Monday, October 18, 2010

Just DID it!

I've been training for the Nike Women's Marathon (Half-Marathon) since last April, and the event itself was more incredible than I could ever have imagined it would be. We were told that we would cross the finish line a changed person . . .  What a true statement.

I'm part of the Team in Training Sacramento Chapter. Some of the people on my team took Friday and Monday off from work for an extended race weekend, but I really couldn't take the additional time. Rather, I left EARLY on Saturday morning (5:30 AM!) and was the first one in line to pick up my packet (literally!). It was a good thing too because the line was enormous later in the day.

After picking up my packet, I walked around taking pictures and checking out the various booths and activities. Nike had a DJ playing music, and we could vote on the song that would play at the start of the race (I voted for California Girls!). I also visited NikeTown and did a little pre-race shopping.

I had to take breaks to go to my hotel room at The Handlery to ice my ankle and rest (that's a Flector anti-inflammatory patch on my left ankle in the photo). I should have stayed off my feet on Saturday, but there was too much excitement in the air to do that! So I iced in intervals--kind of like I run!

That evening, we had a celebration dinner. I had no idea how moving and emotional the evening would be! We were welcomed by a cheering crowd, followed by a spaghetti dinner and some amazing speakers sharing their stories. It was hard not to cry--I couldn't help myself! I was surrounded by so many courageous and amazing people!

That night, I could hardly sleep. As much as I hate to admit this, it was partly my fault! I wanted to ice my ankle, so I took the first room available even though I was warned that it was above the street and would be noisy! I thought, how noisy can it be? Um, VERY noisy! A band played on the street below us until 10 PM, and after that people were yelling on the street, cars were honking, and at 3 AM, they started setting up the port-a-potties! However, even during the quiet moments, I couldn't sleep--I was too nervous and excited!

The race started at 7 AM, and we were squished together like sardines in a can on Geary Street by Union Square. It was chilly, so we were wearing wind-breakers and sweatshirts that we planned to toss to the side of the road at some point in the race. The items tossed would be picked up and donated to help people who are less fortunate. There was a 30% chance of rain, but the Washington girl in me knew that it was going to rain--no 30% about it!

It took about 20 minutes to get to the start line--people were cheering and music was playing the whole time. We danced our way up to the start!

I ditched my jacket about a mile into the race. I knew when I was almost to the two mile point because my ankle started hurting, and I knew when I was almost to two and a half because my shins stopped hurting! It takes about two and a half miles for my muscles to warm up!

I had a plan for this race--I wanted to walk up the hills, run down them, and run intervals on the flat areas. At this point, I'm competing against myself and no one else. I followed this plan, and I feel good about my race!

When I got to mile seven, my ankle was REALLY hurting, so I started to focus on other things . . . I thought of the people for whom I was running--my best friend's dad, the people honored by donations made on my fund raising page, my mom who is a cancer survivor, and my family members who have lost their battles with cancer. I was doing this for them.

People cheered us along the route and there were signs to encourage us. The cheering stations and the signs always seemed to be there when I needed them the most.

By mile nine, my ankle was numb--much better than the pain! After mile ten or eleven (eleven is where I usually hit the wall, but not this time!), there were signs reminding us of what waited at the finish line.

It's a little bit of a blur now, so I'm not sure exactly where they were, but they were there!

I took other  pictures along the route as well--this was my "I'm going to have fun with this!" race! You can view the other pictures on my Facebook page if you'd like--you don't have to have a Facebook account to view them: Just DID it (Nike Women's Marathon - Half-Marathon).

Right before I finished the race, the rain that I had expected started to fall, and it felt great! I finished to crowds of people cheering us on and yelling "Go Team!" And I found my fireman . . . with that little, blue Tiffany box . . .

I can check off another box on my bucket list, but this was just the beginning . . . Now I have new goals and another race for which to train . . . no more running intervals on the next one--I want to run the entire 13.1 miles! Bring it on!

Related Posts:
I run to be . . .
Thank you!
Race week
I don't want this to end
Snapshot of a Saturday
Progress defined by Traci
Hill repeats and work (wait, hill repeats are work!)
Recommitment and two right feet 
The trail run
Be inspired--create a world without cancer
"We're gonna kick some cancer butt!"


Carrie said...

Go chickie! You CAN run an entire 13.1 miles, no doubt in my mind!

tk said...

Thanks Carrie! I'm so proud of you for tackling the full marathon--you rock!!!!