalized. They even have some old family items around the dining area… if you go, you’ll have to see if you can find them!

Patio dining

Patio dining

When the hubs and I were engaged, we had a wedding shower at the restaurant and it was great. It is the perfect sized space and they make special appetizers and desserts for events like this. We even had  little cakes with our wedding colors and personalized options. So it’s great not just for a drop in meal but also to plan a special event.

And now, I’ve wrapped up the travel series of Food Friday – at least for now! Next week it will be back to my favorite spots in Santa Cruz (and I’ve been eating at some of them this week!). Look for me to throw in some breweries/tap houses and wineries into the mix too! And if you have a favorite restaurant in the Central Coast area, share it with me so I can check it out too (post in the comments or my Facebook page).

Catching that Unicorn in San Francisco

Something amazing happened this weekend…and I don’t even know how to start this blog post. And I know it’s going to be crazy long…so you’ve been warned!

After I ran the Santa Rosa Marathon last summer, I knew I needed a break from marathons. And I was pretty sure I would wait until the SF Marathon before taking on 26.2. I had considered running Eugene (which unfortunately was moved to the same day as SF) or SLO, but just wasn’t feeling it when I would have needed to start training. I was pretty happy to be running more trails and hills, and focusing less on speed … until I had a great race at the Super Bowl 10k, which started my streak of PRing in every distance this year. The only downside of choosing SFM was that I would not be able to run Wharf to Wharf. (But you can read all about my friend Leslie’s race experience at her blog.) My goals for SF (my 5th marathon) remained the same from the moment I decided to run it until race day: run a smart, strong race regardless of what that might mean in time. And I can say I did just that – but it also resulted in a great time that I never expected!

Saturday

Ok introductions for the post are over and now its time to get through the weekend. I packed up a ton of snacks (lots o’ carbs as taught to me by Hillary) and the hubs and I headed up to SF. Like last year, I again had the privilege of serving as a SFM ambassador. Unlike last year, I decided to commit less time to volunteering so I could save my energy for the race. This meant that I only volunteered for a few hours at the expo. Props to the hubs who hung out at the expo, not the most exciting place if you’re not running the race. The expo was held at Fort Mason and had amazing views. I helped to register runners for 2015 and if I looked to my left, I had a stunning view of the bay. I got to work with Paulette, who I always have a fun time with, and Bonnie, who I just met but was full of excitement for the weekend! SFM hooked up its ambassador volunteers with some nice goodies (lots of GU and a sweet water bottle). In addition to picking up my bib and shirt, I also got my 52 Club sweatshirt. As I was heading out of the expo, I saw Erin G. and got a big awesome bear hug from this awesome gal. Then the hubs and I got some awesome grub at one of the food trucks outside the expo: Doc’s of they Bay. They had the best veggie burger I’ve ever had!

Goodies for SFM Ambassador volunteers

Goodies for SFM Ambassador volunteers

Black Bean Burger, photo courtesy of Doc's website.

Black Bean Burger, photo courtesy of Doc’s website.

After eating, the hubs and I headed to the Hotel Triton, our home for the race weekend. It took FOREVER to get the hotel because of a pro Palestine protest weaving its way through the city. Once we finally checked in, we got to our funky little room (I loved the character of this hotel! Only downside was that our mini fridge wasn’t working). After relaxing a bit, we decided to head out for a beer at Golden Gate Tap Room. We had been trying to organize dinner plans with Chris and finally decided on the Cheesecake Factory because it would a wide selection and was convenient (I also thought it would be kid friendly for Chris’s son, but even though we told them we had a child with us they didn’t bring a child’s menu or even a chair for him… boo!). Even though it’s a chain and I like to eat more locally, it’s a nice pick because of its location looking down on Union Square. The wait was long but it ended up being almost perfect as it took a while for us all to connect. Fellow ambassador, Wes, also came by to say hello. It was fun to have dinner with the hubs and Chris’s fam; it was also pretty low-key and not far from our hotels. Then, after heading back to get my forgotten water bottle, it was time to get to bed for an early morning wake up.

Protestors in SF

Protestors in SF

Fun hotel room

Fun hotel room

Sunday, Race Day!

I was scheduled to run in Wave 3, which started at 5:42am (yep you read that right). So my alarm was set for 2:45 to eat breakfast. I got up, ate my Picky Bars and banana. And then back to bed. I didn’t need 3 hours to get ready, so I set my alarm for 4am and tried to sleep. I didn’t really, but it was nice to relax a little more anyway. Once it was really time to get up, I quickly got dressed and headed out. When I got to the street there was a car that appeared to have been crushed by a ton of concrete. I was so confused… how did I sleep through this?! Turns out they were filming a movie about an earthquake outside our hotel (according to the internet The Rock will be in it). It looked pretty legit. Then I jogged down to the start (yep I had a warm up mile before my marathon). By the time I found the ambassador tent, I was pretty warm. I only brought a few things in my gear check (asthma inhaler, Immodium, hotel key, long sleeve… wish I would have brought some sweatpants and flip-flops but I never really plan well for post race). I met up with old friends, including Alisyn who I missed at the expo, and met some of the ambassadors. I also caught up with Erin S. and Sarah. Erin S. and I had talked over Strava about starting the race together since we had similar goals. I was glad to find her as we hadn’t really made any real meet up plans. Then it was time for the Wave 2 runners to hop into their corral. A few minutes later, Erin S., Sarah, and I decided to look for the 3:35 pacers as that was where we all wanted to start. We found them quickly but didn’t realize that they were in Wave 2 (Wave 3 was for 3:35-4 hour marathoners). We asked them about it and said they would start with Wave 3. Well, then the race started and we were off at 5:30. I was happy to get going earlier, no time for race nerves to undermine me… but it also meant that I was starting 12 minutes earlier than I told the hubs and I worried he would miss me at the finish. I had no phone and no way of telling him.

The first few miles were easy, breezy. We stuck with the pacers, told some jokes and had a good time. I was glad to start off with some friendly faces as I typically run with others and I knew it would make it feel more like a long run than a race, and it kept me from getting in my head too much. I also paid no attention to my watch, I never once looked at the overall time in the entire race, I trusted the pacers to do the math and let myself just run by feel. As we headed into our first climb, we joked “it’s getting a little boring, what do you say we climb a hill?” This was the way we approached the first couple of climbs… until we hit mile 11, which has several good hills, we started to call them speed bumps to keep ourselves relaxed. When we were climbing a Presidio hill, we looked to our right and saw the sun rising over Alactraz – so beautiful!  And soon we at the beginning of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Miles 1-6 (from Strava’s miles as I missed a ton of mile markers and didn’t get all the splits): 8:11, 8:09, 8:20, 8:00, 8:07, 9:02 (hill climb much?)

Photo from fellow SFM ambassador Stan's FB

Photo from fellow SFM ambassador Stan’s FB

We all knew that the Bridge is a false flat… meaning it looks flat but you’re climbing that sucker. But the Bridge is my favorite part and not just because it’s beautiful. I love this part because we get to see so many of the other runners. We cheered on the winners who looked strong and fast. We saw Chris and Erin G. rocking their races and Albert doing a great job of pacing. On our way back over the bridge, I saw so many friends running, it was awesome! I just missing cheering for Jordan (but girl, know that I totally screamed for you!), so I’m not sure if she heard me, but definitely had a cheer fest with Alisyn, Paulette, and Wes. Then we were over the bridge and heading toward mile 10. I remembered from last year’s half marathon that I trashed my quads by screaming down hill only to push through the punishing hills of mile 11. I told the girls, I was going to be conservative and take it easy downhill, and they agreed. And while the following hills were hard, they didn’t feel nearly as difficult as they did last year. So my plan worked and I survived what I think is really the most difficult climbing in the race. We then headed into Golden Gate Park. I knew fellow SCE team member and friend Sam would be somewhere around my mile 13 or 14 as she was running the Second Half. When I saw her, I was stoked. I knew I felt good still and strong. I totally waved like a crazy person at her and she, with her friend Jill, cheered for me. I love that feeling. Sam also sent a video of my craziness to the hubs and some friends. Now we just had to get through the park.
Miles 7-14: 8:11, 8:03, 8:16, 8:04, 8:00, 8:21, 8:25, 7:48

Coming off the bridge

Coming off the bridge

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Golden Gate Park is deceiving because you’re in it for 6 miles and it’s full of rolling hills. I have only run in there a handful of times, but Erin S. and Sarah run it often and knew the hardest hills. For a while we had been about 30 seconds to a minute ahead of the 3:35 pacers, but in the park they caught back up with us. At this point we had some goals: we had gotten Sarah through miles 11-12, that she had dreaded and now we focused on pushing Erin S. through mile 15 (a spot that had been hard for her at Boston this year). We encouraged each other, Sarah and Erin S. sang some songs that my running brain could not recognize, and Erin S. told jokes when we climbed. Soon enough we were through mile 15 and our next goal was to get through the park. Unfortunately, Sarah fell behind here (but don’t worry she still scored a PR at the race, which was only her 2nd marathon – rock star!). We got out of the park and headed toward Haight, and some nice downhills. We ran through some awesome bubbles in that stretch and didn’t let Erin S. go home (she lives near the 20 mile mark). I also had my fastest mile in this stretch.

Miles 15-21: 8:12, 7:49, 8:21, 7:32, 7:45, 7:54, 7:42.

In the park (I think?)

In the park – all smiles

Final stretch! I told Erin S. that mile 22 was my beast to overcome. It’s where I really felt apart at Santa Rosa and started walking. She and one of the pacers both said we’d get through it, and I told the pacer that he better even if he had to tie a rope to me and pull me. Even though there are a few little climbs beginning in mile 22, I actually felt ok. I started mentally telling myself things like “only 36 minutes left, you can do this” (assuming I was running way slower than I was). We were quieter in these final miles, but still encouraged each other. Around mile 24, a police tried to stop us to get an emergency vehicle through. We stopped, briefly, it wasn’t ready to go so we decided to sprint through the intersection. Not a fun forced stop but I hope they reached the emergency safely. I had never dreamed I would be at this point in a marathon. I really thought I would slow down and end up closer to my previous marathon PR (3:42). (Despite how many times Leslie told me I was going to BQ this weekend! She knew better than I did!) Erin S. said something about how we were about to qualify for Boston but I didn’t believe her. It seemed so unreal. We cruised up to AT&T Park and I told myself it was only about 10 minutes left, I could do anything for 10 minutes. At some point we eeked a little ahead of the pacers (who BTW did a great job! They reminded us to keep our shoulders down and run by effort on the hills). I never really felt terrible in the race but in that last mile, I REALLY wanted to see that finish line. I started scanning the crowds around mile 25 for the hubs, but I feared that since I started early and was ending close to my unrealistic earliest finish time, he was going to miss me at the end (he was probably walking just by the finish as I crossed). And then there was the finish, I had been dragging a little but told Erin S. “let’s do this” and forced a little sprint to the end. Official finish time: 3:33:49 (age group: 13, gender: 63, overall: 560). This is a 9 minute PR. And a Boston Qualifier. On a course with nearly 1000 feet of climbing. What!?! And by the way, running a full marathon and BQing is a fast way to secure a bond with someone, so a special awesome thanks and high-five to my BQ BFF, Erin S.!
Miles 22-26.2: 7:52, 8:03, 8:13, 7:55, 7:51 (last .2, or .5 if you’re my Garmin, was a 7:13 pace).

So close to the finish!

So close to the finish!

Done!!

Done!!

Post race excitement with amazing runners: Erin S. my BQ BFF, me, Erin G. (speedy and 3rd in her age group), Taryn who ran her 35th marathon by 35, and Sarah with a sweet new PR.

Post race excitement with amazing runners: Erin S. my BQ BFF, me, Erin G. speedy and 3rd in her age group, Taryn who ran her 35th marathon by 35, and Sarah with a sweet new PR. (photo cred: Erin G.)

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After the finish, I borrowed Erin S.’s phone to text the hubs and tell him I had finished… yep he just missed me. He was bummed he had missed me and I was too, but he had been there to support me and even if he didn’t see me at the end, that was still awesome. I didn’t hang out for long, I was smelly and sweaty and wanted a shower and a Coke. The hubs and I headed back to the hotel, with a stop for that Coke. They were still filming the movie but we were able to easily get to the hotel and I hopped in the shower. Soon we were heading home with a long pit stop for my traditional post-race In N Out feast (this time with 2 grilled cheese sandwiches, fries, and a strawberry shake). I was exhausted but soo happy! I spent the rest of the day responding to congrats texts (thanks friends!), checking in with the coach who totally provided the perfect training for this race, and hanging out in the compression boots.

Sweet celebratory gift from Leslie :)

Sweet celebratory gift from Leslie :)

Erin G. loves to call running goals unicorns (like, you know, the mascot for the Boston Marathon) and I had been chasing this unicorn since December 2012. It was one I that started to feel was unattainable and to have it happen in SF, with such amazing people around me (and virtually supporting me in Santa Cruz and my parents in So Cal), was the best way I could have ever caught this unicorn!