Tuesday, January 03, 2017

NIKE HALF MARATHON - Finisher! Yahoo!

original post is from 2005, but when I searched and found in draft form, and re-published, it has published as if it was written today.  -frustrating


With special thanks to Coach Louis, Carla, Sharon and Nike event coordinators & volunteers - Today I ran 13.1 miles and cross the finish line in my first half marathon. And what a first marathon it was: 15,000 women running together along the streets, sidewalks, neighborhoods and beaches of San Francisco and over 14 million earned to help find a cure for Leukemia and Lymphoma.

And God sent me an angel running partner 5 minutes before the start. A beautiful woman named Lee from Arkansas. Fifty-seven years old, single mother of 4 children, who put herself through school to become a nurse and support her family. Now she has one child in the military, one is a policeman, and one daughter a teacher. I can't remember what the 4th child is doing, but what a wonderful family! So many noble, service-oriented occupations. Obviously her wonderful example lead the way. And as we talked and ran side by side for the race, I realized she was going slower than her usual pace for my benefit. What a kind person. As a matter of fact I regard her now as Saint Lee. Twice during our half marathon she stopped racing all together to help others. In one neighborhood there was an elderly couple trying to cross the street. Him with a cane, her leaning on his arm for support. They were dressed so elegantly but they were very old and their chances for safely crossing the street with hundreds of women flying by was not looking good. Then I turned my head for just a moment and noticed Lee was gone. She had stopped to help them across the street and then ran up without skipping a beat to catch back up with me. Then towards the end of the race, we saw a runner on the ground. Both of her legs had buckled at the same time and she fell quick and hard. There were a couple people around her, but Lee stopped again and went over to offer her nursing skills and helped the woman back on her feet. I waited off to the side - so impressed to be in her company. So glad to witness her kindness for others. When we started running again together, she said to me, "when you get to be 57, your priorities change a little - the time of the race isn't as important." I understood and admired her wisdom. And she helped me through a terrible stomach cramp that came out of nowhere and stopped me in my tracks. She help coach me through the pain, told me how to move and place my arms above my head, breathe in and out slow, keep walking.. and before I knew it, the pain was gone and we were on our way again.

I learned she had broken one of her legs in 17 places some time back, dismounting from her horse. And just last year, had surgery for a brain tumor. It was benign, thank God, but that doesn't eliminate the rollercoaster emotional ride such traumatic news and surgery brings with it. "So, I'm really glad to be here, to be running," she tells me. I rubbed her back and smiled, "I'm so glad you're here too!" She was beautiful, and kind, and in such great shape and so quick to help wherever she saw an opportunity.

When we passed the 12 mile mark - the Ghirardelli station - I could see she wanted to run in fast and pour it on for the last mile finish. "Go! Please. Run your race" I said with a smile and she said, "okay," and waved and off she went. She was so fast! I just watched with amazement, as this 57 year old saint, took off and disappeared into the crowds ahead of me. I never did see her again after I cross the finish line myself some several minutes later but her stories and example will stay with me forever.

I got quite a boost from seeing my son and daughter and husband near the end of the race, searching for me in the crowds to wave hello and call out some cheers, but I didn't have enough gas left to pour it on through the finish line like I hoped. Still, I finished solid and strong and feel pleased with my accomplishment. 13.1 miles. It was dream-like to be greeted on the other side by handsome men in tuxedo's holding silver trays passing out Tiffany necklaces in those beautiful blue boxes with pretty white ribbons. And what a high to bounce around in the exhausted and excited crowds of women, men and children in hunt for a banana, some water and our Nike finisher T-shirts. "Run like a girl!" they say. I love that.

So I'm proudly wearing my beautiful Tiffany necklace; a silver silhouette of a woman on the run with the Nike logo and '05 engraved. I was so happy when Coach Louis called to check in with me, as he does all his runners, after the race, giving us a chance to share our experiences and set new goals. I've spent some time on the phone with Carla reliving the experiences of the day and feel so lucky to know and have a friend like her. I can't wait to see everyone from the run club Tuesday night and hear about their experience in the Nike Half Marathon or Livermore Grape Stomp.

and before I take my ibuprofen and call it a night - thanks again to Sharon for driving - to Mindy, Mandie, Lorrin, Robin, Carla and Kasey for encouragement and energy - Hope everyone had a great time and feels one step closer to their next challenge and victory.

as for my stats,

Bib#15746. 2:42, age 35-39, 627 out of 1170, overall, 3888

it was crazy really, all that training, waking up at 3:30am to get ready and carpool to the city, to freeze in the morning, wait in long lines for porta-potties with no toilet paper, to run through large crowds, up steep unbearable hills, through the fog, along the coast for 13.1 miles

and i can't wait to do it again!

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At 11:35 AM, Blogger Karin said...

You are so completely amazing if I do say so myself!!!!!I am so proud of you!!!

At 11:48 AM, Blogger CC said...

AWESOME JOB. I thought about you all day. I know you are thrilled with your accomplishment! I know I am thrilled for you!


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