Tuesday, October 23, 2007

San Francisco Report

What a weekend! It began on Thursday in Puyallup - we were in the midst of a windstorm, with trees down, power outages - though thankfully, not at our house - and pouring rain. We left town about 8:30, five of us and our stuff jammed into a Ford Escape. We decided to leave the car top box home, so we stopped by our house to have Eric take it off. Turns out we probably could have used it coming back, but I think the drive down went better with out it. We took turns driving down, with nasty, nasty weather. We had driving rain most of the way - the windshield wipers were on high the whole time. Through the mountains in Northern CA we ran into fog and had to drop our speed to about 30 mph. We finally drove out of the bad weather somewhere near Red Bluff, CA. We made many quick stops to gas up and get food. We pulled into Emily's parents around noon (I think). Her wonderful Mom, Martha, had home baked muffins and juice waiting, and we all took the opportunity to shower. Martha and a neighbor ferried us to the train station, for the last leg of our journey into San Francisco.

We were all a little tired when we got into town, but found more energy as soon as we stepped off the train and into town. We walked past Union Square and the expo on our way to the hotel. Our hotel was fabulous - two suites, one a bit larger than the other, roomy and beautiful. We dropped our luggage and went right back to the expo. I think we were all a bit disappointed in the expo - the ones we are used to have a variety of vendors and equipment available - this one was Nike only and no variety. We also couldn't find things like gels and fuel belts. The other thing was having to go over to the Nike Store for gear - it was so crowded they had bouncers to manage the door! The music in there was pounding, it was packed and hot. We gave up on that and went to dinner. Barb and Melissa made it in, and we decided to hop a cable car to Fisherman's Wharf. We met Laurice, our old Y Run Club buddy, there and sat for a while with them. Oh, I forgot to mention the side trip to Trader Joes for Two-buck Chuck. We rode the cable car back to the hotel, gathered in the room and enjoyed the wine. We finally made it to be about 10:30 that night.

We were up early the next morning to fit everything into our day. More shopping, a trip back to the Wharf, finding a running store for the stuff we couldn't get at the expo, then Margaret and I left the group to go meet some bloggers. We met Dori and Irene at a Starbucks - it was so amazing! I recognized Dori immediately and the conversation started up and kept flowing. A bit later Elizabeth joined us. Juls was fighting traffic and running late, so when Elizabeth had to head back to her post at the expo, Irene left to join her family for a while, and Dori, Margaret and I walked back to a wonderful market to pick up dinner stuff. Just as we finished there, we heard from Juls. We found her, Ryan and Cindy and stood on the sidewalk for a while visiting. When you tell people that you are going to meet bloggers - people you only know from the internet - you get really strange looks, and yet it is so wonderful. I felt like I already knew them - friends I hadn't seen in a while, but had kept up with. It was really great and one of the highlights of the weekend.

Back at the hotel again, we ate, sipped wine and relaxed. The next morning came early at 5:00 am. I was the cause of being up early, I need time to eat and get ready without feeling rushed. We were ready to slip out the door at 6:15. The streets around the start were jammed. We found our spot in the start area, chatted with runners around us and generally enjoyed the atmosphere. We handed our coats to Sonya and said our final good byes. We didn't hear the starting gun, but we did hear the cheers. 15 minutes later we crossed the starting mat. Jenny, Margaret, Melissa, Wendy and I started together and stayed together for the whole race. We resolved to have fun, not worry about time and enjoy.

We wound through the city and down to the bay, where we ran through the areas we had toured the day before. The route was absolutely jammed with runners, most from Team in Training - we were lost in a sea of purple. Everyone was in good spirits, the weather was perfect and the views stunning. We ran along the bay, up to the Presidio, with beautiful view of the bay and the city. We walked up some of the hills and did a 5 minute run/1 minute walk the rest of the time. I loved the part where we flew down a long, long hill with the ocean in front of us. The waves were breaking on the shore, it was all laid out for us to see and I felt fast as we ran and ran. Wendy left us as we entered the park - the half split off from the full. We made a bridge of our arms for her to run under as she turned off. The run through the park was pretty, the next section was along the ocean, though the berm kept us from seeing it. I started to feel the heat here. We ran past the zoo, then had a long and traffic-y run around a lake - it was really hot through here. I drained my pack and my soy milk supply along this section, and had to rely on water stops after that. As I began to deal with the heat, I had to shift us over to my old stand-by, the post-to-post method. Seems like it's been a while since I've run a marathon without finishing with that strategy. I continued to struggle with the heat till the end. It helped a lot when we got back to the ocean and had the breeze in our faces. We ran back along the same section we had run out, and I finally could see the finish area. It was exciting to run through, though I admit I was in too much of a daze to do anything more than take my blue Tiffany box. I don't really remember the firemen in Tuxedos, though I do recall one looking at me strangely. He probably thought I was about to collapse! Our finish time was 5:50:43. It's funny, even though I did this with no thoughts of a time goal, I still wish the time was better. I've got to get over that.

We met up with our half-marathon runners and Sonya, then caught a bus back to the hotel. We finished the day with dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, and just as we were leaving the building, ran into Laurice and Rebecca on the sidewalk. Another 20 minutes of visiting, then we headed back to the hotel for our final evening.

We left SF about 5:00 am yesterday morning. We had a good and uneventful ride most of the way home. Somewhere in northern Oregon, I began to feel sick. Soon I was feeling violently ill, shaking and nauseous. We crossed into WA, and pulled into a truck stop. I was feeling awful and could only sit with my head between my knees. Even with Sonya's down blanket around me I was shaking and sweating. I tried to get them to take me to a hotel and continue on, (which they wouldn't do), and finally felt so bad that they called an ambulance and Eric. They gave me anti-nausea medication on the ride and more at the hospital. They ran blood tests and decided it was probably a stomach virus or maybe food poisoning. Eric and I finally got home around 12:30 last night. I'm feeling fine today - just groggy from the medication and sleeping it off.

Except for the last few hours of the trip, it was a wonderful experience. I had so much fun with Margaret, Jenny, Sonya, Barb, Wendy, Emily and Melissa. I had a blast meeting Juls, Dori, Irene, Elizabeth and Cindy, and loved having some time with Laurice. I hope we get to do something like this again, though next time, I think I'll skip the 14 hour drive and fly!

27 comments:

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

Ohhhhhh.... You left out so much!!! I guess that is a good thing. We shouldn't share too much of our fun. It was an amazing trip, even the last bit. I'll get a chance to write soon, once I take a nap! It was a trip to remember!
Jenny

Annette said...

Sounds like such a fun trip - except for the getting sick part. What's in that California food, anyway? I agree, fly next time. 14 hours of driving is too long! (I'm not much for road trips.) Congrats on a good finish. I just have one request. I think you need to post a picture of what was inside that blue Tiffany box. :)

Sunshine said...

Ohhhhh...Thanks for writing what you did! Even including the rain.. the expo... the trip to emergency.. But also the wonderful time with all sorts of blogger and other friends...And the great race. Fun to read about your run past places we visited in SF last May on the way home from the Avenue of the Giants Marathon.
We heard, here, about the lights being turned out in SF the evening before the race. Did you have any comments about that?
Congratulations to you all. And glad you recovered well.

Randy said...

Sounds like a great run, especially with friends all the way...too bad you don't remember much about the hunky firemen..I've heard they are nice eye candy...but we don't want Eric jealous....LOL....

Sorry to hear that you got sick on the way back....but glad you are better...

Our local running club committed to doing some group things for some out of town marathons next year...I thought of you guys when it was being discussed...we definitely need that kind of comaraderie....

Thanks for another great report...I'm sure this is the Reader's Digest version...but that's ok...

Meghan said...

Goodness, you were so sick you required an ambulance! Poor girl! I'm happy, though, to hear that you had a good time before the sickness came on. Congrats on a fun weekend!

Wes said...

Yay! I wanna see what is in the box too :-) Great race! You had me worried there at the end. and I'm jealous you got to meet so many bloggers!! I guessed that since you were blogging you are recovering nicely. Phew!!! Recover well, recover strong!

robtherunner said...

Well, it sounded like fun up until the end. I hope you are feeling better now.

Joe said...

Wow, what at trip, what a report, Michelle!! I'm glad you girls had such a fun time. But I'm really, really sorry it ended so badly for you!! Wow!!! Hope it is only a passing food poisining thing...

The marathon sounds busy and full of folks...most in Purple TEAM shirts...wow. And isn't it funny that we Just Can't Let Go of wanting to go faster??!!

Glad you made it home safely...take care of that tummy.

runliarun said...

Oh, such a shame you felt sick at the end, it would have spoiled the whole experience for most people, I am so glad you could dismiss it as just another quirk of engaging in life.

It's funny, I would love to meat people I know from blogging, they are the ones who UNDERSTAND, but I would be mortified too, what if I fall short of what I am projecting?

I am always one to advocate that time does not count, although it sometimes smarts on the spot. You will remember the experience though, and the discreet parceling out into hours and minutes will lose any poignancy... in time.

Anne said...

It's been so interesting to read different renditions of the race and meetups, all like yours and emphasizing good times.

Anonymous said...

Whatever ya do, hope you don't blame the illness on the Two-Buck Chuck wine from Trader Joes! Seriously though, I'm impressed by yet another marathon under your "belt" (Fuel Belt???)!!! And knowing you, you will continue to analyze/research what might have contributed to that nastiness the day after so it hopefully doesn't happen again. San Fran is such a fun place! I lived there for about a year and loved running short distances in the area (although it was an expensive place to live for a student).
Linda

wendy said...

The only reason your time creeped up is b/c you were taking it easy with me up the hills in the first half! =) I really appreciate it, and although I'm certain that I'd have finished without the help, it would have been a lot harder for me. Anyways, regardless of time, you're world class in my book!

I'm agreeing w/ Jenny, you left out tons of stuff. That's actually probably a good thing though. ;-)

I'm glad you got to meet so many bloggers, and we'll have to plan another one of these trips soon. I like having a year of looking forward to a big event!

scott keeps running said...

yikes! hope you're okay now.

glad the trip was fun for the first 95%. :)

and we want to hear all the good stuff you left out that jenny mentioned.

Darrell said...

How could all of you together have anything but a great time. I wouldn't have guessed that the ride from WA to CA would be so long. I was sorry to read that it ended on such a down note but you are a survivor. Take it easy for a few days.

Jack said...

Now that was a scary trip home - glad you are feeling better!

E-Speed said...

So glad you had a good weekend! The back end of that course was hot!

Hope you are feeling better. Being sick while traveling is the worst!

Sarah said...

I'm sorry your trip ended like that! Hope you are feeling better. Otherwise sounds like a great adventure. I thought it was cute that you referred to SF as a town. : )

olga said...

Yikes on the bug! But a good run you had, and a fun trip.

Mama said...

I'm glad you are home and feeling better. Scary when you feel so bad and you aren't at home.

Talk to you soon.

Lorri

Nat said...

Well it sounds like a fun weekend except for the sickness... glad you're ok.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

glad you are feeling better now...sounds like an exhausting yet fun weekend!

JustRun said...

That sounds great, except for the sickie part! I'm with you on the long road trips... they really can get tiring!

Robb said...

What a great time eh. Glad to hear your back home after a wonderful trip. Hope your feeling better.

shawn said...

Michelle - glad you're okay. Better safe than sorry. Sounds like an exciting weekend even without the marathon finish - and good job on that. So this is the abridged version huh? What could have happened? I guess it's up to our imagination.

PNW Runner said...

Oh no Michelle, sorry to hear that. But sooo glad you're doing much better...that is very frightening.

Happy to learn about your fun time in SF though. I bet it was a blast. I luv that city, been there only twice...next time I'd love to run a race.

lizzie lee said...

Dear, what a wonderful and exciting post. I am so happy for your race, that I feel I wanted to be there. I love the ocean and there's nothing I would like to do more that a race by it.

I hope I also can meet bloggers any time soon. We understand the connection as we share throughout our training the experiences, fears, questions, concerns and achievements.

I am sorry you felt so bad in your way back, but thanks God, it was in the way BACK!! Can you imagine???

take care
sincere-lee
lizzie lee

Makita said...

I'm sorry to hear that you got sick on the way home but I'm glad that you were surrounded by friends. Glad to see that you are now feeling better.

Thank you, too, for all the wonderful words of advice re:toddlers. The piece re: the difference btwn boys and girls is very interesting! I had to print it for future reference. :)