Wanting to avoid the noisy planes of Fleet Week, I planned to leave the apartment by 6:30 a.m. Of course this did not happen and I didn't get to the Ferry Building start until after 8:30. Fortunately I figured I would still avoid the noise as, based on yesterday, the air races were not likely to start up before noon.
A cloudless, sunny day greeted me, which normally would be death for running but today I felt pretty good. I changed my run/walk intervals from 5/1 to 9/1 and felt much better; though I had less rest time, I kept up the momentum.
The crowds weren't too bad yet, but there were lots of booths, tents, speakers, and other equipment out in preparation for Fleet Week. About 45 minutes into my run I passed several long lines of porta-potties at the Marina. I decided to duck into one as I figured this was my only chance to maybe use a clean one, before the crowds arrived. Lost about four minutes of running time but it was worth it. Drinking tea before my long runs gets my digestive system going but does have its downsides.
I ran along Crissy Field and followed the signs to get to Fort Point. I was nervous about the lack of obvious pedestrian paths, and remembered that while for the actual race the roads would be closed off, I might not be able to find a safe navigable path now. I ended up getting rather lost, and the map I'd brought didn't show enough detail to help me. I swallowed a Clif Shot (the second of three I'd brought to energize me) and stood watching the cars zip by on Lincoln Blvd, pondering what to do. Eventually I decided to turn around now and head to SBC Park and back to the Ferry Building to get in the extra couple of miles I would be missing by not continuing on to Baker Beach as I'd planned.
Back at Crissy Field, two hours in and feeling pretty good. Since my time was already shot I decided to detour onto the dirt paths instead of staying on the main road. It was quite pleasant, and much better for my knees. Saw lots of interesting birds, and dozens and dozens of joggers, walkers and cyclists.
Approaching Fort Mason, huge video screens showed announcements about the afternoon's festivities. The speakers blared out music, which normally would have annoyed me but they played the song Learn to Fly by the Foo Fighters, which I had sung in my first rock band experience earlier this year, so I actually started singing along (badly, while panting).
Two and a half hours and the fatigue was now catching up with me. The crowds were getting worse and the sun was relentless. I reminded myself that after a very short jog up Hyde St. to North Point I had no more hills. It didn't matter. I was exhausted. But not sore, which was important. Any hint of actual injury and I wouldn't be pushing myself this hard. It's just not worth the risk of giving up running for months or years again.
Turning onto The Embarcadero I abandoned all plans of going to SBC Park and was just hoping I'd make it back to the Ferry Building without collapsing, especially as I had run out of water a couple miles ago. I wove in and out of the thick crowds of people, finally reaching my goal in 3 hours 10 minutes. I'd probably only gone 11 miles, but it didn't matter; I was absolutely, definitively done for the day. I'll pull off 13 in the race somehow.
I'm wondering how in the hell people manage to run full marathons. Some of these workouts are nearly killing me. But I have been sedentary for most of the last five years, so I shouldn't expect miracles.