…but Momma Mason thought she’d want to read about, so here you go.
The day started at 4 am. Big Sis (aka Linda) and I headed down to meet up with her running buddies and caravan to Sacramento. We ate oatmeal with raisins and a cup of java helped to stimulate my mind as well as my intestines. We hit the road, Linda, Carlos (Brother-in-LAW), and me.
After the meet up and many photos, we headed to Sacramento. It was all seeming to go as planned. Carlos would study for finals (he is pursuing his degree in law), and we would hit the buses. The energy was grounded but at a high vibration – perfect for a great day.
On the bus, I took deep breaths and concentrated on remaining calm. I did not want to waste a bit of energy; it would all be needed if I was to run my best race possible. What my “best race” would amount to was yet to be seen.
From the bus, to the port-o-potty lines, to bag check, and then the start was a bit of blur. I was cold; I remember that. It was also very crowded. I had to sit on the barricade wall waiting for the race to start as I could not sardine my way into the mix.
After the race began, I lowered myself down on the pavement and began my race. I listened to my breathing. It was nice and easy. My body was relaxed. My mind was nervous and excited.
Down the hill and around the first turn I ran, following the crowd. I watched Garminia’s face to get a feel for my pace. I could not just follow the crowd.
The foot started its complaints subtly. At first it felt like I had something in my shoe. I stopped in the first couple of miles to check. Nothing. Then the funny feeling went away. I was on my way at my target pace. Nice and easy, I told myself. I was careful not to go out too fast, even the 3:50 pace team was up ahead. Each mile clicked off and I congratulated myself for a job well done.
At the first relay hand-off, I began looking for Linda. I made the turn and grabbed a cup of water at the aid station on the left. The 3:50 pace team was on the right hand side. I came out, with cup in hand, just ahead of them. I ran onward, keeping an eye out for Linda. As the pace team gained on me, I felt a bit claustrophobic being eaten up by the group. I moved to the left, watching the camber of the road to avoid stressing my foot. It was then that I saw her.
The plan was for me for me to run with Linda until mile 11 where my brother, Robert, would be waiting with his camera and car. They would travel up the road to Carmichael Park, cheer from there, and then head to the finish. I was doing well at keeping pace, but I wondered if I’d have trouble in the final 10K, so I asked Linda if she’d meet me at mile 20 to run me in.
After Linda had joined me, my foot began feeling numb. I’ve felt this before on many of my runs. But although the feeling was familiar, it worried me. Numbness preceded the injury that took me off the streets for several months. “Come on, foot,” I murmured, “wake up.”
Well, shortly after my 4th or 5th murmuring, it *did* wake up. By this point, Linda and Robert were already on their way to Carmichael Park. I barely noticed them as I stared at the lens of a camera facing directly at me. I was really hurting.
I was also losing time. Garmina’s mile by mile report told me that I was backing away from a BQ pace. Boston Qualification, however, was the last thing on my mind. Instead, I was contemplating whether finishing the race would send me back to the sidelines, thus preventing me from running Boston or any other running for that matter.
I stopped to stretch and then moved on. My foot wasn’t any better from the stretching. I began walking, and contemplating my options. To not finish (DNF) seemed to be the most reasonable option. I just had to make it to mile 20, where Linda would be waiting to run me in. I knew I’d have some explaining to do.
The only problem with my plan was that I was running horribly behind schedule. I hoped that they had realized that I was crumping and would wait. I sent telepathic message to Linda, “Please WAIT.”
At mile 20, there was no sign Linda or Robert. I ran/walked another mile thinking that they might not have been able to get to exactly mile 20. When I’d gone that additional mile, and still no sign of my family, I resigned to walking the rest of the way in.
Beside me was a man who would be walking the remaining miles due to hamstring issues, and beside her was a young girl who had knee problems. We walked and talked for a couple of miles.
When mile 24 approached, I realized that my foot had returned to a happier state. I could still feel a twing but I was thinking that it would let me run on it. I bid my pals goodbye, prefacing my exit with “You might be seeing me again,” and started up a run.
And I crossed the finish in under 4:30:00. It wasn’t quite 3:50:59, but it’s not a DNF either.