Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Marathon Wknd Summary: Pre Race Hoopla

Mission accomplished! I officially went from zero to twenty six....I finished by the skin of my teeth but I finished all the same! When you see me feel free to call me Ms.Marathoner! I will give you the play by play of the event weekend. It was such an amazing experience that I want to share a detailed account…and just to keep it real, I don’t want to tell the story over and over again. If you really just care about the race then skip this post and head over to my "Race Day: Part 1 and 2" post. If you're looking to get the full experience sit back relax and keep reading.....

My Arrival

Luckily when we got to our hotel we were able to check in. There was nothing more I wanted to do than shower and regroup after catching a 650am from NYC. My good friend Nicaila (Nicki), also a race participant, was my roommate. Nicki and I signed up for TNT together and I was SO happy that I was rooming with someone I knew. I couldn't imagine going through pre race day nerves with a stranger. Although, I have made plnty of friends through TNT over the past few months, so I don't want to down play my TNT homies.

Our friend Fabiola (Fab) came out to San Fran to cheer us on. I would like to give Fab the "2010 FRIEND OF THE YEAR AWARD." Not only did she fly clear across the country to cheer us on in the race in crappy weather, but she also had a T-shirt made to show her support. Once Fab arrived we took a couple of hours to explore San Fran. I had a laundry list of things I wanted to do while I was there, none of which got accomplished, oh well you can't win ‘em all :-/

San Francisco

Now this is my kinda Cali! San Francisco is so pretty and has an urban feel that isn't overwhelming (unlike crazy ass NYC). But the hills are a bit much, I actually saw this woman wipe out walking down a hill. FYI - when someone tells you something is two or three blocks away, please note that those blocks might be straight up a steep hill. After brunch we walk completely uphill to Lombard street, which is famous for being the crookedest street in San Francisco. Once we were done taking pictures we rode the trolley from Fisherman's Warf to the Nike Expo to pick up our race packets. Side note the trolley broke down about 10 minutes after we got on, suffice to say I was slightly disappointed with one touristy thing I actually had time to do.

The Event Weekend

First of all, I would like to give a shout out to Nike for putting on such an amazing event! I felt so official when I showed up at the registration tent and expo. Quietly I felt like an Olympian  The event branding was great, they really made the runners feel special, like the city was ours for the weekend. The expo tent was in Union Square which is directly across the street from Niketown. For the weekend the name of every runner registered in the race was displayed on the side of Niketown, I was so excited when I found my name!

Back at the expo tent they had more free samples than I could count, foot messages, and all kinds of co branding stations (Nike + iPod, NWM on facebook, etc.). Side note Fab was definitely at the expo getting a foot message and posing for pictures like she was running the race on Sunday. But since she's our #1 supporter we indulged her. In Niketown I lost my mind buying official race day gear. I also managed to find time to take over for the DJ and spin for a few minutes :-)

Ok, I would also like to shout out TNT for creating by far one of the most uplifting experiences of my life. The night before the race TNT hosted an inspiration dinner. I spent most of Saturday afternoon napping and icing my feet, really trying to conserve my energy for race day. When I got up from my nap I'll be honest I wasn't hard pressed to get to the dinner on time. I was at the peak of "operation reduce stress," so Nicki and I took our time as we made our way over to the dinner. Thank God we made it because it was such a moving experience.....

When we walked into the doors there was a massive crowd cheering for us. I was so shocked and overcome with emotion. I was fighting back tears from the minute I walked in the door (mind you I only cry like maybe 3 times in a given year – and NEVER in public!). Then I turned a corner and saw the New York coaches cheering for us, I got a lump in my throat and it was becoming harder and harder not to cry. We reached a landing and looked down at an even bigger crowd cheering for us. I was amazed to see people from all over the country cheering for little old me (or little old “us” the runners)! As I walked down the stairs I looked to the right and saw a man with a sign that said "I'm a survivor because of you." I officially started to ball, I was so focused on the race that I forgot about the cause. All the funds I raised really DO have an impact on peoples lives! It was nice to see a connection to the cause. We heard many stories of survivors that night which inspired me to give my all to the race. I was pumped and ready to go!!!!.....

(proceed to Race Day: Part 1 and Part 2 post please)