After a night of not-so-great sleep (between race nerves and feeding a baby), I woke up feeling excited and ready to run! I didn’t know what to expect – my longest run was a 9 miler – but I knew I was going to have fun and I knew I was going to raise money for a great cause. Nothing else mattered.
I’ll start by saying, I didn’t pay for VIP (it was part of the race package) but if you can, VIP is the way to go. The accommodations are really nice and it’s a cozy pre-race environment. The Transamerica crew was dropped off at the VIP Start Line/Tent and we walked inside to stay warm, get some food/drinks, check bags, and use actual restrooms. I never want to run another non-VIP race again (ha!). I did a lot of stretching and it felt good to move my body. I was ready to run.
About 35 minutes before the race started I had to take care of some mom duties (pumping) and everyone was really accommodating. Staff got me a bag of ice to save the milk and other moms joined around to share their stories. Pumping/feeding in public doesn’t bother me, but I understand that it bothers some; even though I hardly knew anyone, it was nice to have a support system. It was nice to know that it’s okay to be a breastfeeding-mother-runner. Thank you!
Since I was the very.last.runner. to start the race, I had extra time once the race started at 6:30am. I met with Transamerica and CGI PR teams, posed for a couple pre-race photos, and chatted with other runners. The weather was perfect and there was a buzz in the air. I love race morning!
I connected with Steve (videographer) in Corral 15 and we walked together to the start line. Once everyone started the race, the race announcer said “Here goes Transamerica Tomorrow Chaser, Melody Jones. For every runner she passes, $1 is donated to St. Jude. How many runners will she pass?” – and I was off.
The course started on the West Coast, along the ocean, on Lincoln & Great Highway (could that be any more perfect?!). The course ran through Presidio (hello, gorgeous homes), over the Golden Gate Bridge (talk about once-in-a-lifetime), along the Marina district, through Nob Hill, and finished Downtown at Civic Center Plaza. The course itself was beautiful with breathtaking, one-of-a-kind, views. I don’t know when I’ll ever have a chance to run over the Golden Gate Bridge again – and even though it was really, really crowded, I was thankful for such an amazing opportunity! San Francisco is a beautiful city.
I met another runner – Dominick – early on. He was going to pace a friend but she didn’t show up, so we started talking and running and the miles ticked by. Kind of. People weren’t joking when they warned me about the hills – 0.5 miles into the race there was a big, steep one, and they lasted for the duration of the run. We hit the Golden Gate Bridge around Mile 4. It was crowded and a little dangerous. Not because it wasn’t blocked off but because runners were running in the opposite lane to pass people and there just wasn’t enough room for everyone. I was able to snap a picture (I don’t normally run with my phone but had it for communication/video purposes) but it was hard to enjoy. I know it’s easier said than done, but we needed more lanes. We came off the bridge right around Mile 8. Miles 8, 9, 10 were pretty flat and went along the Marina District. There were boats and gorgeous homes; there was a lot to take in. Around Mile 11, things started to slow down and hurt but I knew I was on the home stretch and kept repeating “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength”. I passed a few Transamerica runners around Mile 12 and they gave me an extra boost of energy (plus, I knew that they were hoping I wouldn’t pass them so it was fun to “catch” them so close to the finish). At the same time Dominick said, “Let’s see what you’re made of” and it was a sprint to the finish. I wanted to pass as many people as I could, so I ran as fast as I could. I ran the last mile in 5:41!
I crossed the finish line in 1:52:48. My first race since having a baby (5 months ago) and I felt much better than I expected. It wasn’t my fastest time but it was one of the most fun races I’ve ever run. I knew that every runner I passed was another $1 for St. Jude, and as a new mother, I was even more motivated to raise as much as I could.
When I crossed the finish line I had NO idea how much I had raised/people I had passed. I thought I’d have a better idea but it was hard to gauge. As I took post-race pictures/interviews, the numbers were being tallied….
St. Jude, Transamerica, and myself went on stage to present the check and say a few words. Before presenting the check, Transamerica’s Direct President, Ed Walker, got the crowd really pumped up. “How many of you think she passed 2,000 runners? 3,000? 3,500? 4,000? 4,500? 5,000? 5,500? 6,000? 6,500? 7,000? 7,500?” The crowd was cheering! “Our Transamerica Tomorrow Chaser, Melody Jones, passed 7,569 people on today’s course.” cue: more cheers
8,603 runners started and finished Rock n Roll San Francisco. I passed 7,569 runners, raising $7569 for St. Jude! I was so excited! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could pass/raise that much money! My check was the second largest check they’ve ever written and the largest for this race.
Rock n Roll San Francisco was a race that I’ll never forget. I had a chance to meet some favorite runner/bloggers, including Pavement Runner, SheenaBean and Daddy’s Running. It was my return to running postpartum, my racing debut, and a chance to raise money for a great cause. I’m so proud to be a part of the Transamerica team, creating better tomorrows for people.
I’ll see you in Philadelphia…
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