October has been a whirlwind month for us. We spent several days visiting my family in Mt. Shasta then camping in Oregon. We spent a week in Lake Tahoe (we were looking for some end-of-summer fun but were treated to a brief snow storm instead!). Tonight, we returned home again after spending two days in San Francisco and two days in Monterey, Ca. Whew. I'm ready to nest at home for a little while!
So why San Francisco and Monterey after two other trips this month? One, big, 13.1 mile reason: I ran the Nike Women's Half Marathon. Considering that growing up I was the skinny kid with flat feet and asthma, this race was a HUGE accomplishment for me. As an adult I have gained some curves, found shoes to reduce pronation, and outgrown my asthma. But, prior to training for this race, I had never run more than five miles.
The Nike Women's Marathon helps to provide support to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Last year, the Team in Training group raised $18.5 million dollars for the Society from the Nike Women's Marathon.
I chose this race because of the location (San Francisco is pretty close to home, not too hot in October, and is one of the most beautiful places in California). The race course was amazing! We began in Union Square and ended at the beach. We ran by many famous San Francisco landmarks including the TransAmerica building, Fisherman's Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, an amazing view of Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge (which unfortunately was hidden in the morning fog), and Golden Gate Park. Instead of a finisher's medal, we were each awarded a sterling silver Tiffany necklace that reads, "Run like a girl" for our accomplishment. So cute!
Here are some highlights from our weekend by the Bay (please forgive the photo quality- these were taken with my iPhone camera):
(Starting line of the Nike Women's Marathon. I found it incredibly moving to be standing in the streets of San Francisco before the sun was up with 20,000 others who were there for their own reasons. Seeing the names of others' honorees on their shirts nearly brought me to tears. Truly, truly amazing.)
(Jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Love that place!)
(How cute is this leopard shark who appears to be smiling for the camera?)
(Today was one of those beautiful, oh-yeah-this-is-why-I-live-in-California kind of days at Carmel State Beach.)
I chose a half marathon as one of my fitness goals this year because of how impossible it seemed to me before I started training. I ran the race for my father-in-law who passed away in 2008 from complications related to his lymphoma treatment. I ran for all those who are currently battling these cancers, for those who will be diagnosed in the future, and in honor of those who have lost their fight.
I encourage you to challenge yourself for something you believe in too. It is an amazing feeling to say, "I did it!" It is even more amazing to be one of many hearts that are united in honor of something bigger than all the ways that the individuals may differ.