I have always considered my tenacity a strength. While there are those who may find it foolish or even “borderline obsessive,” I know it’s a quality I developed early on in life to compensate for chaos at home and for my own inner chaos(even if I only began to understand that in my 35th year of life.)My mom says I have been tenacious for as long as I have been alive: determined, driven, focused on a goal. Tenacity led me to go through 24 hours with a ruptured appendix and little more than a whimper(no tears, amazingly!), earn a Master’s degree in Creative Writing while in my second year of teaching, walking over 100 miles and raising over $5000 for breast cancer research, and for facing my mental illness proactively. My tenacity is a gift.
Nevertheless, I am also a realist. I know I’m a romantic and a sentimentalist, perhaps naively so at times. I know being rational and objective, particularly in matters of the heart, can be challenging. But I can face facts. This morning, as I rose at 4 in the morning to get ready for the San Francisco Marathon, I had accepted these facts:
a) My longest training run during this round of training was 6 miles.
b) I only ran 6 miles total in the past 3 weeks.
c) My coach and I decided that a run-walk would be the only way I could participate today without injury.
d) If I didn’t make the three-hour mark, I might not receive a finisher’s medal.
As my friend and I began to run across the starting line, I had decided that I would enjoy my run, medal or not.
But I got my medal!!!!!
The day was drizzly as we made our way down the first 3 miles of the Embarcadero and Aquatic Park. The first hill was into Fort Mason. I power-walked up, past the three people I had secretly adopted: an Asian couple and an older black gentleman. We then ran down the Marina Green, into Crissy Field, and up the hill towards the Bridge. More power-walking. Then the Golden Gate Bridge. Here the temp dropped and we had wind and heavier drizzle. But I was happy! I’m sure all my pictures will feature my wide grin. I couldn’t stop smiling. I don’t know if it was my trusty iPod shuffling upbeat disco, salsa, house, and reggaeton or knowing I had already made my past mileage or the energy of my fellow runners. As we rounded Vista Point, I realized I was making San Jose time. Though I was thrilled, I walked up the incline of the Bridge before running again. On Lincoln Blvd, I ran on the flat and walked up the hills. At Mile 10, I realized I might finish in under three hours but again, I wanted to not overdo it. So I decided to walk for two miles. I kept up a good pace and kept my arms moving as my coach suggested. As we approached Golden Gate Park at Mile 12 in the avenues, I told myself that I would run across the finish line. I checked my phone and saw that I could make my past time if I ran. But I was tired. At one point, I wanted to run but my legs were hurting. Then, like a mirage in the desert, I saw the finish line. Could it be? Was I going to get my medal? I hate to sprint but I ran like crazy across that finish line. 2:57 again, just like last year at San Jose’s Rock N Roll. I almost cried when I was handed my medal.
Another year, another half-marathon, another victory.