(#35) Long Beach International City Bank Half Marathon

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

As I was lacing up my shoes in the morning, I noticed I’d thrown on my pajama bottoms inside out. Oh well.

I continued the morning by reading the train schedule of the wrong station. I ended up getting to the station “on time.” Since it was the wrong station, I caught the train after the one I wanted, meaning the moment I got to the start line, it was time to get out there and run!

I’ve mentioned before that sometimes speakers are positioned so that right before the start line, it sounds like a party. Right after your cross the start, you wonder, “What happened to the tunes?”

Long Beach had nice speaker positions. Music continued at the same volume for a while after the start. I could get used to that!

I jogged parts of the first 4 miles. There was a very generous time limit on this race (about 7 hours).

But, there was a cutoff scheduled at 8:30am at mile 4 – something about opening roads back up. I crossed the start around 7:30. I wanted to make sure I made that cutoff, so I jogged part of those four, and walked part of those four.

A woman named Lisa jogged up to me around mile 2, and said she recognized me from Tahoe! (It’s fun running into people I didn’t even know I’d seen before!) We talked for a bit, then moved on to different paces.

I hit mile marker 4, and was home free.

The Long Beach community was overflowing with enthusiasm.

There was a super enthusiastic officer. I have never been more excited in my life to be at mile 4.7. He made it really cool. I also love, love, love spectators who show up with signs saying something along the lines of “I’m a stranger, but I’m so proud of you.”

I went by a family that was holding one. They also had a special brand of enthusiasm I don’t usually see. From the moment they were in my vision to the moment they left it (which was a fairly long time), they were celebrating as though their favorite rock star was running by them.

I saw them again over an hour later on the turnaround. Their enthusiasm had not waned one bit. I loved it.

We also had super excited volunteers. I passed some in a hilarious, healthy competition over convincing the most people to grab their drink (water or Powerade).

Speaking of water (or what I thought was water), let me admit something very embarrassing to you.

It was getting pretty hot out there as the race wore on. Around mile 10, I saw someone with a huge squirter thing. I thought they were squirting water, and I was all, “Yeah, get me, get me, please.”

I turned around and asked for it around my back and neck. Turned out it was some kind of muscle stuff that warmed up after it hit your skin. Ow. That was mildly painful, and hilarious to the people walking with me (and me).

People joked about the way I smelled like muscle warmer stuff for the next couple of miles.

Speaking of the people, I walked with two lovely people – Brian and Singrid for a number of miles. We had an absolute blast getting to know each other.

I met them as I went to talk to a woman wearing a sign on her back that said, “I am 85!”

She had done her first half marathon when she was 78 years old! She was adorable and hilarious. Everyone kept trying to talk to her. She’d say little things here and there, but then she’d say she couldn’t be distracted ’cause she was going for a certain time.

When I asked what that time was, she said, “I can’t tell you or else it won’t come true!”

The course was a little funny because somewhere past the middle of the half marathon, we passed the finish line festival. You could see everyone hanging out and eating when you still had miles left to go. “Oh look, the finish line!… Oh… Bye.”

I enjoyed this humongous sign at mile marker 12 from Jet Blue that said “One More Mile. You’re non-stoppable.” It was signed by, I think, staff and patients of the hospital that was the main race charity.

Speaking of sponsors, I saw a sign that the Golden State Gay Rodeo Association was a sponsor. Shout out to them, ’cause I didn’t know they existed.

At the end of the race, I got my humongous Beach Cities Series medal! Between the race I did on crutches, and my first double weekend (coming from a different time zone), I really feel like I earned that series medal!

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