|All the pretty.|
We were there in late July and while it was nice, it was definitely foggier and colder. That Saturday was the kind of weather that makes you want to quit whatever thankless job you have and move there.
Anyway, that evening we stopped at the market for bagels, peanut butter, and juice. I went to bed early and slept as well as I ever do before race day.
By 4 a.m. I was up and trying to figure out how to cut open my bagel with no knife. Sam improvised with a stirring straw and our room key. We would kick ass on Survivor. Is that still on?
I got ready and we went down the street to the shuttle stop. I met a nice woman named Maria and we chatted until it was time to get into our corrals. I made one more pit stop at the porta-potties and then looked around.
"TWO MINUTES!" The announcer said.
How do I get into my corral? I thought. I'd looked at the map of the starting area, but anyone that knows me knows I have the directional sense of a goldfish. I couldn't see an entrance on my side so I raced to the end of the corrals and around to the other side. Still no way in. I got to my fenced off corral and asked a girl who said she didn't know. Some helpful guy told me to jump the fence. Because with my luck, I definitely would not fall and I most certainly would not hurt myself.
At this point, I was fully prepared to run along the outside of the fence and hop in at the last minute. I jogged up to the front of my corral and asked a married couple how to get in. The man told me to jump the fence. I was debating the mechanics of that when the woman told me that the fences snap together. "Here," she said, and unsnapped the fence. Success!
My adrenaline was going and I was finally in my corral. The announcer started our countdown and everyone started clapping. My nerves evaporated. Oh, that's right, I do this because I enjoy it!
|Cannery Row, pre-race|
For the first five miles, I felt great. I saw the elites coming BACK when I wasn't even quite halfway. We cheered for them and everyone around me was having a good time.
Somewhere around mile five, the sun came out. Unfortunately, when I get hot, I wither. I made it to the turn around, but enough time had passed that the sun was still in my face going the other way. I ran by sheer will.
Look at the pretty ocean, don't be a baby, be grateful. Look at all the people cheering!
I'm hot. I'm hot. I'm hot.
I had a blister on my left foot and a side stitch which I was able to mostly ignore. Keep running, I thought, and you'll finish faster! That was enough to keep me going. After that, I didn't think of anything else except being done. But I was supposed to enjoy the scenery, that was what everyone said.
I'll enjoy it later. In a car.
I crossed the finish line and a little girl gave me a medal. I couldn't remember what I'd been complaining about because it didn't matter anymore.
Sam was smiling and taking pictures at the finish line. A photographer took our picture. Since we were still separated by a fence, we agreed to meet on one of the piers after I went through the food tent and grabbed my things.
While I was waiting on the pier, a couple with their dog came up to me. She asked me about the race and said that she was a marathoner. She was funny and friendly and helped me to remember to enjoy the day. She asked me if I'd ever run that race before and I said no, but that it might become an annual destination race.
I learned a lot from this race for next time. And there will be a next time! One, there are uphills. They were rolling, but I hadn't been prepared for that. Second, bring sunglasses. Third, enjoy it. Monterey is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. Fourth, figure out how to enter a corral.
Last, I want to give a special thank you to all the organizers and volunteers. This was one of the most well organized races I've ever done. Thank you to everyone that made it happen!
Here are a few more pictures from the race:
|Runners be crazy|
|The elites rounding the corner at Cannery Row. The winner, Jacob Chemtai, is at the front in red.|
|Crossing the finish line. Actual finish time: 2:34:21.|
|Me in a nutshell|