Gold Story: SF Marathon Runner Says “Train Hard. Run Hard. Love Hard. Be Stronger Than Your Excuses.”
January 6, 2020 | “With my entire heart, and all the energy I had to give from the moment I stepped up to the starting line to when I crossed the finish line, I accomplished my only marathon goal of a sub 4 hour finish,” Michelle posted on Instagram after running the 2019 San Francisco Marathon.
It was only her third full marathon and the first time she had ever run the San Francisco Marathon. She ran it in 3:49:21, achieving her Gold Goal of running a marathon in under 4 hours.
But, coming into the race, she wasn’t sure she would actually be able to achieve that goal, or even run the race at all.
She had been training for the race for months before. In 2018, she had run the LA Marathon with a time of 4:29 and the year before that, she ran in San Diego at just under 5 hours. So, she had been building toward this goal that she set for herself over the last few years.
But then, six weeks before the San Francisco Marathon, Michelle injured her knee. She wasn’t sure she would be able to run the marathon at all.
“Going into this race I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, considering I had been resting my injured knee for 6 weeks. Although I was hopeful, I was expecting the worst,” Michelle wrote on Instagram.
But, she trusted in the training that she had done before she was injured, she took care of her knee, went to the doctor, did strength exercises, and she believed in herself and her body to run her best race.
Michelle had spent a lot of time preparing to achieve this goal of running a marathon in under 4 hours.
“It was a good year of me mentally prepping myself,” Michelle said. “Can I do this? If this is something I really want, how am I going to get there? I had to really think about what I know of my personality and my body and just trust that I could do this. It took a lot of mental prep before I even started training to feel like I could do this.”
Michelle feels like this mental preparation is what really got her across the finish line that day.
She said, “I actually went in with a very positive mindset and I think that was a huge advantage. So, when I started training I already felt good, happy, and positive about the race, and I think that helped the training. So when I did get injured, it was frustrating, but I knew I just had to trust the process and all the work I had already put in. I just had to trust that the training I did get in before my injury was going to get me across that finish line in the time I wanted, which luckily, I did!”
Michelle said that it wasn’t an easy race though. She describes her race experience on her Instagram post:
“While crossing the Golden Gate Bridge I felt fantastic with no knee pain, and I just knew I had to break out of my shell and run wild.
Golden Gate Park nearly broke me with the sun blaring down on us as I poured water on myself at every aid station moving forward. If it wasn’t for my friend Ella who found me at mile 19 and pushed us both to the finish, I probably would have given up. At mile 23 (my nemesis mile mark) I seriously started to question just how bad I wanted it, and knew I had to push through the struggle and take each stride with a grit of the teeth.
Turning that last corner along the Embarcadero and seeing the clock felt euphoric. As my bottom lip started to quiver, my entire body went numb and the crowd disappeared. It was me and that finish line. I ran with so much dedication and love, and I could not wait to finish strong. I was soaking wet, tired, and could barely take on another step.
I conquered the bridge, respected the challenging hills as being part of this beautiful city, and made this race everything I wanted and hoped for it to be. Watching the sun rise over Alcatraz while approaching the Golden Gate Bridge had to have been one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen. I fell deeply in love with running, and lost my heart in San Francisco.”
Michelle, who lives in the Bay Area, loves running all the San Francisco races, including the Presidio 10, The Across The Bay 12k, Bay to Breakers, and now the San Francisco Marathon.
She loves San Francisco and said, “It’s such a cool city. San Francisco is one of my favorite cities to run in. I love how challenging it is. The hills are fun. I love the neighborhoods, the vibe of the city.”
In 2020, Michelle wants to run another marathon — her goal is one full marathon per year right now. But, she says she might want to try the Avenue of the Giants Marathon in Humboldt to try a smaller marathon with a different feel.
She also said that she’s interested in trying an ultramarathon at some point in her life, which scares her, but also sounds exciting.
For now, she’s still enjoying her amazing achievement in San Francisco.
Her advice: “Train hard. Run hard. Love hard, and live with passion. Be stronger than your excuses.”
In honor and celebration of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games that will be happening at the same time as the 2020 San Francisco Marathon, we are telling runners’ Gold Stories.
For many, running in the Olympics may be a far off dream, but we know you have your own goals and achievements that we want to hear about and celebrate, because everyone can have their own version of a Gold Goal!
So, what’s your Gold Story? Share your story with us here and we may feature your story next!