The San Francisco Half Marathon 2014 on 27th July was not about one single day but it was the summary of the 3 months journey which I had with Team Asha. The advice, dos/don’t and most important ENJOY your first ever marathon were the words floating in front of my eyes.
It was 13.1 miles for which we practiced more than 100 miles. Weekend Long runs at beautiful trails (my favorite was sawyer camp and crissy fields), sweet weekday runs at baylands and real tracks on Tuesdays at Cubberley Field contributed towards reaching THE FINISH LINE on 27th July 🙂
Excitement began with The Race Expo and Bib Collection at Fort Mason on July 25th
A day before was full of butterflies in stomach. Missed the Team Asha Carbo Load but I made sure that I go to a fancy Italian restaurant and have a nice Alfredo pasta and not to forget the cheesecake. After the amazing meal I decided to sleep at 8pm which was just a dream as I ended watsapping with our Baylands group till 11.30pm. We were talking, laughing, joking and motivating each other to do our best tomorrow. Before sleeping I made sure that I take a pic with my shoes, Team Asha t-shirt, bib no etc. It’s a MANDATE 🙂
P.S The Baylands WhatsApp group is the most happening 🙂
THE RACE DAY
It all started with getting up at 3.45 am. I was more than organized this time with everything ready and it just took me 30 minutes to get going. I, Ritesh (dear husband), Happy (colleague and Asha runner) and his wife Mona carpooled and reached the Embarcadero around 5 am. Trust me the sight which I saw was so much motivating, positive and filled with energy that all the fear and anxiousness flew away. Now I was nothing but excited to run the race. Met my Team Asha buddies, did some stretching/warmup, took some cool pics and then we all dispersed towards our respective waves. Mine was wave 8 so I had the whole time in the world to enjoy amazing commentary which they were doing before starting every wave.
And finally I was standing at the start line facing the banner of San Francisco Marathon. I can’t express that feeling in words. A girl who never ran a race even in school was today attempting to run one of the finest/beautiful marathons in the world. I made sure to capture a selfie and post it on Facebook:) I was just on top of the world.
Race started. It was 6.30 am and pleasant. Generally it takes me 4 miles to warm up due to my calf tightening issue and it was same this time too. One thing was different this time, the pain was accompanied with the beautiful views of Embarcadero and Fisherman’s wharf which took precedent over the pain. Just around the 3rd mile fresh breeze came and guesses what it got?? The aroma of fresh croissants from the bakeries around 🙂
Now I was approaching Fort Mason and felt really comfortable climbing the hill, Thanks to Team Asha’s training at Crissy Fields and Rancho. And also the first water stops which was like icing on the cake. The downhill is always rosy but equally dangerous so I followed Chakri’s advise to take small and zig zag steps while enjoying the cold breeze of the bay.
As I came down the hill and started running towards Marina I saw some amazing cheer leaders. It brought a smile on my face. I also met Thillai my running buddy from Baylands, seeing her smiling was energizing. And here were the beautiful crissy fields. It was around 4.5 miles, I was done with my initial calf pain, was totally enjoying the race and the best part was the flashback of memories of Team Asha’s Crissy Field’s training session. This was one of the happiest phases of my run. Crossed east beach and remembered eating samosas and dipping our feet in the ocean. Now I could see the Golden Gate Bridge and also almost hiding Raghu who was taking Team Asha runners pics. It was a pleasant surprise. I took a break at the Gatorade station at around 5 miles before climbing the hill at Lincoln Blvd. Also has a nice laugh looking at the cheerleaders from My Fitness Pal and their funny posters.
Climbing the hill before Golden Gate Bridge was difficult. It actually drained me a bit. But as I reached the Fort Point, I saw Ritesh, Mona, Chakri and Balu. Just wore my smile back:) Felt like a celebrity as both Chakri and Ritesh were clicking me.
And now around mile 7, I was running on the most amazing Golden Gate Bridge. This was once in a lifetime experience. Every runner was looking so awesome, proud and happy. Many were sparing a moment and taking selfies. I was no different. I met most of my Team Asha buddies: Happy, Puja, Trishna, Shashvat, Prasad, Annanya and Sahana on the bridge. Made sure that around 9 miles I was done with all my pics It was just way too beautiful. The sun rays sparkling on the blue pacific ocean and the standing tall Golden Gate Bridge. I won’t say that running on the bridge was easy. It was exhausting. My savior was the water and GU station at vista point. While returning back I could run better. I also walked for ½ mile on the bridge, just wanted to enjoy the breathtaking views.
At the end of the loop, Deepa and Chakri were there to cheer and capture the candid shots of the runners. I also met Ritesh and Mona. Gave them a quick hug and was all set to finish my last 3.1 miles. I remember Ritesh saying that don’t worry about the pace..you are doing great The last miles were a roller coaster ride. Up and down and up and down. They were there to check your endurance. But again they were around the scenic views of Bakers Beach and Sea Cliff. I also met someone interesting and I owe my last 3.1 miles to her. Shahla, an art student from Afghanistan and Geneva who visits India regularly to restore monumental architecture. She was injured and was still running and I was like WOW.
We chatted about everything from Art, Ramzan, US Culture, Arrange Marriages in India to Chandni Chowk in those last 3 miles. Talking and running with her made my last 3 miles so easy and memorable.
And in no time, here I was walking at the 13 mile near the finish line and I heard Vineet from Team Asha cheering me up to run to the Finish Line. I bid goodbye to Shahla and ran towards the finish line and heard the words Anita Mokashi with Team Asha. I don’t think I can express those feelings in words but I just need to say THANK YOU TEAM ASHA.
I met Ritesh, Happy, Mona, Supreme and all my Team Asha buddies and captured some amazing moments. I really enjoyed my first race and now continuing with Team Asha for the 2nd season. My aim is to not run couple of marathons and make memories but is to make Running & Team Asha a part of my life:)
And to sum it up below are few good lines said by anonymous:
The thirst you feel in your throat and lungs will be gone minutes after the race is over. The pain in your legs within days, but the glory of your finish will last forever.”
Click here for more SF Marathon Pics.
Here is the sneak peak of all 2014 Marathons..
San Jose Rock N Roll Marathon 2014 Pics on below link:
Morgan Hill Marathon 2014 Pics on below link:
Berkeley Marathon 2014
Turkey Trot Marathon 2014
Bay to Breakers