On a side note, this picture is of the Long Beach Sports Arena next to the race starting line. I lived in the area for three years before I realized it was not actually the Long Beach Aquarium (LOL). You might have seen images of this building earlier this year on Earth Day when Wyland painted the largest painting in the world of the Earth on the roof.
I think it was an appropriate thing to fixate on at 5:30am. Particularly since my race prep had been minimal and frankly, I was worried. Still, if a guy in a crane can paint a life sized blue whale on the side of a building surely I could walk the Long Beach half marathon right? (yes, yes I get that it’s totally non-sequitor but when you’re completely unprepared for a fitness demonstration you have to take your inspiration where you can get it!)
The gun went off and again we all moved forward. This time I understood the chip timing concept (the clock starts when you pass over the timing bump) so I was happy to let others move past me. It also prevented me from slugging the guy jogging past me who said to his running partner I love starting behind the walkers because it makes me feel like a champ when I pass all of them. Pffft!
The race itself had some pretty cool sights too.
That’s the Queen Mary oceanliner which is permanently docked in Long Beach. Behind the QM is the Carnival cruiseliner. At that point I didn’t have blisters yet so I wasn’t very envious actually. LOL.
I will say, though, that every race has it’s characters. The Surf City had a guy dressed as a hot dog, another dressed as Superman and a wild assortments of antler headbands, Mickey ears and technicolor mohawks. The Long Beach race had this guy.
His group was actually behind me for the entire race but he would literally jog ahead until he hit the next mile marker and then he’d stand in front of it jumping up and down until the rest of the group caught up and they all took pictures. It would have been funnier if he’d dressed like a taco but when you’re walking 13.1 miles you have to take your entertainment where you can find it.
The other shocker for the race was:
That’s the line for the porta potties at the 4 mile mark. Those are the people willing to wait which does not include the people who tried to run into hotels near the race course or the people who found conveniently-placed bushes near empty parking lots. It’s actually really gross if you think about it.
Anyway, as for the race itself, the term that comes into mind is sheer grit because that’s what it took me to finish the race. I could feel my stupid heel blister at mile marker four and all I could think was oh hell I still have over 2/3 of the race to go!
Note to self, do not confuse “tennis socks” with “running socks” just because they both say Thorlo. Truthfully I have no idea what the hell the difference is but boy did my feet notice. And I barely hung in there.
The best part of the entire race though, was the fans. When I signed up for the Surf City race they asked me if I wanted my name on my race bib. I remember thinking “why would I want that?” until I realized random people on the sidelines shout out your name and cheer you on. If they don’t have a name they go for the nearest identifying item. I was “Go fannypack girl!” Not a distinction I wanted to encourage so this time I had my name printed.
Besdies, while I’m not into public displays but there is something awesome about a little kid saying “what does her tag say mommy?” and then hearing the kid shout “GO GO GO!” The kid was probably five years old and he was looking at me like I was running the last lap of an Olympic race.
He was so adorable I actually slowed to give him a high five. (I know, I should have taken a picture)
I crossed the finishline which makes me 2/2 on races I’ve showed up for. It also made me realize there was no friggin way in hell I could have finished Disney in 3:30 (last month’s time limit) with a knee injury even if I’d sold my soul in the attempt.
Next time I plan to try this whole training thing I keep hearing about. I figured I’ve tried everything else, why not attempt to be legit?