Monday, October 24, 2005

why run like a girl when you can runbutan like a goddess.

Like I said, yesterday was the Nike Women's Marathon/Half Marathon, which I ran with some other Runbu-goddesses. It's a great event and if any of you are ever interested in running, I highly recommend it. It's well organized (which is much more than I can say for Maui) and the goodies at the end are awesome. The finisher's medal is made by Tiffany & Co. Since I can't rely on anyone to have enough sense to actually get me a goodie from Tiffany & Co., I decided that my best chance of actually getting something from there would be to earn it myself. You also get a dri-fit finisher's shirt (which is perfect because real runners don't use cotton), a Jamba Juice card and green tea shots, luna bars, bananas, a massage (if you have the patience to wait for one) and some other goodies I'm blanking out on. The important one is of course, the necklace. Oh! and you get Ghirardelli chocolate (chocolate caramel, my favorite!) at one of the stops. Yummy!

I didn't train much for this run because I knew I was walking it (with CiCi and Angie who is eight months pregnant). Also, I haven't mentally recovered from Maui and have been avoiding training out of pure fear and damage. Ricky and Lovella also joined in and other Runbu-goddesses ran the course that day as well. In preparing for this half marathon, I realized how scarred I was by Maui because I kept having anxieties about conking out and not finishing. I also learned that I have absolutely no desire to run another full marathon. I've run two in my life (Maui and the trial for Maui) and that's all I need to know. Luckily, I didn't conk out. We all crossed (and we all got our necklaces:)

However, there were points during the course where I was secretly freaking out. Into the course, we kept falling farther and farther behind, which I was expecting because the theme of the day was: "It's not about the time. It's not about the distance. It's about making sure Angie gets to the finish safe and sound." However, when we were walking with Fiona (the sweeper) and watching the cones and barricades get picked up, I kept getting flashbacks from Maui. I thought to myself, "Here we go again. No cones, no music, no cheering section, no time clock, no finish line banner, no love." What made it worse was when we were at the Luna Bar/Cliff Shot stop, we were going through a box picking up Luna Bar samples (I can't take Cliff Shots because they make my blood sugars go way too high) and one of the volunteers tried to stop us from getting food by saying "No wait! This box belongs to someone!" (Apparently, the volunteers got to take home the leftovers, and called dibs on the goods before we made it to that stop.) Cici gave the volunteer a dirty look and told her that we're part of the race and that we needed food. The volunteer surrendered and we rummaged through someone's box. That episode irritated me and made me feel like this was Maui all over again.

But still. We traveled on through the toughest part of the course which had some major hills and major drops. (I have to mention the handsome toffee-tanned man with salt-and-pepper hair that was running up the hill as we were running down it. He was older, totally fit and gliding through the hill like a surfer riding a wave on the North Shore. Such a delicious treat after being snubbed at the Luna Bar/Cliff Shot stop. DAMN!)

Seeing the cones go up and finding myself and my team at the very end of the line made me second guess my desire to run. Psychologically, I don't think I can take being last anymore... not with the amount of work that I put in to training. It's not that there's something wrong with being last. In fact, I can tell you from personal experience that there is more pride in being last because it means that you made it - even when everyone else would have given up, you crossed that finish line when everyone thought you would never pull through. Taking in the glory that comes from being first place is easy. Toughing it out to last place takes real courage.

For me, and at that point, I was feeling like training wasn't paying off and that maybe I just wasn't meant to be anything other than last place (this is in reference to Maui, not San Francisco). Sometimes I play Maui over and over in my head and I ask myself what I did and where the training went wrong. A month later I still don't have the answers. I figured that yesterday would be my last race and that I needed to find a new sport.

Obviously, these feelings weren't things I was going to share with folks at that moment. Besides, spirits were high, Angie was pulling through like a champ, Ricky was taking good care of her, and we were all having a great time chatting it up. Between the pope germs, hearing Fiona's triathalon adventures, and poking fun at Lovella's love connections, we were having a great time. It was also entertaining watching people react to Angie's belly. My favorite comment was, "Look at how pregnant that girl is!"

As we were approaching the Cliff House, we could see Alex, Rex and Herb in the distance carrying signs of love and support. Call it fate or good timing, but I really needed to see them at that point. Something about seeing the words "PINAY POWER" in the distance really energized me (and seeing Herb's version of Polynesian dancing just cracked me up!). I was really touched that people woke up, battled with the traffic and parking just to see us cross the finish. (I was also touched that Alex had blisters from cheering so much. But just so you know, my blisters are still bigger than yours:) I was suddenly reminded of why I run to begin with. It's not about the race, the time, or the distance. Runbutan running is about finishing as a team, under our own terms, regardless of whether the finish line is there or not. I remembered what I said the night after the Maui marathon - for Filipinos, for people of color, there is no finish line because the challenges we face never have an end. We don't have that luxury.

The final leg of the course was tough and although we all knew Angie was going to make it, we were still concerned and playing it extra safe. During the Golden Gate Park portion of the course, Alex, Rex and Herb joined in following through on the day's theme: "It's about making sure Angie gets to the finish safe and sound." Because it was late in the day, they re-routed people, so we took a slightly different course than earlier half marathoners. Luckily, they saved chocolate and water for us:)

Approaching the finish was everything I imagined a finish would be. Hundreds of people were lined up screaming and cheering. The banner was up and in bold orange colors, I could see the words "FINISH LINE." Below it was the time clock. As we stepped on the first sensor, the announcer declared our finish by reciting our names.

I crossed my first official finish line.

It was great seeing Angie cross and an honor to cross beside her. When I think about it, we were there for Angie, Ricky and little bean-bean because the Niervas were there for the team. From the Pixar incentive to the cooking in Maui, they really pulled through for our us, which is why they were followed by an entourage of support. Also, many of us are runbutans because we have a love and concern for future Runbu-runners (including bean-bean and Gani). It was a beautiful sight and I'm glad I did it.

I would like to give special recognition to other Runbu-goddesses who conquered yesterday's course including: Gail and Helen's sister Leina who ran the full marathon; and April, Celisse, Cici, Cheryl, Lea, Patrice, Tiffany and of course, Mama Angie who finished the half marathon. Additionally, a very special THANK YOU to those of you who came out and showed your love and support: Nerinna, Herb, Alex, Rex, Kimmy and Gani, Ryan, and all the other folks whose names I'm blanking out on. You all ROCK!

Finally, I had a great time at the Hukilau for our post-race meal, and I look forward to more gatherings where we get to discuss horiscopes, palm reading, and dental floss dates. I'll see you all at Zebulon on Wednesday!

While walking through Golden Gate Park, I told Alex that my goal is to run (actually run) a race and not see the cones go up. I also declared that I would be back next year to run the Nike Women's Half Marathon. I will finish in my own time, under my own terms. With crowds cheering, a time clock, and an actual finish line (that has no end).

Note: A very special thanks to Runbu-goddess nerinna for sharing her photos.


jkv said...

congratulations on finishing the marathon!!

-the big red wig guy

mae said...

You rock! What a great community you have found.