Woke up at 4:50am.
On the road to Santa Monica by 5:20am.
Three blocks away from the preferred parking (which I shelled out an extra $20 for) at 6:10am.
The half-marathon was supposed to begin at 7:00am.
We were told that preferred parking was going to close at 6:30am. We had 20 minutes to go three blocks. Will had to pee so I let him out and told him I'd meet him at the starting line.
At 6:48am I reached preferred parking. I was told by the race official that it was closed. We were dead-ended at the beach, so I asked him where else I could find parking. "On South Venice" he told me and then waves me away. There was a line of cars behind me who were about to be told the same thing.
I turned down an alley and grabbed my phone. I didn't know where South Venice was - I don't go to Venice. A car behind me honked and I realized the entire traffic jam was coming my way.
At 6:58am I was two miles from the starting line with no place to park. The lots were either full or unattended, the street parking filled up with the extra 2,500 people who were running the race that morning.
At 7:05am, I finally parked - a half a mile from the starting line.
I texted Will. "I don't think I'm going to make it." There weren't any other racers around me, I was stranded and the race had begun five minutes ago.
I admit: I started to cry. I had trained and gotten up early and because of parking - something that I had planned for by getting there with plenty of time and paying extra for preferred parking - and it didn't look like it was gonna happen.
"They haven't started yet," Will texted back. "I can not run," he continued.
"No, go," I texted back. "I'll figure it out."
I sprinted toward the starting line (.63 miles I learned later) and got there just as the horn was going off. I ran straight into the corral of runners and began my 13.1 miles out of breath, frazzled, and really having to pee.
I used the facilities (aka, race porta-potties, aka gross central) at Mile 2. Relieved (in more ways than one) I just decided that while my goal was to come in under three hours (I was hoping to run an average of a 13-minute mile) I would be happy just to finish.
I ran the first four miles, then walked through the water/electrolyte station.
At Mile 6 my back seized up. I started to run/walk.
At Mile 8 my feet started to hurt.
At Mile 10 I told myself "now you just have a 5k to finish."
At Mile 12 I restarted my playlist, because I was pretty sure that I would hit the Dirtbombs "Wreck My Flow" which would take me to the finish line. If the Dirtbombs don't make you want to move, then there's something wrong with you.
At Mile 12.5 I realized that I was going to hit the song early. I unhooked my iPod.
At Mile 13 I saw Will.
I finished at 2:45:10 - a full 15 minutes better than I thought I would.
I still don't consider myself a runner. I don't particularly like it, but I appreciate the lesson. Place one foot in front of the other. Remind yourself not to worry about however many miles lie ahead, but just the next step.
The Dirtbombs "Wreck My Flow"