Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Look Back at the 2009 Nike Women's Marathon by Bonnie Gartley

From the moment we all started meeting each other something special happened. The journey started on a beautiful spring day in May. We met our team honored hero Kate, our coach, staff, teammates, and mentors. We snapped our first team picture and we were off. October seemed so far away. Five months away to be exact. Who knew what we were in store for.

We ran, a lot, we laughed, and shared, sometimes a little too much… We became a family. We rallied around teammates who had surgery for cancer, and those who lost to cancer. We learned what to eat (carbs are your friend), proper form, breathing, how to prevent injuries, that shoes are important, and “cotton is rotten!” And since it was summer in Atlanta we sweated. Boy did we ever sweat! Our fabulous co-captains looked out for us with fun raffles, bagel crack, I mean bagel chips (I highly recommend the cinnamon sugar ones, although the plain ones are pretty darn tasty too!), and post run tailgates. One teammate convinced us all that we loved bacon, and another hung around until everyone returned with a smile, a hug, and a big hell yeah. Before we knew it we were running our last long run of 20 or 12 miles. It was an adventure with three different courses right after the great flood. And then October arrived. “The hay is in the barn,” we were told. “Don’t do anything new on race day.” It was time to decorate our fabulous TNT singlets, and pack our team shirts. With the help of our fabulous staff coordinator we all made it on the plane.

We were little balls of energy the whole plane ride. No one sat through the whole flight. There were plans for In and Out burgers, sight seeing, trips to the expo to pick up our race packets, and so much more. Oh, and there was a race for us to run too. A race with amazing views of the bay, piers that smelled of sourdough bread as we ran past, ocean views, and a park that smelled like eucalyptus. We went over the hills of San Francisco, down a cliff, along the great highway, and around a lake. And at the end of it all were firemen in tuxedos holding silver platters stacked with little blue boxes!

In the end it wasn’t just a race. It was a chance to do something great for others while doing something I love. And along the road I discovered my new “family.” So here’s to a great five months full of friends, fun, bacon, bagel crack, and a whole bunch of Hell Yeah. Can’t wait for the next one!

Thanks Bonnie for your guest blog entry! We are glad you shared your TNT experience. You can also follow Bonnie on her blog at The Running Violinist. Check out this video compiled by Bonnie:

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