ALERT: Long Post Ahead!
It is difficult for me to summarize the Nike Women’s (Half)Marathon to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society because so much was packed into my weekend in San Francisco. I’ll start by saying doing an event with Team in Training is something that I believe everyone that wants to try their hand at an endurance event and in the process make a difference in the lives of others should do.
I met my team at the airport Friday morning and we arrived in San Francisco at 11:30am. During the flight attendant announced our collective accomplishment of raising over $250,000 for the LLS and I have to admit I got a bit teary eyed. When we arrived we took a shuttle to Union Square, we stayed at the swanky Westin St. Francis. After check-in my teammate Nicole
Once again I got a bit teary-eyed but we went into Niketown where there was a party like atmosphere. A live dj was spinning on the ones and twos and NWM10 branded merchandise was all over the place. I actually needed to purchase a pair of pants for race day because despite all of my pre-race preparations, I left my running skirt and capris at home! I ended up going to Macy’s and getting a discount on a pair of Nike capris and had a wonderful to go dinner from The Burger Bar located at the top of the store. My salmon burger was delicious and a bargain because it was a lunch special!
I went back to the room and fell asleep, traveling all week took a toll on me and I wanted to be sure to get a full night of sleep. The next morning we did a 1 mile run.
I met up with my college friend Monica
It was back to the room where I laid out my outfit and tried to get a good night of sleep. I only woke up a couple of times and when the alarm went off at 5:15am I was already up and putting on my race gear.
Monica and I took the slow and steady approach to the race. I’d decided that I wasn’t going to push myself this time and that my main objective was to have fun, revel in the spectacular views and finish the race. That attitude allowed me to have a smile on my face the entire run. I am not exaggerating. I had a cheese grin that I could not contain. Except at mile 7 when I reached the summit of the mile long hill, I was a bit out of breath there. LOL
I took photos at almost every mile marker, tweeted updates and enjoyed the race. I loved hearing my name called out by random people on the race. The support was amazing. Miles 1-6 I ran with Monica and after that we were separated. She took even more photos than I did! I cranked up my tunes on my iPod shuffle and instead of listening to my usual workout podcast, I just let her play. It amazed me when songs like Breathe, Marathon, and Boom Boom Pow came up at appropriate times during the race. A gospel song started playing at mile 8 or 9 just when I needed it! When I was running down the Pacific Coast Highway my TNT staffers were there calling my name and rooting me on. Thanks Mary, Javi and Lauren. It was so nice to see your smiling faces! Apparently I was smiling and running so fast at that point that Javi
I ended my race by listening to B.O.B. (Bombs over Baghdad) by Andre 3000 and Big Boi. I just kept that on loop for the entire last 5k of the race. At mile 12 I began to wonder when the race would be over because all of the beautiful scenery was behind me and running through the park was getting pretty boring. Not to mention the rain but that actually didn’t dampen my spirits because when I felt the drops my thoughts were - “I’m so glad I did that 4 mile training run in the rain, I don’t even have to go that far today!” I was glad when my coach Amy ran about 100 feet with me she encouraged me to keep moving. And at about mile 12.5 the national team coach (and our head coach) Tommy cheered me to keep going! I walked some and ran some but I completed the race with a smile. I remembered the advice from Sarah and Dimitry - I chicked a guy (passed him on the course) actually several guys! I chatted with friends and I cheered and encouraged other runners along the way.
The perfect gift at the end of the race was being greeted by a lovely fireman who gave me my Tiffany Box.
After all the excitement I took the shuttle back to the hotel, took an ice bath for 15 minutes (it sounds like torture but I am happy to report no soreness) and headed out to Niketown. I got a personalized running shirt and had my necklace engraved. The Victory Dinner that evening was so much fun.
And now, I vow to do it again. Same time next year, same goals and same race. I am resting until tomorrow when I will start my active recovery and start preparing for my next event........but first a tattoo to commemorate the occasion and my 50 pound weight loss!