Sunday morning 3:00am: My cell phone alarm wakes me up blasting a Tim McGraw song. I spring out of bed and I am genuinely excited for what the day is going to bring. I turn my light on and stare at my floor. Laying there waiting to be worn is my black nike hat, blue mesh top, black running shorts along with my running shoes. The most important part of the outfit? The circular bib that says “Nike Women’s Marathon 2013.” After a quick breakfast its time to drive south two hours to the City.
Sunday morning 6:20am: You would think that I wouldn’t be able to sleep in the carride to my first half marathon race but like always I slept the whole time. I woke up to my friend’s dad’s voice who was driving. He said something along the lines of alright-good luck-got everything you need-see you at the finish line. And just like that me and my two friends were dumped out of the warm truck into the freezing cold streets of San Francisco. We were at least six blocks away from the start of the race. The streets of SF are overwhelming when you don’t know where you’re going but with 30,000 other runners it makes it an easier task. Luckily we got there just in time.
Sunday, still morning, 6:30am: As we stood in the middle of the crows I was no longer shivering. Ahead I could make out the start line which was about 150 yards ahead. I have never been around such a a large crowd. I looked behind me and it was an uphill which allowed me to see thousands of runners behind us. The announcer’s voice could be heard for blocks and blocks.
Honestly I felt as if I was going into the Hunger Games. It was weird enough to be in Union Square of San Francisco at 6:30am when it is pitch black out. Add to the mix thousands of people all in a rush to get to their designated start area and husbands and families saying goodbye and good luck to their loved ones. I remember the announcer continuously saying, “Are you ready? You are about to make history! Thousands of women and a few good men.”
I looked at my friend Hailee who I ran with and we couldn’t hide our smiles. We signed up to run five months before. I can’t even fathom to estimate the amount of training runs we went on to prepare for this moment. Not only all of our training but we would talk about it almost every day. What are you going to wear, whats your goal time, can you believe we get Tiffany’s necklaces at the end of the race?
The race finally started but we were back two streets (still towards the front of the race) so we didn’t actually start moving yet. Beyonce’s Girls began to blast through the streets to fuel our adrenaline.
Sunday 6:45am: Finally we started jogging closer to the official start line. Once we crossed it I appreciative of being a part of such a great cause. It isn’t just for a good cause though; when you are a part of something like this you can tell its more. It’s a movement. We made our way from Union Square toward The Embarcadero and we ran passed all of the piers.
Sunday 7:45am: About halfway through the race. At mile six it honestly felt like I had ran two. Hailee was running next to me the whole time. We were busy taking in the view of the City, the runners around us, and listening to motivating music. The shirts people were were actually really distracting; in a good way. They were witty and clever and got my mind off of how many miles I have or how bad my knees hurt. One shirt I kept seeing said “Run like theres a creepy guy behind you and a hot guy in front of you.” Others were inspiring and memorable with pictures of people they are running for.
What also helped was people cheering. When you think about 30,000 people in one race, try and fathom how many people came to support. Along the sidelines were husbands with flowers, families with motivating signs, and coaches yelling at their runners to never give up.
This atmosphere makes giving up a lot more difficult.
Sunday around 8:30am: We hit mile ten and thats when the pain came. Still motivated and knew I wasn’t going to stop or walk one step. However, the pain I felt in my knees was more apparent than ever. The pounding of my feet on the pavement added up and every step was a challenge. Downhills hurt the worst.
I had to ignore the pain as best as I could so I concentrated on every single thing that feels great in my body and how we only had three miles to go. If we ran 10 miles, three is a walk in the park. Hailee and I reminded each other of that.
Sunday 9:00am: Less than one mile to go Hailee and I slightly picked up the pace. There were more signs and more people cheering which helped me stay motivated. I even saw a runner here or there who had already finished. If they could do it why can’t I? The ocean was on our right and we knew we were almost done.
We turned the last corner and there it was in Tiffany’s blue. The Nike Women’s finish line. I started picking up the pace with Hailee. We looked at each other and I said “This is it. This is finally it!” We grabbed hands and ran through the finish line together.
After we picked up our Tiffany’s necklaces and got to take pictures with firefighters wearing tuxedos. I didn’t really have anything to complain about.
After my race I had school to look forward to. One class I am taking thats a little out of my comfort zone is an Agricultural Communications class. It is a journalism elective class and I have already learned a lot about the Agriculture Department at Cal Poly because of this class. Who knew that you can make Cal Poly chocolate as a class and get credit for it? I’m thinking about taking it next quarter.