"...In the end, people either have excuses or experiences; reasons or results; buts or
brilliance. They either have what they wanted or they have a detailed list of all the rational reasons why not."

~ Anonymous
(taken from Matt Erbele's, It Takes Time to Get Good)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Nike Women’s Marathon: a Success Story

Tue, 23 Oct 2007 00:04
Nike Women’s Marathon: a Success Story

Nike Women’s Marathon: a Success Story

We didn’t set any land speed records, but on Sunday October 21, 2007 my run buddy and I crossed the finish line for the Nike Women’s Marathon and it was AWESOME! For those of you that haven’t heard me whining for the past two weeks (and you must have been living in a hole or not know anyone even remotely associated with, or related to, me because I did A LOT of whining!), two weeks ago I injured my knee on a easy training run. The week before I had run my first 20 miler and had absolutely no trouble with my knee. It was hard, but even though I had been sick all week and my legs were very tired I was able to run the entire 20 miles. I felt really good about the marathon. Then on an easy 10 miler my knee starts hurting at mile 2. I kept running, finally stopping at mile 7, but it was too late, the damage was done.

Changing Goals

I had originally set the goal to run the entire 26.2 miles regardless of how slow I ran. It became obvious as the week after my injury progressed that I was not going to be able to run the entire marathon. When the week of the marathon came and there was no improvement in my knee despite rest, sport massage appointments, stretches, and lots of icing, I began to worry that I would not be able to complete it at all. I must credit my amazing support group at this point. I have the most amazing family and friends that helped me get off the pity pot and into the solution. I had to play the hand I was dealt and stop bitching about what I couldn’t change. A good friend and wise person told me that being I was a perfectionist and viewing my situation as a failure instead of seeing possibilities for other types of success. I had come a long way to give up now just because I had to modify my goal. At the direction of my Team in Training coaches I decided to run/walk the marathon. My run buddy helped me by setting out a plan that combined her goals with my need needs and resulted in our amazing finish.

The Course

We did the early start because Nike has a 6 and a half hour cut off. The early start gave us and additional 1.5 hours, for a total of 8 hours, to compete it and we took almost all of that time (7 hours and 39 minutes to be exact.) Yikes! The knee started hurting from about mile 1 and I feared I would not last long. We ran from Union Square, past the Marina (gorgeous view of the bridge) through the Presidio (lots of hills, unhappy knee!), into Golden Gate park (lots more hills, lots more unhappy knee) out along the Great highway (straight and flat, knee happier) around Lake Merced (tired, unhappy run buddy with nasty blisters on her feet) and back up the Great Highway to the finish.

My run buddy had brought her camera and we stopped and took pictures at the Marina and the overlook at the top of the Presidio before you enter the park. The walkers and run walkers that we stated with in the early start were funny, kind, generous and just a blast to be around. We did not meet one mean person all day.

Trials and Tribulations

Around mile 12-13 my knee was almost unbearable to run on and I was trying to figure out how I could convince my run buddy to leave me and continue on. There was a cut off time for the mile 18 mark and if you didn’t make it you would be turned around. I didn’t want her to miss it because of me. She wasn’t budging. She was determined to get me to the 18 mile cut off. I found that by shortening my stride to a shuffle and making slow, smooth transitions between run and walk I could tolerate the knee, so we pressed on. After the park the hills were pretty much done (the downhill was ironically MUCH more painful than the uphill) and I got into a rhythm with the run/walk and when we passed the 18 mile mark with more than an hour to spare we were ecstatic! Miles 20-25 were tough, but we made it through with a smile on our faces. My good friend and former run buddy as well (the third RBR girl) came up from LA to watch the marathon and ran with us from mile 22 to just before the finish. It was awesome!

Eddy (my husband) caught us at the 17 and the 25 mile marks and we were all smiles and silliness for the camera (it is nice to have your own paparazzi on the course. Makes everyone think you are important!) We ran the last 1.2 miles at a pace that would make turtles laugh, but we crossed the finish together and collected our Tiffany finishers’ necklaces from the tuxedo-clad firemen. That is how you run a marathon!

Moral of the Story

Many people crossed the finish line hours and hours before us, but you know what? If they weren’t first they got the same damn necklace and t-shirt that we did and we had a great time to boot! Neener Neener!

A brief history of how I got to the Nike Women's Marathon:

My run buddy and I started on this journey together almost 3 years ago. I barely knew her and I asked her if she wanted to do a sprint triathlon with me. We laugh about that now because neither of us did ANY exercise and our first endeavor was going to be a triathlon of all things! We ended up completing an Olympic distance triathlon that year (twice as long as our original goal!) and kept on exercising. I talked her into the marathon this year and more than once she has cursed me for it. But it was she who got me across that finish line and it is to her that I am eternally grateful.

Next stop...

I am still have the goal to run an entire marathon. So I am looking at three possibilities I will let you know VERY SOON which one it is going to be. It will be one of these:

Jan 18, 2008 Arizona Rock 'n Roll Marathon

March 3, 2008 Napa Valley Marathon
June 1, 2008 San Diego Rock 'n Roll Marathon

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