A few ways down the road, I made a left hand turn just across from the San Leandro BART Station. On my left was the church I attended, faithfully, as a child; St. Leanders Church. The sky was still covered in the morning darkness and the streets still sleepy on this Saturday morning. I looked over at the church and saw all 3 main front doors were open and light emerging from inside. Spontaneously, I ran up the few steps and walked inside and stood at the main entrance between the formal church area and the foyer. I stood tall and took a few deep breaths. The smell of the inside is so distinct..i have no description to tell you. Maybe kinda musty. Earthy. Church-y.
I looked at the pews and remembered the times I sat in them, my small body and tiny legs never touching the floor; i remembered the times i stood in line for communion and how i so loved the CEREMONY of that…still do. Flashes of more memories of times my grandma and me would go in when it was empty, light some candles and pray silently & together for those we had lost. And then, flashes of her (grandma) own funeral. She laid in her casket so still; stately, almost. In just that minute at the church, I felt peace, love & determination. I marched onward. Or ran, rather.
The next few miles was spent in my old neighborhood, zig-zagging through the streets I walked along..the streets where I had my paper route. Memories flashed of certain houses where I would go and collect the newspaper fee and cross my fingers for a .50 or $1.00 tip so I could go play video games later at the 7-Eleven. Man, I loved that!!
Kera, Scott & Sharon were in support car following me. I grabbed a little water from them and kept going. Unfortunately, they kinda lost me after that and I didn’t see them for another 4-5 miles and I was dying for water. I’m not a runner who can go without water for long and I was also starting to stress about not being able to see them. We had map issues that they had been trying to get figured out…god bless ‘em. It was not easy.
At approx Mile 5, I made the very small climb up to my old high school, Bishop O’Dowd. It is situated on the top of a hill and as I made my way to the top, I had the most spectacular view of the San Francisco Bay. It was such a clear morning I could see clear across to San Francisco. The sunlight at that moment was just perfect..as if everything was glowing. I wish I could have taken a photo of that moment. Oh well…it is now etched in my brain memory bank.
I doubled back a bit and somewhere between mile 6-7, I see someone waiting for me; STACEY!! WOW. How amazing to see her. We had not seen each other in about 24 years! We had re-connected on facebook and it was questionable whether she would be able to meet me or not. She worked her schedule to come run about 3-4 miles with and I was so thrilled!! We ran by our junior high school, Bancroft, which was so fitting because we only went to school together for 7th-9th grades. Thank you, Stacey, for making time and being a part of this special run!! You ROCK!
Stacey & I
Stacey’s jaunt with me ended in Bay-o-Vista, where her mom lives and she was gonna get a ride back to her vehicle. Kera and Sharon drove her up the steep ass hill to mom’s house and Scott was now running with me. He picked the perfect time as now it was all hard for the next 11 or so miles. We walked up a small steep hill and then a LOOOOONG steep hill. A little downhill and into Lake Chabot. Before we went onto trails, we had to wait for support car which had more map problems. (they didn’t know they had a harder job than I did. LOL) They arrived about 20 minutes later and we refueled and went to tackle the varied terrain of approx 9 miles around the Lake.
early into trail run. gorgeous
me & stud runner, Scott
the latter miles
As you can tell from the pictures, the trail was varied. Beginning and end are paved. In between, we ran on wide, loose dirt trail, then later, narrow single track. It was all up/down with some sections very steep on both sides. What we noticed was the drop in temperature whenever we were on the single track, shady sections. It felt about 10 degrees cooler. Otherwise, we were basically at the mercy of the sun. Not a lot of shade. We saw some mountain bikers, runners, walkers, hikers, but all in all, not too many people. A gorgeous place surrounded by a pretty lake.
Exiting the trail, we ran into the parking lot and I see someone waving madly at us..KIM! I was Kim’s roommate in SF about 8 years ago and we have remained close ever since!!Thanks for making time for me, Kimmy!! She had found support crew and they all waited for us at the park.
Kim & I
Kim, me, Scott & Kera
We stopped, visited & refueled. It was awesome to see them after those hard miles on trail. I changed my shoes and we headed back up a steep hill to get back into town. Here’s where some major energy came from my twitter peeps!
Happy to see the Peeps!
2 twitter friends flew out from atlanta, 2 of them drove up from los angeles and 1 lives in bay area.
As we were trudging/walking up the steep hill, here comes another support car and they were honking, playing music, getting out of car to take pictures and even run with me. CRAZY, AWESOME FRIENDS!
Crazy, awesome NEVA joining in the run!!
Scott on the downhill
Kera had gotten out the car to walk, then run with us on the hill. She surprised me as I didn’t think she would run at all…but she did! Even stubborn twitter peep Lynn got out of car and ran a bit. I was so incredibly delighted!!
Lynn on the Run!
Kera & I on the downhill
We had a very long downhill of the same hill we went up earlier and you might think we ran the entire way down, but we didn’t. It was pretty steep and the pounding that takes on your legs, your quads in particular is incredible….so it was walk/run/walk. All their energy definitely gave me a boost and I needed it as I was just past the half-way at about 21 miles. It was a little startling to know I still had so much more to go.
At approx Mile 22
More to follow. Stay tuned!