The race went pretty well, and I had a good time. Mostly I'm glad to be done.
Woke up at 4:14am this morning (one minute before my alarm was set to go off, I think that's my super power because that happens all the time), had a cup of coffee and piece of toast. I left in plenty of time to make it to the parking area (San Diego Zoo parking lot), especially for 5 am on a Sunday. However, I didn't take into account that 8,000 other cars would also be trying to merge onto the 5 from the 163. I was a little worried about missing the last shuttle bus to the start line, but looking at the line of cars behind me I knew that there was no way that they would not pick all of us up. After finally making it to the parking, and waiting in a long line, I boarded a bus which took us to the start line at Cabrillo National Monument. I really wished I had a camera because when the bus pulled up to the drop off area the massive sea of people milling about the parking lot was really a sight to see.
My next immediate concern was finding a bathroom. I think I over-hydrated a little bit this morning, and I'm sure the coffee didn't help. The lines for the bathroom were about thirty people deep, and by this time the race start time was about six minutes away. Needless to say, the race started while I was in line, but this is okay because my personal time didn't start until I stepped over the start line (timing RFID tag on my shoe). I had a lot of time to chat with the woman behind me in line. She asked about my shirt and I told her a little about CureSearch, and how I had raised funds to support childhood cancer research. She told me that she was a childhood cancer survivor. Her parents had enrolled her in an experimental chemotherapy trial, and because of this she was the only child from her ward that survived. I felt like this was some sort of sign; this woman's story inspired me and furthered my belief that I was doing the right thing. So many kids lives are saved because of experimental trials that pave the way for future reasearch which then results in more kids' lives being saved. I was hoping to see her again, but I didn't. I think she was there just when I needed her.
Running a race with 8,000 of your closest friends is a lot different than doing a long training run with no one around. On training runs I can zone out and think about things besides running, and how my body is feeling. This helps the time pass. Constantly trying to get around people, slowing down because of slower runners, finding holes to slip into, it's an exhausting mental workout. By the end of the race I was physically tired, but being mentally tired had just as much of an impact. I did pretty well until the last couple of miles, which were uphill. A gradual uphill, but still, it was hard. My friend Doug met me at some point near the end of the hill and ran with me until the hill was over. That really helped motivate me to keep going. I had been running most of the hill, but was taking occasional walk breaks because I was just so tired. At the top of the hill I saw Ryan and Madeleine, and Danelle and her girls, Kassidy and Audrey. It really did make me feel good to see them cheering me on. And then I ran into Balboa Park and finished! I complete the race in two hours and seventeen minutes, which is right around the time that I was hoping for.
So glad to be done!