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My First Marathon By Rhonda

I started training for the San Francisco Marathon in the spring of 2007. I had done several half marathons, many triathlons and a handful of cycling events. I thought I’d never do a full marathon. It seemed so far out of my reach.....26.2 miles in a day. Double the amount I’d ever run in my life. This was going to be the year.

I used the Nike milage build up program. It’s a great tool and I’ve used it when training for my half marathons. I just started.....putting one foot in front of the other. That’s how I start every challenge. You just need to start. I would do my short runs during the week and leave my big milage day until Sunday. It’s an amazing accomplishment to run farther than you ever have...every time you run.

Training for a marathon takes many months especially for me. I am not a natural athlete. I work hard for everything but that’s ok. That’s just who I am. Most of the big athletic events that I have done, have everything to do with your mind. I believe most folks quit too soon because they believe the nonsense in their heads that say they can’t do it. It’s not easy but you can push through the chatter in your mind.

Training went very well. I got strong and had minimal injuries. My left knee sometimes would give me grief, but I would change my stride and adjust my posture. I ran with friends to help with the boredom. It’s great to chat as you are putting in miles. Some days I would run with Misha, my half marathon and triathlon buddy. Other times my friend Heidi would go out for a short run with me. Heidi and I have done a sprint triathlon at Lake Berryessa together. I trained for 3 months, she did not. On race day, she out swam me and I had a hard time catching her on the bike. Up one hill, I passed her and never looked back. Heidi is a great friend and even better competition. Friendly competition.

As my marathon approached, I started planning a celebration for after my accomplishment. There was no doubt I would be successful.

I invited all my friends from Sonoma State University. I invited my neighbors. I invited my Safeway friends. I invited my case

no one showed up! LOL I spent the last week before my event, cleaning my house and yard. I made salads and other goodies for the party the night before so I wouldn’t have to do much when I got home from running. My husband would stay home and watch the kids, while I was in San Francisco. I planned on driving myself but then my amazing friend Heidi offered to drive me. I told her I needed to leave at 3 am. She said no problem. What a gift!

On the drive down, I usually have pre-race jitters. I was so happy that I didn’t have to drive, find parking and then drive back home after running. That took so much off my mind. I was more excited and less nervous. The best thing was that Heidi brought her bike. She started with me at 5am and took some pictures as I was off running. At about mile 12, she found me on the racecourse and rode alongside the rest of the way. She took more pictures of me at the different mile markers. I am truly grateful for that. It’s the first time! I ran out of water in my camelpak. Heidi let me have her water. The last mile, my left knee was hurting really bad, but I kept running. I was hoping I wasn’t doing any permanent damage, but I couldn’t stop now. Heidi rode ahead so she could get some photos of me crossing the finish line at 6 hours and 28 seconds. Just after I crossed, they pulled up the finish line. I used every bit of my allotted time!

I did it! I was successful, thanks to my supportive friend Heidi. That’s what friends do. The marathon was great, and my party was even better.

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