A Giant Run

There are always times during marathon training where I doubt myself and question why on earth I am doing it.  I have a hard time getting out the door and finding motivation is hard to come by. 

Since I am always very honest with my training on the blog I will confess that lately these moments have been more frequent and I really have been questioning whether I should run Portland or not.  I looked back at some old blog posts and realized I have been “in training” for a marathon consistently for over a year now.  I started last August for CIM, then went straight into Boston training, which went into Big Sur, and then into SFM.  I know I am facing a burnout, and I am just going through the motions trying to decide whether I want to push it for the next 6 weeks or just throw my hands up to the running gods and let them figure it out. 

I will figure it out soon but have been using my motivational tricks lately to help get myself out the door.  So when a friend of a friend of Chris’s had two bibs for the Giants Race half marathon he wasn’t using, I figured that would be a great way to get my long run in for the weekend.  I jumped on the bibs which also came with tickets to the Friday night game! 


Chris and I went and lasted almost half the game, which is pretty standard for us.  We watched the fog roll in, which made me happy and I hoped it would stick around until the race!  Even though we left early, we still didn’t get home until after 10 and I was finally in bed around 11 with a 5am wake up call.

I had 17 miles on my training plan for the day, so I planned on running a couple before and a couple after.  In order to make sure this would happen, I parked about 2 miles away from the start line so it would force me to get in the extra miles.  I made it to my parking spot easily, and ran the 2 miles over to the start line.  There I ran into Naomi, Courtney and Audrey easily and then met up with Kristine (a new bay area blogging friend!) to give her my other extra bib.

Audrey, Naomi, Courtney and me

We all walked over the start line and I lined up with Courtney and Kristine.  They both were shooting for around a 2 hour half, so I said that sounded good to me!  Sometimes it’s hard to run with people for an entire race, just because of logistics, but I knew I would love company so I wanted to do my best to stay with these girls for as much of the race as I could.

The course is a long out and back that starts near AT&T park, goes along the Embarcadero, takes you up and over Fort Mason (the one hill on the course), into Crissy Field and back to finish in the Giants stadium.  The weather was cloudy and cool, although a little humidity and muggy at the beginning.  We all settled into a pace very naturally and just kept on talking the entire time!  Before I knew it we were turning around heading back to the stadium. 

Our splits stayed pretty amazingly consistent the whole time, with a couple miles here and there that were up and down.  Once we got to mile 10 we all knew that if we held the same pace we would come in under 2 hours and both of the girls really wanted that.  Courtney was pushing hard the last couple miles, wow that girl has some mental (and physical) strength!  Kristine and I cheered her on and with just over a mile to go, the end of the 5k converged on our course, which turned the rest of race into a weaving session.  I was treating it like a game, finding the holes to go through, but I know it was really frustrating.

Pretty soon we were right near the stadium and we made a right hand turn to go in and finish on the field!  I LOVE on field finishes and always get goosebumps.  We were clearly going to under 2 hours but once we were 20 feet from the finish line there was a traffic jam and you could NOT cross.  It was very, very frustrating. 

The mess of a finish line

Our watches said 1:58:XX (I didn’t wear a chip) which was perfect.  It was a minute off a PR for Courtney and a HUGE PR for Kristine!  I had such a blast running with these girls.  Seriously, it just made my day.

Courtney, Kristine, and me

We were faced with even more crowds and lines getting our medal, shirt and bobble head AND just getting out of the stadium in general.  I really loved the race, the course, and the swag, but they really need to do something about the finish line and the post race lines.

Get me out of here!

Finally once I was out, I ran the 2 miles back to my car for 17 total for the day!  I was so happy with this run and just really enjoyed every step out there today.  I can always count on a run with friends, in a change of scenery to boost my spirit and that definitely happened today.  I feel so much better and know I am going to be just fine.

17.05 miles/2:33:34/9:00 avg pace


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22 Responses to A Giant Run

  1. wymberley August 27, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    Being on the field must have been amazing! Fantastic work.

  2. Courtney August 27, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    Yay!! Aron I had sooooo much fun with you! Having company made the race a bajillion times more fun and it went by so much faster! thanks so much for sticking with me when I started passing out, never would have pushed through if you weren’t there. And I promise I won’t sell your bobblehead on eBay before I see you next :) enjoy the rest of your weekend and your week off!

  3. Turi August 27, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    Wow – big races can be cool, but those lines and the amount of people kind of make me shudder. Great race and report!

  4. alisa August 27, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    Wait what? You went to the game on Friday and only lasted half the game! Oh man that’s sacrilege. =) I love the giants, you’re so lucky to be so close. I would be there all the time.

    So cool that you could run on the field! Awesome.

    Even if I wasn’t injured I don’t think I can mentally handle more than one big race in a year. I did three marathons in a year once and it was too much for me.I think you’re perfectly okay to question Portland. We all need a mental and physical break. In my opinion, it’d be a reevaluation of priorities…run Portland for fun and to run it without extra pressure or skip it and wait for the next race that you’d actually want to race. At least those are the questions I’d be asking myself.

  5. Kristen (inspiredbydooce) August 27, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    Being training for a year is rough. I don’t blame you at all for being a little burned out! Nice work on getting your 17 miles done today.
    Good luck getting your groove back…

  6. Kimra August 27, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    Just looking at that picture inside the stadium after the finish gives me the shakes all over again! I ran this half too, and the crowd at the actual finish line had cleared up by the time I crossed, but after that it was just walls of people (and strollers!) forever. Sounds like you three managed to have a blast despite it all, though — awesome!

  7. Marlene August 27, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    Aww, as you know I can relate to to how you’ve been feeling lately. Glad you had a great race/long run to get that mojo back! Worked for me too. :) Even though I have a bad case of tri fever!!!!!!!!

  8. The Blonde August 27, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    Hang in there! Portland is SO worth it! ;)

    I ran 16 today and it felt great! Keep up the good work!

  9. Lauren @ LaurenRuns August 27, 2011 at 7:00 pm #

    Hang in there! I’ve been struggling with similar feelings of possible burnout as well. Everyone is different, but I’ve found that by cutting out a few runs here & there that I’ve been able to get a handle on the feelings I’ve been having (stressed about running, a chore rather than a choice), and without too much noticeable impact to my actual running.

    Following my marathon on 9/18, I think I’m going to hold off on any major training until at least next spring/fall. Maybe focus some more on speed at the 10K distance…

  10. Page August 27, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    It looks like it turned out to be a great run. Hang in there with Portland…you’re so close! Then take some good R&R time.

  11. Kelly August 28, 2011 at 5:12 am #

    Nice race and running, Aron! Sometimes great experiences like that help re-motivate me whenI’m feeling down or burnt out. I can imagine how marathon training for a year straight has taken a lot out of you though. I think you’ll figure it out, and either way whatever you do will be what’s best for you. Good luck, lady!

  12. Christine August 28, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    What a great idea to park 2 miles away! I always have a hard tome to get my after race miles in, this is a perfect way to make sure!!! Thanks :)

  13. Rosa - Fitness, Food, Fulfilled August 28, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    Feeling burnt out is no fun. Your training schedule for the last year sounds absolutely brutal and no wonder you’re feeling like you do. But either choice you make is totally reasonable and right for you.

    The Giants Race sounds like so much fun. I live in the South Bay and hope I can do it next year. So cool!

  14. Sesa August 28, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    I aimed for my first sub-2:00 half yesterday too, and oh man. I would have CRIED if I’d run into that finish. I wonder what led to that holdup. Were people just not leaving the finisher chute? Or did 95 percent of the runners for that race aim for a sub-2:00? Bizarre.

    I know what you mean by burnout. One of my goals is to run a race every month. It’s become a little stressful, because my body needs a bit of recovery time after a longer race. I did yesterday’s Summer Breeze half a month after San Francisco, and it took a while for my legs to return to training mode. I honestly didn’t know if I would PR yesterday, but fortunately my legs snapped back during tapering.

    Congrats on your race and 17-miler! 9:00 is my goal pace for CIM, which will be my first marathon. Your posts are so inspiring.

  15. RoseRunner August 28, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    whoa, that crowd issue at the end is a huge problem. When I finished, it was fairly sparse — a few halfers, and a few straggling 10kers (I’m allowed to call a 90 minute 10ker a straggler, right?)

    Thanks again for the opportunity through your giveaway. I had a great time, it was a sweet surprise and probably the best giveaway a blog has every had. I’m trying to get in contact with Eric because there is an issue with my bib (basically, there is no record of me at all because I had to order someone to just GIVE me a bib at 7:59a.m. since no one could find proof I was signed up). If you know of a good way to get a hold of him besides e-mail, let me know…

  16. Michelle August 28, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    One day I hope to be fast enough to keep up with you and Courtney. You two are so inspiring!

  17. PavementRunner August 29, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    Great recap. Many people I talked to expressed similar frustrations. The swag pretty much carries the excitement. Crowded finish, terrible parking, lack of medals… it can be pretty frustrating. Glad you had fun! There was actually an opportunity to take a photo with the WS trophey, not many people knew (or saw) that.

  18. Nelly August 29, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    Sounds like the Giant Race went well except for the finish line traffic jam! Sometime I need to do that race, hopefully next year I’ll be able to do it.

    Just in following your blog, I got a sense the past couple weeks that your heart wasn’t completely into doing Portland marathon training. I could just feel it through the computer screen. It doesn’t surprise me that you may need a break from marathon training. For now I would simply ditch your entire training schedule, and just how far and how much you want to with no agenda. Who knows, maybe doing this will revitalize your love for running and you may end up doing Portland anyways.

    Unless you are running for a team or something, running needs to be fun and something that you look forward to doing, if it feels like a job then it’s time for a breather.

  19. Audrey August 30, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    You are so quick with the race reports!!! (I know, I’ve said that a billion times)

    I’m so glad I got to run it… sure the post race was a big ole mess, but I consider the Giant Race more of a fun run :P I mean, bobbleheads??? Awesome!!!

  20. Naomi August 30, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

    So glad you got to run this race and that I got to see you on Saturday! Great job as always!

  21. Rachel August 30, 2011 at 10:20 pm #

    i’m pretty sure i saw you there before the race! next time i need to just say hello! i agree with you on the organization (or lack thereof), hopefully that’s something they work on for next year. glad you had a fun run with friends!

  22. Denise August 31, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    catching up on blogs now…sorry to read you’re in a rough spot. you’ll pull through, just take the time you need. and no matter what you decide, it’s your decision and there’s no harm in sitting one out. feel better!

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