Blog Post :: I Left My Heart In San Francisco
Do you ever ask yourself why you run? I pose this question because of the experience I had this weekend at the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. I have been coaching a great woman by the name of Sarah Bowen Shea, freelance writer, in hopes of helping her meet her sub 4-hour marathon goal. Sarah was relentless in her training, doing everything I prescribed. Sarah kept a blog on Runnersworld.com for 6 months preparing for this marathon. I felt so happy to be a part of this experience and hoped that I could get her off on the right foot on race day morning. It was race day morning and I left the Sir Francis Drake with my girlfriends Karen and Kelli to go meet Sarah and her team of Runner’s World photographers.
It was so exciting stepping out the door of our hotel right into Union Square where the race was about to start. Just then I realized I was in a sea of purple, TNT purple. I couldn’t believe my eyes, so many TNT Chapters from so many states. One shirt caught my eye, it read, “I miss you mom”. I just stood there frozen, staring at the words on the back of her shirt. This gal was running for her mom. I shook my head and blinked my watery eyes away and continued on my journey to find Sarah at the starting line in hopes of helping her to her goal. My girlfriends came to run the half marathon. They had a different reason for running and it seemed that girl time and fun were both leaders in why they run. I really enjoyed the girl time, the shopping, and the food. It is so fun to get away with friends, I couldn’t help but ask myself why it takes me so long to actually take a weekend for myself and then I remembered that I have a husband and two kids!! ☺ We had a blast talking until the wee hours of the morning and sharing in the demons only running an event can bring, you know the ones that rear their ugly head no matter how much we train. The dreams, the doubts and the adrenaline all mix together to make sure we don’t sleep the night before a race. I love running from the bottom of my heart and soul and I love to share the joy of what it brings. Women especially get so much from running and running in a group. Running with Sarah reminded me of what I like best about running, and that is sharing an experience, to be there when needed and to be quiet when it was time for silence. I ran for the fun of running and the joy of coaching. I ran for the joy of watching someone run her heart out and do the best job possible on that given day. I began running with Sarah yesterday morning and 4 hours and 11 minutes later we crossed the finish line. Coming in the last few miles and watching Sarah finish her marathon with drive and dedication was nothing short of awesome. We crossed the finish line together and even though I have a VERY cool Tiffany Necklace to mark my accomplishment, I have something in my heart that is more meaningful. I have a renewed sense of why I do what I do and how it all started. The first girls I trained in my Clubsport Running Club can attest to the power of women and what they can do together through running. Sarah was awesome in the marathon. She didn’t stop once to walk or use the bathroom or stretch, she just kept on going, a sure sign of the competitor she is. The time spent was an amazing experience for me, one that won’t be forgotten for a long time to come. I am so much richer because I was allowed to be a part of someone’s journey full of risk and reward. I am very proud of Sarah and no matter the time on the clock, her journey was a success. The beauty of the glowing Golden Gate Bridge, the cheering fans along the city streets, the white sandy beaches and the crashing waves were amazing. The heat and the hills were amazing too! Sarah deserved to run a sub 4 hour marathon, and if the race were one day before or after she may have made that time goal, but for that day, and as her witness…she ran her heart out, hence the expression “I left my heart in San Francisco”. The Nike Women’s Marathon is a charity run designed for Team in Training, which is a program that raises money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. When I was leaving the race yesterday I heard that over 18.5 million dollars was raised and over 28,000 women ran the race, for 28,000 different reasons.