You train, you sweat, you fret, you battle the self-doubt - and then the day arrives. Race morning. Not just any race morning, but the Nike Women's Half Marathon SF race morning. New course, new challenges, early wake-up call, long day, questionable hills.
Are you ready? Maybe. Are you scared? A little. Are you nervous? Yes. But are you gonna crush it? Hell yeah!
I arrived early Sunday morning and parked in my favorite lot. I walked down to Starbucks in hopes of finding my latest pre-race addiction: the raspberry lemon greek yogurt. While I was a barista I became infatuated with this delicious treat and discovered that because of the calorie, carb and sugar content - it made the perfect race day breakfast for me. Now I freak out when I can't find it.
I was smart enough to coordinate a meeting time/place with my friend Emelia prior to the race and we were able to spend the early morning together chatting about this race and future races. We waited in our corral until the race started and then said our goodbyes.
Here. We. Go!
Still high from the excitement of the Finish Line shakeout run with the #WeRunSF babes, I took off way too fast and never bothered to adjust my pace. After 2 years and countless half marathons you'd think I would know better by now. But whatever, fun is fun and I was having lots of it. Even up the hills!
The course was indeed hilly. Mile 2 was the first and then were a few more not so scary ones before reaching the mid-point of the course. The weather was a fantastic: moist and overcast. My favorite. I kept on, running often and hardly stopping. In fact, I didn't really focus on my time or walk breaks at all. I just ran.
The crowds and signage pushed me along. No knee pain, no extreme fatigue, no dehydration. I felt strong.
Then mile 10 happened. We all knew from the elevation map it would be gnarly. It was more than that. It was a make it or break it or moment, and I refused to let the hill break me. I kept forging ahead, recalling the advice from Joan Benoit Samuelson. In fact, I passed this guy and this epic sign, and thought it was so great I went BACK DOWN THE HILL to take this photo, then continued onward with a smile on my face and the music on loud.
A few minutes later something interesting happened. I looked at my watch. I noted the time. I noted the miles left to run (2), and I realized that this could be a PR race for me. I had to pee so bad I could taste it, but I pushed the thought out of my head and once again just ran...
and finished strong!
I cried at the finish line. Not just because of the tiny PR, but because I have come so far this year. My health and my fitness are light years ahead what they were in April. My confidence slightly outweighs my self-doubt, and that is a HUGE accomplishment for me. I am my own worst enemy, my own worst critic and the one person who believes in myself less than anyone else. With a bladder about to explode, I stopped and posed for this photo with a true sense of accomplishment. It wasn't an easy race, and I am still not as fast as the rest of you, but I crushed it.
The next stop: lunch and drinks with my friend Emelia. The best ending to a great race - actually having someone to share it with and not hopping in my car to rush home and deal with "stuff".
Once I got home, I waited for my daughter to come home from work so I could open my Tiffany box with both of my favorite people beside me. The charm is beautiful and the chain is long - very different from my other NWM SF necklaces. I couldn't be happier to wear this.
My final official race results are below. A 20 second PR over my previous fastest half marathon time, on a much, much tougher course. I am so pleased!
A million thanks to Finish Line for this wonderful experience! I am so grateful!