Guest Blogger Jennifer Hardy

I truly do have a special place in my heart for The San Francisco Marathon and of course the city itself. As a teenager growing up, moving to San Francisco to attend university was my dream. That dream didn’t come out the way I wanted. I moved to SF, only having to move back home. I was sad to leave but more disappointed with myself because my dream didn’t come true. The 2009 SF Marathon has a similar ending but I can confidently say now that it was worth the hurt.

The 2009 SF Marathon proved to be “worth the hurt” on many many levels. It was my 2nd full marathon, and although it was only my 2nd, I thought I had already become a race expert. Wrong.

I’ll start my story by going backwards. I finished the marathon successfully and happy. I am feeling good at the finish line and decide to go to the ferry building where I will eventually meet my brother. I suddenly start to feel faint as I am walking. I end up fainting in the ferry building. People around me rushed to get help.

I ended up getting an IV in the ferry building that day and being brought to the hospital. When I was being placed in the ambulance, my brother asked me, “So is this running thing really worth it?” and I respond, “Of course it is. Marathons hurt, but still teach me something new every time.”

Now I don’t think people need to go to the hospital to learn something new. But in my case, I did. That race morning, I had only eaten a granola bar because I wasn’t “feeling” hungry, thus going against what I normally did on race days and long training runs. I also started to feel thirsty during the race, which is a sign of dehydration. But I didn’t think to stop for a few minutes at an aid station and wait until my hydration levels were back up.

Marathons humble us. The human body surprises us.  Life surprises us. I was able to move back to San Francisco and make my first dream happen and more. I got my dream job and get to live in one of the best cities in the world.  I also got to run SFM again, and this time, do it better. In 2011, I completed one of my most memorable marathons, and of course it was SFM. No IV’s, no dehydration. That day proved to me that sometimes our first tries don’t always work. But that if we learn something and try again, the next time can be a lot better.

The San Francisco Marathon is “Worth the Hurt.”