Today I finished my third marathon. It was the most difficult physical challenge I have ever faced. At Mile 21.5 I had to shift from running (barely) to alternating running and walking the rest of the way. It was a hard decision to make, but it enabled me to complete this test, and I am satisfied that I did the absolute best I could.
Here are some memories I will take home with me:
1. Running on the Golden Gate Bridge.
2. Running on the Golden Gate Bridge with a man who has run a marathon in all 50 states (twice). He said I could join the club when I get ten. I have three (once).
3. Seeing a woman who was running for her husband who was killed in Afghanistan. She ran 26.2 miles starting at midnight last night, and THEN ran the marathon with us. She ran by me on the bridge carrying a full size American flag.
4. Watching an older couple cross the street while weaving through hundreds of runners in the second mile of the race. It was like a game of Frogger. They won.
5. Hearing a kid spectator say, "I could run 26 miles, but that last .2 would kill me."
6. The unrelenting hills in Golden Gate Park. When I asked an SFM veteran at the airport about the park she said, "you won't even notice them." Uh, I noticed them.
7. Being a bit of a celebrity for a few minutes. Finishing a marathon entitles you to wear your medal for 24 hours, which encourages everyone to congratulate you and act really nice to you. I believe that this behavior increases exponentially as you age. That's great because I'm not getting any younger.
8. Having a cable car operator say, "nice job, man," to me. I don't know why I think that's cool, but I do.
9. Talking to a guy who qualified to run the Boston Marathon today on this course. Awesome accomplishment.
10. Lying in bed eating half a pizza just like I thought I would 24 hours ago.
11. Going to sleep knowing that the day is done.
Day is done.