Sunday, July 29, 2012

Race 23 San Francisco Half Marathon

Andrea, my youngest daughter and I did the San Francisco 2nd Half Marathon this morning.  This was her first half and this plan had been in pace for months.  We flew into town early in the week and have been on the go since our arrival: Giants game at AT&T Park, walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, a hike in Muir Woods, a tour of Berkeley,...  but last night we took it easy, carbo loaded on pasta, and got to bed early.

Besides the San Francisco Marathon being a marathon race, they also offer two different half marathons, 1st Half and 2nd Half.  We signed up for the 2nd Half.  This meant two things, we could sleep a little longer and Aaron (my son-in-law) had to drop us off at the half way point of the marathon, Golden Gate Park.  Aaron got us there with no problem about an hour before race time.  Now, this isn't a complaint, it's actually a wonderful thing, but incredibly odd for the summer of 2012 (think hot, hot, hot - everywhere), the temperature was 55 degrees!  So it was 'cold' and damp at Golden Gate Park as we waited to begin our race.  However, the great people of San Francisco who put on this race really thought ahead, they provided heaters!!!

Heaters for a Summer half marathon :)

I actually liked the cold :) and am dreading going back to the heat in a few days.

We were off.  The first six miles were in Golden Gate Park and it was shortly after we began when I noticed buffalo!  Yes, buffalo.

Buffalo in Golden Gate Park
It was a nice park.  It was rolling but no steep hills.  A number of bands played music as we passed by and motorcycle guys (big Harleys, big guys) provided traffic control.

As we left the park we entered The Haight and back to city streets, street cars, and such.  We stayed on Haight Street for quite a while and it was a very interesting place.

Haight Ashbury

downhill in the Haight

Going down these hills was the best.  Actually, come to think of it, I do not recall any significant inclines during this race.  I guess we were just lucky.  The course took us through the Mission district, Dogpatch, down to the water, passed AT&T Park (we passed quite a few people tail-gaiting in prep for the Giants/Dodgers games right after the race).

And right after that we went under the Bay Bridge for the finish.  Plenty of post race food & drink: oranges, bananas, cinnamon scones, Jamba Juice smoothies, yogurt, coconut water, water, beer,...  There was plenty for all.

Finished the race in 2:49.  It was a good race!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Walk Across the Golden Gate Bridge

Today's walk was an excellent walk.  I had the opportunity to walk across & back on the Golden Gate Bridge.  It was a fun walk, well worth it if you ever get the opportunity!

Golden Gate Bridge
Since Andrea (my daughter) and I will being doing the San Francisco Half Marathon this weekend, we needed to get a few miles in today as we wind down for the S.F. Half.  So the four of us, Mary, Aaron, Andrea, and I headed out for Golden Gate park this morning.  Since this is a vacation, we had the luxury of waiting until after the morning traffic rush.  Parking was a premium but we were able to find a spot near the Presidio and it was a short walk to get to the bridge.  Andrea told us its always windy & cold so we brought our layers and headed towards the bridge.

If you go, remember - layers...
We were all surprised on how many people were there, and this was a weekday.  There were people on bikes, many walkers, and a few runners.

Here we go...
It got a bit crowded every now and again.  The right side of the path was for people on foot going in either direction and the left side was for folks on bike - both directions.  So when all of those possibilities aligned, it was crowded.  Luckily for the most part it was not too bad.

It was 1.5 miles each way so this was a great 3 mile walk!

And probably a precursor for the S. F. Half this weekend, that is Andrea ahead of me on the backside of the bridge :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Missed Walk last night for All-Star Game

I figured I'd watch  a few innings, go for a walk and then catch the end of the 2012 MLB All-Star game.  Good plan - but it did not happen.  I just got too interested in the game especially after an NL lead 5-0 against Jason Verlander in the 1st inning.  Nobody saw that coming...

Wanted to see 40 year old Chipper Jones get in the game, 19 year MLB career, all with the Braves, unheard of these days.

Wanted to see the 19 & 20 year old phenoms get in the game - Bryce Harper & Mike Trout.  Chipper Jones has been in the Majors as long as Bryce Harper has been alive.

Wanted to see R.A. Dickey throw that incredible knuckle ball, (neat NPR piece on him), guy does not have a UCL (a ligament in this throwing arm) - lost 90% of his MLB signing bonus from the Texas Rangers because he was "damaged goods".

Wanted to see Jose Altuve, 5'5" 2B for Houston Astros get in the game.  Altuve was my son's teammate on the Greeneville Astros & Tri-City ValleyCats in 2009.  It was great to see him on the roster.

Jose and Dan in the dugout right after Dan's MILB pitching debut in Greeneville TN in the Appalachian League.

The National League won 8-0.  However, I missed the one at-bat that I really wanted to see - Altuve - the power went out for one second which caused my AT&T U-verse box to reboot which took longer than the at-bat.

Some days I miss just having to adjust the antenna to get a better signal...

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Early this morning I met up with the walking group over at the Alpharetta Greenway and did just over 5 miles with them.  It's always a nice walk with the group.  However, I wanted to do more so I did another 7 miles on my own afterwards.  It was during that 7 miles when thoughts of the song "Sukiyaki" came into my head.  Not sure why this song popped into my thoughts, but it did.  The song brings good memories for me.  It's from 1963, sung by Kyu Sakamoto, it's in Japanese, and it reached number one on the Billboard Pop Charts in the U.S.

Maybe my Mom liked this song and played it often, maybe it was on the (transistor!) radio a lot - after all it was number one.  Or maybe the long drive we had that summer of 1963 in our move from New Jersey to New Orleans caused us to hear it many times on the car radio?  Again, not sure why the song sticks out in my memory, but it does.

Tragically, Kyu Sakamoto was killed in the 1985 JAL123 airplane crash.  Thank you for this song Mr. Sakamoto.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Water for 60,000 at the Peachtree

The alarm went off at 3:30 AM, needed to leave the house by 4:00 so I could get a parking space with the other 24 volunteers for mile 1 aid station before the Atlanta PD started shutting down the roads for the annual 4th of July Peachtree Road Race.  Our job this morning was to have water ready for the 60,000 participants.  

I do a lot of races and I am ever so curious about the behind the scenes logistics, especially the big races - so I volunteered to see how things actually happen.  Following is what we did to provide water to the folks that did the 2012 Peachtree Road Race:

5:15 AM - Truck arrived with tables, barrels, liners, hoses, cups, cardboard, gloves,...

Moon over Atlanta on Peachtree Street

Set up tables, hook up the hoses (to the fire hydrant), line the barrels, and start filling them up with water:

Next divide up into teams of three or four and start filling and placing the cups on the tables:

Once you have one complete layer, put cardboard over it and repeat four more times  : )

And before you know it:

Behind the scenes and ready for business:

I did some calculations...

One layer on one table was about 7 cups by 23 cups =  ~161 cups

times 5 layers =  ~805 cups

times 25 tables =  ~20,125 cups

Oh yeah, did I mention there was a different volunteer team on the other side of the street with 25 tables?

So times 2  =  ~40,250 cups of water!!!

And the race started!

First the wheelchair athletes flew by us:

Next the elite women:

The winning time for the Women's 10K was 32:22!!

then the elite men:

The winning time for the Men's 10K was 27:37!!

and then the rest of the 60,000 people:

Many, many people came through.  Some folks drank the water, some filled their water bottles, I saw a few guys grab a cup of water and strategically position themselves in front of someone else only to throw the water over their shoulder at the (girls) behind them,  some wanted us to throw the water on them, and others simply emptied the cup of water on their head : )   It was fun watching all of this.  And yes, it does cause a mess...

Once the race was over, all of the front tables were already empty but the back tables still had water so the crew had a bit of fun taking care of this:

We broke everything down, loaded it all back into the truck, raked off the side walk, and the City of Atlanta handled the rest.

This was a fun morning!