San Francisco Marathon 2011 Report

August 1st, 2011 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.”
– Victoria Holt

I completed the San Francisco Marathon yesterday; my fourth marathon so far.

Notice I said I “completed” the course, not that I “ran” the marathon.  It wasn’t a great day for me out there.

This is a pretty interesting course through as much of San Francisco as I, someone who has lived within an hour of the city for the nearly 31 years, would care to see.  There are hills, there is the Haight, there is running through Golden Gate Park.

And then there is the Golden Gate Bridge.  (This one is the only event that will shut
traffic lanes of the bridge to runners; we were on the actual road!)

But, all of that said, I still didn’t have a great time out there yesterday.

I spent a long time trying to figure out what was wrong with me as I ran (and walked!)—as you may know, marathons are about 90% mental.  (The months of physical training turns out to be the easy part.)

The hills make it a challenging course: you start flat, hit a little hill, go flat again, bigger hill, down the hill, flat for a bit, up onto and over the bridge (hill!), turn around, go back onto and over the bridge in the other direction (still a hill!), flat again, up a big hill, come partway down that, go up another hill, down that one, up a long slow hill, stay up there for a while, hit a big downhill, go up a little hill, and slowly peter back down to finish where we started.

Sounds fun, doesn’t it? 

My mental energy just wasn’t there yesterday, which in turn meant my physical energy wasn’t really there either.  For an event requiring focus and determination and a lot of self motivation, yesterday simply wasn’t my day.  There are a couple reasons for that; not to mention the fact that on Saturday I felt somewhat sick all day and was low at midnight (hadn’t been up to eating as much dinner as I thought) before getting up at 3am for the early SF start time.

So, I started the run at 6:10am and finished five hours later.  (My other times have been 4:30 or faster.)  I could have told you 20 minutes after starting my CGM on Saturday that my sensor would not be a friend to me on Sunday’s run, and it wasn’t: it kept telling me I was over 300 and I’d check and be slightly over 200.  I was low at midnight, so needed to make sure that didn’t happen again during the run.  I’ve always maintained it is easier for me to run high than run low, despite feeling my best out there between 90 and 160.

I ate some oatmeal at 4:00am and underbolused on purpose.  At 5:35am I was 264 but didn’t take a big correction as I was about to run and still had the oatmeal insulin on board.  Right before the start I was 222 and took just .05 units.

The gun went off, and we started.  I tried to start slowly (still need to work on that) and just enjoy the run.  There were so many people at the start I didn’t get a last glance at my husband, so that made me a bit sad to begin.  I had chosen purposefully slow music to keep my pace in check at the start.

At 7:30am I checked again and was 173.  Happy with that, I had some carbohydrates to keep me properly fueled for the bridge that I could see ahead of me.

At 8:10am, I took some insulin to help out with my 257 and ate again, per my usual.

Then at 8:50 I was 256.  Argh.  Let it go, corrected a smidge, and kept going.  An hour later, 282.  Clearly, this was not my event that day.

At 10:40 I ate again and took a little insulin to cover those carbs.  I could take more insulin as the finish line approached since I wouldn’t be running when the insulin peaked.

So why was I high the entire course?  My best guess is of course two different factors combined.  I think my 46 at midnight six hours earlier reared its glucagon head at some point during the course, although that should not have been a major deal.  The other thing I did was to lower my basal rate to only 25% of normal, like I normally do for hilly runs.

That would have been great, had I been running my normal speed.  But due to the few days before the run, I think I just didn’t have it to run my normal speed.

All in all, I’m glad I did it, and I’m glad it’s done.

My friend was at a water stop (why the ground is wet) and caught me actually SMILING as I ran!

And now I get to enjoy some weeks of zero or minimal running before I tackle my next run: the Giants race!  That one is a half marathon, thankfully, which should feel much easier since it’s, well, half the distance of yesterday’s course.

Love that.

Be Sociable, Share!


  1. Julius says:

    Now I know why you just completed the course. Only runners can relate to these ups and downs. One of my few marathons, everything was right until the start. I didnt feel good when the gun when off… samething not a good finish. Myself I have the mental part, but training for the distance is hard. I have learn how to push ones physical training. You saw me on the practice Double Dip. I looks the same after my marathons … dont look to good. ALL DRAIN OF ENERGY !! Go Amy !!! Just finishing you are a winner. Just another race in your back pocket. Lots of war stories that you can tell huh … take care now

  2. KG says:

    That is the BEST PICTURE YOU’VE EVER TAKEN running! If that’s not a win, I don’t know what is. Might have been a tough day, but you looked adorable :)

  3. Kerry Cracknell says:

    I can sympathise with “completed the course” too. Been there! WELL DONE for finishing. You’re amazing. I have only “run” one marathon and I didn’t have diabetes to contend with. You inspire me on a daily basis to keep my training up and do better. THANK YOU! And it’s a great pic – you look fabulous!

Leave a Reply