Race morning came early. 3:00 am early. Lucky for us, we were in San Francisco, so with the time change, it was 5:00 am back home so it didn't feel so early.
Got up and around, did the usual stuff and met the team downstairs at 4:00 am.
There were 6 of us from our team doing the early start so we loaded the bus and headed to the start line.
It was a nice brisk morning. I wore a long sleeved shirt under my TNT jersey along with some shorts. I took a mylar blanket I had from my last race to keep me cozy until I got warmed up once we got going. I had it wrapped around my waist like a sarong. Received several compliments on how cute it looked. Ha!
We took some pictures and without too much ado, we took off.
For the early starters, for the first hour and a half (until the first elite came through), you could not pass the pace car that was up ahead. That pace car was traveling at a 15 minute per mile pace. So we all started out walking. We were having the best time ever. Chit chatting it up with all the girls. A couple miles in we somehow got lost from some of the crew so Karen and I took off at our pace.
Mile 3 came and we were able to see the support crew: Karen's mom, Leslie's parents and Doug were all there cheering us on. Coach Doug walked with us a bit to see how things were going. Karen's mom was a cheering fool. She was having a great time. You could tell she was so very proud of Karen. It was fun to see.
We kept chugging on. By this time we're doing some running. Most of it was running. We stopped. Took pictures. I went to the bathroom. That seemed to be the story of the day. I went to the bathroom 4 times on the course. That is a first.
We hit mile 6-7 and it.was.a.hill. We moved right on up it and found Karen's mom again. We also came across a station that was handing out socks. Fun! I love the socks I got last year from this race so I was excited to see socks again. Karen's mom took the socks and off we went. We actually received socks on 2 different places on the course. Too cool.
I thought by this time, the sun would be up but it wasn't. The fog wasn't out-but it was certainly cloudy. The clouds never parted. It was a cool, cloudy day. A perfect day for a marathon.
At this time, I still had my mylar blanket. I never really did warm up. As a matter of fact, I finished with my blanket. I'm sure my pictures are going to be lovely!! And that second set of socks...they turned into mittens. And hand puppets. Not sure Karen appreciated it too much, but I was having a good time! I did get her to laugh a time or two with them though.
We passed the split for the half marathons at around mile 11. At this point, we had slowed a bit and Karen was having some issues with her knees. We needed biofreeze. The aid stations didn't carry biofreeze or anything like it. For real? So, we got her some Tylenol to see if that would help.
Karen gets quiet. I know something is up. I try to talk it out with her. This was her race. We were doing what she wanted. When she wanted. I was out there for her. Who could pass up experiencing your best friends 1st marathon with her? The tears. The laughter. The pain. The exhilaration. Especially when she sites you as being her inspiration for doing it! I wanted to be there every step of the way with her. Experiencing everything together. It was not about time. It was about being a team. Being there for each other. Being best friends.
We do an out and back. We're cheering on our buds as we see them coming back and then it was down Highway 101. Beautiful part of the course along the ocean. I kept telling Karen to take it all in. Don't get wrapped up in looking at the pavement. Look up. Look around. She did and we kept putting, 'one foot in front of the other'. So I kept singing that. Yeah...poor Karen. Not sure she appreciated that much either! But that's what we did.
Then it was the lake. A beautiful lake that seemed like it took forever to get around. It did last year too. But we did. Grabbed some chocolate on the chocolate mile and I downed 3 of those puppies. I was starving. I had been hungry the whole time we had been out there.
Then it was back to the 101 where we were on the home stretch. You could hear and see the ocean. Ahhh...
We ran into Doug around mile 23 and he forged forward with us for a bit. Then off we were to finish. Finish! We saw the tents ahead and we were there. When we got to mile 26, I think that is the first time Karen realized this was it. She was going to be a marathoner! She cried, I cried. We laughed. And we brought it in. We crossed that finish line together. With Karen's mom cheering in the stands. With our hands raised in the air together. It was amazing! Then the tears flowed!
It was the best experience ever!
I love you Karen! Congratulations!
Pictures will be coming soon.