i did it! and i didn't die or faint or anything!
the hub and i decided it'd be best to find a hotel to stay down in san pedro the night before my big race. i was a little afraid that we'd be SOL, considering it was labor day weekend and all, but i was stoked to book a room at the crowne plaza hotel - just a block-ish away from the starting point.
so we packed a bag, got the dog settled in for the night, and headed down to pick up my bib and timing tag. check-in was, conveniently, at a running gear shop (which offered a 10% discount to all of the participants in the race).
so i got back in the car, where the bean was continuing her afternoon nap, and we drove around the corner to a big 5, where i was happy to find a big ol' labor day sale. i managed to pick up a pair of nike capris and a pair of wristbands to soak up the buckets of sweat that would be too much to mop up with my sleeves for under $40. score! and look at me, all official and stuff.
the hub thought it would be fun to drive over the bridge i'd be running the next day, to see what i was up against. he made a bunch of wisecracks while i sat, paralyzed and terrified in my seat, wondering what the hell i'd gotten myself into.
as we turned around and headed back over the bridge to get to the hotel, clouds rolled in and it started to rain.
and then we came across the start/finish lines and the fear in me was replaced by excitement.
home for the night!
they provided a little bag with stuff to help you sleep - lavender sheet spray, earplugs, an eye mask. cute.
looking out at our view, i considered this a sign of good things to come. i thought of my friend ricci - the whole reason i'd even signed up for this race - and wished that she could see it.
the bean already had something good:
i set the alarm to wake me up the next morning, but of course, i woke up on my own without having to rely on it after all. i'd been dreaming of having run the race through someone's house (yeah) with a running buddy (someone i didn't even know) who graciously stepped aside so i could win (huh?). but as i crossed the finish line, i looked down and realized that i didn't have my bib with my number on it nor my timing tag to prove that i'd run the race at all. how bizarre. so i made sure to put all of my identifying gear on, plus a sparkly pink headband that i'd been surprised with in the mail from my friend kate. it was much, much prettier than the shitty mini claw clip i'd been using to keep my hair back.
as we walked down to join the crowds, i got a bit of stretching in.
i found my group - team ricci. well, part of it, anyway - there were actually 75 people on the team, plus others who'd signed up on their own.
just before the bell rang to signal the start of the race:
and then the chaos as it finally began.
i was fully prepared to follow my C25K app on my phone and start with a brisk walk, but found myself caught up in the excitement of being surrounded by runners and took off at a jogging pace instead. i scanned the crowd for the bean, wearing a bright pink jacket and sitting on the hub's shoulders, and when i found them, i waved like a madwoman. she spotted me instantly and pointed me out to her daddy, who scrambled to get a shot of me. we were happy to see that he was successful:
i was good all the way till i got up to the bridge, where it got pretty damn steep. and knowing i still had quite a distance to go, i let myself slow down to a walk for a bit. as i got closer to the top, i picked it back up and managed to run all the way down to the other end of the bridge and out to the halfway point. i was thinking of ricci again, and thoughts of what she and her family are going through kept me focused. plus, i could see folks on the other side downing cups of water being handed out by volunteers, so it was good motivation to keep running.
except that by the time i got there...they'd run out of water. eff. just my luck.
so instead, i pulled my phone out and took a picture to send to the hub to let him know where i was.
sexy, right? yup. and then i spotted the mile marker and banged my head on it as i took this:
the trek back up the bridge on the way back was grueling. it was a longer, steeper incline than the first go-round, and i struggled as my calves burned and my dry throat cried out for water. i just kept pushing, going through my playlist on my C25K app, and was so proud of myself when i finally neared the top.
of course, i was able to run most of the rest of the way - downhill. hee! i slowed down long enough to grab a shot of another mile marker, though.
and it was awesome to see my little cheering section smiling and clapping for me as i finally crossed that finish line.
this is actually about a minute after i actually finished, because i was too busy guzzling down as much water as i could. i'd really hoped to get there in under an hour, but that's okay. next time.
i was so glad i had a bigger bottle of water up in our room, which i grabbed right before flopping down rather ungracefully into this very unladylike position.
after i'd gotten a chance to catch my breath, stop sweating and hop into the shower, we packed up our stuff and got outta there to find me some grub (which ended up being a fantastic double bacon cheeseburger and an ice cold coke). and as we drove up through rancho palos verdes, admiring the view and the awesome houses that dotted the coastline, the bean ended up taking an early nap. when she woke up, we were in malibu and looking for parking so we could play a little.
here's how i wrapped up my big day. this didn't suck at all.
and now? i'm so stoked over my success that i'm on the verge of joining the autism speaks team to run the next race at my favorite place in the world...disneyland. because in january 2012, the inaugural tinker bell HALF MARATHON takes place through both parks and the surrounding streets of anaheim.
just wait and see.