After all my complaining, I can now say that the training and the 7+ hour car ride were worth it. The Nike Women’s Run was an incredible experience.
I believe my friend C put it best when she said, “If everyone could act like they do at marathons, the world would be a much better place.”
The amount of good tidings and support buzzing in the streets of San Francisco Sunday morning was truly astounding. I believe about 20,000 people participated in the race, and hundreds more lined the course—clapping, cheering, playing music and showering passers by with positive juju.
We could barely get to the starting line, it was so packed around Union Square.
When the race finally began at 7 a.m., we pounded along the pavement of Montgomery Street, across Washington to the Embarcadero. The weather was refreshing and cool, the streets dim in the morning fog, and along the water, the sounds of a Gospel choir and a group of bagpipers rose up, mingling with our panting and chatter and excitement.
At mile six, we hit a huge hill that seemed better to walk up than waste energy on. We could see the Golden Gate across the Bay, and found ourselves commenting again and again at how beautiful the path was.
On the way down the hill, we opted to whoop it up and run, which led to terribly sore knees later that day and during the drive home Monday. But as you can see, we had a good time, so it was worth it.
When we rounded the corner to the Upper Great Highway on the city’s west side, the sight of the beach—and the finish line—nearly took our breaths away. It was painful to have to jog past the music and the smell of food to continue our course into Golden Gate Park. I felt like my bones were clacking against each other at that point.
Thankfully, it was only another 2 miles until we were done.
As we crossed the finish line, we were handed Tiffany necklaces by San Francisco firefighters in tuxedos. No joke. It was kind of surreal. Immediately following that, someone handed us mylar space blankets, water, bananas, bagels and Jamba Juice. I felt a bit like a sweaty princess.
Despite my cranky attitude, my waffling commitment to training, and several big hills on the course, I beat my Palos Verdes time and finished the half marathon in 2 hours 26 minutes. Not too bad. Now excuse me while I finish eating my celebratory wheel of cheese.