I can't begin to stress how amazing and fun the Team and Training inspiration dinner was last night. It was held at the Hilton Bayfront, and we entered the dinner to a ROAR of the mentors, coaches and LLS cheering us on in full regalia- men in drag, people with cowbells, everyone screaming- it was unbelievable, what an incredible moment! They then had John "The Penguin" Bingham speak. He was sooo funny and so inspirational. But most inspiring was having a woman from the NYC office speak about how she did the Rock n' Roll San Diego last year while her father was having chemotherapy treatments at a hospital along the marathon route- and showed a photo of him watching her run from the hospital rooftop. He then got up to speak, and the audience roared. I was also honored to sit with the GUINNESS WORLD RECORD HOLDER for most miles run in 7 consecutive days, Mike Sheehy, who raised $43,000 by doing so. And all in all, the 4000 Team and Training members from chapters all over the country raised TWELVE MILLION DOLLARS by doing this race! GO TEAM!
After a very sleepless night I got up at 3:15 am to get ready for the day. Luckily I've gotten up at the crack of dawn every Saturday for the past five months to run, so I knew what to do as far as what to eat, what to wear, etc. I had everything set out just in case I was brain dead in the morning, which I was. It was pitch black at 4:45 am when I got to the start at Balboa Park where everyone was meeting and after searching for about 20 minutes I finally found my team!
I was absolutely delighted that I was able to find my training partner this season, Sara. She has been training and fundraising in honor of her dad who is going through treatment for Leukemia now, and so we're bonded through our fathers- and of course having the same pace. She's a rock star fundraiser, which means that she raised $1000 over and above her fundraising goal, and so got to wear a singlet with a big star on the back of her shirt- as well as tickets to seaworld, etc. Believe me, that singlet was a life saver because whenever I lost her in the crowd I just looked for that big huge star. I felt like I was a kid in a grocery store half the race- like where's my rock star? It was absolutely amazing to be able to do the race with her.
Here we are waiting at the port o pottie line, which is where we spent most of the morning as the line was a half hour long.
Here are all the girls that have been training together all season long on the Green team. Sometimes I ran with all of them, sometimes I ran with one or two on one of the mentor runs...we're the "5 minute run, 1 minute walk" girls. It was a such a pleasure to start with so many of them in corral 36, aka the slow paced group. Since the race started off in waves according to pace and corrals, it took a good fifty minutes before we went across the start line!
Here are the marathoners that started before us!
Getting closer to that starting line!
On Highway 163. That was one long highway to run on! My favorite aid station was where the army members were in camoflage handing out water to us. I felt very honored!
The first few miles were very difficult, as it was very muggy and I was pretty dehydrated and didn't get much (if any) sleep. I really didn't know if I would make it or not- was pretty delirious, woozy, etc. I had a gel at mile three and it really pepped me up, thank god, then the next five miles went pretty well. I appreciated the men on bikes at the top of a big hill on 163 who kept a mantra of "Take this time to stretch. Be careful on the downhill. Relax. Breathe through your nose. Take it easy." On the downhill we (Darcy, Sara and me) ran into the assistant coach David, who ran with us for about a half mile and checked in with how we were feeling. At this point Darcy's knee was hurting and Sara's foot had stabbing pain, but I felt good because we were going downhill. Uphill was another story!
Right before 163 was the Mission Mile, where there are signs of honored patients up to remind us why we are here. I also thought it was funny because there was a mile of people waiting for the port o potty! Unfortunately our waiting for it caused us to be among the walkers and we had to weave through them for quite a while.
John and Kristen were at mile 10 with these awesome signs they made with hot glue and glitter. Gotta love it! They were so psyched to see me after waiting for over an hour (or two?) but at least they were waiting by a band! John was absolutely giddy!
Kristen and John were cheering from top of a bridge at mile 11! Thank god we were still running!
The final push just before the finish line! We walked about 3 miles due to injuries, but at least we finished!
Hanging out with the Running Elvises at the Beer Garden after the race. Gotta love it!
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy playing for us at the finish line. They were SOOO good and even though I could barely walk because of blisters and my legs felt like they were sawed in two by chafing, I was having a great time dancing!