Today was truly a thrilling day for me. My running partner of three years attempted her first marathon today. We were training together for MCM, and I finally said to her, you might as well do Fresno. It’s one week later, and you are already trained.
The Fresno Eye Q Marathon is probably one of my favorite courses ever. Last year we ran the half, and not only is it super flat, but the team of people running it are very helpful. This year again, every mile had water or Gu or Gatorade. There were only about 700 marathoners, and there was half and relay teams. Also, Fresno had it’s first ever Ultra, and I got to see Dean Karnazes run at mile 15 & at the end.
I think I was more nervous for her than for me. I was driving her down. I set three alarms, and to tell you the truth, having Daylight Savings didn’t help, because I kept waking wondering if I was on the right time. I picked her up at 5, and drove her to the start line. She lined up with the 4:30 pacer group. I was weaving in and out because I was looking for SAM (http://www.operationjack.org/) and MEGAN (http://www.veganrunningmom.com/) I also knew that Chris (@Da_Goo) was running, but couldn’t find anyone but Kim and Sam.
Sam, getting ready to kill it. (I was in boots. With heels. Felt amazing to walk in them!)
They took off with no weird start, just counting down from 10. And suddenly I felt alone. What do I do now? I made my was to my car with the course map, and drove like a bat out of hell to Mile 8.5 in Clovis. I had coffee with a friend, but couldn’t really focus, because I didn’t want to miss Kim.
Saw her at a 9:50 pace. She looked good. She said she was fine.
Drove again trying to get to Mile 19, but the roads were all blocked off. There are a lot of new roads and freeways since I left Fresno almost 20 years ago, so I was not clear where I was.
Finally, I found Mile 15, and thought I’d better stop there.
I took my signs across the road, and there I saw everyone I was looking for: First Dean Karnazes, then Sam, then Megan, and then Kim. She was looking tired, and it’s so hard at those *bite me* miles. That long stretch in the middle.
You Gave Up Sleeping In On Weekends.
Everyone seemed to love this sign, and they laughed and pointed, and smiled, and I just got the biggest kick out of being there. I really loved it. Even when Kim crossed, I didn’t want to leave. But, I needed to get to the end.
I drove sort of aimlessly to the Finish Line at Woodward Park, and I didn’t even know where I was, but I looked up, and there were the runners at 25.5. I parked, and got my sign…and even though I had no shoes, I was going to run in with Kim. First @Da_Goo ran in, and got a BQ with a 3:10 pace. Then Sam, then Megan.
I’m standing there, and this girl is walking along. Barb, my college roomate. We were standing there laughing about how in the 70s Jerry Brown was governor, and we were trying to legalize pot. Deja Vu California!!!
Here is Sam, just as he had to take off for home. It was fabulous to hang with him for a few minutes, and November 7 is such a memorable day for him…I was simply blessed to be there. He is a freak of a fast runner. Damn. Every weekend? You can read his race report here.
Barbara and I were laughing so hard, I nearly missed Kim. Saw her. Grabbed phone and keys, and took off running.
I ask her how she is. She says, and I quote: “I want to walk. I hate this. I’m dying. I puked.”
And we keep running.
And people are walking by, and I’m like “DUDES this is her first marathon!!!” and people start cheering, and I run to the top of the hill, and run off the course and back on. And she is not walking. And I cannot believe how excited I am for her. For this girl who has run nearly every mile with me for three years. How she is about to change. I finally hop off the course, and she crosses. 4:50. Amazing. I am more thrilled for her than I have ever been for me. Because of course I feel fine. I only ran .4 mile.
Incredibly proud. Incredibly grateful. To the best running partner there is:
You are a MARATHONER!