So...I flew back into San Diego on Saturday night to go to a gala-fundraiser for the Home of Guiding Hands. Walter, as you all know, is the best husband in the world, never fusses about my various adventures with the herd, and for the most part, doesn't ask me to do many outrageous things.
So about a month ago, when realized that I'd triple booked a weekend, I immediately thought about not going to the fundraiser. I mean, I've been to plenty of fundraisers and they're all nice and good for causes and all, but they're all about the same. Getting dressed up and then eating some kind of baked, broiled, sauteed chicken part in some light sauce while somebody gets an (deserved) award and then there's a silent and live auction.
But, Walter said he REALLY wanted me to go to this one, and since he almost never says that to me, I had to go...but to be completely honest, I wasn't looking forward to it. In other words, this was for Walter.
So...I landed in San Diego. It was raining (of course). Walter picked me up, looking all spiffy and suited and all, and we rushed to his office, which is near the airport, so that I could change there.
Yes, I took some pix.
Before shot - nice that the office ladies room had a full length mirror
Getting set up for the big makeover. You cannot see from this photo how tired I look
Oh...don't I just LOOK like I'm ready to party...
About 15 minutes later....
Unlike other fundraisers I've been to, this event was EXCEPTIONAL and highly entertaining. I'd never been to a non-profit organization fundraiser that included: belly dancers dancing with live snakes, a Brazillian drum band that started a Carnival-style congo line throughout the place (complete with semi-dressed women in feather-outfits), and a live band covering Madonna and The Black Eye Peas ...all of which occurred before dinner was even served. I'd have taken pictures, but all I had was my iPhone camera and it took pretty lousy shots, so you'll just have to take my word for it. It was quite an event.
I was pretty sad that I had to get up so darn early. I could have really partied with these people. But I behaved myself, limited my wine consumption to two glasses, and just enjoyed the scene. Even so, by 9:30, I looked at Walter and said:
"Can we go now?"
So we did. But I'm glad I came back for the gala. I'll make sure I don't double book next year.
Event 3 - The Surf
So, even though I'd had limited sleep for the previous two nights, and a couple glasses of wine to help me sleep, I still woke up at hourly intervals to make sure I didn't oversleep, so I was up by 3:55, in time to shut off the alarm clock before it woke me up at 4:00.
Our plan was to meet at Betty's house at 4:30 for the drive up to Huntington Beach. At 4:28, I pulled up to Betty's, and moved over to the passenger seat to let Betty drive. Yep, you got that right, I let someone else drive. I knew I was tired. In fact, I hadn't even bother getting dressed. I arrived at Betty's still in my PJs, carrying my pillow and blanket. My goal was to get some additional sleep on the drive up.
Yeah...right...that didn't happen, we chatted and laughed (Alberta slept) and before we knew it, we were in Huntington Beach, where we stopped at a Starbucks for a potty stop and to get some more coffee. Elsie and I also helped some 1st time 1/2 Marathoners put on their shoe tags. They were so adorable, not knowing where to put the shoe tag or how it all worked. I so remember being that person. (WTF do I do with this thing?)
Elsie and me - still not quite awake, but very helpful.
As I was about to pee, Penny called. She was about to enter into a parking lot. Penny, our rockstar, Surf City savior, navigated us into the perfect parking lot AND then she did an Elaine, and was willing to sacrifice herself to save us a key parking space.
We got out of the car and there she was...a vision in Colts Blue...sorta like the perfect bride from the movie Diner.
Penny and me...lookin' ready to run.
Penny (honorary Heffer) with Alberta, me, Betty, Mik and Elsie
It is impossible for us to thank Penny enough for putting up with the herd this week, our various changes of plans and new pseudonyms. As soon as we got there Penny passed out the five swag bags with t-shirts and bibs, which she had picked up for us from the Expo the day before. She called out the pseudonyms on our bibs..."this is for Elise, this is for Mik, this is for... Tiger?"
As you may have surmised by now, Betty bought a bib from some guy off Craig's List. She says he had several piercings tatoos and they made the cash/big exchange in a McDonald's near City College, only she thinks the police ignored them because she was wearing a business suit. I think our emails about the planned and then executed transaction kept Penny entertained for a few hours earlier this week.
Now ordinarily none of us are really in favor of buying a 2nd hand bib, but the story of the bib-purchase is pretty darn funny and makes it almost worth it because yesterday Betty ran as a 27 year old male who put the nickname "Tiger" on his bib. We don't know if he meant it as a personality trait or if he was thinking he was going to score like Tiger Woods with the ladies...In any event, she reported that all day people yelled at her things like:
- Go Tiger!
- Keep running Tiger!
- Atta Girl Tiger!
Betty giving us the "Tiger" pose..."growwwwwwl"
So here's the thing I didn't tell ANYONE last week. With all of the 3 Day/3 City/3 Event drama, I ended up with the start of what I thought might be a pretty bad cold, so that morning, I was pretty hopped up on cold meds and nose spray to keep my sinuses clear. To be honest, as everyone was getting ready for the run, I wasn't sure I would make it to mile 1, let alone through 13 of them. My head was fuzzy. I was UNBELIEVABLY thirsty. And I generally felt like crap. On the shuttle we took to the start, I thought I might pass out. I was a little worried. I had a few moments where I thought that I'd just start the race, then head back to the car and take a nap.
Luckily, after a LOOOONNNNNGGGGG ride, the shuttle dropped us off at the race start. It was a ZOO! It was supposed to be a wave start and I guess they were just using an honor system. Each corral was just jam-packed with runners, as was the area just outside along side each corral. We found a place to stretch a little bit and at some point Mik decided to go in search of a porta potty and started with an earlier wave.
While several waves took off, we made friends with "Dan the Man." These two women informed us that he was "the perfect mate."
Dan the Man - doesn't snore, hog all the covers and you never have
to worry about the seat being left up.
Waiting for a wave to let us in so that we can start running
By about 8:00, we could see the 2:15 - 2:30 wave in front of us, so we wedged our way in.
Yes, I know I had no business being a 2:15 - 2:30 wave...whatever. I faked it pretty well in the beginning.
We were off...
I got separated pretty quickly from Elsie, Betty, and Penny (although all were pretty easy to spot due to the neon-dayglo-lime green and the blue tulle), but Alberta and I ran the first couple of miles together. I told her that I felt pretty lousy, but that I was hoping that the run would either make me feel better, or that I'd feel so lousy running, that I'd forget about the cold. I caught up with Betty and we ran and chatted a bit.
Alberta and I settled into a pretty good 11:15 - 11:30 pace. At about Mile 2 I could see Penny a little bit ahead of me talking to...who was it? GLENN! I sprinted (huge error) to catch up to them, but Glenn had pulled ahead in his PR or ER pace, so there was no catching him.
I won't give you too much of the race details, mostly because at this point, I barely remember them, but overall, I'd say that I did a decent job of training for an maybe a 10 mile race. I was certainly on pace to PR for the first 1/2 of the race, but I knew it was all a facade. The last three miles were pretty ugly.
Here are some of the high and low lights.
- I really had absolutely no effing clue about the course. Usually, I examine course maps, study elevations, memorize aide stations but not this time. About Mile 3ish, we turned inland. I remember asking some guy if he knew how far inland we were running. He didn't, but another woman behind us gave me some details about the run, including that there was a hill ahead, so to save some energy. Right about then I saw Mik. She was cruising and finished in right around 2 hours!
- Mile 4 - This is a hill? BAH! This ain't no stinkin' San Diego County Hill! I cruised up it with no problem (yes this would be one of the highlights).
- Mile 6 - Our brief journey inland ended and we turned right on PCH. I was still feeling pretty good, and had the momentary crazy thought (that I've had at several 1/2 marathons I've done) that if I can keep my current pace, I could PR and break 2:30 (yeah, right!).
- Mile 7 - I started my 9/1 plan (run for 9 minutes, walk for 1), figuring that would keep me whole for awhile. I'm not sure if it helped or not.
- Mile 8 - At the turnaround (8.2 miles) I was still feeling pretty good and averaging an 11:30 pace (and this included the 60 second walk breaks). Right before the turn around, I saw Elsie, smiling (she told me later she was having some cramps in her calves, but I couldn't tell...speedy girl finished in about 2:27).
- Mile 9 - I downed a 2nd Gu (first was before the "hill"). Despite this, I switched to a 4/1 (run 4 minutes/walk 1) plan because I was just started to feel exhausted. My breathing was fine, but my legs were starting to hurt and generally, I just felt like I was out of fuel.
My one rationale thought was that I would NEVER do this again and by this I mean, I'll never run a 1/2 marathon without training for it.
What I do know is that at one point, I looked down at my Garmin and it said I was moving at about a 20+ minute pace and I thought to myself, "At this rate, I'll be out here another hour" and I know I didn't want that, so I went back to my 4/1 plan, telling myself along the way that I could run for 4 minutes and then walk. If I did this three more times, I'd have less than a mile left...and then I could run it in. So that's what I did. By the time I got to within' a 1/2 mile of the finish, I knew that the end was near and I did what I did in Carlsbad last January, at AFC last August, and in Vegas this past December, I just put my head down and let the crowd pull me in.
Not a stellar finish, but a finish, and I was still upright. I somehow made my way through the finishing chute and was exiting the finishers area when I turned around and there was Betty. We high-fived each other and started walking out, looking for the rest of the herd.
As we were walking through the expo, I told Betty that I just had to sit for a few minutes. She handed me a bag of pretzels (BEST GD PRETZELS I'VE EVER EATEN!) and I started to feel a little clearer and got some energy back.
Right about then we found the rest of the herd (or they found us including Penny and Glenn!)
Me with fellow runner-bloggers Glenn (who managed a PR and NOT the ER) and Penny
Finally, we managed the ENDLESS walk back to the car. Yep, there's nothing like running 13.1 miles, and then walking another 1.5 to the car.
We ended up at my sister's house (she lives in Coto de Caza, which is near Mission Viejo) about 30 minutes away. My fabulous sister fixed us tacos and we had mimosas and we got to take showers AND we got to shop for jeans (my sister has a fabulous jean's boutique called Olivia's Closet which she operates out of her home). Running, eating, shopping - what could be better than that?
Elsie discovered the joy of Zenzah compression sleeves!
I'll be honest. I did a crappy job of taking pictures at my sister's house, including no photos of my beautiful OC sister who was generous and opened her house to feed the herd and let us bathe. I meant to take a group photo. I got distracted by the tacos (they were really yummy).
Finally, we loaded into the car and headed home.
Mik's sister is NOT allowed to tag this picture of her on FB
Yeah...I'll pay for this. Alberta has abs and guns of steel.
So...what am I thinking today?
So with that in mind, I promised the herd, and especially Walter, the following:
I hereby solemnly promise everyone I know and the internet that I will never again run a 1/2 marathon that I haven't trained for. It just wasn't that much fun. I think I've proven to myself that I can gut it out and finish a run that I've started. Lord knows that I have a whole year of doing that.