Or at least we were for one day when Mister Jess and I (and Bug, too, by default) ran The Giant Race 5K.
Somehow, despite the fact that the city of San Francisco is obsessed with their baseball team, I’d never heard of this event. But when my darling friend Val mentioned on Facebook that she’d signed up for it, I looked it up, decided it would be the perfect inaugural post-baby race to run, and signed right up!
It’ll be such great motivation to train! I thought. I’m going to be SO READY to run! I told myself.
Fast forward to August 4th and yeah, I hadn’t trained at all. Whoops! Needless to say, I was a little nervous about running 3.1 miles when I hadn’t run even one mile in well over a year. Add on to that the fact that Mister Jess was determined to run the whole thing without stopping and I was getting a little dewy underneath my Scoot A Doot t-shirt.
We got to the start line in front of AT&T Park (where the Giants play, of course) about ten minutes to 11am when the race was expected to start. Knowing nothing about this race previously, I was wholly unprepared for just how many people were there.
There were thousands upon thousands of racers dressed up in orange and black, sporting Giants gear, ready to run on behalf of their beloved baseball team and Project Open Hand, a very worthy cause the race was raising money for. We ended up at the back of the crowd. The early bird gets the better spot and all that, which was fine by me due to the whole not training for the race thing. I was happy to start in the caboose.
Because there were so many people, it took us forever to get to the actual start line and once we officially began racing we were barely walking, never mind running.
This is easy! I thought. For about two minutes.
But then people started dispersing and spreading out and, you know, running. Mister Jess looked at me and said, “Ready?”
Apparently it was not a rhetorical question, so run we did.
The course went from AT&T Park down the Embarcadero toward Pier 39 and then looped back to finish at AT&T Park. It’s certainly one of the prettier courses I’ve run, although I think you’d be challenged to find a course in San Francisco that doesn’t have some kind of scenic eye candy. We ran along the bay, past the Bay Bridge and the various piers, bobbing and weaving through the crowd with our BOB and a straight passed out Bug.
I was already feeling pretty fatigued less than a mile in, but Mister Jess was a great running partner, encouraging me to keep running even if I needed to slow my pace. Despite the fact that he hadn’t trained for the race at all, he was running next to me like we were on a walk in the park. Annoying, but forgivable since he was keeping me motivated.
By the time we reached the halfway point, though, I was really feeling it and had to slow to a walk. Disappointing and probably completely in my head, but I was tired, sore and parched. We turned back toward AT&T Park and walked until I got my bearings and breath back. After a few minutes, I was ready to pick up the pace again. The natural competitor in me (buried deep down, but it’s there!) didn’t want my finish time to be too skewed.
It had been so long since I’d run a race that I completely forgot about the rush. You know the rush: when you’re less than a mile from the finish and you’ve got spectators cheering you on, saying things like, “you’re almost there!” The endorphins kick in and suddenly there’s that burst of energy and you’re like, “I’M ALMOST THERE!”
Add on to that the fact that we could hear cheers coming from AT&T Park where people were waiting to welcome us across the finish line and I had a renewed sense of what I like to call Hell Yeah.
If you ever want to cross a race finish line on the hallowed ground of a major league baseball field, then The Giant Race is for you. Mister Jess is a big sports buff, so when we got here:
He was pretty geeked out. And even though I barely know the difference between a touchdown and a home run, I have to admit that it was awesome running onto that field and seeing people cheering for us from the stands. It gave me a tiny taste of what it must be like for the Giants to play there. It was a truly unique experience that I wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere else, and definitely a race moment I will remember forever.
Another thing I’ll remember forever? Getting my first medal!
After we’d crossed the finish line, grabbed our medals, and took off our time chips, we went to hang out in the grass for a few minutes. Bug was less than impressed with his first experience with grass (pssh, city kid).
After soaking up the atmosphere we packed it up, packed it in, and left the park to feed our hungry bellies. I was nowhere close to PRing, but I finished the race and ran the majority of it, so I had to pat myself on the back for a job well done.
Overall, this was a very well organized, super fun race with a unique finish line experience. As soon as we were done, I turned to Mister Jess and said, “we’re doing this again next year.” If I can’t be a Giant all the time, at least I can every August!
What’s the most unique race course you’ve ever run? When did you get your first medal? Tell me about it in the comments!