Where did I leave off... Oh yes, the expo. I'm poor now. That's the basic point here.
After the expo I set out on an expedition to find the San Francisco Whole Foods. I knew they had to have one since this was Mecca for Granola people and everyone knows Granola people love Whole Foods. I found one a few blocks from the expo and entered the bliss of breads, salads, wine, cheese, and every other wonderful thing that wonderful people can make from wonderful food raw materials. One day I've got to figure out how to do these things but for now I'll rely on Whole Foods and Little Caesars for sustenance.
Later that day, after a nap and some fantastic TV from the 3 channels I had in the Ritz, I was lucky enough to meet up with some fellow bloggers for dinner. It was great to see Penny again and I also got to meet AKA Alice and Meg Runs! Total score for meeting wonderful people! We had a great dinner and I laughed very hard the entire night. It's funny how I've become comfortable meeting bloggers since that first time I met Penny. I was so nervous that night I couldn't speak and now I actually look forward to it. Bloggers are wonderful people.
I got to bed late that night after what was probably my 2nd taxi ride ever. Yes, I'm a sheltered person. Sue me, I like the subway!
Race morning came quickly and I was up and in my Landrunner shirt before 5AM. I was supposed to meet RBR and Penny at 5:15 somewhere near the bag drop. I was a little late. RBR was as gracious as ever in her texts asking where the #$%^ I was! She's has such a way with words. I love that about her. I always learn some new way to offend people when I see her. I have considered bringing a notebook or a recorder. She is such a wonderful teacher.
There was a bit of confusion about which wave we were in. Ok, so we knew which wave we were supposed to be in but we didn't want to be in that wave. Do you see the problem. SUPPOSED and WANT. Those two words have always caused me problems. We did eventually end up in our assigned wave which started somewhere near San Jose. No kidding we were in the very last wave. That's what happens when you register the day before the race. After having done this for many, many races I feel that I should get a preferred starting spot because I paid more to be in this race than 90% of the other entries. Just a thought.
I ran with RBR and another friend who had come out from OKC to run this race at the last minute also. Did you catch that? I RAN WITH RBR. Yep, that's right, after last years confusion that mistakenly forced me to accidentally leave her after only 25 feet, I actually ran with her this year. For awhile. We caught AKA Alice as we were approaching the bridge and RBR left me for better company. All in all, I'd say we ran 15-16 miles together. Yeah, that sounds right...
The Golden Gate was as beautiful as ever and it still hasn't gotten old running across it. I still got goosebumps when we ran out on it. It's just such a great thing to be out there in the traffic lanes running between the Pacific and the bay. In true 80's lingo, it's way cool dude!
I continued to run with my friend from OKC until 13 miles where I decided to see if I could pick up the pace and run a great negative split. I had many reasons for this but the most compelling one was to finally run the second half strong. I've always struggled on the second half because the hills beat me up so much on the first half that I just have nothing left for the last miles. I was also completely committed to looking at mile 24 through 26 and giving it the finger! Last year those miles completely destroyed me. Absolutely my worst 2 miles of running ever and I was going to get my revenge.
I was able to pick up the pace a little but I still held back for awhile because I wanted to finish stronger. I wasn't wearing Paula so I don't know what pace I was running but it felt good and strong and that was all I wanted that day. Time was not a factor for me, all I wanted was that good feeling of finishing a marathon with strength and I was doing it. No walls, no deep emotional dips, no bent-over trudging along. Running with my head up and back straight with some dignity.
Mile 24 came along and I looked in it's #%$(ing eye and gave it the finger. That mile has haunted me for a year now. It was the symbol of how I saw myself and how I felt. I needed to put it back in it's place; make it just another single mile of the 26.2 I could run. I did this that day.
If mile 24-26 of last year's San Francisco marathon were the representation of how I felt for the last year then mile 26.2 of this year's marathon has to be the symbol for this year. I crossed the finish line with strength and my head up. I didn't raise my hands in celebration as I normally do but I looked around and took in the moment with the respect that this course and the trials of life that it represents deserves. It was a good year.
Thanks for listening