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Just got back from San Francisco and some of the soreness and bitterness has worn off...some of it!<br><br><b>Disclaimer</b> - Clif Bar typically has their fastest pace grop at 3:10 which is what I normally pace. With a 2:53 PR, that's aggressive, but not crazy and I've done well so far (10 marathons paced, all but one under 3:10 and the one miss was only a 3:10:47 on a rough day). SF has apparently always had a 3 hour group and I got the 3:00 group. I felt confident - I was in awesome shape for Boston and ran 2:55 without much effort (felt like I was in 2:50 shape) so I thought it would be a good challenge and a great boost before I start my training for NYC. I'd heard the corse had some hills in the first half but the second was good to make up some time.<br><br>
We'd cooked up a strategy for backing each other up - a floater would be at the ~13 mile mark and wait for a thmbs up from me. If I was feeling good, he'd wait to see how the guy behind me was doing (who normally does 3:20 but had to move up to 3:10 - plus he's had bronchitis recently). Assuming he was good, the floater would zip over to the 16 mile mark and do the same thing. If I needed help, the floater would take over 3 hour group and I'd drift back to help the 3:10 guy and run in with him.<br><br>
Pre race - we had the opportunity to go to the Clif Bar offices and meet some folks (including the founder!) It was great to learn more about Clif - a fascinating company. Do yourself a favor and go to the website - great, wholesome natural products designed for both athletes and regular folks and a wonderful company working hard on environmental causes. I felt inspired after leaving Berkeley (and hungry - I snagged a lot of freebies so I was all set - Mojo bars = TASTY!!) My wife and older daughter made the trip as well and we did some sightseeing on Fri and Sat. I also worked the Expo Sat afternoon and then attended the team pasta dinner - I was tired and in bed like a good little pacer by about 9:00 or so. My legs felt really good in the mornng after several easy days of running and I was raring to go.<br><br>
While waiting in the corral, <b>moon</b> came over and practically mugged me and stole my balloons and 3:00 sign and then called the paparazzi over bny yelling "Look at me!! Look at me!!" It was pretty pathetic so I excused myself and let him have his moment. I was hoping for a good luck kiss or rubdown from <b>Maria</b> but she was apparently too shy - I saw the desire in her eyes though so perhaps next time I see her she will give in to the temptation. That girl clearly has willpower! I didn't get to <b>Cactus</b> before the race to wish him luck but I knew he'd do well.<br><br>
So off we go in the 1st wave at 5:30 in the morning - pretty dark! I didn't expect many people with me but I had a number of half marathoners with me so we were 20-25 strong. 1st mile waking up was slow (7:16 but no major concern - we had 25 more to make it up. The second mile was spot on 6:52 and we were in the groove. The weather was quite good for running - cool but not cold, kinda foggy and misty.<br><br>
Mile 3 contained the first hill - I'd heard it was short and steep. Steep it was - more so than I imagined. It was also a little longer than anticipated but not too bad. 7:07 for that mile. Mile 4 had the downhill fom that so we made up some time (6:40) and mile 5 was uneventful at 6:50.<br><br>
Miles 6 had an honest climb starting to head up to Golden Gate Bridge but I think the mile marker was off - we slowed down up the hill but not 7:32! 7 was run in 6:55 as I didn't want to let the leash out too far - I was also pacing the half marathoners and didnt want to be too far from 1:30 at the half (although I told them we'd be slow and I'd suggest t them when to start picking up the pace and how fast they needed to run to break 1:30). I missed the marker for #8 so 8&9 combined were 13:09 (6:35 avg!)- I think this made up for the long mile at #6 because it felt like we were still rolling in the 6:45-6:50 range on the bridge.<br><br>
We crossed the bridge and the wind was starting to pick up so I knew we were going to get tossed about a little when we got back on. At this poit I'm thinking "OK, the grade of the bridge isn't too bad, we can start knocking off a few seconds per mile and they won't feel it" - which we did but getting back on the bridge was uphill and kinda windy so I waited. Once we got to the crest on the bridge I picked it up little and it was fine - but the bridge wasn't fun like I'd hoped. Too foggy to enjoy the scenery,very slippery on the metal bridge joints, crowded because it was one lane in either direction and the walkers were on the bridge at that point (do not take this as an anti-walker rant - I gave a "Good job" to every one of them - it was just a tight course). Traffic was roaring past right next to us so i wasn't very pleasant on the bridge. Mile 10 was 6:53.<br><br>
Off the bridge there was a big climb which again was tougher/longer than expected and a long hard downhill. We had gone up to about 50 seconds slow and we chopped about 20 seconds in one mile on that hill. I was urging the half marathoners to get after it to break 90 minutes and some did. Again I ddn't see a mile marker or it was right at a water stop or something so 11 & 12 were 13:24 (6:42 avg). Mile 13 heading into GG Park was 6:52 and I'm starting to notice a trend - the hills are tougher than expected and I knewthe park had some climbs in it. The half marathoners peeled off and it was me and about 5-6 guys - a dude from Boston, a guy named Martin, Sven, an Australian (Jared, I think), a mute guy (he was on my shoulder for 20 miles and never said a word despite asking him some questions - I got some nods and that was it other than an "Excuse me" once!), and a French guy. We went through the half in 1:30:14 - right where I wanted to be. I'd given the Clif floater the tumbs up - I was working hard but felt really good and I figured I'd have 1-2 more chances to get help.<br><br>
The park was tough - lots of hills, never a flat section. Mile 14 was downhill and we ran 6:33. Despite the hills, I knew I had to start pushing these guys if we were going to build up a 60 seond cushion before 21/22 like I usually do. 6:48 for 15, 6:56 for 17. Somewhere in there I saw the 3:10 group coming the opposite direction and saw the floater leading the group. This meant I was on my own for the remainder of the race - I still felt good so I knew it would be tough but doable. My energy was good, no stomach issues, nothing. The group was hanging tough - I didn't start losing guys until 20 or so. 17 was run in 7:00, 18 in 6:46 on a painful downhill and 19 in 6:49. We were out of the park now on a gradual climb on Haight St. but when we hit downhills it was SHARP downhills and pretty painful. Somewhere around 20 I felt the first knot in my leg telling me I was in for some cramping at some point. I missed the 20 mile mark so 20 and 21 were 13:12 (6:36 avg). We now had the cushion I wanted - about 45 seconds with 5.2 to go. This is usually when I tell them "ONe more good mile and we can cruise" but it was me and Martin and the French guy whho spoke no English. Martin looked like he was floating (debut marathon too - he did awesome!). I told him to think about going aead and trying to break 2:59 so he started pulling away from me. 22 was run in 6:43 as I tried to get him to pick up is pace since he wqas clearly feeling good and I wanted to get this over with before the cramps hit me. 23 & 24 were 14:28 (7:14 avg) as the first hamstring cramp hit me at about 23.5 - there went my cushion! But despite stopping to stretch I was still on 3:00 pace and when I was able to run I was sailing - since I was now all alone I wanted to go as hard as I could to make my goal time so I was probably running 6:20-6:30 pace when I ran - problem was I had to keep stopping to stretch my hammys as they locked up over & over again. 25 was 9:39 and I knew I was cooked as I had to stop several times. 26 was 8:21 and my final time was 3:04:32 - a huge miss! However I saw a few of my guys afterwards and they thanked me - those that made their goal time said starting off on pace helped tremendously and those that did not make their time thanked me regardless. Since I was completely alone when it started to go south for me, I know I didn't screw up anyone's race - I ran the way I planned to right up till 23.5 and just couldn't finish it off.<br><br>
My downfall - other than the tough tough course - were the water stations. They were infrequent and very short, with Cytomax which I don't care for and very small plastic cups of water. I think I had about a mouthful of water the first 7-8 miles because they were so short unless you were in prime position or willing to stop, you ran past the water before you were able to get over to get some (unless you were OK with cutting a bunch of folks off). Had I brought my water belt I think I would have been fine - lesson learned. It was a very tough course and my hat's off to people who ran well there (fyi - Martin ran under 2:59 - I hate people like that!).<br><br>
Other than the disapointing race, I had an awesome time - this was the fist race the entire team was at so I had a great time catching up with everyone on the Clif Bar Pace team. Amazing runners, that group - just since Grandma's we had 2 people do ther first 50 milers, a Western States finisher, a new Ironman, a 100 mile finish, and one of them is completing a book! All in 6 weeks - makes me feel like a slacker!<br><br>
Marathon #62 in the books - next up is Air Force which now will be a way to regain confidence (I can smell a PR - an easy 2:50). I have 2 weeks to recover before I officially start NYC training and now I have a bad taste in my mouth and some major motivation!
 

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Mojo bars ROCK my world!! Is there a drooling smiley??<br><br>
Great race and way to persevere! Use that disappointment to fuel your training for NY! (A disclaimer -- no one I know other than you would be disappointed by a 3:04!) <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 

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I don't know who is more entertaining: PacerChris or PoserChris. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"> Great race report!
 

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Im thinking <b>PoserChris <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"></b><br><br>
JUst bustin your balls a bit <b>Pacer!</b> Great job and way to perservere! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/notworthy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="notworthy">
 

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Well, as newly crowned attention-grabbing media whore, let me say in all seriousness you did a great job, <b>Chris</b>, and as usual you write up a super-entertaining race report.<br><br>
This was a pretty good test in a time that's above where you normally pace, and you still got the job done for the folks who ran with you. And like <b>Theia</b> said, you're one of the few people I know where a 3:05 would be a big disappointment.<br><br>
NYC better watch out - I think its gonna' see one heck of a motivated <b>Pacer</b> burn up the streets in a few months <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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Way to go <b>Pacer</b>!!! As you know, not every race is going to be a walk in the park. Remember: <i>"It's supposed to be hard. The hard is what makes it great."</i><br><br>
I got to tell you Chris. When I found the group of at CR and read your race reports about how effortlessly you could run 7:15 miles for a whole race and talk and laugh and cut up with the others in the group, I thought to myself, "Why can't I do that?" Meaning that I think I can train myself to get there.<br><br>
So after a marathon debut this year @ 3:52, I really don't think a BQ 3:15 is unattainable. I know I won't get there super quick. But we'll see what kind of times I can put up in my fall marathon.<br><br>
Just wanted to let you know that you're one of the inspirational guys that makes the fast times seem acheivable.<br><br>
Thanks,<br>
Tim
 

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Crikey <b>Tim,</b> now his head is gonna get all swelled up and the rain water might drown him with his nore that far in the air <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/notworthy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="notworthy">
 

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You know, just trying to do my part to keep <b>PC</b> from crying himself to sleep every night this week because of a 3:04. I was wondering if he'll be called back to Cliff HQ later this week and told to pack up his sh!t and get out. No more free Clif Shots or bars. Back to just running marathons in the pack like the rest of us. [Think Owen Wilson in Wedding Crashers when he was depressed and forced to crash a few weddings solo.] <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy">
 

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Now who's callin who a wussy? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"><br><br>
Nice run on a tough course. I've been in SF a few times and the only flat part I remember was in my hotel room.
 

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I know you are disappointed - not being able to power the group into the chute - But you gave them everything you had and got them deep into the race on pace.<br><br>
Although I do kindof take a 3:10 for granted - I do not take a 3:00 for granted - those 24 seconds per mile are a huge difference. Its not that you can not do it - its just the margin for error is thinner.<br><br>
Running sub 2:50 this fall will be a lot of fun <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"><br><br>
Wow - 62 marathons - I doubt I will ever hit 50 - Keep up the hard work and pace on
 

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<b>Pacer</b> I cannot begin to imagine how you maintain your spirit. It was lovely meeting you in Duluth, and I can say you really are inspirational.
 

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Great job Chris!!! Keep working hard and maybe you'll earn that good luck smooch in NYC <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy">
 

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Great report on a tough day.<br><br>
The report I am dying to read is the one following the your ass kicking of Lance in NYC...that day will be even sweeter knowing you had a day like this in SF. Mr Armstrong best get ready for a beatdown to delivered by one Mr Pacer....
 

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I reckon that would get his heart rate up <i>way</i> too high and he'll never be able to keep his pace!<br><br>
Another good race, another great report. It's very interesting to delve into the mind of the pacer and to see mile by mile how you guys manage a race. Thanks!
 
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