But I'm getting ahead of myself here. For me, the morning started out at 3:50. I woke up before either of my alarms went off. Call it pre-race jitters. It was nice and warm under the covers, and since the coffee maker wasn't set to turn on until 4:00, I did the wise thing that my years of experience have taught me and rolled over for a few more moments of bliss. Finally, around 4:15 I yanked myself out of bed and grabbed some coffee. Since everything had been set out the night before, getting ready was easy, even in my groggy state. I found the Body Glide and applied it liberally to all those troublesome places - inner thighs, soles of my feet, and, um, mid chest. I got dressed just like I had practiced the night before. My morning started nice and relaxed, and I was out the door at 4:45.
First stop? Do you folks actually think I'm kidding about my pre-race breakfast? (Gosh - they *do* look like animal turds though):
With apple fritter and coffee in hand, I headed on down the freeway to my pre-paid parking spot. I had about a half mile walk to the festivities, so I gathered by bag, put on my runner's raincoat (to stay warm) and joined the others walking south. I got to the start area just as the cyclists took off at 6 AM.
I was now officially nervous. I put the rest of my gear on and got my bag checked in. I wandered through the gathering crowds and socialized with a few folks that I knew (Ron and Paul whom I had met the night before, Cindy and Kelly from Cal Coast).
Next, I positioned myself near the back of the 4th wave, turned my Garmin on, popped a couple of Endurolytes, and took a seat on the curb and relaxed. I was actually suffering from a mean case of butterflies. To the point that I was wondering if my first dash was going to be back to the porta potties. I tried to take my mind off my situation. I noticed for the first time that it was light out. Overcast and comfortable. Perfect running weather!
It wasn't but 10 minutes later when the starter called the first wave to the line, and the start gun sounded. Each time the gun sounded, we would inch forward in anticipation of the start. Finally at 7:15 it was our turn. Bang! Wave 4 was off. As San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome would be saying, "whether you like it or not!" (inside joke for us Californians). I was committed. Marathon 2 was underway.
The first three miles of the course were out and back and looping and every which way along the streets that the Long Beach Grand Prix runs on. The number of people were amazing. Everywhere I looked all I could see were people.
The highlight at mile 3 was my first gel/Endurolyte pack to be washed down with water from the Hooter's water station. I was so focused that I didn't even realize who was handing me the water! Oh well. Next time I'll have to pay attention.
Cue up embarassing moment #2 here. I'm running along minding my own business. George Clinton and P-Funk in my ears (by the way B.o.B. and DMZ - this was the *only* music that worked for me on Sunday). I look to my left and see a sign that says something to the effect "Go Danica, Ron, Zach, Shelley, Glenn". I thought to myself - how odd that someone would be cheering for a bunch of folks with names the same as some that I know. Then about half a mile later - DOH!!!!! It was Nina (@ncjack) cheering us on. How rude of me to not even stop and thank them! So thanks Nina!
I continued lumbering up the mild incline between miles 11 and 12 when there they were! Our own Runner's World cheering section! This time Ingrd had a rider (Renee) on her cargo bike and our own L.A. Runner was pedalling along! What a site for sore eyes! They were ringing bells, cheering, clapping, holding up signs. What a hoot! Ingrid stopped while Renee jumped off the bike to cheer some other people along - so that was my queue to take a quick sidetrip across the oncoming runners to catch Ingrid for her obligatory photo! (P.S. - This won't be the last you hear about her and Renee).
Mile 10: 11:24