At approx Mile 22 mark, me and the fellow runners & 2 support cars, pulled into a gas station. I wanted to change my socks/shoes and refuel. A man in a large pickup truck pulled up to us and said, “Can I ask what this is all about.” I guess we were causing quite a scene. LOL
I got up and headed down the road. By this time, it was nearing mid-day and it was HOT. Temperatures were between 85-90 degrees and I was in the full sun. There is virtually no shade in San Leandro. Those temps were unusual, for sure, but you get what you get and move on. I needed a hat so I took off my Funtanilla Forty Orange bandana that Sharon made and put on an oversized cap from Sandra. (this was not my first choice, but i couldn’t be picky. left my own Brooks cap in the hotel)
I was also getting into high traffic areas and had to stop at a lot of traffic lights…that’s never fun but it was part of the course. After the marathon mark of 26 miles, it started to get tougher. I had not run past that distance in about 2 years and my legs were feeling it. And Feet! Scott was still running with me and offering lots of positive encouragement. “Angie, you are looking good. you’re looking strong”, he would say. I have no idea if he was telling me the truth, but it sounded good and I believed him. I can’t say enough about how thankful I am that Scott ran with me. (in total about 26 miles) He was solid! He was a great companion. We have only known each other thru the blogging world and met each other once before at a race. It was easy to run with him…no pressure to talk or anything…just be and run. He is a gem! Everyone loved him and his cute self.
We were coming up to a Taco Bell so I used it as an opportunity to make a pit stop to the bathroom. When I came out and went outside, I saw more friends to greet me; Denise and Jason! On the eve of their 2nd wedding anniversary, they were out there to cheer me on! Denise even ran with me for a bit which was a wonderful surprise. She has some disc problems with her neck that prevents her from hard impact activities, so I was so delighted to see her out there and she felt good!! Me & my friend of about 21 years out running in the streets of San Leandro. Sweet!
We ran through the mini “downtown” area of San Leandro and made a stop across from the Long’s Drug Store. I sat on the curb and i think at this point someone (can’t remember who, sorry) massaged my calves. A huge help. Grandma and I used to go to that Long’s Drug store all the time and I always enjoyed it. I loved walking slowly along the aisles and just looking at all the stuff…the greeting cards, all the medicine stuff, random things like slippers or clock radios or little fans. I remember when we would walk in during the holidays and they had all their holiday decorations out…for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Grandma always seemed to buy a tin of those Butter Cookies, Andes Thin Mint Chocolates and Mon Cheri Chocolates. It’s a rarity that I eat any of those items anymore (mostly because I don’t wanna buy a WHOLE PACK or CONTAINER just for me) but they always make me think of grandma and the holidays. Ok. Get back to running.
There isn’t a whole to report on the next 10 or so miles. Some of it was back through some areas I had already been and other than that, not to noteworthy. Except to say, that it continued to be hot and Jason was a gem in getting me a bunch of ice cubes packed into a t-shirt for me to wear around my neck. That was a huge help. He also switched places with Denise and ran a bit with Scott and I. I really felt he was taking care of me and I appreciated it so much. THANK YOU, JASON!
These miles that were uneventful were mentally kinda taxing. They made me a little grumpy although I was also feeling the pain so those 2 feelings kinda mixed in with each other. We had to wait at a lot of lights/traffic and it just wasn’t nice scenery. But, again…i chose the route for particular reasons and I just had to keep on.
I got a great boost around mile 32. I am running along on this road full of nothing and I see these red car parked ahead all by itself and I see someone waving. I hear their voice. I cannot tell who it is yet…closer, closer, I see it is my old high school friend, Miki! WOW. CRAZY. UNBELIEVABLE. She gave me a big smile and hug and it was such an enormous boost. She had to get back in her car and would join us later that evening for the birthday party. How great was that, right!!!
Another big boost came about 2 miles later when Scott and I saw my best friend, Holly! She had swapped her car with someone and had her bicycle and was gonna be with us for a while. So happy to see her and have her join us. We were about 6 miles away from the Marina and the finish line. It wasn’t too long ago that Holly couldn’t even exercise at all. She had a serious back injury that was very painful and caused her to be extremely limited in her exercise. She couldn’t ride a bike, no tennis — nothing really except walking. She couldn’t even really sustain more than one hour car rides. Now, she is kayaking, riding her bike, etc..and I was so proud of her and happy she is able to be active again.
Once Holly joined me, Scott departed and went back with Kera in support car. He had run about miles with me and said his knee was starting to bother him. I would have thought he was a serious slacker, but 2-3 weeks prior, he had just run 93 miles across Idaho! So, i let him off the hook and told him it was ok to go rest. HAHAHA!
(read about his adventures at http://www.ikeeprunning.blogspot.com or click SCOTT on my links to the right of page) He is an awesome runner and a great fella!
Now, I’m about 3-4 miles from the end and what am i thinking? Well, I’m looking at my watch and seeing the hours keep adding up and thinking, “wow, i’ve been out here a long time.” You know, there comes a point where your thoughts are not really coherent and you are just functioning..just keep going…just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep pumping your arms…repeat.” oh, and keep drinking. what else do you need? another gel? keep going. I never thought, “i can’t finish”. Never even crossed my mind. Oh yeah, i few miles back, Kera had the Rocky Theme song playing on her Droid phone so gave it to me to listen to which was very cool. In case you don’t know, that IS my favorite song!
Finally, I’m on a straightaway into the Marina and I know I have about 2 miles left. I tell Holly, “I wanna do this part alone. I will meet you all at the finish line.” Off I went to run the final part which is into the Marina and onto the “fitness trail” portion which looks like a little island in itself. It’s a small loop on paved trail with dirt patches all around and the bay is right there with ya! I was running and looking across to San Francisco. I felt the soft breeze cool my face. I heard the sounds of the water gently lapping against the rocks. I heard children’s voices playing in the distance. I remembered all those times I came to this same spot as a teenager…coming there to find some quiet and some calm in my crazy life. I would run or walk around the loop and just think. I can’t remember what I thought, but I remember how I felt; i felt like i could breathe. Something about the openness of the area gave me perspective and some kind of hope that things would be ok. I think we all need that kind of place, no matter how old you are or where you are in your life. I hope you, dear reader, have that kind of place for you.
I had been run/walking these last 10 miles and I had about 1 mile to go to the finish. I wanted to run all the way in…all the way in to my friends, my awesome supporters. As I exited the trail and ran along the main road, I could see some of them up ahead with cameras. I was smiling and digging in. I turned left into the hotel parking lot and saw some of them up ahead holding a banner for me…like a finish line banner. I ran until I touched the banner. I was smiling. BIG.