Picking up from last time –
Even after a bunch of nervous nervousness, I successfully got to the start line – which was so well ran – super organized with 10 minutes between each corral.
(Also, they had inspirational messages cycling on a big screen such as something along the lines of, “You made it to the start. The hardest part’s over.”)
The waterfront, of course, was beautiful. It was nice to start there this year (instead of getting on a bus to the park for the 2nd half).
In the first mile, I overheard these guys talking about running all night and realized I was in the presence of one of the amazing ultramarathoners!
(There’s an option at this race to start at midnight at the finish line of the marathon, run to the start, then turn around and run with everybody else! How amazing is that?)
I ended up talking to a few ultramarathoners along the way. Before I talked to any actual humans doing it, and it was just kind of this idea out in the world, it seemed like this superhuman thing. But then when you talk to these people doing it, they normalize it so much.
When you read about it, it says there’s a time cutoff of 5 hours for the first marathon. That’s the part that scares me. I can’t even do one 5-hour marathon! But as the first half of an ultra? Eeesh.
Well, I came to learn that really you just have to finish the whole thing by the time the marathon’s done. And if that means the first part takes you 6 hours, that’s okay.
I also didn’t realize how hard it is to run that first marathon because apparently you’re following a map(!) and things aren’t all marked out as well as they are during the actual marathon. In my head, I figured you’re on the course you just follow it. But it sounds like it’s kind of easy to get lost… I get lost all the time everywhere (sometimes even when there is a course!). So that’s something to be aware of when I do the ultra!
Also, it was funny to hear about the difference in spectators – the drunk people cheering along at 2am vs the early risers out at 5am.
But enough about stories from the ultramarathoners (since after all, I’ll have my own when I do it :-)…But I do love having a general sense of some things ahead of time!).
Back to the race – I ran along the waterfront and it is crazy to me how semi-well I know San Francisco.
And this is where I’ll pick up next time.