A blog by runners. For runners.

If you're going, to San Francisco

Day before the race
Trains, planes and automobiles safely carried us through 8 hours of travelling to our hotel at the Hyatt Regency in the Embarcadero. The hotel was chosen by RunSFM as the race hotel for it's proximity to the race start. We had stayed there last year after our engagement in Napa so it was a no-brainer to book it.
We dropped the luggage in the room and made our way to the expo via Massimo cafe for some carbs in the form of a ham foccacia sandwich. The foccacia was fantastic but lunch cost just over 20 bucks for 2 people. Having seen the organization of the Shamrock Shuffle 8k in Chicago for 40,000 runners it was a little disappointing to see the expo for 16,000 runners where shirt pickup and bib pickup were in different venues and a strict order for collection. The result was lots of people asking questions.
The t-shirt looks really good – it's a technical T with breathing regions in the armpits. As Hal Higdon advised, I saved it for after the race to make sure no surprise chafing ocurred although there were plenty of runners who gladly donned the shirt. In the same hall as the t-shirt pickup we came across Dean Karnazes, author of Ultramarathon Man and race host, signing copies of his book and other items. Melissa got a picture of me with him and he signed my race number so I could look down for inspiration during the run. I'll provide a link to the photos from the weekend later.
In the line to meet Dean we started chatting to the guy in front of us, Oz Pearlman, who told us he expected a top 10 finish and that he was on his 9th marathon I believe. We later heard the medal ceremony from our hotel room that Oz won his age group (20-24) and finished in 2:41:38 – congratulations Oz!
After the expo we headed back to the hotel and ditched the energy beans, energy bars and other items and headed down to the hotel lobby for pasta at the Eclipse restaurant in the hotel. This wasn't the official pasta feed but an alternate put on by the hotel which seemed like better value than a food court feast at Pasta Paradiso. We were seated by a lone server and after 10 minutes a woman at a nearby table explained that they had waited 30 minutes for service and that the order was wrong. Not wanting any glitches in my preparation, we left and headed for Pasta Paradiso. The reason for the rush was that I wanted to eat early enough before my early bedtime to give me enough time to get a good nights sleep and optimal carb loading. This meant dinner at 6, bed at 8 and out of bed at 3.30am.
Pasta Paradiso was no better – we waited in line for about 20 minutes before hearing reports that they were out of the specials listed for the race so we left there and headed to North Beach for some reliable Italian food. We found Figaro – house of Gnocchi and had a thoroughly enjoyable dinner. I had read an article on the plane from Runner's World about avoiding bowel problems for long runs and adhered to the suggestions of avoiding dairy the day before.
After dinner we headed to the hotel and I set out all my equipment for the next morning, laying out the clothes, pinning my bib to the shirt, writing my name in big letters with a sharpee and prepping the iPod Sport Kit for action. The name on the shirt was a trick I learned watching the Chicago marathon last year where it was easier to pick someone to cheer from if they had their name on the shirt. I figured I would need all the encouragement I could get. At 9pm I finally fell asleep and 6 1/2 hours later I woke up for my first marathon. The next post will wrapup the race and the aftermath.