Monday, April 18, 2011

2 Days, 2 Races, 2 Coasts - The Presidio 10-Mile and Boston Marathon

I made the most of a 36-hour pass from daddyhood this weekend to race the Presidio 10-miler in San Francisco, CA, on Sunday morning, then hop a flight to run the Boston Marathon the next day. Phew! Awesome weather on both coasts made for a fun romp with friends new and old.

The Presidio 10-Miler
(Grand Marshall Nancy Hobbs gives us some tips)
The Presidio 10-Miler has been on my to-do list for years, beckoning me with its fast and hilly course along the San Francisco penninsula that mixes road, trail, and an out-and-back across the Golden Gate Bridge. It's put on by The Guardsmen, a fantastic volunteer group that raises money for youth programs, and has grown quickly over the last few years to host over 2,800 runners in the 10-mile and 10k distances. It was also the RRCA 10-Mile National Championship, which was bound to attract some fast club runners. Perfect!
(And we're off!)
The fog saturated the hilltops as we lined up for the 7am start, but the sun was already working its magic as we set off into the tree-lined streets of the Presidio National Park. San Anselmo's Jeffrey Peterson went out at a 5:20 min/mile pace, along with the San Francisco trio of Galen Burrell (son of Buzz), Jin Daikoku, and Curtis Olinger. This would be a tough course to break one hour given the stairs and trails, but they were determined to do it! I settled into 10th place, keeping a more conservative pace on the early climbs and zig-zags through the former military campus.

(Heading up into the hills)
(Circling past the barracks)
(Jeffrey Peterson flies through the fog)
 As we made a u-turn and headed towards the GG Bridge, the volunteers steered us onto the sandy trails and I had a chance to make up some ground on the loose footing and stairs that played to my trail running strengths. Behind me I could see that Petaluma's Sarah Hailis had a slight lead in the Womens race, keeping pace ahead of Sarah Bamberger and trail legend and grand marshall Nancy Hobbs. We all slowed a bit when we hit the bridge - it may look flat when you drive across it, but it's a tough little climb!
(All smiles on the downhill)
(Bryan Ellis and I work together over the bridge)
(Yup, that's a hill)
(Steep stairs to get under the bridge)

I got a great view of the Miwok 100k course, sending good karma to the runners who would be traipsing through those hills in just a few weeks. We instead headed down the stairs at the end of the bridge and quickly came back on the other side. Triathlete Bryan Ellis set a great pace for us up and over the bridge again, and I took the lead just in time to run against the tide of the 10k runners heading up their first climb. We had a couple of close calls with iPod-wearing runners deep in trance, but soon broke free to run along Crissy Field (mile 7.5). I had one more gear left, so I put my head down and laid down some 5:30 min/miles in hopes to catch the guy in front of me.

(Running along Crissy Field)
Crissy Field was gorgeous, and lined with happy dogs walking their people. I slowly pulled in the runner in front of me, but was going to need this to be an 11-mile course to pass him. Instead, I cruised into the finish in 1:00:54, good enough for 6th place and the Masters win (all results). Jeffrey Peterson crushed the win in 55:36, and Sarah Hailis cruised in a few minutes behind me to win the Womens division in 1:05:21. A fast day in SF!
(Winner Jeffrey and family)
(Picking up the Masters Award)
 I had pancakes and beer (thank you, Guardsmen!) and hung out with my brother-in-law and nieces to cheer on Mom (Jen) in the 10k. We braved the cold of the awards ceremony and I took a baby wipe shower before heading to SFO and onto Boston. One down, one to go!

2011 Boston Marathon
The weather looked ideal this year, with a cool start and a tailwind forecast for most of it. This was to be my 7th Boston, and like most years, I was hear to enjoy it, run with friends, drink a few beers, and not be too concerned about my time. I got six hours sleep, which may sound like a little, but since Baby Quinn wasn't there to wake up every 2-3 hours, I felt more rested than I had in weeks!

I texted Kristin Armstrong to meet up in the corrals, only to realize she didn't have her phone with her. Oops. How to find her in this see of lycra and running skirts?!? I kept an eye out for her, but when the 5-minute warning call came for the last wave, I had to figure out how to find them. Option 1 - Run at the front of the wave with my phone, and after the 10k split look up Kik's time for the 5k split and try and find her. Option 2 - start at the back of the pack, and slowly work my way up. Ugh...let's go with Option 1.
(The sea of Lycra!)

(Nobody in front of us!)
 When I showed up with #693 among an army of #10,000+, they put me right in front of Wave 3 (after some well-deserved hazing about not setting my alarm). When the gun went off, it was heaven! Certainly the first time I have run the streets of Hopkinton all alone, and it sure was nice not to be bumping elbows. I hung onto the police escort clocking 6 min/miles, and thought "hey, this might be a good way to ensure a PR...should I go fast?". That question was quickly answered at mile 4 when we caught up to the wall of people in Wave 2. Not so lucky!

(Elbow room, elbow room!)

(Getting their folk on)

(M75, going strong!)

(E. Bunny)
I checked Kik's finish time, and they were about 7 minutes behind (plus however much time it took for them to cross the start line). Just enough time to get a beer at The Chicken Bone and keep an eye out for them. After about 20 minutes of searching faces, however, I hadn't seen them so I started working my way forward through the crowd. They were on a 3:40 finish pace from what I could tell and most the people I asked were in the 4:30's.
(Juggling 26.2)

(Wellesley girls share the love)

(Hey, a German major!)

(Batman gettin' it done)

(Joe rocks his 26th Boston)

(Next time you bitch about the hills, think of this guy)

(Grabbing a beer at Heartbreak!)

(the full mask flag)

The pace was casual (much in thanks to that beer) and I smiled through the miles bathed in memories of Bostons past. I have a lot of history in this historic race, and each course monument seems like a page in a yearbook. It just gets better every year!

I got my kisses from the Wellesley Girls (mile 11), and met some great characters along the way. The miles went by quickly, and we were soon up and over Heartbreak Hill, past Boston College (where I got another beer), and in the home stretch. The folks around me said they were on 3:45-3:55 pace, so I kept an eye out for Kik and Paige. I finally saw them right at the finish line, just seconds ahead of my 3:50 finish. Ha! I had just missed them. That's okay - I was in time for post-race brews, despite the fact I was already buzzed.
(The Army helps along a bonking runner)


(Finally caught them! Paige Alam, Kristin Armstrong, me, and Jamie Allison)
(Post-race debrief over cocktails)
We had a few cocktails at the Four Seasons, gasping at the insane finish times for the front runners (Geoffrey Mutai ran a fastest ever 2:03:02, with seven runners coming under the previous course record, while Caroline Kilel held off Desiree Devila in 2:22:36). Soon enough I had back to the airport to get back to my family. Caitlin Smith was at the airport, telling me about her Olympic Trail qualifying time of 2:41, netting her a 22nd place Womens finish. Amazing!

Such a crazy weekend! I'm exhausted, but thrilled to have fit it all in.


  1. Cool, a joggler! (in reference to the guy juggling while running).

  2. Nice double and I see your photos this year are very similar to last year...with the beer and school girls :)

  3. Nice report. You have a typo on the time for the winner... "Geoffrey Mutai ran a fastest ever 3:03:02."

  4. Scott,
    Hey I've been following you for a couple of years now. I just got back from Boston yesterday (Tuesday). I would have loved to have a few beers and run a few miles with you. I finished a few minutes ahead of you at 3:46 and managed to stop at every other mile marker with my running partner and take photos. You inspired me to bring my camera and now I have a bunch of great photos of friends (new and old). What a great experience (this is my sixth Boston)and such great weather too. I too stopped at Wellsley for lotsa' kisses:-) Did you get a picture of santa?

  5. Wow! The photos at Presidio are so gorgeous & them. And the Boston...well that place just looks like a blast all around. Congrats on your 2 races in 2 days - that is AMAZING!

  6. Scott,
    I've been following your blog for a while now and just ran my first Boston this year. I love your race reports and photos. I want to thank you for mentioning the massages in the high school at the athlete's village in your previous race reports. I am so glad I got to sit inside. The wind was chilly and I would have wasted a lot of energy shivering (despite multiple layers of clothes) had I been outside. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Now on to Big Sur!

  7. how can a course be hilly and fast? hills sloooow me dooown.

    That, I would never be able to do, run one race and then another the next day. Sounds like fun but my body says no way.

  8. What a weekend, Scott! After checking the amazing performances of the top runners, I looked at your time and could tell that there must have been quite some "run pooling" for you again this Monday. Way to run a marathon backward... ;-)

    See you sometime in California...

    Farther Faster

  9. Will - Link me to your pictures! I did get one of Santa (and the cross-dresser just 200 yards before him) but neither were great photos.

    Thanks for catching the typo! That's what I get for boozing my way through a run. ;-)

    Sunita - I hope you enjoyed your first Boston! Yes, the indoor line for the massages were a life saver on this chilly morning. Glad you got the inside scoop.


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