24 October 2007

Oops I Did it Again!

It's October, which for me means another birthday, busy at work, and, the Nike Marathon. I am proud (and in a little pain) to say that I finished the race again this year, despite not training, again - which is not smart, I know!

It was a little chillier at the start than it was last year, which kind of surprised me because it was such a warm weekend. I lined up with my friend Stacey and her friend Katie, and we somehow stuck together despite being shoved along with the hoards of women trying to get to the start (apparently, not understanding the meaning of "chip time"). With 23K people running, the start was a little chaotic, and Katie and I quickly got separated from Stacey. At the mile mark, she decided to wait for her, while I knew I needed to push on in order to finish.

This has to be one of the most beautiful courses in the world. As I ran down the Embarcadero, the Ferry Building quickly becoming a distant backdrop as we headed towards the Golden Gate Bridge. The sun began to rise, and usually I would say the fog started to burn off, but there was no fog to be seen. The sun was at its full peak as we hit Chrissy Field, right before the Presidio Hill.

Although it was starting to warm up, the hill was very shaded, and you could feel the cool ocean breezes cutting through the trees. This hill is a mile long, and the first one we hit...it's a little painful. I had to walk this one. I hit the top and then started to head down again.

As we ran past Robin William's house, Kaiser Permanente was there, handing out oranges. This, to me, was the most welcome part of the race. Then it was back up the hill and out of Seacliff, finally hitting the Luna station and getting some much-needed calories. Finally it was down the hill again, running past the Cliff House and Ocean Beach, and into Golden Gate Park.

By this time the heat was really rising, and the shady cool breezes of the Park were really welcome. As was the Ghiradelli chocolate station by the Polo Fields. I almost started crying as I saw the 12-mile marker, as I knew I had once again made it. Mile 13 came quickly, and before I knew it, I was rounding the corner back onto the Great Highway and over the finish line.

This race brings out a weird mix of emotions in me. From the start, I am holding back tears looking at the pictures and dedications on all the shirts. It makes me think of my grandparents, who were the reasons I started these races in the first place. Then I have to remember to not cry, because I can't breath very well when I do! Throughout the race, these waves come to me... then the waves of pain hit, and I am trying not to cry from them. Then, as I round to the finish, I am again hit with emotions that, holy smokes, I am going to finish again. (and am kind of sad no one's there to see it)

All in all, it is such a fantastic day. It is worth the pain, the three days of not being able to walk, to have such a fulfilling experience.

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