October 22, 2007 9:15 AM

NWM- 26.2 reasons we had a love/hate relationship

This past October 21st, my roommate Jane and I set out to do something most people would never want to do - run a Marathon. Yes, i know, people train for weeks, months, and maybe even years. Since I was in Spain for most of the summer, training didn't really start until the beginning of the semester.

The Nike Women's Marathon is a race in San Francisco whose proceeds benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. (1)

Race day was pretty crazy, there were thousands of people, mostly the women runners and their supporters lining Union Square in San Francisco. The race "Start" was on post between Saks and Nike and right in front of Williams Sonoma. The race officially started at 7am but there were so many people running the race that we didn't get our start until about 7:35 or so. It was pretty crazy, the race course was 26.2 miles, which is actually larger than San Francisco! It was actually still dark when we got there, {actually we had to get up at 4:30 in order to get there on time} and the sun started coming out once we were finally at the start line. (2)

The race was like a giant tour of San Francisco! (3) We ran past the SF Shopping Center, past the piers and attraction Pier 39 (4), past Ghirardelli Square (5) and actually received a whole bunch of free chocolate squares (5 & 6), we ran through all of Golden Gate Park (7), received Luna eater and gatorade every 2 miles (8,9), had people cheer us on from the sidelines every few miles(10) at the cheer stations {even one church's gospel choir-perfect for a Sunday morning!(11)}, and even received free Nike cushioned socks in the middle of the race (12). We passed by the Golden Gate Bridge (13) and at one point past my 15 mile mark, ran in a short inflatable tunnel where we received a recorded pep talk from Lance Armstrong (14). THe first 20 miles were the easy part, the last six were a different story. It was getting hard to concentrate once I would see people running the opposite direct from me and passing the finish line, when i still had 6.2 miles to go. Luna provided a whole bunch of energy bars and fruit snacks for us at stations every few miles (15) but I have to say that some of the best tasting munchies we got during the race had to be those bananas (16) and oranges (17) from the Kaiser Permanente mile and volunteers. Oh and a big plus were the volunteers (18) handing things to us, cleaning up all the tossed orange/banana peels and cups, refilling water bottles, etc. One mile, the "sister" mile made me tear up, with pictures of people we were helping by running in the race and quotes and young cheer volunteers who reminded me of my own sister and my own family (18). And people running/walking marathons do also use bathrooms! we had to use port-a-potties (19). The runners provided me with a whole bunch of support - at one point when i felt just about ready to quit this woman ran next to me and was like man I can't believe we decided to run this thing, we're crazy! (20) we laughed and both of us kept on. One of my favorite marathon decisions, was placing the photographer on the 25th mile, you know when we all looked our best (21)! That last 1.2 miles had to be the longest of my life. One of the trainers running the course told me right before the 25th mile, "don't worry, you see those stoplights? You only have 3 more to go before you cross the finish line!" (22) Of course, 3 stoplights later, and I had only just passed the 25th mile...talk about false hope and motivation! Before i had time to get pissed off, however, my phone rang (because we all need our cell phones during a marathon!) and it was my roommate sending her love, telling me that she was waiting for me at the finish line and to make sure that I "Finish Strong." (24) That was it, I saw the crowds behind those metal guard rails cheering me on. The big red "Finish" was in sight. I ran the last 1.2 miles to the sounds of the crowd yelling "go Cal" and "You go Girl!" (25) and when my the sensor on my shoe finally passed the last checkpoint and the finish line, these men in black suits and ties and Nike running shoes on their feet handed me a teal box with a Tiffany & co designed necklace inside (26).

So what's the .2? Well, you better believe that my roommate and I were in pain for the rest of the day...it took us half an hour to walk to our apt from Bart -which usually takes only 5mins. (.2) Actually, I was sore and limping for the next 2 weeks. But, it was definitely worth having to limp to class and relearn all the bus routes for two weeks, We FINISHED a marathon!

Nikki Fernandez | Permalink | Comment on this article | Comments (0)

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