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Lottery luck

Sometimes I get lucky. Just plain lucky. I owe some great career moves to luck really. I have two great internships out of state because of, what I think, is luck. I have a good job because of luck. I’m lucky in a lot of ways.

Running has never been one of those fields I’m lucky in. Despite giving it everything I have,  haven’t been able to gain speed or do better than a 2:27-ish half marathon. I bust my butt and still, it’s a constant struggle.

Last year, I signed up for a group ID and registered for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco. I waited, lost sleep and kept checking my credit card statement.

I watched the Facebook page all day long. And finally, a day after they started announcing that they were selecting entries, I as notified I hadn’t won a coveted spot.

I was crushed. I couldn’t believe that the one half marathon I’d wanted to do since I started running was now off limits. I was so upset I didn’t really let reality sink in. That’s probably why, months later, I was still looking for entry. And, as I started this blog right before I ran that race, I think it’s now known that I found a way in as part of a sponsored team.

Four weeks ago, I applied to run this year’s half marathon. Yesterday, I got in. I was greeted at 6 a.m. when I woke up with an email in my inbox that said the following:

Whether it’s your first or fiftieth race, there really is no other feeling quite like standing at the starting line.

We’re so glad that in 2012, you’ll be sharing that moment with us.

That’s right, you read that correctly. You’ve officially been selected to run in the 2012 Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. Congratulations!

I’ll admit it: I did a happy dance.

Why? I love, love, love this race. I love to run in San Francisco. I love my Nikes too. I’m thrilled to be running it again. So thrilled.

But with luck also comes disappointment. On a whim, I also applied to run the New York City Marathon. Because I’m crazy? Because I really needed to off and fly 3,000-plus miles away for a marathon?

Actually it’s because after my visit to New York City last summer on vacation, I kind of fell in love with Central Park and Staten Island. (Two very different places, yes.)

I actually imagined going for a run in Central Park. But we stayed on Staten Island in a not so view friendly part of town (I did see the tip of the Bayonne Bride from my window, though). I thought it would be thrilling to run New York.

But it wasn’t to be.

Instead, after all the Wednesday fanfare and realizing that my credit card hadn’t been charged (these days a tell-tale sign of “getting in”), I knew it wasn’t happening for me.

Only today (seriously two days later) did I receive the email notifying me that I didn’t make the cut.

Well snap.

After last year’s Nike rejection, I kind of felt as if I’d been in that place before. I didn’t hurt as deep. I didn’t feel betrayed. And I shouldn’t have really.

A race is a race.

Many big races nowadays use lotteries because they are so in demand. (I wonder how many people opted NOT to sign up for the Nike event in San Francisco, though, because the company is now going a half next spring in Washington, D.C.)

To be fair, though, I’m still a little shocked I got into Nike via the lottery this year. I had planned to take quite a bit of time off from long-distance running this summer/fall and into the winter. My goal was to reclaim my diet and cut back on mileage.

Now I’ll be training into the fall.

So I’m considering doing the Big Sur Half Marathon again. I’m also considering running the California International Marathon for a second year. Wow. I never thought I’d write that sentence.

But then I’d be in a perpetual state of marathon training for more than a year. Big deal? Maybe. I’m not quite ready to take the plunge and sign up yet.

I may after I get through this weekend, though. We head to the Big Sur/Monterey area tomorrow morning for the Big Sur 21-miler on Highway 1. I’m excited, but very, very nervous. I have a nice time limit, but the hills, I hear, are kind of killer.

And I haven’t had enough outdoor running lately. Nervous. Tense. Scared. All of those things. I’ll get through this weekend before I make any huge plans for the rest of the year.



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