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Emerald Across The Bay 12K - The Finish Line

Posted 03-25-2010 at 03:59 PM by Paine's Golden Great Lane
Updated 03-25-2010 at 04:06 PM by Paine's Golden Great Lane

4:00am, Sunday, March 21st. I woke up just before the alarm clock went off. Coffee and Oatmeal. 6:00am - At Aquatic Park in San Francisco to get my bib. More coffee at Starbucks. Being my first race in 35 years, my biggest decision is whether or not to run in my warm up or just shorts and running shirt - rain was not on the forecast. It was cold at that time and dark, but the sun was possibly going to show. We were bussed from San Francisco over to Sausalito where the race started, so I had to decide before boarding the bus. Off they went. Dropped off at the race site in Sausalito. Yikes, it was freezing. Maybe I'd made the wrong decision. Too late. I was trying to find my running partners from the San Francisco Marathon group. Since they ran last year, they knew better than to take the first bus over, and then stand in the freezing cold for an hour and a half before our wave started...lol...2nd lesson learned...finally they arrived. My pacer/coach was part of the group I ran with. She was awesome. Lots of good advice. There were 2,997 runners for the race that day. Starting gun - we're off. The first part of the race was a curvy steep and very long hill. About a mile long. It seemed like it was longer, but our adreneline was kicked in and we purposefully paced slow in the hill to conserve energy. Although we ran a "race pace" today, it was only slightly more than our last training pace, so we were good to go. Finally at the top of the hill. Most were shouting out having made it to the top. And now what I was waiting for, running across the Golden Gate Bridge! It was awesome. It was emotional for me, as my grandfather, Clifford E. Paine, designed the Golden Gate Bridge, so this was family heritage, and lots of memories flashing back as I ran under the first span. The sun was coming up, but it was cool. Perfect running day. Life is beautiful, and at that moment, it could not have been better for me. I'm grateful at that moment and expressing gratitude as I run. Now running under span number two. I remember at 12 years old, being taken in the maintenence elevator with my dad inside that span to the very top, 537 feet up! I'm overwhelmed with great thoughts at this moment! Legs warmed up well by now. Off the bridge and lots of downhill now, where a week before we were running up that very same route. Mile 4 hits, more than half way, and my breathing is heavier. My pace partner Marie is getting tired but we're staying the course. Mile 5, our pace coach announces she's busting out, and reminds us to still save some for a strong finish. She wants to beat her time from last year's race. Theresa, our other partner, starts to drop back. Marie and I are staying the course. Mile 6, my legs are on fire. Breathing is heavy, but I'm now in the zone. Mile 7, feeling good and feeling tired. Up the final hill and now one more downhill, around that curve is the finish line. I pick up my pace on the hill and wish Marie luck, I'm hitting a strong finish even if I drop once I get to the finish chute. I'm feeling surprisingly good, but reaching hard on each breath, I come around the corner and hear people cheering, now I'm at full stride and see the finish line and the chute! The announcer announces my name as I cross the finish line. That was cool! 1 Hour, 43 minutes, 27 seconds. It's official. Yeah Baby!!!!! Next stop, 18 more weeks of training and the San Francisco Marathon July 25th. This one will be special because I will be running it with my son, Garrett. Can't wait!!!
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