Remember the last time I blogged about running? I hardly remember myself. Shin splints, knee problems, foot problems, attitude problems... Who wants to hear about all that crap? It's no fun to write either.
I wasn't writing and I was barely training. I tried a few times, and the shin said, "NO!" So for 3 weeks before the Nike Women's Half Marathon, I'd pretty much given up.
I had no business doing it. I wasn't prepared. I only got 2 hours of sleep the night before, and only 4 hours of sleep the night before that. I planned to just walk the damned thing since I'd paid for it, collect my T-shirt and jewelry, hang my head and go home.
But something inside me woke up when I got to Union Square at 7 A.M. and joined the other 16,000 women lined up in the dark and ready to go. Michael got up with me at that ungodly hour to see me off.
I planted myself in the back of the line with the other walkers and slowly inched toward the starting line (behind the thousands of "real" runners). It took 14 minutes to get up to the start. By the time my feet hit the mat, they were itching to go!
I ran and ran and ran! For 2 miles, I was passing the walkers and passing the slower runners. I darted up on the sidewalk to get around people and practically muscled my way through. I told myself, "Beth, this is stupid. You're going to pay for it. You're going to burn out early." But I just could not stop! I HAD TO PEE REALLY BAD!!!
It sucks that I didn't have time to pee before the race started. At Mile 2, I stood in line for 10 minutes for a porta-potty and could tell that it would be 10 minutes longer. I took off running again, determined to hold it until I could find a shorter line. At this point, I also calmed down and forced myself to Run 3/Walk 2, which is still way more running than I had planned.
For the next 2 miles, I checked the porta-potty line at each rest station, but they all looked too long. No time to waste! I was moving and just didn't want to stop. The weather was perfect, foggy and cool, and the city was magical at that hour.
Finally, just before Mile 5, I waited in another line and relieved myself. A total of 15 minutes down the tubes just because I left the house 30 minutes later than I'd planned. Blech!
Well, I thought, why am I worred about time? It's only a race, right? So I turned on my iPod and took off to the BEST RUNNING MUSIC IN THE WORLD. It was fate or good karma or just the best luck that the day before I discovered my new favorite band: Tilly And The Wall
Imagine running to: Rainbows In The Dark
or Bad Education.
What's that interesting percussion instrument, you're wondering. Why, it's a tap dancer! That's right! I said a tap dancer. This group is so exuberant! Just thinking about them makes me smile!
Then, just past the Golden Gate Bridge, we start up the long hill to the cliffs.
My feet slow down.
The music slows down (Love Song
The air is so clean it hurts.
And I weep. Just a little. This moment is just too perfect to exist.
Okay, but then the music pumps up again and my feet get going again, and we're at Mile 8 already and I can't believe I'm doing this!
This is it! The running is the prize! I can't believe it's possible to be so happy! And that the happiness has nothing to do with winning or beating anyone, although it is certainly nice that the mile markers are appearing so much faster than I expect them to!
Nearing Mile 10, my feet are beginning to lose the feeling of being feet. They kind of feel like stumps right now, stumps of non-specific pain. I'm running and walking on stumps of pain, and I don't care. Michael is going to meet me at the Cliff House and run/walk the last couple of miles with me.
Moving through Golden Gate Park, I switch to Walk 3/Run 2, and when I say run, I mean staggering shuffle. But look! They're giving out Ghirardelli chocolate, so how can anything be bad in a world like this?
Only about a half mile more, and I can hear the finish line calling me! It wants me! It wants me to come in under 3 hours. It wants me to get there fast! So I really start running again. I'm moving fast on my stump feet and the cameras are there and someone announces my name as I run over the pad and cross the finish line!
At the finish line, men in tuxedos hand me jewelry. Someone else gives me a T-shirt. Hands come at me from all directions with water and Jamba Juice and Luna Bars and even salad and rice! There's a massage tent and music and big crowds of people. Mark and Red are there to greet me and Michael, and we all get on a bus and go home.
Full Marathon, watch out because I'm coming for you next!!!
Labels: Climate/Weather, iPod, Milestones, Music