Marathoner? Who Me?

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“Crazy!” That's what I called my girlfriend when she suggested we do the Honolulu Marathon! “We can WALK it!” she exclaimed! She steered me to a site called “Marathon Walking” which outlined how any level headed person with slight overachieving tendencies can (really) do it! This was January of 2011. We had 11 months! No sweat we said!

At that point, walking 2 miles was quite the achievement. Actually, it was finding the TIME to walk even 20 minutes was the big challenge. We were busy!

Then, my husband (the manager—you know the type) chimed in and threw down the real gauntlet (we think he was scoffing at us)... he would SPONSOR us through his small business company! Cool! An ACTUAL, like, FOR REAL SPONSOR! He paid our entry fee but then issued this ultimatum: If... during or after the race, we were found on the ground, comatose, we were to immediately remove any association with his company (i.e. t-shirts, caps, tattoos, etc). He surmised the negative publicity was going to hurt his already obscure image! “Sheesh” was all we could say.

So my girlfriend and I somehow MADE the time (3 days a week at 5 am in the morning) to walk 2 hours, 3 days a week, averaging 18 miles a week to get ourselves ready for the event of our lifetime (and put any scoffing to bed)!

Needless to say, we did not bring shame upon my husband's company image and finished the long and often arduous route in a little over eight hours (oh my!). My 57 year old body almost abandoned me for a wiser brain, but looking back upon that year, the real reward of this life event was: making a very good and dear friend of my walking partner (we talked for hours on end while doing our training), having the support of my husband on a very personal journey, and getting into physical and mental shape to endure the rigors of walking eight long hours.

Yes, we GOT the Finisher shirt, the Finisher medal, pictures to prove it and most treasured of all, the memories. What now?

HALF MARATHON! But not just any marathon... THE NIKE Women's Half Marathon! Yes, the ultimate, most expensive, very coolest event FOR WOMEN... in San Francisco! “Let's Jus Do it” my (by this time) very close girlfriend said!

It's now 2013 and we have been walking ever since the 2011 Honolulu Marathon training. 15-18 miles a week and legs are strong and memories of pain are weak. We commit ourselves and I put in my name into a lottery (yes, you need to be LUCKY to even get to participate!) in April, along with my credit card payment of $175. Linda waffles and decides it is just too much expense (which is what any rational person would have concluded). We probably won't get picked anyways...

Then, the Nike email... I am IN! Okay, now what? Website says all half marathoners must finish in 3 hours 17 minutes (15 minute mile) or get picked up by a bus! Butterflies already! We now walk an average of 17-20 minute a mile! OK, time to UP the ante!

Linda, my Honolulu Marathon partner becomes my training inspiration and we learn to “wog” (walk-jog)! We still go 3 days a week and average 4-5 miles per day but with intervals of 1 minute run-3 minute walk. It's do-able. That's what I keep telling myself. Knees complain, I learn how to drink NUUN (fancy hydration drink) to keep the cramps at bay, and I buy the most expensive shoes I can find at Sports Authority! Oh, and knee braces and cool running attire help me feel like I CAN (really) DO IT!

We discover that the interval training is awesome! We struggle at first, but by October, we are running and wogging 13 minute miles! Weight is coming off and we actually MISS the early morning wogs when weather or vacations keep us from the pavement.

Then it is October and OFF I go!

Two words to describe participating in the San Francisco Nike Women's Marathon: INCREDIBLE and AWESOME!

Imagine 30,000 (!) empowered women of all ethnicities, ages, shapes and sizes, descending on the city by the bay! The festivities starts on Friday, October 18 at Union Square. A giant tent houses the Marathon Expo! Usually at these expos you find exercise gear, shoe vendors, stuff to keep your body from knowing you are abusing it, etc. NOT NIKE! Just for us WOMEN, they offer... get this...hair styling, makeup, tattoos (!), photo booths and free bus rides to Whole Foods! Of course there are shopping coupons and a grand presentation of all the coolest and most recent Nike women's running gear and shoes (in glass cases). We oooh and ahhh, but don't even ask the prices as we know it isn't the same as shopping from the clearance rack!

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