Thursday, December 09, 2004

RACE DAY (Sunday 12/5/04) ~ Pt. 1

I am sitting on the toilet eating a bowl of oatmeal in the cramped bathroom of our hotel room. A sure indication that you have either a) lost your mind or b) are far too dedicated to running is when you somehow enjoy Quaker Oats Maple & Brown Sugar out of a paper bowl with a plastic spoon at the crack of dawn.

Rested fairly well last night. I believe I woke up two or three times. I recall getting out of bed around four to check the clock. As far as ever getting into a deep sleep, that never happened. Had some bizarre, disturbing dreams about being called to duty for World War II and having to assemble with hundreds of troops for some type of prewar rally. Good times.

Breakfast is done so it's time to get dressed. Shorts, shirt, singlet (with my number pinned on), watch, three socks (one for my left foot, two for the smaller right foot), long sleeve shirt, and then my shoes.

Julie is up now. It's around 5:30. I've finished reading portions of the new People Magazine (Julia Roberts...Twins!) and I'm brushing my teeth. For about three minutes when I woke up I contemplated taking a shower. I'm glad I didn't. It gave me time to read the gossip in the back of the magazine.

Jules didn't sleep well either. She seems more worried about the race than I am. She's checked outside and it rained last night. Could it be that the thunderstorm headed our way passed quietly in the night? I can only pray. There's nothing worse than running with wet shoes and I remember vividly what happened to my "good" knee during the last two miles of my 20-mile run a month ago. As soon as the rain came, my knee felt like it was bone on bone. That, I think, is my biggest fear for today.

It's 5:40 now and I'm ready to leave and head down to the lobby to meet the others. I pack some Advil and grab an apple from the fridge. Then, I wrap my right knee with the support, put on my snack belt and give Julie a kiss goodbye. That she's up to see me off is the greatest feeling. Even though I'm the one running, I truly feel that we're all in this together. The last thing I do is turn on my phone as she closes the door behind me.

5:45 am

Most of the CF team is waiting when I show up. There are Peter, Robert, Euri, Rebecca and Julie Deliema (Rebecca’s co-worker from the Foundation). Both Rebecca and Julie are running the half marathon, as are Julie’s father and brother, who are also lounging on one of the lobby couches. Julie and her family are training for the L.A. Marathon. Hopefully they’ll have better weather than we’re expected to have. Wes arrives and we all head out to the parking lot to wait for a shuttle bus to take us to the starting line.

Outside, it’s pretty chilly. Windy, mostly. I have to say, my four years at Bowling Green really prepared me for days like this. While everyone is complaining about the wind, I kind of like it.

Today I’m only carrying snacks (almonds and some of Julie’s fabulous oatmeal-raisin cookies) with me on the run. No water bottle today. There are water stops at every mile so I should have no trouble staying hydrated. Plus, I’ve drunk enough water in the past 48 hours that I’m practically floating.

As we’re waiting in line, friends of mine from Santa Clarita, Bill and Kate Povletich, are standing right in front of me. Man, I haven’t seen Kate in, like, three years. The last time I saw her we had just moved into the house. They’re both running the half marathon, too. Just how many people ARE running the half marathon? Something tells me that I should be running the half marathon as well.

6:10 am

Wes and I ride over together on the bus. We’re both in good spirits. Our conversation ranges from work related topics (Wes is a voice over agent) to children. He says he hopes to adopt someday, with or without a partner. I hope that works out for him, I think Wes will make a fine dad. His heart is definitely in the right place.

6:30 am

So, we’re outside the same theater where we saw THE INCREDIBLES yesterday. The team huddles together and we’re introduced to Darby, a runner from San Diego who is also fundraising for CF. She has been training virtually through Robert’s program and has no ties to Cystic fibrosis. Turns out she heard about the program and thought the CF Foundation would be a good organization to help out. God bless her.

Robert and I bombard Rebecca and Julie with our marathon fundraising ideas and how we feel the program could have a national status, much like the AIDS, Leukemia and Stroke foundations have done. They both respond favorably to our ideas. Not sure if they’re really excited or really tired. Since Julie and Rebecca are both runners, I see my out and feel like I can pass the ball to them. Then, Robert says something about the four of us meeting to discuss. And I agree!

Who am I kidding? I want to be involved. This is a way I can contribute. Marathon fundraising is something I’ve become good at and I believe in it. It’s my hope that soon the CF Foundation can attract more people to help us.

7:00 am

Somehow, Peter, Wes, Darby and I have wound up together, waiting in line for the port-o-potties. Peter’s wearing a gaudy yellow rain poncho and he and Wes are having a blast making fun of it. These two are a hoot. Wes says that they should run another marathon together, this one dressed in matching yellow ponchos with the word “Xanadu” emblazoned on it (I believe in sparkling disco letters). They’d run in platform shoes and have someone following them on roller skates with a boom box blasting Olivia Newton John and Electric Light Orchestra.

I will never get this image out of my head for the rest of my life.

After our last minute pee breaks, it’s 7:30 and time to head to the starting line. Just as we climb up a hill to the mass of people gathered at the line, I thank Wes and give him a strong embrace to thank him for everything he’s done this year. He’s raised $15,000 and really raised awareness of the disease. It’s actually an emotional moment for me. Wes repeats that the entire experience has been a gift to him and he would do it again.

I promise Wes a plate of Julie’s oatmeal raisin cookies. He tells me that that alone is worth running the two marathons. And then, he and Darby head to the front of the line while Peter and I move to the middle of the pack.

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