San Francisco 12 Hour - San Francisco CA
It was great weather for it with the sun shining down on the San Francisco Bay shortly after race start. I dialed into an 8:20/mile pace and tuned into the iPod, which I usually avoid when out on the trails. On each lap we ran west on Marina Boulevard to the edge of the lake, out towards the Golden Gate Bridge.
The wind was coming from the ocean the whole day at a good clip, so this stretch was tough each time. Turning right we ascended a small hill and then turned right again on a dirt path back to the start area.
It was nice to be able to stop at my bag after each lap, pick up water bottles, drop off excess clothing and grab snacks. After I finished my first water bottle a few laps in, I saw Keith Blom there, crewing for his wife. He kindly offered to refill my bottle for the next lap and kept it up for the whole race.
For the first hour or so, I just enjoyed the beautiful day: the views of the Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, the sailboats, the happy San Franciscans enjoying Indian summer.
But after about an hour the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walkathon started up _on the same course_. This was a bit shocking as the walkers of course didn't respect the cones that were set out for the runners.
After twenty miles the repetition and the half mile of asphalt bike path pounding removed the remainder of my enthusiasm about the race. I resolved to just stop after a full marathon, which was 26 laps since each lap was slightly more than a mile. If I had known that I was just going to do a marathon I might have done faster laps. But I wasn't going to set a PR regardless as there was just too much wind. As I got to the 26th lap, I realized I had less than 8 minutes to finish under 4 hours. So I kicked in a 7 minute lap to finish in 3:59:15.
So, it was probably a good 26 mile workout on a beautiful day. And I learned that lap courses are not for me.