The Perfect San Francisco Marathon

San Francisco is a charming city. The best time to be at San Francisco is early in the morning to see the city wake up. The marathon starts at 5:30AM in the morning. I started running around 6:00AM. It was a nice cool weather of about 54 Fahrenheit . I did not have to use my home-made non-organic jacket, the garbage bag. The first sign that breakfast was ready was around Mile 1. The aroma of fresh baked bread from Boudin made every runner around me gasp, as if we could breathe the calories into us!  

We ran through Crissy Field to the Golden Gate Bridge. This was the first real hill of the course. Rajeev and I decided to slow our pace slightly. It was a good idea to hold off a bit at this time. Once we were on the bridge, the course became very crowded. We had to run around many people, speed up at some places and slow down at others. With all this going on, it was easy to forget to look at the mile markers or worry about the hill. I missed all the mile markers on the bridge and I saw mile marker 10 after we came off the bridge. This turned out to be good because we did those 5 miles at a faster speed than what we had planned. After the bridge, there is another hill. I remember coming down from that hill the most, because that was a steep down hill and it was also my fastest mile of the entire course, Mile 11.

 I had lost Rajeev in the crowd on the bridge, he then caught up with me between mile 10 and 11. From that point, we got into good rhythm and breezed through the next 7 miles at a consistent pace. The first half marathon runners finished at mile 13 and the second half marathon had not started when we crossed, so the number of runners reduced after mile 13. At mile 18, Rajeev said that real marathon starts now. That was so true, this is where all the training and mental preparation really helps.

Rajeev had to slow down a bit to adjust his shoe laces around mile 19 and I was waiting for him to catch up again, as he did at the bridge, but that did not happen till the end of race. Mile 21 is another easy mile at the race. It is all down-hill and I got my second fastest mile after mile 11. At Mile 24 my body was all ready to give up, but I do not know what kept my legs moving. The next mile was the slowest mile of the race for me. After Mile 25, there is small jump to get on to the sidewalk along Embarcedero road, the last mile is mostly on concrete. The Bay Bridge acted as a homing beacon to the finish line and it was just awesome feeling to complete the marathon in my best ever time.

 The marathon was perfect in many aspects. I had very positive and encouraging training partners through this season. The weather on the day was good, it was a cool and cloudy through out the race, with not a hint of sun. The best of all, I had my running mentor pacing me and looking out for me through 18 toughest miles of the course. It is for days like this that I run. What a wonderful day!


Long run schedule for May

If you have been following my long run schedule to train for the San Francisco marathon 2008. Here is the schedule for the month of May.

 May 3rd  10 miles
 May 10th  12 miles
 May 17th  14 miles
 May 24th  10 miles
 May 31th 16 miles

 It is also a good idea to start doing some speed workouts at this time. Speed workouts help in the long runs by increasing the efficiency at which your muscles burn oxygen. The efficiency of the body to use oxygen is measured using VO2 max. You can use the McMillan’s running calculator to determine the optimal speed at which you can get the maximum benefit of a speed workout.

Update: Corrected the mileage for May 3rd.

Running schedule for San Francisco Marathon 2008

 I ran "almost" two marathons last year. The "almost" is for the Chicago marathon 2007 that was shut down after about 4 hours into the race. Here are the details.

This year I have registered to run the San Francisco marathon. This marathon is a nice one to run for its amazing views and people get to run across the famed Golden Gate Bridge. It is also not for the faint of heart because the course is a hilly course. If you are interested you can train with me. Here is the plan for the first four long runs. Join me, the training starts this weekend. If you are around the bay area you can join my training runs too.

 April 5th  4 miles
 April 12th  7 miles
 April 19th  8 miles
 April 26th  6 miles

Help me educate children

There are certain things in life that give me great pleasure. Among the top is intellectual stimulation. My job provides me with plenty of those. Another aspect that is almost as good is, when I help someone and see their eyes light up. You have to be physically close to the person that you are helping to see that. It could be any kind of help. Teaching someone the way something works; helping someone see a familiar situation in a new perspective; providing a helping hand to someone slipping down a hill. It is the same feeling, the feeling of doing good. It is the discovery of the exact value of your action to the receiver.

There is a problem with this, it is the problem of scale. The problem with enjoying the feeling of altruism is that it is not always possible to be physically close to the person that you want to help. so what do you do ? I try to find a organization that I can trust, a organization that has a similar goal. I have recently chosen a cause which has the greatest impact, the cause of educating children. Say what you will about people that are poor, but the children of the under-priviledged cannot go to school because they do not have a choice. They are on the path of withering away without even an opportunity to succeed. That is not right. I intend to fight to change it.

People have dedicated their life for a cause that they believe in, I am just running a marathon. I want to make a difference to these children’s lives. I want to see the light in their eyes. I want to visit the school at Pune to see the effect. If I do, I will provide a complete report, I promise. Join me in this cause and support my marathon. Let us make a child smile with gratitude. It will change their lives forever, guaranteed.