Saturday, October 26, 2013

Nike Women's Marathon 2013

Not even sure where to begin... this was such an amazing race!!!  I have only been running for a little over 5 years and when I first started looking at races, I saw this one, and said, "I have to run this one!"  It's all done through a Lottery, and your chances of ever getting in are slim to none... however, there are some lucky ones that seem to get in every year!!  Well, this was my year...

We flew to San Francisco early Thursday morning to get to the Expotique and pick up my bib and race information... we hurried to Union Square, only to be told the roads were closed due to a bomb scare.  Someone had left a suspicious backpack on the corner, and everything shut down.  Now, I know its precautions and better safe than sorry, but I have to say, all I really cared about at the moment was when the Expo would open... I MUST get my bib- you know to make it official and everything.  We hung around for about 2 hours... I wasn't concerned of any real threat... I had other important things on my mind...
The Expo opened 2 hours later and I couldn't get in line fast enough!!!  I stood in the hot sun along with 100's of other anxious ladies and a few good men, and waited my turn...heart pounding!!!

I got my bib, and race packet and I wanted to cry right there... it was going to happen!  I'm in!!!  I wandered through the Expo with 1000's of others and took advantage of everything they offered... including a "tattoo" LOVED IT... and got my hair curled, and moved on to every other booth that was open and grabbed small goodies along the way... I didn't want to leave... but the NIKE store was up the street, and I had apparel to buy- oh, and my shoes!!

The NIKE store was HUGE!!!  But, as I got to the street, I realized that the runner's names had been etched on the windows... I ran to find my name... there it was... Tina Berlingeri...Oh, my gosh!!!  Look at it glistening on the NIKE store window... did it get any better than that???  Yes, yes it did!!

I tore through the NIKE store looking for shirts, shorts, socks, hats, underwear, whatever they had and carried a few around until I made a decision... bought adorable commemorative shirts and a hat that I will never wear,  and then I headed to the third floor and got my beloved Nike Lunar 5 shoes that I reserved... I felt like Cinderella... I LOVED the shoes... they are exclusive to the runners of the race... with the date and logo as well as the Tiffany branded necklace in the sole of the shoe... Oh, my... again... my heart pounding, and this was only the beginning...

The night before the race, I, of course ordered a BIG bowl of pasta- you know carbo loading the night before... yes, I know it should be done 3 days prior... I am not your typical Runner... I do it my way!  Hahahahha...  Got back to the hotel and laid my clothes out and got ready for the biggest race of my life...
Slept about 15 minutes... and I was up and ready to go!!  I got dressed, gave Vito a kiss goodbye and headed out the door.  I had to walk a few blocks to the start line and I "walked" with about 10,000 other ladies.  I couldn't believe it was about to begin and I was standing in the middle of Union Square with a bib on waiting to go!  I stood in my "wave" and began to reflect of the years of trying to get in to the race as well as the trials and tribulations of the past year making this moment possible... tears flowed and I couldn't stop them... I tried but tears of happiness rolled down my cheeks... I wiped them the best I could after all, I wore mascara so I would look decent for the Finish Line of Firemen...

The clock counted down, the fireworks went off, and 30,000 of my closest friends and myself took off into the dark streets of San Francisco!!!  Woohoo!!!

The start took us downhill, and I was on fire... speeding down the hill thinking this is about the greatest thing I have ever done... we hit  Pier 1 and took a left and ran down the coast... I couldn't stop thinking how blessed I was to be running this course and I had nothing but pure joy in my heart and a spring in my step!!  Those that know my running style, knows this is unusual... I am usually ready to call it a day by mile 3... not this time though... mile after mile went by and I was feeling great....  foggy and misty- perfect running weather!!!

The first hill hit and my head told my legs to walk, but I didn't... I charged up that hill and kept going, dang, I was impressed with myself... and then the next hill came and well, I jogged up that one... huffing and puffing a little bit and I thought, these HILLS aren't so bad... why was I worried... well... what I saw next made me worry...

The BIG ONE... mile 6!! hahahahhahahahahahhahahhahahahahahhahahahaha... I couldn't stop laughing at the fact I was about to "climb" this one... I walked it as well as the others around me!!  Once got to the top it was a straight downhill sprint... I really didn't think I could run that fast EVER and at mile 7???  I couldn't contain it, I just kept going...mile 8 came and for the first time, I needed to take a quick potty break... never have I stopped before except during my Marathon... but it was a  quick pit stop and once I adjusted and readjusted myself I was back in the groove...More hills to conquer... and I did!!

Mile 11 hit, and I was spent... how many more miles left, could I do it???  Mile 11.5 I saw Vito in the crowd cheering and well... that certainly helped my spirits.  I ran over to him and gave him a big hug, and off I went... thinking... if he had only shown me a little Blue Box, I would have called it quits... but 1.5 miles to go, how bad could that be????????????

Hahahahhahaha... my right foot was blown up like a balloon from a previous injury the week before, and my hips were coming unhinged... I limped and staggered on wondering if I was ever going to see the finish line...

There it was... simply beautiful... FINISH and I knew behind the finish line was a Fireman handing out the coveted little Blue Box from Tiffany!

It's been a week now that I have been home, and I still have such fond, vivid memories of the Nike Women's Marathon... something I will never, ever forget.  Something very powerful happened to me on that course, I can't explain it, and won't even try... I re-
live the course and the excited feelings I had each time I touch my necklace around my neck... Nike, you sold me!!  I will forever be grateful for the opportunity of a lifetime and hope that every runner gets to experience this race!!  Well done, Nike, well done!!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Getting closer

to the NWM race!!  A week and a half to go!!  I am starting to get excited, but still very nervous about the hills I am going to be challenged with on the course!
This morning's run was cool and pleasant!  I started out feeling pretty good about the mileage I was going to get in today.  The first 5 seemed to "fly" by and then I started feeling a bit stretched, but I knew I had to make it home and that was going to be another 5 miles at least!!

At the halfway point, I stopped by the Circle K to refill my water bottle... so nice to refill it with ice!!  I filled it up, and then asked if I could "taste" the Gatorade they had as a fountain drink.  The gal was very nice and gave me a small cup and I filled it with ice and orange Gatorade.  ( Why I have never asked for this before, is beyond me...) It was exactly what I needed to get me home.

As I began the journey home I saw a dirt trail that ran parallel to the highway and thought that would feel much softer on the knees- it did!  I ran through the wash/desert trails and found myself deep from the highway.  I ended up behind a housing development and had to find my way back to the highway! Who gets lost on their way home???  Me!!  Duh!

Well, I did make it home 11 miles done!!  A COLD dip in the pool and protein shake... and now I am ready to start the day...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Quickie for lunch...

You know its HOT here in AZ to run when 92 degrees feels COOL out!!  It was just that today, as I left the building, it was only 92 degrees, and it felt comfortable... Just imagine when its gets to be around 75 in December.... Ahhh... that is why I live in AZ!!

Went for a quick 3 miler today, and I felt pretty darn good out there!  19 days until the BIG Race... and I am no more ready to tackle those hills than I was 6 months ago... so it should be a LONG race but I am not going to win, just be a part of something I have envied for 5 years now!!  The finish line at the Nike Women's Marathon!!  Firemen and Tiffany, c'mon...does it really get better than that??  :)