Picking up from Part 1 – In mile 5, I threw off the crutches (just held them in my hands) and hobbled along. I was so sad to have to do that. It was painful. But, I just had to figure out a way to keep up.
A sweet stranger on a bike on his way to the beach biked a whole mile with me just talking about his life, my life, the time limit frustrations of this race, and my sprained ankle. It was awesome to have that company. I really appreciated him. When we got back out toward the beach, he took off to go surfing and I continued my race. I saw runners that I had seen on a different loop who were still yelling encouragements when they passed me on this one. If any of you who ran Surf City are reading this, I cannot thank you enough for all the sweet encouragement you gave me.
Around mile 7, I was really starting to feel it. I’m not too proud to admit I may or may not have cried (I did). It was hard! And my foot hurt! And that lady in the van thinking the race ended at noon scared the crap out of me! So, I had a good cry for a mile. I think that’s probably good for you, right?
I pulled it together and kept on hobbling. In mile 8, it would’ve been pretty easy to cheat and do the turn around early since nobody was left back there. I thought about how sweet it would feel to cut off any distance whatsoever, but there was no way I could bring myself to do that. I walked all the way to the turnaround, building myself up, muttering about having the ability to do anything. “I survived my high school theater program. I can do anything.” “I’ve lived in New York City. I can do a half marathon in any condition.” Yeah, just keep talking to yourself, Aurora.
In mile 9, I was pretty hardcore regretting that I hadn’t brought my iPod (I didn’t want to deal with anything else when I was already dealing with crutches). This would’ve been a lovely time for me and Michael Jackson to hang out together and for him to get me through. Since all the other runners were far out in front of me, I just busted out into some musical theater songs, hobbling along while singing. There I am, still fighting tears, fighting pain, belting how “you can say what you want, I’m not walking out!”
Later, as I passed a water station (no longer belting out showtunes as I passed the volunteers), even though they were packing up, a sweet guy opened up a box and got me some water. He walked a little bit with me and asked what the deal was with my crutches ’cause apparently people on the radio had been asking about me. I told him about my ankle and that the lady in the van scared me. He apologized and said the six-hour time limit definitely did not start when the marathon started and that I was fine. (I mean, I knew I had to be, but that still made me feel better.)
I’ve always been slow, but I have never been literally at the back of the pack in one of these huge half marathons. Everything was shutting down as I was passing it. All the water stations and medical tents were empty or emptying out by the time I passed them. I even had to get out of the way of street sweepers. It wasn’t the greatest feeling to be all alone, but I was happy to be getting closer and closer to the finish.
Around mile 12, I kept seeing a bunch of people who had already finished walking back to their cars and such. When I saw one woman who wasn’t still wearing her medal, I said “congrats! Where’s your medal? You should keep it on all day!” And she told me she was also doing the half – and was still in the race!
What?! I’m actually passing somebody…I can’t believe it! I hobbled past her. My old goal had been just to finish, knowing I was going to come in last. My new goal became finishing anything but last, so I started hobbling a little bit faster.
Will I come in last? Find out tomorrow in the final installment of the Surf City blog posts!