2007th Ain’t Too Bad

I’ve never thought I would be proud to say that I am the 2007th best at something. But, after finishing the 2008 San Francisco Marathon in 2007th overall place, I feel pretty damn good. At the time of making the decision to the run in the marathon with my two friends, my main goal was to finish. After running consistently for a few months, my goal shifted to finishing in under 5 hours and after running for four months, I had set my sights on beating Oprah’s personal best marathon time (4:29:20). I’m proud to say that I accomplished all of these goals and then some. When it was all said and done, I crossed the line in 4:24:08.It all began at 4am with my obnoxious alarm clock. Had I known that I would have to wake up so early to run the marathon, I probably wouldn’t have signed up. It’s not that easy to get out of bed when it is still dark out and you know you are about to run 26 miles. I managed to get out of bed, get dressed, eat a quiche, drink a cup or coffee, and tried to poop (didn’t happen). The not pooping before the race kind of scared me because I didn’t want to get hit somewhere along the route with a dodgy belly. Luckily, my belly held up throughout.

Seth and Rowan picked me up and we drove down to the Embarcadero. The closer to downtown, the more people we saw streaming out of hotels down to the Starting Line. After parking and ditching our excess clothes in the car, I started the feel to the adrenaline work its way through my body. I got a little bounce in my step and was actually looking forward to the start. We passed one middle aged guy, pretty plump, wearing a coke bottle glasses, and not too athletic looking walking in the wrong direction, who asked if we knew where the start of the second half marathon was. Ummm, shouldn’t you figure that out before 5am the day of the race?

We got down to the Embarcadero just in time to see the first wave of elite runners take off. They run fast. I am definitely not an elite runner. Making our way to the staging area of the Wave 4 runners, I could see just how diverse a group of marathon runners are. Granted that the half marathon was starting as well, but I was still very impressed with the eclectic group of people running, which pretty much represented all ages, colors, shapes, and sizes. I’m now pretty much convinced that anyone can run a marathon or half marathon.

Corralled in our little Wave 4 area, the sun was starting to come up over the east bay hills, they sky over the bay turned a metallic grey-blue, and the annoying P.A. announcer implored all the racers to ‘have a look at the beautiful Oakland Bridge behind us.’ (Note to race organizers: Next year get an announcer who actually knows the names of major San Francisco landmarks. I’m not complaining, but this guy just sounded dumb.) There was a little count down for our group and then we crossed the Start Line buoyed by with inspirational sounds of Takin’ Care of Business by Bachman-Turner Overdrive. One of the most over used, but unheralded songs our time.

The first part of the run along the Embarcadero and across the Golden Gate Bridge was pretty mellow, but cold. At this point, running 8 miles is no big deal. Getting out in to park into the park was nice as well because your legs weren’t hurting too much and it was a bit warmer. It’s also always nice to run in GG park. Just after the halfway point, I saw my roommate who was manning one of the water tables with the SF Hashers. If you like to run and drink, I recommend checking out the local Hash House Harriers wherever you are in the world. I took a couple pulls off her Bloody Mary and chomped on the celery stalk. I figured the nutritional value of a Bloody Mary couldn’t hurt. And it didn’t.

Through the park I ran and then popped out on Haight Street. I got a laugh out of the mix of people out to cheer on the runners and the street urchins who had just been awoken from their Schlitz induced sleep in the gutter. The amusing run down Haight quickly led to a painful decent down Haight at Buena Vista Park. Running down a 2-block hill when your legs are dead tired is not fun. In fact, it’s painful. It sucks. I made it to the bottom of the hill with a very sore right ankle. But, I knew I had people waiting for me at about the 20-mile mark and I didn’t want to cruise up to them all gimpy. I popped a couple ibuprofens and kept on running.

Cruising down Duboce, I could see a familiar outline of a girl hanging out with the bikers who were manning the intersections. One of the coolest parts of the marathon was a local Harley motorcycle club was working the race. At every intersection there was Harley and a biker in full leathers. It’s always great to see a big burly dude with a handle-bar mustache, massive beer belly, and missing teeth cheering on marathon runners. My future girlfriend Ashley was there on the spot, passed me a Vitamin Water, and gave me the extra push I needed to keep on going.

Through the Dog Patch was kind of a bitch, but once I reached mile 22 and realized that I only had 4 mile left, it was easy street. Great tunes were flowing through my ipod and I just kept telling myself that 4 more miles was nothing. I could run four miles in my sleep. The last twenty minutes or so or the marathon was a joy. I couldn’t feel the pain in my ankles or knees anymore and I running at a pace that I usually run when only doing 5 or 6 miles. I couldn’t believe how I good I felt in the 25th mile of my run. Another runner ran past me and out of nowhere burst into three consecutive front flips then kept running. All the spectators cheered, I laughed, then cruised to the finish line.


6 Responses to “2007th Ain’t Too Bad”

  1. 1 Seth August 7, 2008 at 2:11 am

    Nice post. So stoked we don’t have to run anymore.

  2. 2 madeleinenguyen August 7, 2008 at 5:48 am


  3. 3 Teddy de Burca Jnr August 12, 2008 at 8:45 am

    I take it ALLLLL back — Teddy de Burca Jnr. eats humble pie with egg son his face…

    Beating Oprah must feel particularly satisfying.

  4. 4 Julian Wainwright September 4, 2008 at 4:19 am

    a little late here but….. EAT IT OPRAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

    congrats lil’ paiwing. you’ve earned a winter’s worth of hardcore vice.

  5. 5 James Burney December 7, 2008 at 11:51 am

    As running goes its clear from the content of your blog that you are on top of you game and your passionate about this sport. Thanks for sharing with me and giving me additional inspiration. I too am in the process of writing about my fav pastime and in this process I am aiming to give some honest reviews of products that are out there in the market, already used for the sport. Thanks James

  6. 6 San Francisco Marathon Blog April 28, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Nice job! I am running the SFM marathon this year and was looking for inspiration. You definitely supplied it!

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August 2008
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Miles I’ve Run Since Getting Roped Into Running the San Francisco Marathon on March 23, 2008:


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