When I Was a Runner...

Its been over a week since my last post. And its been 12 days since I last ran...I almost forget what it feels like...but what can I say, its been a crazy 2 weeks. After the Las Vegas RnR race, I flew back to the Bay for 40 hours - long enough to see my physical therapist and hair stylist - priorities, my friends, priorities. :)

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Then, on my birthday, I flew out to Hawai'i to go home for my Grandma's funeral. Though we mourned her passing, it was also a celebration of her life and I really enjoyed reconnecting with my family, as well as with the island that I grew up on. It'd been almost 3 years since I was last home and sometimes I forget what a special place it is.

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I was there for 4 days and was due back to the Bay on Sunday evening. Well, my flight from Maui was delayed 7 hours, then ultimately cancelled. I was so mad - I HAD to make it back to San Francisco by Monday morning.

A couple of months ago, a college friend of mine who works for ESPN on the MNF crew asked me if I wanted to be a "runner" for the game. Without even hesitating I responded with a, "Yes, of course!" I'd been looking forward to it for so long and I wasn't going to let United Airlines ruin the experience for me.

From Maui I called my cousin Jeff and asked him to check the flight schedules out of Hawai'i to SFO. He found some options where I could fly out of Honolulu, but since I was on Maui, I'd have to take an inter-island flight to O'ahu. I asked the gate crew if this was a viable option but they were completely useless; never could get a straight answer out of anyone. With my window of opportunity closing, I started to panic. I actually picked up my phone to call my friend and tell her that I was going to miss the game...but then I heard another passenger talking to the reservations line. He got booked for the 10 pm flight out of Maui that night and gave me the same number to call. Thankfully, I was able to get rebooked for that flight too.

I landed at SFO at 5 am, just in time for the 9 am call time.

Running on 3 hours of sleep, but lots of adrenaline, I headed to Candlestick Park to be a "runner." I had no idea what that meant, but I was ready to run.

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At first there was a lot of just standing around and not doing anything but chatting with the other runners. We felt guilty for not having anything to do. But eventually, once mid-day rolled around, things started happening. Next thing I knew I had to do stuff like:

- fill a cooler up with drinks - find flip charts - take stuff from the tv compound to the set on the field - get Steve Young's media credentials for him - pick up Matt Millen from the hotel and bring him to the Park

As it got closer to the pre-game show things started to get really exciting. The pre-game festivities started and eventually we "forgot" we were "runners" and became spectators on the field, sometimes even forgetting to listen to the radios to see if anyone was calling for us. We had the best seats in the house. Funny thing is, I didn't actually watch the game. Once the pre-game show was over and the game kicked off, we left the field and went back to the tv compound. Having been on my feet all day, I needed to rest -- but not too much because I knew I'd eventually hit a wall and slip into utter exhaustion.

We headed back to the field at the start of the 4th quarter to get ready for the post-game show, then eventually pack everything up. It turned out to be 16-hour day, but it was so much fun that I didn't even realize it till I got home.

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And even though I haven't run since Vegas (hadn't done any type of workout whatsoever), I think walking up and down the 68 steps between the field and the main level at Candlestick all day long counted for something, right?!

I've spent the rest of the week trying to catch up on work and Christmas shop. I've been so busy that I feel like I've missed the entire holiday season.

I eventually got back to the gym on Wednesday and have done strength, core and weights workouts, but still no cardio. Actually, after Vegas, I had planned to take the rest of the month off from running (and by "off" I mean no more than 2-3 miles). During this "rest" time my plan is to focus on doing other kinds of cardio, more yoga, weights and core training. I've found that even though I was really into running, when I try to do these other kinds of workouts, I really feel out of shape. I need to take a more balanced approach to my training, not to mention let my body heal.

I plan to slip back into running in January, just in time to start getting ready for the New Orleans Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon at the end of February. In the mean time I'm reading "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall and working on my 2010 training schedule. Anyone have any suggestions for races in 2010?

PS Here's some photos from Moloka'i and MNF, as well as my family crazy family...as we like to say, "till we eat again..."