Sunday, July 26, 2009

Part 10 - Ain't No Party Like a Vegan Party

Part 10 –

As soon as I collected as many anti-pain patches as I could, I called Kris on my cell phone.

“I’m in!”

“Great Love. I’m waiting for you right outside the entrance to the field. I’m to the side in the shade.”

“Good. It’s HOT today!”

“I know,” Kris replied. “I hate to tell you this. But you have quite a long walk yet.”

“Yeah, I remember that.” I said, “See you soon.”
But I forgot it was uphill! There was at least another mile to walk to the entrance of the post-run festivities called “Footstock”. And it was uphill all the way! No fair!

Toward the end there was another small group of the fearful fundalmentalists. What a buzz kill! I mean I had just finished my longest run ever that I had spent lots of time and effort to train for. I was feeling really good about my accomplishment and then I have to hear, again, about how I was going to hell and I needed to repent. Bummer.

But then I saw Kris’ grinning face and I forgot all about my imminent damnation.

We hugged and congratulated each other then turned to limp into the festival.

There thousands of people in this huge outdoor arena. There were booths all along the perimeter. We were to meet out group at the VegNews booth. VegNews is a great magazine for the veggie lifestyle and health. Check it out. I think you’ll enjoy it whether you’re a meat eater or not. They were providing the post race food for us and I couldn’t wait!

We headed straight down the middle of the field to a row of booths we guessed would house the VegNews group. As usual, once I had my target in sight, I made a bee line to it with the exclusion of awareness of anything else. That and the fact that I was exhausted, caused me to walk right over our group.

“Hey look Jill,” Kris said as he put his hand on my shoulder to stop me.

I looked around wondering what he wanted me to see and realized I was about to walk across the picnic blanket of our group. Oops!!

I really expected to be the last ones in. but I could see there were still a few out. Made me feel a little good not to be last. Then I saw the food. I was HUNGRY and was looking forward to a vegan feast. They had platters of fresh fruit laid out and it was all my favorites! Bananas, strawberries, pineapple, oranges! Yum! Then they had aluminum packets of the entrée, falafels. I had never had falafels before. So I was excited to try them out.

Kris and I found a vacant spot along the blanket and we were introduced to the gal from VegNews. She was cute as can be and just a sweetie.

“You ready for a falafel?” she said handing us each a packet.

“Oh, yeah!” I said as Kris and I unwrapped them.

We both took a big bite and VegGirl says: “Oh, I forgot to tell you they aren’t vegan, I hope that’s ok.”

Kris and I froze. What? I was trying to think of something to say but I was at a loss. (I know, hard to believe). VegNews is a big sponsor of Organic Atheletes. They know they are a vegan group and don’t take it lightly. What in the world are they thinking??

I was still scanning every last one of my brain cells trying to find something gracious and appropriate to say when she laughed and said, “Just kidding!”

OMG! We all laughed. I like this girl! I love people who aren’t afraid to joke around! J And the falafels were awesome!!! They tasted so good! Kris said he would have to make some after we got home. He did and they were great too!

We were right next to a tent where they were broadcasting a radio show for a local rock station. The DJ of course was describing what was going on around him and I heard him say, “Right next to me I have the Organic Atheletes. ‘Go Vegan’ ” he read off our jerseys.

We cheered.

“Vegan. Wow. I couldn’t do that.”

Why do people say that? They don’t even know. It’s not that hard. So VegGirl gets up and takes a plate of fresh fruit to him. Which he gobbles down. And during the next music break he gave us a little plug. “Thanks to the Organic Atheletes and VegNews for all the fruit. It’s delicious!!”

Later, she brought him over a falafel, then a copy of the magazine. We got nice plugs each time. By the time we left I believe he was thinking going vegan wasn’t as tough as he first thought.

The next order of business was to get back to the hotel. I had tried to keep stretching while we were sitting on the blanket so I wouldn’t get too stiff. But I was moving pretty slow. And we had a lot of ground to cover yet. We had to walk half a mile to purchase the bus ticket. (The ticket booth was at the other side of the arena and the arena was huge!)

They had express busses standing by to take the runners back into town. (We had to walk two miles from the ticket booth to the bus.) We weren’t exactly sure where it would drop us. But we knew it would be Union square. So we could get to the hotel from there.

I warned Kris. The busses were going to stink!! They pack them as full as possible and they are all runners/walkers who finished 8 miles that day. So you can imagine the funk that was emanating from the bus! Luckily we got on a bus early enough to get a seat. But they kept packing so many people that there were at least as many people standing as there were sitting.

So our bus made it into the Union Square area and I was trying to determine where our hotel was so I would know where to get off the bus. I got my bearings after we had passed the hotel. Unfortunately, the bus was going down hill. Which meant we would have to walk uphill to get back to the hotel. Ugh! But we did it.

Kris was melting under the hot sun. So half way back to the hotel he crossed the street so he could walk in the shade. My legs were so tired, I choose to stay in the sun rather than take the few extra steps to cross the street. That was how tired I was.

The day before we were in the hotel elevator and another couple were in it with us. The guy said, “You running tomorrow?”

I got excited as I assumed they were runners too. “Yes! You too!?”

“No way!” the wife exclaimed, “We’re not crazy!!”

“Yeah,” the husband backed her up, “You couldn’t pay me to do that.”

I didn’t get why some people thought runners were out of their minds. But plodding up the hills of San Francisco with the sun trying to melt me, sore feet, a screaming hamstring, and a level of fatigue I haven’t felt since I finished my first century ride, I started to understand. (But I was already considering coming back next year!)

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