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Nike Women’s Marathon – Views from a Spectator

Posted Oct 16 2012 9:49pm

I’ve been to the West Coast more times in the past month than I have in my entire life. Unless you count Hawaii…but I don’t. It’s not attached to the mainland so it doesn’t count, right? Anyway, I spent my weekend in San Francisco cheering on participants in the Nike Women’s Marathon. For work.

I get paid for this?!

These are the times that I love my job. Running and cheering and guys in tuxes? Yes, thank you.

If you don’t know, all finishers of NWM get a Tiffany’s necklace handed to them on a silver platter by these lovely gentlemen. Yes, I’m serious. I’m tempted to sign up for this race next year…if it weren’t so close to Ironman Lake Placid, I would 100% sign up…and make all of you join me. Although I didn’t run this year, I was working and was able to see everything that went into this race. The course was beautiful. The logistics seemed pretty flawless. And did you miss the part about the attractive men handing out Tiffany’s necklaces on silver platters? Pretty genius.

Myself and a coworker accompanied 128 TNT participants to San Fran. That is not easy to do, my friends! But we survived the event and even got a solid long run in. Let’s back up to Friday – we started by checking out the expo:

Fashion Show turned Race Expo in the heart of San Fran!

Because our Saturday was jam-packed with work-related activities, we woke up around 5AM and ran 5 miles. 5 at 5.  Ran to the Bay Bridge and thought it was the Golden Gate Bridge until we realized the difference about 12 hours later. Boom. Done. Our plan was to run another 10-ish miles after we took care of all our responsibilities for the day. So, after enjoying our hotel room view for a couple seconds and attending an equally inspiring and hilarious Inspiration Dinner emceed by John “the Penguin” Bingham…

My favorite Penguin joke: “How can you call a 2:08 marathoner an endurance runner…when he can’t even run much more than 2 hours?! Not endurance.”

…we headed for the real Golden Gate Bridge. Oh. My.

Heavenly.

I’m moving here. Bye NY.

Everything the light touches…is San Francisco. 

We ran 6 miles to the bridge, a couple miles over and back, and 6 miles back to our hotel. Naturally we got lost on the way and ended up with almost 20 miles on our feet for the day. I felt pretty good, minus a lack of hydration. Plus, we were more “run-walking” AKA sightseeing.

Tourism – running style. The next big thing.

Here’s the bridge, everyone! Also, I look like I’m 2 feet tall.

Thanks for being good to us, Marin County. Sorry I couldn’t open my eyes for you.

We finished the day with a bottle of wine, Thai food takeout in bed, and an early bedtime. Perfection.

Sunday was raceday. I did a lot of cheering. A lot of cowbelling. Have I mentioned that cowbelling is a serious sport? Like, you can get injured from it. And sore. I’m still recovering.

Here are some of my favorite mid-cowbelling photos:

Man on the bottom right is a cancer survivor on our team!

We started cheering at mile 10.5 and eventually headed to 25.2 for the finish, which exhibited an unbelievable range of emotion on the faces of the runners (and spectators!) All of the TNTers were smiling as they came through the last mile…happy and strong, which is a testament to our awesome coaches. It was also a treat to see the last participant come through the finish. I was worried about how they would feel, until all of the staff members lined up and all the 30+ coaches ran in together with that participant. It brought tears to my eyes!

Lining up for the last few finishers!

This weekend took a lot out of me, but I also gained a lot. I came away with a sense of strength, happiness, and thankfulness. Strength to run, strength to solve problems, strength to do my job to the best of my best ability. Happiness from seeing all the successes of the runners and walkers, and from knowing this team and this race raised a whole bunch of money for cancer research. Thankful for my health, my strength, my happiness. My life.

For now, I’m just trying to recover from a crazy month. I need rest. I need relaxation. I need candy corn. I need to follow these fellas to the next Nike Women’s Marathon…

See you in San Fran?

Have you run the Nike Women’s Marathon? Know how serious cowbelling is?


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