nike women’s marathon 2013
Each and every Nike Women’s Marathon event benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Our partner, Team in Training, has trained thousands of women and raises money to fight blood cancers. While over the past 10 years, we have proudly donated over $134M to support cancer research. We Run With Heart.
Back in 2000, my grandmother was diagnosed with leukemia and given an estimated six months to survive – her only wish was to see me graduate high school. This year marks thirteen years of her fighting stronger than ever to prove everyone wrong. She is the epitome of strength and grace and I am forever grateful for the extended time that we have had together. When approached to join a group running the San Francisco Nike Women’s Marathon and Half Marathon at the beginning of the year, I agreed to run in honor of Grandma Ginger. Besides, I told myself, you only turn 30 once.
If you know me, you’ll agree that I am anything but athletic. If you ask anyone I’ve ever dated, they’ll probably tell you that any harmless suggestions to working out together likely ended in a break up. And if we’re being honest, not once did I ever run an entire mile during my elementary years. Our PE classes were only 35 minutes long and, unfortunately, I never completed those four grueling laps around the field before being asked to cut it short and come on inside. In middle school, I elected to take power walking as my ‘athletic’ credit. Power walking. I was that kid.
On Sunday, I ran a half marathon. I, Kimberly Ann, ran thirteen miles. Thirteen miles. Uphill. Through the fog. It was the hardest and most rewarding thing that I have ever done in my life. At the beginning of my training, I decided that if Grandma Ginger can battle leukemia for 13 years then I could run 13.1 miles. And that’s exactly what I did. Each mile celebrated yet another year that we’ve had together and though each and every mile got that much harder, I knew that I could achieve anything with the strength of my family cheering me on.
A few days of soreness and a small cold aside, the journey was absolutely amazing. And because I love lists, here are my top ten highlights:
- The San Francisco Hills. Just kidding. They sucked. They really sucked. Let’s just move on to number nine.
- The views. Fog and all, could we possibly live in a more beautiful city?
- The people of San Francisco. Even at 6AM there were people hanging out of their windows cheering us on.
- The Nike Volunteers. These were the most supportive and energetic group of people ever. There’s nothing like rounding a turn to a sea of high fives to get you motivated.
- The support signs along the way. Some favorites included “GO! GO! GO! You’re already running better than Congress!” – “BART may be shut down but you can run all day long!” – and “Why are women always running from me?!”
- Speaking of signs – the five year old boy holding the “Smile if you PEED!” sign. This adorable monster traveled to each of the spectator locations and just giggled uncontrollably when you’d smile at him.
- That the minute I began to ascend the first hill, “I’m sexy and I know it” came on my playlist. All I could envision was a certain someone’s amazing dance moves while I pushed a little harder.
- That mile ten may have been the hardest mile to push through, but it was at that moment that I realized that I COULD do this.
- That I DID do this. And that I finished under the 15:00 pace to qualify as an Official Finisher.
- The Tiffany’s finishers’ necklace presented by local firemen in tuxedos just sweetened the deal.
Most importantly, this weekend I learned that hard is not hurt and that quitting because something is hard is no longer an option.
This may be my first and last half marathon (I know, never say never), but surprisingly I can actually say that I now enjoy running and the positive effect that it has on my overall being. You definitely won’t see me hanging up my running shoes anytime soon!