I remember exactly where I was the day I first saw the website for the Nike Women’s Marathon. I don’t remember the exact date. It was sometime in June of 2007, and I was training for my very first Peachtree Road Race. I had done a few fun runs when I was a kid, but had never done really well. All through youth I played soccer, but never once did I consider myself a runner. I had recently gotten a pair of Nike shoes which were compatible with the NIke+ system and I was on the website checking it out. I had set up my training plan with Nike after getting the shoes, which was great because I had never learned anything about training to run all through my time as a soccer player. Looking back I probably would have been even better at soccer if I had done some endurance training before the season started. And then one Saturday it happened. I came across the site for the Nike Women’s Marathon, and I was entranced. It sounded like the coolest thing I had ever seen. A race geared towards women with a chocolate mile, foot stations, and a tiffany’s necklace as a finisher’s medal. At the time I never thought I could run a marathon, but I thought it would be really cool to run this one. There was no way I could do it that year because the race was already full, but Nike had done something very cool. They had set up a virtual half marathon for those who did not get into the race. All you had to do was sign up and get the Nike+ system so that you could upload 13.1 miles on the day of the race and in return (for a small entry fee) everyone who uploaded the correct mileage got a finisher’s shirt and a tiffany’s keychain. I had never wanted to try something so badly. I saved up and got an ipod nano and the Nike+ system, paid my entry fee, and set up a training plan to train for a half marathon.
Now, I should say that up to this point I had never run more than 8 miles. I had been training during the summer in Atlanta, my least favorite season to train, and it had been tough. I had gotten to know an old friend at church who was a runner. The day I discovered the Nike Women’s Marathon had been the day that a bunch of us from my Sunday School class had gone to a Braves game (which they lost because they always lose when I go to a game), and we started talking about running and I told her what I had found. She said that one day she wanted to run that marathon, and before I knew it this came out of my mouth, “well if you do let me know, because you might be able to talk me into doing it too.” HA! The next morning I tried out Nike+ for the first time and loved it!
I thought a lot about trying to do the race in 2008, but for various reasons I ended up running 2 different marathons that year, ING Georgia and the San Antonio Rock-n-Roll Marathon. San Antonio was my first race with Team in Training, and we ended up training along side the team going to the Nike Women’s Marathon. I was so jealous! I had never wanted to do a race so badly before and right then in the middle of training I made a promise to myself. I was running the Nike Women’s Marathon in 2009 with Team in Training. No questions about it. I didn’t care if it meant turning jobs down (which hasn’t been a problem because there are no orchestra jobs at the moment) I was doing this race! There was also no question about doing the race with Team in Training. I love working with Team in Training! It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Unfortunately for our staff coordinator in meant that i started bugging her the day I saw the lottery for spots opened (I’m pretty sure she’s forgiven me, at least I hope she has). She talked me into signing up to be a mentor, which was funny because at the time I didn’t realize she was the one choosing the mentors for the Nike Team (payback for the bugging? lol).
In just 6 days I’ll be running a race I’ve wanted to do for 2 years. It hasn’t fully sunk in yet. Could it really be possible that on Sunday I’ll be in San Francisco running the Nike Women’s Marathon? Could you believe that I’ve already started packing? I’m just a little excited. Frankly, it’s hard to sit still at the moment. I have a feeling that it’s going to take a lot of focus to get through the week. Just 4 more days till we leave. I don’t know what will happen at the race. I have a time in mind that I would like to finish in, but I don’t know what will happen. There is no question that I will finish. I haven’t held my goal pace for more than 10 miles, and my long runs have been significantly slower than what I’m use to. To make things even more complicated I’ve gotten a little faster now that the weather is cooling off. It’s honestly starting t mess with my head. Saturday’s run was great despite being sick, but my average pace was 8:30 a mile. I can’t hold that for 26.2 miles. It is whatever it chooses to be that day, but one thing is for certain. On Sunday I’m running the Nike Women’s Marathon. It’s just 6 days away!!