2007 San Francisco Marathon

The bad news is that I did not qualify for Boston at the San Francisco Marathon. I was right on pace for the first half (1:34:51), but I didn’t have the energy to maintain. My best excuse was the nasty head cold I came down with last week (its remnants still linger), and that’s the story I’m sticking with. Next Boston attempt is Portland on October 7.

The good news was that I still managed a personal best of 3:21 on a totally brutal course, good enough for 202 out of over 4000. Not bad for a disappointment.

The race begins before dawn.

I’d like to say I really enjoyed the course, but I felt too wiped to really take it in. What was completely awesome was that Susi and Jeri biked the whole damn thing on some crappy rental bikes, lending their support for the entire race. How bad ass is that? They obviously rule, and Susi took all of these pictures.

Fog + drizzle + wind * 2 == Golden Gate Bridge

Energy was gone in Golden Gate Park, but course is lovely

This dude was excited to beat me to the line, but due to wave starts I had him by over two minutes. Ha!

Food at the finish was too crowded with 5k participants, but the finisher medal and tech-tee are nice

The entire trip to San Francisco with Flee, Shawn, and Jenni will need a separate post, but needless to say it was very nice having friendly faces present in support. Flee and Jenni did the 5k; maybe they’ll eventually catch the runner bug?

I’ll be back next year to get my revenge on Golden Gate Park and Haight.

2007 Grandfather Mountain Marathon

For my last long training run before a Boston qualifying attempt in San Francisco, I ran the Grandfather Mountain Marathon with fellow running idiot Paul Martino and 458 other crazy mountain goats. It was the beautiful and energizing training run I’ve ever done. I wasn’t running for time, but was very happy with my 3:32, which was good for 39th overall.

We stayed in the Appalachian State dorms, which are very nice as far as dorms go. There appears to have been a lot of money spent on campus recently, but even without all the new buildings the area is beautiful.

Paul wanted pre-race dinner at Cafe Portofino in downtown Boone, which had a number of decent vegetarian offerings. Excellent food, and the owners have their own running and cycling wall of fame.

The course isn’t hilly, it’s mountainous. I wanted a training run to make San Francisco look flat, however, and I got it. All of my Crowder’s Mountain training has left me very strong in this kind of terrain, so I didn’t have much trouble with the ups, and I loved every one of the downs.

The finish was around the track at the Highland Games. You can see the tents from the games at the top of the final hill. I would have thought the combination of the marathon finish with the Games was a cool idea, but the exhausted runners seemed to be more of an inconvenience to the vans and golf carts driven by Games-goers.

P1000099.jpgRecovery area was bare-bones, but friendly

P1000104.jpgPeanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a tradition at the recovery tent

I finished seventh in my age group, and with a more dedicated effort I may have a good shot at an award next year. Competition or not, it’s an awesome experience I hope to repeat for years to come.

Once, Ratatouille

Once is a beautiful, perfect little movie, filled with beautiful, perfect songs. I keep hearing it described as a musical, but that is silly talk. Music is entirely important to the movie, and that’s it. I have recently become a big fan of Glen Hansard’s work with The Frames (Set List and The Cost are both incredible), and now I’m nuts for this movie, too. If you’re lucky enough to find it showing where you live, go see it.

Ratatouille is no doubt the best thing I’ll see come out of Hollywood this year. I enjoyed seeing it in the theater, but I can’t wait to watch it again, in hi-def, at home. It’s a charming, likable story with a nice be-yourself-and-follow-your-dream message. Visually, it’s gorgeous. Gorgeous, I say. I dare any other animation studio to come anywhere close to this anytime soon. Don’t believe me?