Full Circle

For the 3rd weekend in a row, I met up with some of my favorite Bay Area runners. DSE, a local running club that Alyssa belongs to hosted a 6-hour Endurance Challenge. No, I didn't run for 6 hours - you could drop in and out of the race at any time. How is that possible you may ask? Because the course was a 1-mile loop around Crissy Field.

crissyfieldmap
crissyfieldmap

Basically, you just ran as many loops as you wanted.

They had an aid station at the start line set-up that was quite possibly the most amazing aid station you'll ever see -- water, Cytomax, red vines, M&M's, pretzels, cookies, grapes, watermelons, etc, etc. You can check out Courtney's post for photos of it!

Some might say that looping a 1-mile course is lame, but when you have views of the Golden Gate Bridge...

-1
-1

...Alcatraz, the downtown skyline, the Palace of Fine Arts, and run with cool people like Alyssa, Ron, Sandra, Karin, Layla, Cate, Courtney, Aron, and Audrey, it's anything but boring!

dserun-1
dserun-1

{thanks for the photo aron!}

jazzhands
jazzhands

{thanks for the photo sandra!}

I ran a total of 8-miles in cold, foggy conditions (gotta love San Francisco summers!).

But the 1-mile loop isn't why today was full circle for me.

As we were running the course, I noticed a bunch of other people wearing pink and realized that today was also the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer!

You see, it was exactly 7 years ago, back in 2004 that I walked in this same event. It was the very first endurance event that I ever participated in.

prewalk
prewalk

{pre-walk, circa 2004}

Earlier that year, (in January 2004) was the beginning of my quest to lead a healthier, active life. I recall getting ready for work one morning and seeing a commercial narrated by Reese Witherspoon on the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

Inspired, I emailed Malia, my best friend growing up, and asked her if she'd be interested in doing the Walk with me. It was a long shot, and I didn't think she'd be interested in it, being that she still lives at home on Moloka'i. But she surprised me and said yes!

Going into this Walk, I had no idea what to expect and to be honest, didn't really prepare for it. I was doing strength-training workouts with my trainer twice a week, and cardio on my own at the gym during the rest of the week, but I hadn't yet picked up running. The cardio was limited to the elliptical and stair mill. I wasn't prepared to be on my feet for 2 days walking 26.2 miles.

Day One started in Golden Gate Park, walking 13.1 miles across the Golden Gate Bridge to Mill Valley in Marin. We were so looking forward to spending the afternoon shopping that as soon as we finished, we hopped on a bus to be taken back to our hotel room in the City. No stretching, no resting - nothing.

(And in case you're wondering, yes we stayed in a hotel and did not camp out with the other walkers at Crissy Field. I'm just not the camping-type of girl).

crissyfield
crissyfield

{Crissy Field, circa 2004 - hasn't changed much, has it?}

That night I paid the price for my hastiness. I was in so much pain, I remember calling my trainer practically in tears. He told me to ice and stretch as much as I could, elevate my legs and eat bananas to help with recovery. It wasn't enough and I ended up having the concierge send a massage therapist to our room to massage my legs and feet. It helped some, but I still suffered on Day Two.

I'm not sure how I managed to get through the 13.1 miles the next day. I remember having to stop at a couple of medical stations to get iced, massaged and taped. Somehow, I managed to finish, but I was spent. But despite limping with plantar fasciitis for about a month after the event, I somehow became hooked on the whole "endurance challenge" thing.

sign
sign

{circa 2004}

It took me another 4 years before I signed up for my first running race, but the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer was definitely the catalyst.

As I ran past the walkers today, I couldn't help but think about how far I've come since then and feel so grateful for this event that planted the seed in me.

Ironically, Malia is also in town this weekend for a family wedding. We were supposed to meet up after today's run, but sadly, her family obligations got in the way.