I live for this

I ran my first real race in 5 years last weekend:  The Nike Women’s 1/2 Marathon.  Oh how I yearned for the days when running a 1/2 marathon was something I could accomplish without thinking twice.

When my girlfriend, Alice, pinged me 3 weeks before the event to say that as a Nike employee (she is a pace leader for the weekly training runs… not her “real” job, she also works her ass off at IBM during the week), she was able to get a last minute entry to the race…. a race that sells out in moments and is typically only available to those affiliated with the Nike Run Club….. not independents like me.

I thought about it for 5 seconds and said, “YES, I’m in!”  Never mind that I’d only run a maximum of 7 miles in the past 5 years since I burned out after Ironman in 2004.  I figured that I could run 7 to 8 miles and walk the rest.

What was my motivation?  To be honest, mainly the Tiffany necklace that is presented to all finishers at the finish line by tuxedoed SF Firemen (grrrrrr!), but I also wanted to test my endurance.

Cut to race day… what a day!  One of the best in recent memory.  Got to AT&T park where they had free parking with free shuttles to Union Square and the starting line.  OMG!  took me 1/2 hour to park because it was mobbed (duh 20,000 runners of course, you just don’t expect it at 6am!).  Finally on the shuttle, starting to sense that telltale nervous energy that is always unavoidable at Marathon races.  Mysteriously I’m not feeling it… after all, I’ll likely walk much of the race (ha! read on)

At Union Square… WOW!  Having run Boston, LA, SF and Idaho (C’oeur D’Alene for the IronMan race), I have never felt a greater sense of exhilaration at the starting line than at the Nike Women’s Marathon — guess it’s true, girls rock!!  : )

At the start line, my favorite memory is listening to Beyonce: “Single Ladies (put a ring on it)”  — good stuff!

Finally we start, very slow jog to start, which is good… gotta pace myself.  Feeling great, but knowing the importance of pace-setting.

Running along the Embarcadero/Marina Green — just fabulous, reminders of life when I lived in SF… great crowd support, no complaints!

Love how at mile 6 or 7 or so, my breath hit that steady rhythm that makes me feel like I could run for days and days… steady, easy, euphoric!

Okay then we hit the hills:  NOT so fun.  But I was determined to keep running and I did so.  I think I was afraid if I stopped, I might never start again!

Mile 11 or so when we hit the Cliffhouse, what a great surprise to see a big screen displaying us runners as we approached.  I did not see myself on the screen unfortunately, but it was still quite cool!

Miles 12-13, I figured, what have I got to lose at this point?  So I kicked it up a notch and cruised into the finish line with a respectable time (considering I hadn’t really trained) of 2:06!  No one was more surprised than me!

And, YES, the firemen in tuxedoes were WELL worth it.  I am still kicking myself that I did not get pictures, but I will cherish my tiffany necklace forever!

Completing this race, which years ago I would have registered for as a “training run”, but now was quite a challenge, has only served to make me itch for the days when running a marathon was doable and something I could plan for with a months’ notice.

Mark my words:  I will be back.  Got some things to take care of first, but thinking 2012 is not an overly ambitious goal!


1 Response to “I live for this”

  1. November 14, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    I finished my first 1/2 marathon last month (in Denver), and we did not get firemen in tuxedos at the finish line! I feel a little gipped 😉

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Twitter: sheilamia Email: sheila at sheilablogs.com
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