Race day finally arrived. I woke up at 4am, did a few leg swings and hip rotation warm ups, updated my blog and waited for room service that never came! Yikes...10 min to go before I head to the lobby and meet the rest of the girls and I've eaten nothing. Luckily, the race kit that was provided had a peanut butter and chocolate energy bar - phew. Better than nothing!
When we exit the hotel we're greeted with cheering and loud music. The energy was just overwhelming and I loved every bit of it. Definitely gives you that extra boost you need to overcome any nerves.
|Last Nike+Fuel shoot before we take off!|
Karen, Renisha, Elizabeth, Tiara and myself
|Huge sea of runners|
|And we're off..|
Once we started, we made our way through an amazingly scenic course. The first 2 miles I ran accompanied by my new friend Renisha. We ran through financial district past the Transamerica Pyramid, all along the waterfront of the Embarcadero where we lost each other :( I waited for her, even jumped up and down to see if I could find her, but sadly I never did. So off I went alone - just me and 27,000 women pounding the streets of San Fran.
I continued past Fisherman's Wharf, Fort Mason, along the Marina Green, past the Palace of Fine Arts and Crissy Field, then headed up a long huge hill at mile 6 into the Presidio, exposing views of the breathtaking Golden Gate bridge under thick fog. The excellent training schedule Marie Purvis provided definitely made me more than prepared for these hills. I rocked them!!! The scenery and the energy from other runners also helped to distract from the inclines as well.
|This is where the tight crowd started to break from the walkers to runners.|
|Made it to the top of the 1st hill!|
|The fog was like soup - the Golden Gate bridge is somewhere underneath it...|
At mile 10 I hit the Great Highway, which was a nice downhill mile, until the course cuts into Golden Gate Park at mile 11 for one last gradual, but difficult uphill mile not because of fatigue or pain, but because my left contact lens starts to blur - sand or dirt flew into my eye and I can't see clearly! GAH! So I step to the side, blink rapidly and finally whatever was there is now gone.
Finally, we reached mile 12 and we looped back out of the park to head to the finish line on the Great Highway along the beach. There were numerous supporters along that last mile helping to cheer the runners on.
As soon as I saw the finish line, I don't know what got over me, but I just bolted and gave whatever energy I had left. Even the commentator saw and said "Wow - check out the burst of energy on that one, she wants that Tiffany's necklace bad" I did and I wanted to find Justin ASAP as I knew the longer it took, the harder it would be as more racers came in. I found him in 10 min and he greeted me with a big warm hug :)
The course overall is breathtaking and the cheer stations a huge bonus - from a Gospel choir, break dancers and cheerleaders and random strangers giving me high fives as I zipped past them.
|I finished 2hrs17min not to bad considering the search for Renisha and photo taking I was doing along the way :)|
|so worth 13.1 miles - so pretty|
|Fuel check as I crossed the finish line|
After getting the "OK" that there would be no more photoshoots or interviews as the wi-fi service was bad at the finish area and we couldn't find the other Nike girls, I was sent back to the hotel and told to relax & have a free day to myself.
I did just that, freshened up and headed to the nearest diner to refuel with a much needed chocolate malt shake :) YUM!
|refuel w/chocolate malt shake :P|
We spent the rest of the day walking around the city, eating, and relaxing.
|Justin and I took a tour bus to Muir Woods and Sausalito.|
|Very narrow winding road to Muir Woods on a tour bus - this was scary!|
|The tallest coastal redwood at Muir Woods is about 258 feet, approximately the height of a six-foot person stacked head to toe 45 times. Further north, these trees can reach heights up to 379 feet!!!|
Then it was off to Sausalito - house boats everywhere and a gorgeous view of the city.
Walked along the Fisherman's Wharf and took in the sights and sounds.
|made from bread!|
|Sunset view of Alcatraz from the piers|
|Sea Lions taking naps on Pier 39|
|catching the sun-rays before it sets|
Our last meal in San Francisco at John's Grill - one of the city oldest and most famous establishments
. Food was top notch :)
|Prawns and mushrooms|
|Ended the evening with a stroll along the hilly streets on San Fran. - way to earn that Nike Fuel :)|
|My #1 fan from home - Tenchi :)|
This will go down in the books as one of the most memorable experiences of my 20's - Will I do this again? Maybe...I will definitely keep running in my exercise regime ;)
A HUGE thank you to Lydia Lauer ( North America Digital lead and the people at Nike Women and Nike+ Fuel team for giving me this opportunity.
Róbin Arzon of Team Epiphany & a member of NYCBridgeRunners , who with great patience made us look bad-ass and fierce for most of our shoots in San Francisco.
Jerome Love photographer
Thank you for all the cheers and support!!! I heard each and every one of them as I ran - you guys ROCK!!