Monday, June 24, 2013

Lupe's San Francisco Marathon race report

Submitted by Lupe Steele @LupeSteele

My thoughts on the San Francisco Marathon

Each run has its own special experience and meaning.  It is common to feel a little queasy about each race.  That has been the way most of my races have played out over the past 6 years. This race was different. This time it was about the experience and I was going to be open to whatever came my way. To my surprise, I had an absolutely perfect morning in the City by the Bay.

I was particularly tickled by the realization that Sean Astin would be participating in the race. This was my event; it was in my area and I wanted my fellow #Run3rders to have a wonderful time. For our fearless leader, it was a 26.2 race against the hills of San Francisco. While I didn’t want to admit it, I was a bit nervous. I wanted him to enjoy his time in San Francisco as much as I’ve always enjoyed SF growing up.

Race Prep…
Like any other race, we request followers and friends to submit their wishes, causes, and dedications. The dedications continue to be our source of inspiration and it is with great honor that we carried these dedications in our pockets while running. We had so many wonderful dedications.  I think I can speak for my fellow #Run3rders that we are humbled by your willingness to share such personal and heartfelt wishes. Thank you.

Leading up to the race was a mad dash to get everything organized. I am obsessively organized and each race is no different: I prepare a list of what to bring and ensure to check and recheck what to bring with me. In this case, I had to figure out how I was going to bring cheer signs, our #Run3rd sign, and all my other regular running gear with me during the race. I planned on cheering on my fellow Captains Heather and Sean during their race.  Midway, I would stop to run the progressive marathon and then go back out and cheer them on for the remainder of their race. This required me to lug around my cheer gear, but I figured if Samwise Gamgee could walk through the rough terrains of Mordor with pots, pans, and various culinary tools then I could surely make moves with cheer gear.

Race Day…
The morning of the race started with an unnecessary 3am wakeup call. I was already up! I was unable to sleep a wink that night because it turned out to be an evening of musical chairs: one of my boys complained while the other slept; then the other woke up while the other slept; and on we go… Sleep was not in the cards for me, but at least my children have trained me to have soldier-like skills of GI Jane proportions.  I can have many sleepless nights and run with the energy of a pre-Kutcher Demi Moore. OOH RAH!!

I got near the meet-up spot at 3:45am. Yes, 3:45AM! I’d heard that security was going to take approximately 30 min this year as a result of the events in the Boston Marathon. I wanted to make sure I arrived on time to welcome all our #Run3rd supporters. In this case, I didn’t realize I would be waiting for security to open up the area. Yup, the staff was just setting up and arriving at 3:45am and security would not let me in until 4am. Security was top notch and I appreciate all the efforts of the entire WIPRO organization for pulling off a smooth and safe event. Everyone I encountered was kind and welcoming.

Once there I received a message from a fellow #Run3rd supporter who had arrived bright and early traveling from Sacramento. She was sweet, energetic and just a pleasure to talk to. We clicked instantly; she became my buddy for most of the morning and she contributed to what was already turning out to be a fantastic day. Soon after, we met up with Team Captain Heather who would be running the half marathon. Sean arrived shortly after as calm and collected as always. He exuded Rudy-like confidence and seemed all ready to take on The Streets of San Francisco (cue theme music).  We chatted for a bit, took pictures in front of the starting line with the Port of San Francisco behind us and the lit up Bay Bridge in front of us. It was pretty darn sweet. We walked Sean over to prep for his race while Heather left to prep for her run.

Amanda and I sat by the Pier and chatted while waiting for the start of the Full Marathon. We cheered runners on in front of Pier 29 and were on the lookout for #Run3rd Captains Sean and Heather. We caught a glimpse of our Heather but lost Sean in the sea of people making their way out of the starting line. We made our way to a nearby Starbucks and enjoyed a delightful conversation about all that is “wheat”.  Soon enough our run would start. She became my co-pilot and it was the first time in 6 years that I ran side by side with a team member. It was thrilling and even better was when we were crossing the finish line with smiles across both our faces, beaming from side to side. Once we picked up our medals, we parted ways so that I could begin my quest to cheer Sean on during the last leg of his race.

Aside from the shuttle driver, I was the only one in the bus. I gave her my ETA based on my best guess of Sean’s progress and she drove me around SF in a huge school bus. We got to the shuttle stop and I ran a few blocks to get to a nice spot where I could cheer Sean on. I got there just in time as he approached within 10 minutes from my arrival. He was approaching Mile 22 and it looked like it was a walk in the park for him.  He was smiling like the Cheshire Cat as he ran past me! He picked up steam and was heading toward the finish line. I ran back to the shuttle stop and hopped on the bus. The SF traffic started to pick up and I was getting a little nervous that I would miss him crossing the finish line. The shuttle drivers assured me they would get me there on time. It was like a scene out of The Wedding Singer where Adam Sandler is telling everyone on the plane about his situation and everyone is peering over their seats to listen in. Such was the case here; the shuttle was full of spectators listening to my story about making it on time to catch my runner cross the finish line. I got out of the shuttle, thanked them all for their kindness, and ran to the finish line. I made it to a nice spot where I figured Sean would spot me and was told I had to move to the side. I batted my eyelashes just a bit and the security guard let me stand right beside him. Always works! I made it again with 10 minutes to spare before Sean ran up gave me that infectious Astin smile and crossed the finish line. He had made it! He ran 26.2 miles in San Francisco, making it look he had taken a nice morning stroll in the Bay.  I felt an enormous amount of satisfaction. I had managed to support my runners and get in a good run of my own. I gained a new friend, a new medal, and had an amazing time with my #Run3rd family. I felt amazing. I made my way back to my hotel to enjoy the rest of Father’s Day with my hubby and my boys. So how would I sum up my experience at the San Francisco Marathon?

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched; they must be felt within the heart.” —Helen Keller

Amanda Jackson, Lupe Steele, Sean Astin and Heather Stewart

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