The Nike Women's Marathon was not easy, but that was not a surprise based on my training for this race. I firmly believe anyone can run a marathon if they train for it... I did not follow my normal training schedule and did not have a normal experience. That said, there were many things to appreciate today:
- The TNT volunteers are truly amazing. Favorite vignettes include the coach with the "free, performance enhancing hugs" sign on his back -- every one ran up to this guy for a positive reinforcement, coach walking hand in hand with a struggling participant, and the mentor at mile 18 with the sign that said "only 8 miles left". I have never seen a group of people so interested in supporting others through a positive, perhaps once in a lifetime experience....
- TNT participants. I was constantly inspired by the participants, either their commitment to run for someone they loved and lost (or hoped to keep) or their sheer strength in surviving a blood cancer followed by living to run a marathon so that others have a better chance of surviving too.
- Personal Bests. Big smiles every time I saw someone "labeled" as a first time marathoner. Lots of people had some notation to that effect. Good for them. :)
- Gorgeous course. I thought this was harder than the SF Marathon (http://www.runsfm.com). I missed the Golden Gate bridge, but loved the ocean facing parts of the course and appreciated the semi-secluded, peaceful lap around Lake Merced for miles 19-23.