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my 5th anniversary
tuff_as_muz
It seemed fitting to me celebrating my 5th experience running the Nike Women's Marathon (I did the half, calm down) by running under Ryan Anderson because not only was this the 5th necklace I earned, the 5th instance of utter torture in the hills of SF, the 5th time I cried turning the corner to see the Pacific Ocean over the edge of the Great Highway, it's also the 5th year I've been dating my boyfriend.  He was so excited when he helped earn me my spot in the race, and his energy was infectious, and I just really felt so loved in that moment because he knows how much I love that course.  Barely a month can go by without me talking about it with someone.

And once again, I awoke in the 4 o'clock hour, pulled on my running running clothes with sleep in my eyes, slipped on my shoes and went through the Nike ritual.  Water, coffee, water, banana, water, water, wait ... put in my contact lenses, grab my running buddy, and walk over to Union Square, where even though I've already gone to the bathroom numerous times, I still have that psyched-out mentality screaming *havetopeehavetopeehavetopeehavetopee* throughout the dark hollows of my brain that are barely awake yet.  I've learned it's all part of the process, and yet I get caught up in it every year.

And then we got closer to the square ... 

We definitely chose the wrong street to make our approach.  I had never seen so many people crammed into that area in all the years I've run this course.  It was like the largest mosh pit I've ever seen. People were stopped in front of me, but kept pushing from behind as though somehow we'd manage to break through the droves of women. I held my running buddy's hand tightly and we navigated through somehow, finally getting over to our meeting area with the rest of our group.  In that time, I somehow forgot about the *havetopeehavetopeehavetopeehavetopee* idea in my head, and realized we had 7 minutes left till the gun went off.  

Suddenly, adrenaline pumped, I could feel every bit of myself wake up and everything let me know I was ready to run. Music, on. Nike+ GPS, on. Tutu, on.  All systems go.

It took just over 8 minutes to cross the start line, but once we broke through, we all split up and went our own pace.  Running, although a social experience, can also be a very private, liberating experience if you allow it to be.  I just tuned everything else out and let my legs propel me.  I hit my stride early on, which I'm incredibly thankful for.  There are some runs where I can't quite get my breathing regulated and it somehow leaves my legs feeling leaden and heavy.  Not this morning.

I ran, I focused, and for a couple hours, I was living in the moment with 22,000+ other women.  It's amazing how that experience can affect you.  For me, it reminds me that our bodies are finely tuned incredible machines rather than different shapes and sizes.  Our legs were strong, our minds focused, our hearts pumping and our bodies filled with adrenaline and excitement.

There's no experience like the Nike.

And I have Ryan to thank this year.  Happy 5th anniversary! :-)




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