Thursday, April 11, 2013

Karina's Half Marathon Recap

The day approached quicker than I would have thought and before I knew it I was at the starting line  along with my RBO trainer, Marilee. This is it, was all I could think along with the loud roaring crowd. I was so excited I thought I was going to puke but there was no time for that. Soon we went off and it felt like any other training day on a sunny day. 
The first water station we encountered was in front of a small church, people were giving out as fast as they could the water. The floor was covered in tiny water cups, everywhere till the next block, cheering from the crowd could still be heard from the first mile we past so far. I kept running and drank the water in a few gulps, tempted to go back for more but I couldn't slow down.
More and more people were passing us until we hit the middle point, from there our constant pace brought us up where the main group pasted us from before. It got to the point where every water station made me run faster and almost cry with joy as I kept thanking the people endlessly. Especially at the water stop where they had brownies. They were a piece of heaven. The ring of fire made me feel like I part of a video game ((THEY HAD THE 'LEGEND OF ZELDA' THEME SONG IN THE BACKGROUND OMG I WAS INTERNALLY SCREAMING WITH JOY AS I PASSED BY)) and I just wanted to keep passing more obstacles like that, it was very motivational. After passing that, about 3 miles was left, I couldn't feel my legs but somehow we kept running. 
When we got to the last lap around Lake Merritt, it was there when I felt like stopping. Can't I just swim across the Lake? The finish line was literally across from the lake and as I kept running the cheering got louder. I just wanted to drop dead but I had to keep smiling for the camera  I'm pretty sure I looked like I was crying in one of the photos. 
 Half way around the lake where the last water station was located  a resident from one of the apartments on the side of the lake was shouting out encouragements from her third floor apartment. "YOU CAN DO IT. I BELIEVE IN YOU GUYS, YOU ARE ALL INCREDIBLE. SO CLOSE, ALMOST DONE." It was like an angel from heaven, distant yet so clear and it was from that moment I thought to myself  Hey...I actually like this.
No matter what happens the last mile seems impossible but it's not. It makes one  cry internally and whine about every little thing from the shining sun above to the tiny pebble that's been a bother in the shoe from the last mile. There was one thing for sure; I had to concentrate to store energy for the last few feet from the finish line. I wanted to finish in a dashing speed and I did but I ended up slowing down a few inches from the finish line. I thought was going to die at the last few steps from the was a good thing Marilee was there by my side to keep me walking afterwards. I'm pretty sure I'd just faint at the last minute, the last picture taken that day may not show it but I was dying.   Though I am happy. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Finish Line Photos

I'm very grateful to Lesley with RBO for taking these great shots of our students finishing the half marathon!

Here's Alex (senior) finishing:
 I love this shot of Ana Laura!  You can just see how proud she is.

 Here's David with his RBO volunteer:
Here's Jasmine (in yellow) finishing:
 Here comes Junior (in yellow) finishing in 1:43.  He was our fastest male. 
 Jasmine right before she crossed (in yellow):
 Here's Karina before she started the half marathon:

And Karina after she finished:
I swear she looks exactly the same!  She doesn't look like she was exhausted or anything!

Here's Miguel finishing.  I love how he's looking up at the sky.  You can tell he's relieved!

Stephanie with her RBO volunteer:
 This is Victor (with red shorts) right as he crossed the finish line:

Sunday, April 7, 2013

St. Liz Class of 2005 Graduate: Milton Martin

When we first began training with RBO we were so happy to run into Milton Martin (in blue) a volunteer with RBO.  Milton graduated from St. Liz in 2005.  While he wasn't paired up with any of our students he was always a friendly smile to see during our training runs and on the half marathon day.

Mr. Schooler's Crew of Students

Mr. Schooler was matched up with 4 runners, 3 of whom were from St. Liz.  From left to right:  Jefferson, Miles (from Edna Brewer Middle School), Mr. Schooler, Alex, and Ivan.
He ran the half marathon with them, encouraging them along the way.

Jefferson's Half Marathon Recap

The day had finally come. I had been training for the half marathon since January and I felt that I was ready. The day before the half-marathon we ate a delicious pasta dinner thanks to the people who donated to make it possible. When I woke up on the day of the half-marathon I couldn't really believe that the day had rolled by so fast and that I was actually going to run 13.1 miles. I ate a good breakfast and I headed towards the BART station.

I got to the BART station and I kept thinking about the race. I walked to Snow Park and I was amazed by the amount of people that were there. I couldn't believe that so many people were there it was awesome. I signed in at the RBO tent and shortly after I saw Mr. Schooler, Ivan and Alex. Mr. Schooler told me that the race was going to start soon. We stretched and after that we walked towards the start of the race. There were a lot of runners and we joined them.

As I stood there I was excited but also a little nervous. It was my first time running this distance but I felt that I was ready. After waiting for about five minutes the race began! We started jogging at a slow and steady pace. I looked around me and it was awesome to be able to run in the middle of the street. As I was running I could her people cheering. We ran about two more miles at a steady pace and then we started speeding up. Before I knew it we were already at the fourth mile. I kept running and we ran by the Saint Elizabeth water station. They handed us water and then we kept on going.

On our sixth mile we ran inside of a tunnel and it was a really cool experience. It was nice to have a lot of different things to look at while we were running. There was music on our race route and I felt that the music really gave me a boost. I felt great until I hit the ninth mile, this is when I started to feel tired. I ignored this and told myself that I wasn't tired and that I could keep going. I had four miles left and it didn't seem like a big deal to me. I kept going until the 11th mile and that was when I started to slow down. I felt like my legs were really heavy and I felt that something was holding me down. Mr. Schooler told me that I couldn't let that voice in my head bring me down. I had to remind myself that I could do it. Mr. Schooler really helped me out a lot and he told me that I would finish.

We made it to Lake Merritt and I remembered all of the times that I ran around the lake. I thought about all of the times and all of the training that I had done. The last mile was really tough for me as it seemed like I was ready to give up. I no longer felt strong and I just wanted to walk the rest of the way. Mr. Schooler told me that I had already ran around the lake before and that today was no different. He told me to keep going and to not give up. I didn't give up and I tried to distract myself from the running by looking at all of the places around me. This helped me to not think so much about the running but I also felt like the running would never end. I had to push myself to keep going no matter how much I wanted to stop. I kept going and after what seemed like a long time I saw that we had passed the lake. We had less than half a mile left and I kept going with everything that I had.

Mr. Schooler pointed towards the finish line and I saw the red banner in the distance. I started to jog faster but as I got closer to the finish line I felt discomfort in my right leg. I pulled my right calf muscle and it felt like my leg was harder to move. I did my best to ignore it and I pushed myself through the finish line. When I finally stopped running I couldn't believe it. I received my medal and I put it around my neck. At that moment I felt really happy and I was very proud of myself. I had finished running the half-marathon.
 *Here's Jefferson (in yellow) crossing the finish line.  Mr. Schooler is in blue right to the left of him.  Mr. Schooler says that right now he was leaning back telling Jefferson to give one of the Raiderettes a huge but Jefferson was too polite to do so. 

Jaontra's Half Marathon Recap

Finally the day had arrived. It was Sunday, March 24, 2013. The big day was here at last and the nerves had definitely kicked in. Even though I had made it to every training run and even did some runs on my own, I was still feeling butterflies in the pit of my stomach. Even though the night before, we had carb-loaded on a nice pasta dinner, I was feeling as though I was not going to perform well. However, I knew it was time to prepare myself for my big race. I grabbed my running tights, my RBO shirt, and the other clothes I needed to get ready. Once I was dressed I put my shoes on and went out to get breakfast. When I was done with breakfast I knew it was time to go. I grabbed my bib, water bottle, water bottle holder, and my Clif Shot Blocks. I got in the car and tried to settle all the nerves that had set in, but it was not working.

I arrived at Snow Park and saw all the people gathered there and grew even more nervous. However, I went to check in at the RBO tent and put my bib on anyway in an attempt to keep myself busy. Shortly after this, I found Chelsea, my RBO volunteer, and realized it was almost time for the race to start. I did a few simple stretches to loosen up my muscles and began walking toward the starting line. Yet I did not realize until that moment just how many people were actually doing this and when I did my nerves seemed to subside. I realized that I put a lot of effort into this and all I had to do was run. 
Suddenly a noise went off, confetti blew in the air, and the huge mass of people began to move forward and I did too. However, it started off in a slow walk and then turned into a jog and eventually into a run. Finally, we were off! 
It seemed really interesting to be running in the middle of the street, but to my surprise it was a lot more fun than any other route I had been on. It was nice to get to look up and gaze at the buildings. It really gave me a chance to appreciate the beauty that Oakland possesses. We followed the huge mass of people and found little things to talk about. When we reached the mile one marker, we all exclaimed that we only had 12.1 more miles to go. I still felt like I could go on for days. I kept running and running and then we go to a certain point when we realized we were going to run into the tunnel. This was one of my favorite parts because it felt like I was a car. 
We kept running and running and finally we reached one of the booths. We had people cheering for us: yelling, holding signs, and waving around noise makers. Somehow it was great to have random people cheering us on. A short time after we passed the booth we made it to a water station. These nice people were passing out water to us and luckily it was one of many water stops that would be along the way.
 We passed mile two, three, and then finally when we got to four, I decided to take three of my Shot Blocks. They were pretty chewy and I had to drink a lot of water with them, but the important thing was that I kept moving. We passed booth after booth, water station after water station, sign after sign, and with each step it became more real to me. I was running a half-marathon and it did not even seem like it. It did not even seem like I was running at all. The movement was so natural to me at this point. The music placed throughout the course gave me the extra boost I needed at times to keep going. When I saw that we were going to run under a ring of fire, I was a little uneasy, but I figured it was safe otherwise they would not have placed it on the course. So I kept running, but by the time I passed mile five, six, seven, and eight, my body was definitely beginning to feel the pain. Moving definitely got harder, but I told myself I was not going to walk any part of this because I wanted to be able to say, "I ran a half-marathon." So I ate a GU pack and kept moving.
The sun was a lot brighter now, but I still had four miles to go so I kept moving, determined to finish this as fast as I could. However, I was sort of cursing the fact that we had to run these miles in the street because my knees were definitely not happy about this. However, I then passed the mile ten marker and saw that it was time to run around Lake Merritt. This was where my eleven weekend runs had taken place. I had run around this lake so many times, however I knew this was going to be the hardest time, but I was wrong about that. As I was running around the lake, there was a water station that helped me make it to mile eleven. By this time I was definitely tired, and I wanted to stop, but I just kept moving. I passed mile twelve and saw another water station, this time I drank some of the water and splashed the rest in my face. This gave me an extra boost I needed for the last mile. That mile seemed incredibly long, but I finally saw the finish line. 
I picked up my speed a bit, a little too much, and almost burned out before I actually made it to the finish line. However I slowed down enough to catch my breath and then sped up to cross the finish line. My legs were tired, I was hot, and sweaty, but I finished. All the work I had put in was worth it. I finished the half-marathon in 2 hours and 24 minutes and I could not help but be happy about my greatest accomplishment in life so far.

Eduardo's Half Marathon Recap

On the day of the half-marathon I felt ready as I would ever be. I am not going to lie I did get really nervous an hour before the race, but I began to stretch and work out the kinks relatively quickly. When it was time for all the runners to report the starting line, I was not expecting there to be so many people. The sea of people stretched down the block and then I heard the number of people participating: 4500. I was exactly in the middle of this sea of people and once the horn blew and the confetti cannon went off Don and I began running.

It was really weird running down empty streets and for the first mile all I could hear was the footsteps of the thousands of runners. The first two miles were probably the most hectic and the most tiring. By the time I reached mile four I was already in the rhythm of running and there was no stopping. By the time I reached the last three miles around Lake Merritt I was ready to just get to the finish line. Even though I was tired and feeling like I was going to die, Don kept me motivated and pushed me to make sure that I made it in time for my goal of 1 hour and 45 minutes. Once we hit mile eleven we stated to speed up. Those last mile was a push and the realization that all of my hard work was coming to an end set in.

Once I saw the finish line over the last hill, I began to sprint. During that last sprint to the finish line I felt like I was going to throw up, but as I passed the arch and finished, the feeling was like no other. At the finish line I thanked Don for all his help and was then congratulated by the two people in charge of RBO, Tod and Lesley. They told me that of all the RBO runners I was the fifth to finish out of the entire group. I later found out that I finished under my goal of 1 hour and 45 minutes and also placed third in the group of males 16-19. After that I received my medal and got myself some coconut water. I heard that there was a chiropractor at the RBO tent giving out free massages and I did not hesitate to have my legs massaged.
This whole experience running for RBO and for St. Liz has been one of the greatest in my high school experience! I never really expected that I would be running a half marathon or anything above six miles at this point in my life. I know after this I am sure that I will continue running and maybe some day in the near future I will be running a full marathon.