BUT! I set a PR! Still not quite at my goal of 30 minutes, but at 30:25 I'm getting quite close.
Plus, boyziggy ran with me, his first road race ever, and did quite well considering he had almost zero training.
The real reason I signed up for this race despite the problems is that I wanted to meet one of my athletic idols, Dean Karnazes. I've been fascinated with Dean ever since reading his book, Ultramarathon Man, which described feats including the 135 mile Badwater Ultramarathon from Death Valley to Mount Whitney in the middle of summer, and, on the other temperature extreme, a marathon to the South Pole. Dean's not amongst the fastest of the ultrarunning (distances beyond marathon length, 26.2 miles) elite, but he is one of the most well-known. Many of his races are for charity, such as the 199-mile Relay for Life which he ran by himself over three days and two nights with no sleep, and his run across America from LA to NY in 75 days. So I don't begrudge him his fame or the fact that he is now able to make a living from running (he was still working a conventional day job at the time he did the 199 mile relay, and went back to work the following morning).
In any case, what impressed me about Dean was not only his amazing endurance but his attitude; he seemed to be a warm and caring person, who felt that "somewhere along the line we seem to have confused comfort with happiness" as one reason to pursue more and more difficult physical objectives. So when I learned that he would be speaking at the SF Marathon Expo, the chance to meet him in person convinced me to sign up for the 5K (though I technically didn't need to as the Expo was open to the public). I was pleased to see that he was just as warm and friendly in person as I'd hoped, despite being a self-proclaimed introvert. I bought a copy of his first book for him to sign, as I had only listened to the audio version, and he was donating all proceeds from the Expo sales to charity. We chatted briefly, and Ziggy took photos.
I'm not normally someone to go gaga over celebrity encounters, but I did get a bit of a thrill when Dean unexpectedly put both arms around me. I asked Ziggy to take a full-body shot to make sure to show off his absolutely ripped legs! (Or what's visible of them beneath the loud shorts anyway; he's also an avid surfer and windsurfer.)
Dean's next goal is to run a marathon in every country on Earth in a year's time, which is part of why I made sure to come see him now; the San Francisco Marathon isn't on his list. I asked him about that during his talk, and he said he's doing the New York City Marathon, one of his favorites, so not much of a surprise. I don't expect to run NYC or any other marathon any time soon, but Dean does help inspire me to push my limits.