Each time I've trained for a run, in the middle of training I'm always saying things to Ryan like, "Don't let me do this again!" or "I'm not doing another one of these until I am at LEAST 35!" My main reason is that it takes a lot of time to train. But then...
Once it's over, I fall in love.
And then there's the fact that every Saturday that I did a long run in preparation (8, 10, 12, 12, 10, consecutively), nothing could get me down.
In the end, Ryan and I always agree that it's a net positive gain. :) And the Nike Women's Half-Marathon in San Francisco? I don't imagine it gets a lot better than that.
So please excuse my looong narrative, but this is something I definitely want to remember.
Four friends and I entered the lottery in the spring and were super lucky to get in, technically because of a computer glitch that worked in our favor!
Kylee and I met at Jamie's house at 5am and took a taxi into the city, so we wouldn't have to worry about parking or traffic. We snuck into Jamie's corral and danced/stretched a bit to some blasting music while we waited for the countdown. (We attempted meeting up with our other two girls, but no such luck. Luckily, some of us did see each other on the course.) Then we were off, along with 30,000 other women, running from Union Square, along the Embarcadero, up the hills of the Presidio, and to the finish line in Golden Gate Park.
I ran faster than I expected for the first 6 miles (about 9:15-minute miles), but then came the hills. :) I hit the wall around mile 11, probably because the excitement had me running a little faster than I should have been going and because those hills were a little more endless than I was expecting. :) Oh well! The worst was when my Nike+ app was telling me that I had completed the 13.1 miles—but the finish line was not yet in sight! I don't know whether the race calculations were off or my GPS, but that last quarter mile was killer! I ended up finishing after 2 hours, 12 minutes.
The fact that the whole event is geared toward women makes it fun. For one thing, people's signs along the sidelines say things like "Hot firemen ahead!" and "Run like Ryan Gosling is at the finish line!" (Unrelated: The one I wish I had seen said, "Pain is temporary - Finish times are forever!" MAYBE that would have gotten my legs moving a little faster for the last mile!) For another, after you cross the finish line, SF firemen in tuxes hand you a blue Tiffany's box, with the commemorative Tiffany pendant inside.
Ryan got all three kids up at 6:30am (the start time for my run) and headed into the city so they could meet me at the finish!
After I crossed the finish line and got my shirt and pendant, I sat down on a curb near the ocean with some chocolate milk and a banana and texted Ryan where I was. I told him to tell the boys to ring their cowbells (which Ryan had gotten just for the occasion) when they got close, and I totally heard their bells once they were in my vicinity! The ringing snapped me out of my exhausted trance, and within seconds I spotted Chase and then the rest of the gang. :) I was over the moon to see my cute cheerleaders!
Me and my three reasons for running three half-marathons. I love these babies!
We girls were planning to use the Find My Friends app after the race to find each other, but with about a million people there, the phone towers weren't keeping up. So Jamie is the only friend I saw at the end, but it was SO fun to see my darling little friend and talk about the race. (Thanks for the pic, Jamie!)
The race was, admittedly :), on a Sunday, but since we all have 1:00 church, we met up at church (walking stiffly, of course!) and got to bond a bit more over the details of the run. :)
Ryan and the kids walked a couple of miles just to get to the finish line, because there is NO parking on that side of the city, even without thousands of participants and families in the neighborhood! When we walked to the car afterward, I think I was walking even slower than Chase by the end! The above photo is from when we finally made it to the car. :) I love this mohawk lady. ESPECIALLY in her fuzzy pajamas.
That's it! We'll probably enter the lottery again next year, so let me know if you want to join us! Doing an event (whether it is a 5k or a full-on marathon) is so empowering, and this particular event has to be one of the best.
(Please excuse the uncooperative blogger formatting!)