Friday, October 26, 2007

NIKE 2007

After coordinating the PSAT, PLAN, and EXPLORE tests on Wednesday, prepping for Future Freshmen Day, grading and posting grades for the end of the quarter, making sub plans, and packing, I stepped onto a plane headed to San Francisco for the fourth annual NIKE Women's Marathon and Half-Marathon! It was a big push to get ready for the trip, but so well-worth it. We had four beautiful days in CA with temps in the the 50s in the mornings and upper 70s by the afternoon. That in itself was glorious after 90 degree weather in San Antonio.

The non-running part was fun...Chinatown again, checking out the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Warf, and the shopping. NIKE made a ton of money off this race in retail sales alone. Which is fine because the important part of this event is that it raised $18.5 million for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. My donors contributed $5,200 of that $18.5, which is awesome!

Race prep was almost as emotional as last year. The pasta party keynote speaker was a woman in her mid-thirties who was diagnoised with cancer in February. She'd run in to TNT events before and made the point that the fundraising she did then helped her now, which really hit home for me. I don't have a personal connection to anyone who has Leukemia or any other cancer right now, but I'm sure I will in the future and that's why the fundraising is important to me now. She has an incredible story and is cancer-free now. Her blog is if you are interested in reading her story.

The race was packed with about 20,000 runners, which meant there were always people around. My friend Marissa was trying to stay with me because she hasn't been running due to an injury, but wanted to run anyways. I'm a very consisten runner and she sometimes goes too fast too soon and then pitters out. She hung with me for the first six miles, but then had to slow down. I went ahead because I needed to finish in under three, but more on that later. I caught up with one of our participants who was struggling a bit and I kept her going till the end. The end brought the fabulous Tiffany's necklace made for this event and the SF firemen who gave it to us. Very nice!

The finish of the race usually just means getting the shirt, the granola and yogurt, some jamba juice, and then hanging out in the TNT tent. But this year I had a job. I had to get to mile 23 to hold a sign for my teammate and friend, TJ. TJ and his girlfriend Melissa met on our team last year. TJ was using the last six miles of the race to propose to her! He's been planning this since January and we were all a part of it! Mile 23's sign was "YOU." Isabelle ran from 22 to 23 to hold "WILL" next to it. That confirmed it for Melissa and she ran by with the biggest smile on her face. One of our coaches was assigned to run with her from 22 to 24 and then another coach ran her in. My friend Cathy drove me to 23 and then drove me back. I got there just in time to run in with the other sign-bearers to hold all of them up for her at the finish line. She came running in, again with a big smile, and finished...then the announcer pulled her back out, talked a minute about it all and then TJ came over, dropped to one knee and proposed. She said yes, of course and we all cheered! She couldn't believe we'd all helped and kept it quiet since January! Both their families were there for it...her mom didn't find out till the day before and her sister didn't find out till the day of the race--we knew they'd spill the beans if they knew sooner.

After all of that I was able to recover with some food and water. I headed back to the hotel and got ready for the victory party. We all thought we'd party the night away, but we were way too exhausted to party too hard and we were in bed by 10.

I got back at midnight Monday night and I've been catching up on work ever since. I pray all is well in your worlds!


Brian said...

thanks for sharing this awesome story. Keep runnin' lady. We are going to have to plan a race together. Let's pick one soon.

Nina said...

That is awesome, Kari! I'm so proud of you and so impressed! What a great cause!

Anonymous said...

That is awesome! Paul and I just got your great card in the mail today - thanks. We are very proud of you and happy to support what means a lot to our friends. Hope the rest of the term goes well.