1 - Hey, it's the Nike Women's Marathon and Half-Marathon! Just getting in was an accomplishment -- it sold out so quickly, none of my other girlfriends managed to get a spot.
2 - I've never run at sunrise before.
3 - It was the perfect day for a run -- cool, sunny, not a trace of fog.
4 - It was most scenic run I've ever been on. I ran past the Bay Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Cliff House, the Pacific Ocean. The clear sunny skies made sure we had spectacular views of everything.
7 - I've never seen so many people running for a cause. Half the runners must have been affiliated with Team in Training. Many of them had names, ribbons or photos on their shirts, of people who inspired them, people they were running for. Maybe people fighting leukemia or people who died fighting it. I saw a shirt that read, "You think running 26.2 miles is hard, try chemotherapy". It was truly inspiring.
8 - I got to carbo-load the night before on pancakes and ice cream without too much guilt.
9 - I got to spend a lovely weekend with my family in San Francisco. We met up with some childhood friends of Alfie's who were on vacation from England, and took them around the city and Sausalito. The kids had a great time and enjoyed sleeping in a hotel on Saturday night.
10 - The perks and freebies were amazing. Free iPod engraving, free massages and manicures and pedicures and makeovers pre and post-race, an oxygen bar after the first Big Hill (I wanted to try all of these but decided not to because the lines were just too long). Energy stations along the way offered water, Gatorade, bananas, oranges and bagels and Luna Bars. After the race, there was more fruit and water, Bear Naked Granola, bagels and Jamba Juice smoothies. The race shirt we got was a cute pink Nike DriFit shirt, not an ordinary white screenprint tshirt that gets relegated to Alfie's nightshirt drawer. The much awaited Ghirardelli Chocolate Mile was something of a disappointment -- I expected a bit more fanfare, and all I saw was a table of chocolate squares -- but hey, chocolate is still chocolate, and I managed to stuff a bunch of dark chocolate squares into my rack pack, to be savored in the days to come.
11 - And then there's the finisher's medal, which is so special it deserves it's own little section. Instead of a clunky piece of metal on a ribbon, finishers receive a sterling silver Tiffany's necklace. Yup, with the blue Tiffany's box and all. Presented to us on a silver platter by a bunch of hunks dressed in tuxedoes. I've never owned anything from Tiffany's, and this is something that no millionaire can buy.
12 - I've run my first half-marathon. I was expecting to run between 4 and 6 miles and walk the rest of the way, but other than my slow shuffles up the hills and some minute-long powerwalks, I ran. Being able to say, "I ran it" is the best perk of all.
13 - My time -- 2:22:25 -- is icing on the cake. Given how much I've been running, I did not honestly expect to finish below 3 hours.
0.1 - Did I mention that Tiffany necklace?
For a mile-by-mile account of the race, check out my post on the Silicon Valley Moms Blog.