Saturday, July 13, 2013

RACE REPORT: San Francisco Half Mararthon #1 | Fulfilling Bucket List Item

When I began my running career in 2010, I made a list of Bucket List races/locations.

#1 - San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

I had the opportunity to run the GGB in 2012, but I was traveling with runner pal, Angela and she didn't want to run across the bridge. Considering I didn't know the logistics of the event and we had one vehicle, I gave up running across the bridge and knew it would happen in 2013.

San Francisco Marathon has a Full Marathon and 2 Half Marathon courses.  

  • #1 Half - goes across the GGB
  • #2 Half - goes through the city of SF
  • Full - both #1 Half and #2 Half

This was a special race for me.  My friend, Tony Nguyen was celebrating his 100th Full Marathon.  I purchased a race bib to honor his special day.

In addition to Tony's 100th, Angela would be running across the bridge.  Yes, the same Angela who did not want to run across the bridge in 2012.  To say I was nervous for her, was an understatement.  I offered to run with her (I know about anxieties), but her brother was running with her, so I felt better knowing she was not alone on that bridge.

I flew into SF on Friday night.  It took us over 12 hours to drive to SF, last year - I was not doing that again.  Went to the Expo on Saturday.   Rather underwhelming to say the least.  I wish more Expo's would have clinics and even social gatherings instead of a bunch of vendors trying to sell us stuff we don't need.    But, I am so tired of Expo's.  I just want my bib and whatever else and leave.  

As I was walking out, I was thinking about my friend and fellow Trooper, Marina White.  And then...there she was!  Right in front of me. Talk about a Divine meeting.

Marina White and Charlie Alewine

Then, I went onto dinner to meet friend and Trooper Council Member, Kitzzy Aviles and her fiance, JasonI had so much fun with them, it was one of the highlights of my trip. 

I headed back to the hotel and went to bed as early as I could. I had to be read to run at 5:30am, clear across town.

The next morning, I found a very convenient parking place that was free until 12noon.  I would be long done by then.  Half #1 and the Marathon started at Embarcadero, very close to Fisherman's Wharf.

That morning, I was not feeling it. Just a weird vibe around the race. Even though I should of been more excited to know I am fulfilling bucket list #1 - all I could think of, "let's get this over with and I can go home"  

Of course, seeing my racing buddies Emil and Mitch always brightens my day.

I started off at a real solid pace. I knew the SF hills would be a challenge.  I hit the first hill without hesitation and felt great.  The entire time I could see the GGB in the distance.

At Mile 4.5 there were some military style barracks off to the left. I remember thinking, "I wonder if that is where my grandfather lived when he came here".  My grand father was the first person in my family to arrive in America. He died before my Dad was born.  This was the place that my families American life began.

And then...I remember seeing a man-hole thingy....then....


I went down on the road.  Left knee and right elbow took the brunt of the impact.

I remember thinking, "oh no...I am not going to miss this chance to get over that bridge"  I sat in the middle of the road as many runners came by to check on me.  I looked at my knee and it was a bloody mess.  I knew it needed to be cleaned and checked out.  

Standing up...not too much fun, but not sheering pain.  I jogged to the next porta potty and thought "hand sanitizer on the knee".  None.

Within sight was the next aid station and I threw water on my knee, over and over.  Somehow, Mitch didn't see me and kept running so I ran to catch up with him and when he saw my goodness, he got so worried.  I assured him I could get to the medic area across the bridge.

I think I was running on adrenaline. 

Mitch took this picture of me. He knew how special this moment was to me.  He is such a good friend.


Then....Mr. Tony came ZOOMING by me...and didn't even see me. I laughed and screamed, "hello!  I got a bib to honor you and you can't say HI!"  He didn't recognize me, as he has not seen me since I had cut my hair.  He came running back and could see my knee as he was getting close.  He was not happy but again, I assured him I would be just fine.

We ran for a bit and he said, "there is your bridge...go have fun!"

Tony and I
For the first time in 80 races, I took out my phone to take a picture.  Well, I decided I wanted more, I wanted a video of running across the bridge.  So I did!  (see below). I wanted to have something to share with my family. 


The bridge was slippery, but I kept running...carefully.

Here is me before my knee got medical aid  I don't think anything at that point could stop me, but I was shaking.  I was shaking with happiness and scared I would tumble again.  

Made it to Vista Point and took about 10 minutes or more to get my legged fixed up.  They had a doozy of time getting the dirt out of the wound.

I am not one to post pictures of my wounds and bloody mess (or even disgusting blisters, toenails, etc, I think that is flat out disgusting and TMI.  But, here is my bandaged knee.  

Off I went...oh geez, my knee was stiff - but I was going back across the bridge and here is my selfy.

I desperately wanted to see Angela.  I wanted to know she was okay.  Of course, I didn't see her.  :(

More hills...and more hills. Knee is doing okay, considering.  Around Mile 11.5 I see Tony and we walked up a hill a bit.  There was no way I would hit a sub2, not after stopping twice for my injured knee.  It's okay...I loved the bridge. So worth it!

We finished at Golden Gate Park. I went from warm and good temps to freezing my butt off!  Good grief, I was shaking.


Finisher Medal, Half it All Challenge Medal, LA/SF Challenge Medal

As I got up from this picture, I noticed my knee looking a little swollen.


So, I waddled over to the Medics for some ice.

Medic was not happy.  They iced my knee and told me I had to go to ER, they were concerned I had fractured my knee.  Great.

Waiting and waiting on Angela to cross.  I couldn't wait any longer I had to go.  My knee was starting to really hurt and it was swelling pretty bad.

Bus took us back to the Starting Line and I got into the car and headed to the ER/Quick Care nearby.  After X-rays and examination, they said it was a slight, slight dislocation and heavily bruised bone. Boy, was I lucky!  They popped it back into place and I hobbled out.

I wanted to go home, but the flight would of cost me $400 to leave a day early.  I was not leaving until the next afternoon.

ER Dr told me I had to keep moving, but not too much.  Fluid was starting to build and the only way to keep it from getting worse was movement.  Great.

I went back to my hotel and I wanted to walk around, so I went to Fisherman's Wharf.  I got a taxi to take me up the ill to the Crooked Street and took pictures and video for my family.

It felt good to be alone for a bit. I love my runner friends, but I needed to not be around any of it that afternoon. Head back to the hotel and went to bed.

The next AM I headed to a local race by Tracy Crane.  Good to see buddies and meet new people. Here are the pictures:

From there, I FINALLY was going home.  I couldn't wait to get back to Vegas. This trip was just too long and it was not what I was anticipating.  I did enjoyed seeing and meeting several, but for the most part - the trip was not enjoyable as I hoped it would be.  Oh well. 

I am grateful I had the opportunity to run across GGB, but it is not on my radar for many years to come. 

My Finish Time:  2:11 - I was surprised considering the hills, the fall & medical attention.

Angela?  She had a great race and snockered her fear of running across bridges.  

And of course, congrats to Tony for achieving his 100th Full Marathon. Proud of you, buddy!

Bucket List #1 is done!

(c) C. Ragsdale 2010-13
Run F.A.B. & Boston Strong,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
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