On October 16, 2011, I ran a half in the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco with two of my best girlfriends. For me, this fulfills #8 on The List: to set a rediculous challengs for myself that I [was] currently not capable of, and meet it.
The following is a re-post from my Team in Training blog, which won’t be around forever. So enjoy!
I have to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who donated, prayed, emailed, texted and tweeted your support. It’s because of you that I made it across that finish line (some of you literally – see below). Over all Team Fascinators raised $10,402.98 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. YOU DID THAT! That’s Team Fascinators Supporters: 1, Cancer: 0. Go team!
I’ve had a lot of questions from you since finishing the race, so I want to get a few of those out of the way before we get to the photos.
Was it hard? Yes, very. In fact it was harder that I thought it’d be. I never had trouble with my knee, but just after mile 11 it gave out and I honestly didn’t know if I was going to be able to cross the finish line. Just before my phone died, I got some incredibly timely tweets from my darling husband, the lovely Ms. Grace, and a few encouraging texts that literally came at the moment I felt like I couldn’t do it. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology I got the strength I needed to suck it up and push on.
I was very interested to not that while on the course I went through a series of moods that I’m fondly refering to as my ‘Pregression of idiocy:’
Mile 1: This race is SO COOL! How empowering to be running with 22,000 other women for cancer. I am definately doing this exact same race next year! Wait, is that the sun rising behing the Bay Bridge? Awesome!
Mile 2 – 5: Wow, I’m doing really great. I even ran for most of that. Why did I ever think this was hard?
Mile 5 – 9: This is nothing! I would have been totally dead two months ago but now I’m hardly feeling it. I should totally do a FULL marathon next year!
Mile 9 – 13: What in the world was I thinking???
Was it worth it? Absolutely. Team in Training (TNT) held a huge inspiration dinner for us the night before that really showed us how worthy of a cause our fundraising was fighting for. During the dinner I turned to Aaron and said “I don’t care how the race goes tomorrow, this is one of the best things I’ve ever done.” I meant it then, and I mean it now.
Would I do it again?
You know, despite the progression of idiocy I noted earlier, I would. I really would. In fact, Aaron got so inspired along this journey that not only did he start running with me during my training (and kept running without me after my injury. Grrrrr.) but he wants us to run a half marathon together next Fall, and there are a couple friends who’ve said they want to join us. I’m loving the idea. So look out San Jose Rock and Roll 2012!
From now through Spring I’m going to keep running 2-5 miles a few times a week (funny how that seems like no big deal now!) plus adding yoga and strength training in to help with my speed and with injury prevention, so that I’ll be in even better shape when I pick training back up next Summer. In the meantime, Aaron and I signed up for the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day, which will be our first 5k race together. I don’t know how soon I’ll train to raise funds again, but I have a feeling that my journey with TNT isn’t over yet.
So, on to the race!
The whole weekend was amazing! We started off in a line that wrapped aroung Union Square in SF to get our race bibs and Nike Swag.
Saturday night was the inspiration dinner hoasted by TNT. More than 30 chapters from all over Northern America were there. The inspiration started the moment we walked into the Moscone Center. Hundreds of TNT coaches, mentors, family members, and honorees formed a whooping, cheering corridor that stretched from the front door, down the escelators, into the banquet hall, and took over five minutes to walk through.
I didn’t think I was going to get emotional, but that was overwhelming. We enjoyed a carb-heavy dinner with speakers and final numbers for how much we raised as a group. Before and after the speakers they showed a slideshow with each chapter’s honorees (people affected by blood cancers that members ran in honor of). The slideshow played for an hour before and an hour after, and there were no repeats. Seeing that was what made me know that this was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
So, race morning! So. EXCITING! It was so crowded you literally couldn’t move in Union Square. Worse than the Castro on Halloween night. But what energy! I never thought I’d use this phrase, but the air was literally vibrating with excitement. The MC’s were projected on the Williams Sonoma building, and everything felt larger than life.
So COOL! This was when I was still in phase one of my progression of idiocy.
This was my favorite shot of the day, taken between mile one and two, of the sun rising behind the bay bridge:
I don’t want to bore the people who just want the rundown with pictures, so I’ll post all the photos from the trail below for those of you who love looking of photos of the greatest city on earth.
So anyway, things I learned from my first half-marathon:
People make all the difference.
Before this, I always thought that spectating a marathon would be the least fun thing ever. aving run one, from now on if anyone I love is in a marathon I’m going. People lined the trail to offer support. Often these were race sponsor volunteers (Kaiser, Safeway), SF residents who watch races for sports, local bands and cheerleading teams, or TNT mentors/coaches, but sometimes family members would be along the course with signs, looking for their loved ones. When I came across a TNT coach I knew and they ran with me for a bit, it was like I got fresh lungs and new legs. When I crossed the finish line, I couldn’t even smile, all I could do was scan the crowd of spectator looking for a familiar face. (Note: not only I have Dianne and Sunrise waiting for me at the end, Aaron, the best husband in the world, and my dad were also there to congratulate me on the other side. Best. Thing. Ever.)
Tweeting pictures every time you see the Golden Gate bridge will wear out your phone battery fast.
My phone died just after mile eleven, which was one mile longer than I’d ever ran before. (That mile was for Danielle Weaver!) This woudn’t have been a big deal, except that I had to find people at the end, and since I’d been tweeting all along the race trail, this made people think I’d fallen off the face of the earth. Or died. Or failed. I’ve eard lots of scenarios. Sorry mom!
Having girlfriends to run with you makes all the difference.
My girls Sunrise and Dianne and I started together, and we ended together. It was the best feeling knowing that they were waiting for me to cross the line, even though they corssed it an hour earlier. (According to them, it was no hardship to sit and wait. None!) We spent the next day pampering ourselves in San Francisco. Our firend Mandy came up to celebrate with us. She was our groupie. 🙂 We got pedicures, bought great matching swag at Nike Town, had a fabulous lunch, took goofy pictures, and just overall had a great day.
Having a supportive husband at the end makes all the difference.
Aaron carried food and warm clothes for me to the finish line. He got me a sandwitch from the TNT tent and made sure I had a place to stretch. He found my dad and my friends when my legs felt like rubber. He untied my shoes when I bent over to take them off. He made me an ice bath and held my hand while I shivered. He did everything to take care of me, and told me that I was beautiful and that he was proud of me. I told him it wasn’t fair, because when he did his first I would be doing it with him and would be as messed up as he was. Who would take care of us then?
Us, on the bus, on the way back to the hotel.
Dianne and Brian Robinson would make a great Modern Family episode.
Ask them for the story.
So, I finished my race, got my necklace, got my name on the Nike wall
and put a chip in the dam that is cancer. What a weekend.
Thanks for going on this journey with me. It’s meant the world, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. So, here are my photos, in cronological order, for those of you who are into that sort of thing. 🙂
Random notes from the road:
I loved that the Gloden Gate Bridge was my view for half my run. Ahhhh, home.
Mile six was on a WICKED hill. That was the worst bit, but I kept on smiling!
The TNT coach at the top of the highest hill said to make sure and look over our shoulders – the view came with the price of admission. You can’t really see it, but sunbeams were breaking through the coulds and shining down on the city, like the hand of God himself. One of the best sights I’ve ever taken in.
A high school drumline lifted our spirits at the highest point of the course. They were less impressed with my “yeah, drumline!” than I was with their beats.
Lady Gaga sang me into mile seven. 10k down, and I’m on the edge of Glory!
Kaiser was in charge of cheerleading between miles 8 and 9, making it my favorite mile. They had all these inspirational (and sometimes horribly cliche) reasons to run up on signs.
Mile eleven was the last photo I took, because my phone was about to die. It was one mile farther than I’d ever gone before, and that one I prayed to God and dedicated to Dannie. I also prayed because five minutes after I took this pic my knee gave out, and I honestly didn’t know if I’d make it the last two miles.
Thank you for taking this journey with me. I love you all, and can’t wait for the next adventure.