Monday, March 19, 2007

My First Race

I was bib # 3694 in the 2007 Emerald Nuts Across the Bay 12K. A certified 12K (7.45 Miles) course from East Fort Baker; across the Golden Gate Bridge west sidewalk to Aquatic Park. Hilly, paved and beautiful.

Except for two short walks at the start of the two hills I ran the whole thing! Finish time: 1hr 40mins - that's a 13.42min mile pace. I expected to do it at 15 min/mile so I am happy. I am also amazed that I ran the entire thing.

I started the race with Trish, honoree Vanessa's mom, we ran & chatted to the mile 1 marker, looked up & saw THE HILL! We slowed & walked & stretched in hopes to save our legs for the rest of the race. About 1/4 of the way up we see our coach, MamaLisa cheering us on "run through the hill" "baby steps" "you can do it" "just like a stairclimber" (I hate the stariclimber!). This gets me "running" again and before I know it I'm at the top and turning onto the Golden Gate Bridge. I've also left Trish behind, sorry.

I've lived here all my life & have never crossed the bridge other than by car. This is pretty cool. I set a goal to run across the bridge before I take another walk break. I leapfrog across the bridge with a nutty woman in bright red wearing a feathered cap (she's either in her 60's or spent too much time running long distances in the sun - maybe both) We make friends and chat and use each other as course markers thru the whole race. I'm halfway across the bridge and I feel pretty good.

I miss a mile marker sign and have no idea how far I've gone but I'm still running. How long have I gone without a break? Why don't my feet hurt? This is so weird. What did that sign say? Mile 5 Yay me! I've run farther than ever. I can do this.

It helps that all the TNT runners are wearing the team shirts so we can recognize our friends along the course. Whenever you pass another TNT-er you get a cheer and a boost to keep going - you have no idea how much that helps. I was not alone out there even though I was running by myself.

At mile 6 I felt the rebirth of a few blisters. Oh, please grow slowly so I can finish. I attempt to walk to see if that helps but it just makes me want to stop so I pick up the run and distract myself with all the cute dogs playing on the beach.

The mile 7 sign is at the bottom of the last hill and I power walk through the fist hump. I told myself I will run the last mile no matter what and I turn on MamaLisa's voice in my head and take my baby steps. I make it to the crest and can't believe I'm almost to the end. I start to think about our honoree Brenda who is in the ICU, who can't breath without oxygen, and I focus on my own breathing - being thankful for each deep breath. I'm almost to the end. I can breath. I've climbed the last hill. I start to cry.

I try to regain my stride & my breath on the downhill, I know it's going to be over soon. A right turn at the bottom of the hill reveals the finish line. I sprint the last 100 yards, I can't believe I have the energy to do that.

It's over. I've run my first race. I actually RAN a race. I RAN the whole damn thing.

I guess I have no excuse for walk breaks on tomorrow's buddy run around Lake Merritt.


EP said...

rock on with your bad self!

congratulations! it's amazing to me that how no matter how tired you feel, you can (almost) always push for that little sprint at the end.

feels good, doesn't it?

Jane said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. I am so proud of you! Keep up the great work, I can't wait until I get to see you cross the finish line.

Elizabeth said...

I knew you could do it. Take that feeling of victory with you on every run.

Awesome job!

Betsy said...

Sarah- Great job and keep going for it. Now, you know you can do it!