Sunday, July 26, 2009

Part 9 - Coming In

I was getting dehydrated again. And by the time I had made it to the last water stop I looked for a volunteer with a water bottle with the least amount of water in it. The bottles they were using to fill the runners cups were large and a full one would weigh more than I wanted to carry. So I approach the volunteer with the least amount of water and asked if I could take the whole bottle. She said sure. So I had a bottle with me to stay hydrated for the rest of the route.

The bottle was still heavy. But that was good because it encouraged me to keep drinking so I could ditch the bottle. Which I did in a recycle bin. J

Finally, I saw the six mile marker!!

Only two more to go!

I’m sure Kris was already in. Then I saw him jog past me several feet to my right, naked, with his running shoes in his hands. What???? I looked again. He looked a lot like my husband. Same height, hair color, hair line, complexion and build. But two things told me it was not my husband; 1) my husband would never be naked in public under any circumstances. You couldn’t pay him any amount of money to do that. So that was my first clue. 2) I know my husband naked and that was not him. But the resemblance was uncanny.

I should have grabbed my camera and got a picture. But I was too slow. He was long gone before I thought of it. To this day I sometimes entertain the idea that Kris lost himself in the spirit of San Francisco and got a little crazy.

Then came the boobies! On the side of the road were several women and a couple men with a big sign saying “Save the tatas!” They were women of all shapes and sizes holding big bowls with pink ribbons on them. They were lined up in all their topless beauty soliciting donations to fight breast cancer. What a great idea but how many runners are carrying cash on them and how many will stop? I wish I had money to donate because I, for one, LOVE boobies! I’d be happy to toss some bills in their bowls. I’ll have to remember them next time and bring some bills just for them.

All of a sudden, I saw the windmill! There’s a windmill on the West side of Golden Gate park. It marks the final turn to the finish line. This meant I had less than a mile to go!
I turned left and the Pacific Ocean was on my right. The waves crashing was a wonderful sound. The ocean breeze was most welcomed and the smell of the ocean in the air was a great break from the BO I’d been smelling for the last 7 miles!

I was tired!!!! But I kept plugging. I had made up my mind I was going to run the last full mile and then sprint in when I could. So that’s what I did.

When I turned the last corner I felt like the finish line was just up ahead. But now as I ran toward it, it seemed to be slipping further and further into the distance. How does that happen??? I kept plugging away. People were lined up along the route (as they had been for the whole run) but here they were cheering more intensely than anywhere else. You heard so much encouragement which I sorely needed.

“Way to go!!!!””Keep going! You can do it!!”
“We’re proud of you!!!! You did it!”
“You’re there! Congratulations.”
“You go girl. Keep it up!!”

I respond so well to that time of encouragement. It was so great! I love that people will come out to cheer on perfect strangers. It really helps me keep my chin up in a world that can seem so cold. Those times when I feel like no one cares about each other, I would do well to remember this day.

I knew I was going to make it when I heard the announcer.

“Coming across the finish line right now is Jeff Thompson from Oregon. It’s his second Bay to Breakers. Way to go Jeff! And right behind Jeff we have Martha Diaz who is 76 years young finishing Bay to Breakers right now! Way to go Martha!

At first I thought these people must be running celebrities that I haven’t heard of. Though I couldn’t figure out why they’d be finishing close to me. Then it dawned on me, they must have a PC hooked up to the mats on the finish line and the info stored on the chips must be displaying on the announcer’s computer screen. He’s looking at the info and reading off items of interest.

Sure enough, before the finish line there was another mat. I ran across it and wondered if he’d read off my name. Nope. I crossed the final mat at the official finish line and didn’t hear my name. Oh well, I finished my first Bay to Breakers. That was good enough for me!

After you cross the finish line there are lines of people handing you stuff . The first group was a company promoting heat patches. They make patches of different sizes that you stick on your body where ever you ache and it delivers heat to the area. I knew my hamstrings would be screaming as soon as I stopped walking. Their representatives were lined up for a quarter mile handing these to any runner who got close enough. I started with the rep in the front and made my way down that whole line grabbing these patches like a yoyo dieter snatching food off a free buffet! I thought I might gather enough to cover my whole body in them! That’d be great!

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