Whew! It feels good to say that we raised over $4700 together for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Oh yeah, and I completed all 26.2 miles of the Nike Women's Marathon. Both were an uphill battle but definitely worth the effort!
On October 19, 2008, over 20,000 runners completed the Nike Women's Marathon or Half Marathon. Team Tucson had a great, but challenging, day! Our Team Marisa ran in honor of Marisa Gallego who lost her battle just six months before the marathon. We all carried Marisa in our hearts and minds throughout the day and I am happy to say that all 6 members of Team Marisa showed us their hearts that day and completed either the marathon or half marathon. I am still in awe of their strength.
I decided not to give you a blow-by-blow report of the day but give you a few highlights and some photos. I am also including a couple links to more photos: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2009947&l=4db53&id=1177912287 and http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2009980&l=38ccc&id=1177912287.
Even though we did hill training and I knew it was hilly San Francisco, I was more challenged by the hills than I expected. However, the hills were definitely worth the views. We started before sunrise in Union Square in downtown San Francisco, ran to the Embarcadero, then ran along the bay to Golden Gate Park. At the top of a challenging hill, we got our first glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge. We were so lucky that the bridge was not fogged over and we got several great views as we ran closer and closer. I ran the first half (or so) of the race with my mentor Kristin and we stopped to take a couple pictures of ourselves in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. My friend Tracey says this makes me a penguin (as in a John Bingham penguin) and I told her that I've never denied I was a penguin. I think never completing a marathon in less than 5 hours probably means that you will always be a penguin. Like John says, waddle on friends! John Bingham was one of our speakers for the Team In Training pasta party the night before the race along with renowned women's marathoner Joan Benoit Samuelson (1984 Olympic Gold medalist).
I finished the marathon in 5 hours, 27 minutes and 53 seconds (check out my results here). About 28 minutes slower than my goal of finishing in under 5 hours but I was so happy to see the finish line, I didn't even care. I struggled during the second half of the marathon. It was hard not to have my family, especially my husband Dan, there to cheer me on but my second family (Team In Training) provided great support. Over the last few miles of the race, I ran with or saw all 4 of the Tucson coaches and coach Ryan ran most of the last 2 miles of the race with me. I don't know that my butt could have made it across the finish line in the time it did if it hadn't been for them. And my mentor Kristin's dad was a fantastic substitute for my own dad. Kristin made sign for each of us and her dad stood along the race route holding the signs and cheering for all of us. He even decorated his jacket with our honored teammates! I got choked up seeing him around mile 16. It was also great to see the survivors out cheering for us. I think we all should cheer for them instead. I can run 26.2 but I don't know if I could make it through chemo.