My 16 year old stood me up and refused to get out of bed, so I went alone. After months of training for this, I was just furious that he would not come with me. He said he was too tired and his stomach hurt. Here is that moment. He was able to struggle out of bed to take my picture.
What’s more important is that you are looking at an XL T-shirt. It may be tight, but it is the first shirt I’ve had below a 2XL in years. WooHoo!
I took the city bus to about a half mile away from the Start. I had a really good view of the Start from across the street. Notice the huge brick of people on this small bridge.
When I got over there I thought I would have to check in, so I wandered around for a bit until someone told me to just start. My time was 8:27, and the race had started at 8.
As I passed the “Runner’s Start Here”, I realized that the annoying engine noise I could hear behind me was actually the closing vehicle following me. I was starting the race in last place!
For most of the walk, I was listening to the clean up folks behind me removing barricades etc, and it was really flustering me. This ended up making me walk faster than I should have for the first mile. Here’s the small bridge again, now with almost no one on it.
I felt really worried that I would not make it, so I tried to stay at my pace. As some stragglers came along, the car dropped back, so I felt better when I couldn’t hear it. My dumb, cheap ($10 at Target!) mp3 player only has two volumes, and the “loud” setting was not enough to drown this distraction out. I thought if I felt bad I would just drop out at the entrance to the bridge when I got to it, but I just kept going. This is under the bridge.
The entrance ramp is the steepest spot, and I knew it would be difficult to get up it.
Here's a nice view of the bridge from the ramp.
I did better than I thought, and then there was a short flat area where I walked slowly to catch my breath.
All of a sudden, a Trolley was beside me with the driver saying, “Do you want a ride? You don’t have to do this.” For the second time in the day I was furious. I told him I would caption his photo as: “The Guy Who Almost Saved Me”. He thought that was hilarious.
I got a volunteer to take a photo of me with my possible savior. He also thought I was pretty funny.
So we climbed and climbed and climbed. This uphill portion is a mile and a quarter. Thanks Google Earth!
I stopped frequently – at almost every light post - and was passed a few more times. Oh look! Here’s a lady carrying her large child and blowing past me!
Luckily, the Trolley guy had made me mad enough that there was no way I was going to stop. I was thinking of just getting to the top and then maybe stopping there and riding, but really, I was just focused on getting to the top. I was actually staggering the last 300 or so feet, but I just kept going.
Finally, I did make it to the top. All of the sudden, I was looking down.
Amazingly, the song in my mp3 player sang, “I’m screamin’ on the top of the world”, right exactly at that time I got to the top, so I let that stand for my comment. I couldn’t come up with anything else, I was just completely overwhelmed.
Here’s what I heard up there:
Can you hear me?
I am screamin' from the top of the world
Can you hear me?
Don't you know that
I am screamin' from the top of the world?
Don't you feel me?
I will scream till I'm bleedin'
And I will crash through the ceilin'
No, you don't know what I'm feelin'
And that I'm dyin', tryin', tryin'
Tokio Hotel – Screamin’
As soon as I felt myself going downhill, the tears started. I knew I would make it to the finish now and I stopped thinking about quitting. Here’s my first try of taking a photo of myself right after I got it back together. Notice the chase car directly behind me.
At this point, I finally passed someone – a senior citizen, amputee with a walker. I am not kidding! He got on the Trolley right after I passed him.
His helper took my picture.
The end of the bridge was the Mile 3 marker, so there was one more mile to walk towards the finish. I just kept going and knowing I would make it. The course looped back under the bridge.
As I approached the finish, I saw the time of 2 hours 3 minutes and felt pretty proud of that. There was no one official at the finish anymore, so – I just passed through. I have no idea how I was supposed to register that I completed, so I will not be on the list of finishers.
What did I learn?
1. Change the camera batteries before leaving the house.
2. Start with the pack – not later. Stupidly, the late start had actually been my strategy. I planned that because I’ve read so many race blogs here on spark that talk about walkers in the front messing up the runner’s paces.
3. I can walk over the bridge. You all know I was very doubtful about my ability to do this. I actually doubted it until the very instant I got to the top. When I decided to do this in January, I knew it was a stretch for me, but I just hoped to change from the person who could "never in this lifetime" walk over the bridge. So today arthritis, obesity and heart problems lost their battle to limit me.
4. Spark People has changed my life. We already knew that one, didn’t we?
When I do this next year, I will be better prepared, more confident amd 30-40 pounds lighter. I can't wait!