22 October 2006

Just Did It!

Just Did It!

The Nike 26.2 Marathon & Half-Marathon was today, and I just did it! I did the half, and it was such a thrilling experience.

This was the third half-marathon I have completed in as many years. While this may not seem like a big deal compared to some (I met a woman yesterday who does at least one full marathon a month!), but it is to me. I was the person who swore she would never do an endurance run, couldn't even think about it, etc. Imagine my surprise when I was compelled to join Team in Training and do my first race, and then sign up for 2 more!

I didn't train really for this race - the longest distance I ran was maybe 5 miles and that was with a bit of walking when my knees pained me. I went in with the attitude that I would go as far as I could, then walk the rest. If I could run half of it, I would feel a-ok, and I wanted to finish in less than three hours.

The day started with a 5.45am wake up call. I was meeting a friend at 6.15am to walk down to the starting line. I had been hydrating for a few days as that was my biggest fear. We got to the starting area and were greeted by throngs of other women runners (the stats I read were 15,000 total runners, 150 of whom were men). You could feel the excitement in the air, especially from the many first timers. I remember that feeling when I first did this race, it is awesome.

There was music blaring and people scrambling to find their pace group. I personally never found mine...there were too many people to fight through so I just kind of stood where I landed. They had us count down, 10, 9, 8...then the gun went off and we were on our way!

The weather was perfect, probably high 50s at the start. I took off running and felt awesome. I got through the first two miles at a very quick pace; although I knew it wouldn't last, I was pretty impressed with myself! I stopped at about mile 2.5 to try to use the restroom, but the line was too long and I gave up. There were people cheering all over the course, and even though they weren't cheering for me, their cheers were encouraging.

I ran solid through mile 5, then took a quick walk and ran the rest of mile 6. Mile 7 introduced a mile-long hill, and I walked it. On my way up the turn, a woman slowed down and said to me, "You've got this, no problem." It was nice, and really encapsulates what I love about this race. I have said it before, I believe, that I am tired of seeing women tear each other down. We see it all the time in magazines, on reality TV, and in real life. And this race is about the opposite, it is women supporting and celebrating with one another. It is quite incredible.

By that time I was hungry and needing some energy. I had left my e-Gel packs in my bag, so they did me no good. Finally at mile 9 they gave us some Clif Shot Blocs, and I have to say, they were delicious! I walked a bit more and then we were on the downhill. YAY!!

Soon there were only 3 miles left, and I ran most of them. I couldn't believe I had that much energy left. I had a good talking to with myself, telling myself to suck it up, that my knees didn't hurt that bad and I could do it. I never saw a sign for miles 12 and 13, so I really wasn't sure where I was when I exited the park. Then I saw the finish line. It was right there, within my reach!

I picked up my pace the best I could and ran towards it. I thought of those that were with me throughout the race - both my grandmothers (who I had done previous races in memory of) and my Papa, to whom I dedicate this race. I got choked up thinking about them, and of all the others who were running beside my fellow racers. The pain of my knees was nothing compared to what those memories went through. It pushed me to finish strong, and finish below what my target was. And there was an SF Firefighter, dressed up in a tux, handing me my little blue Tiffany's box containing my finisher's medal.

It was a really wonderful day, and I am so glad I did it (even if it was just for the necklace). Ultimately, all the proceeds from this event go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and every little bit helps.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good for you! You may inspire me to do it one day...maybe not...

Thats Mister Semicolon to you.....