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Mind over marathon: Part II

Another warning: This post may now be more than two parts. I think the whole “race” will be its on separate post.

My alarm for race morning was set for 5 a.m. I woke up at 4:55 a.m.

The lights outside were bright. It wasn’t daylight. Not even close. But the La Quinta in Rancho Cordova was in a well-lit area. So the lights shined through the window. I kind of hopped out of bed. I don’t know why.

Part of me was excited. Part of me was still worried.

These are the moments were the doubt really gets you.

“I’m not ready,” I thought. No way.

“I can’t do this,” was another.

I put my clothes on, somewhat methodically. I woke Thomas up, though he dwelled in the bed for about 30 minutes before really getting out of bed. I looked outside and it didn’t look cold. I knew, though, that would be deceiving. It was near freezing.

I had asked Thomas to get me a banana the night before. And a blue Gatorade. I don’t know what flavor blue is, I think it’s Glacier Freeze or something, but I like it. Thomas forgot the banana. I had a Peppermint Luna bar in my gym bag, though. My stomach was turning knots, but I knew after my Big Sur Half Marathon no-food beforehand debacle that I had to eat.

I tweeted my nervousness at close to 6 a.m.

Jennie sent me a text message saying she was ready. I told her to come on down to the room. She was there for a good 10 minutes before we packed up and left.

The moment we stepped out the door, it was cold. It wasn’t windy, despite the fact it had been for days. I felt the sting of the cold on the few parts of my skin that were exposed. I was wearing my Zensah compression sleeves with my capris. I had my new gloves on too.

The drive wasn’t that long. Not even a week later and I don’t remember much of it. Thomas made quick work of it, though. I’ve learned one thing about my husband in the past year of racing: He’s very good at getting me to the start and showing up at the finish.

But he didn’t get us close, exactly. We saw people walking toward what we thought was a start area.

Turns out it wasn’t.

It was the place where the buses from Sacramento were dropping people off. Another set of school buses were taking people up to the actual start line.

Suddenly Jennie and I were in a line.

“Where are we going,” I asked.

“TO THE START,” responded an overly enthusiastic volunteer.

And we were put on a bus. Jennie and I both had “we didn’t pay for this bus” moments. “I think we just hijacked a bus ride,” I said to her.

No matter. The bus was warm. At least for the 5 minutes or so it took us to get to the start.

There were two huge arches to mark the start. It looked a little something like this:

The photo above is from the California International Marathon website. I’m not trying to steal it or anything, but I didn’t do a lot of shooting photos in the morning. I knew it would come back and haunt me later.

The start line was actually very nice. I was way in the back. Further behind me was a gigantic line of portable toilets.

The California International Marathon Facebook page include a photo of  it earlier in the week. This is that photo, cropped:

OK, enough stealing photos. That’s what it looked like. Jennie and I got in a line. It wasn’t too far back, but not close up either.

It was about 6:32 a.m. We literally waited in line until the 7 a.m. start.

In fact, there wasn’t much standing around at all. The start was quick. All the literature says the start line closes exactly five-minutes after the gun goes off.

I started my Garmin fairly quickly. I only had 10 seconds of time off between my chip time and the Garmin at the end.

I started near the back. I worked my way forward. And I took off.

The first part of the course is downhill. I got into a nice stride. One foot in front of the other. One foot in front of the other. Keep moving.

And, as everyone had predicted, my nervousness all started to fall away.

Little did I know, this run would test my mind and body in ways I’d never been tested before.


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