I literally cannot believe I ran a marathon. It’s so surreal! After all of that training, all of those blisters, all of those gallons of gatorade, all of those Saturdays dedicated to 3 hours of running…it’s done! I did it!
It’s amazing how much the marathon consumed me! I was so focused on it. Now that it’s over, I can dedicate my mind to other things like taking the dog to much needed puppy class or picking up the dry cleaning instead of
focusing on preseverating on if I have enough ice prepared for my ice bath, or if I got over 8 hours of sleep the night before a big run, or if my 3 million Clif Bars are stocked and ready for the run. But despite that preservation and the months of hard work, nothing feels better than crossing the finish line!
I don’t remember a ton from the first 10 miles. I remember being at the starting line with a Texas Gulf Coast coach (side note: Even though we moved to San Francisco, I was still on the Texas TNT team), throwing off my warm up clothes at mile 2 (the weather was awesome! No prolonged warm-up gear necessary, but I was glad I took my own advice from the San Antonio half marathon!), my knee starting to hurt at mile 3, and then it was a blur for the next 7 miles! The elevation was bananas and it was packed body to body during the first 10, but I was cruising along really well because of the awesome voice memos people sent, and because I knew I got to see Nikki, Nate (amazing supporters!), and Matt between miles 10-11. There were 3 (I think) really nasty hills during the first 13. One of the many cool things about Team in Training is that there are coaches EVERYWHERE and on the monster hills, there was a coach every couple of yards running another TNT member up to the top of the hill and then heading back down to pick up more runners and encourage them up those ass blasters. Totally neat.
(Photo credit Nikki Will)
Around mile 11, I hit a bizarre and unexpected wall. Everything was in focus now and it was looking bleak! Luckily, I found the Texas Gulf Coast Chapter Team in Training coach along the route just as I hit a bit of a low point and he got me to mile 14. He said that the mile 11 “wall” is unspoken, but often happens because you can see the majority of runners turning off to complete the half and it hits ya that you have 15 more miles to go. Oy.
Coach Steve’s yelling, “Go Team!” and encouraging me to encourage other TNT runners made my knee hurt less and my morale boost. At mile 14 a Team in Training coach from Ontario was running solo, so I asked if she wanted to run with me to mile 16. At this point we were finished running by Fisherman’s Wharf, by Chrissy Field, up the Presidio, and through Golden Gate Park. The runners had drastically thinned after mile 13, and the path was clear of elbows.
At mile 16, I got a new running partner, my Matt, which was a great, great treat. We sauntered along the Great Highway together and took in the ocean. By mile 19 I thought my knee was going to bust, so we stopped at the first aid tent for Tylenol before heading around cursed Lake Merced. Miles 19-23 were
pretty tough brutal. The course was barren of spectators at this point, so it was just you and your sneakers. It’s a mental race at this point. Matt was initially only going to run miles 16-19 with me, but because my knee was going nuts, he stuck it out with me. He was lovely saying things like, “Look Amanda, we get to run around this pretty lake!” and holding my hand when I asked him to, and tolerating my snark.
Moving through molasses at this point...
Matt stayed with me until he got booted off the course at mile 25, so I got to cross the finish line by myself. I just kept thinking, “yes! yes! yes!” (I think some fist pumping was involved at this point.) At the finish line, I was given my Tiffany’s Finisher Necklace presented by a San Francisco fireman dressed up in a tux. I never once cared about my time (which is a good thing…), I just wanted to cross the finish line with a smile on my face. And that I did!
Nike Women’s is a cool marathon if you can get over the elevation in the first half. It is totally catered toward women, has awesome scenery, and has fun run-distracting things at every mile (ie: chocolate mile, power song stations, photo op mile, etc.). After the race, there were hair care stations, skin analyses with Neutrogena, and lots of other girlie things. This year the theme of the marathon was, “I run to be ______.” I thought this was a really cool! At different mile markers you could run under a one of two banners that filled in that blank. For example, at one mile it said, “I run to be fierce,” or “I run to be free.” Cool stuff like that. You could then get your Tiffany’s necklace engraved with your attribute.
I run to be ___.
Done! Done! Done!
After the run, I hobbled around while Matt went to get the car. Then we went out for dirty, disgusting hamburgers with Nikki and Nate, and life instantly returned to normal again. We came home, Matt napped, we watched Mad Men…if it wasn’t for the aches and pains, I wouldn’t have known it had happened!
I would definitely do another marathon (that said without putting my sneakers back on yet…). I have my eyes on my favorite marathon-Lakefront in Milwaukee. I know there aren’t any mountains to climb in that race! Otherwise, I would definitely do Nike Women’s again, and I would do it with Team in Training. Who’s in?
(Cowbell photo credit Nikki Will)
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