We started at Foxfire restaurant in Anaheim Hills and took off down the river bed. I hadn't seen Steph in 2 weeks so we had lots to chat about for the first hour or two. It's so fun to run with her and chit chat. We found out on the 18 miler that our birthdays are only 1 day apart. Well technically we are 14 years apart but that is just a minor detail. Basically we get along great. Two Cappy's trotting along. Preferably with tiara's. The miles ticked off pretty quickly and thankfully it was a little overcast to begin. I was also thankful that I didn't seem to be having any issues with my knee that I had last week. All the rolling, stretching, praying and new shoes must have done some good. We made sure to refuel and stretch at the aid stations and we both felt pretty good. I did start to get really hungry at about mile 13 which was weird. I had some beans and gatorade and kept on pushing. After an aid station we got going again and I felt a sticking in my low back like I had a tag poking me. I tried to move it and realized "That's no tag. That's CHAFING!" Ouch!!! How did that happen? I had bodyglided up the rubby parts before we started. You don't want to know...trust me. It seems the gathering on my shorts was wreaking havoc on my backside. Greeeeaaat. I had an epiphany and stopped and asked Steph to put chapstick on it. She didn't think it would work well but I figured it would at least get me to the Andy/Dad aid station and I knew they had vaseline. Let me tell you, it takes a special friend to rub chapstick on an area that gives ample view of butt crack. She is that kind of friend and I love her for it. With Steph's help I may actually survive this marathon.
Off we went again. We walked as needed to give our weary legs some different movement. They get real sick of the running motion and they are quick to voice their objections to keep going. Still starving and really ready to be done we finally made it to the Andy/Dad station and I was so excited to see them. We had mentioned an aid station a few weeks back that had Oreos that made the day. Steph guessed that they would stop and pick up cookies to beef up their station and sure enough there on the table were Oreos and Chips ahoy!! Andy handed Steph the Vaseline and me my sunnies and inhaler. Oh he is so hired as the pack mule for race day. :) She applied some Vaseline to my issue and all the sudden I was quite shaky. Oooh thinking I needed some fuel and here comes Andy with a chewy granola bar. He is a rock star. We stretched, refueled, rewatered and chatted with our teammates til we felt refreshed and away we went, with Steph giving sweaty kisses to Andy and Dad. I am sure they loved it.
Ok only four and a half to go. We got this. The chatting got to be pretty limited and I think we were both in our own heads struggling a little bit but we soldiered on. We walked when we needed to, we stretched when Steph's glutes tightened up and my mid back started to scream. We finally got to the part of the trail where there was ocean water in the river bed so we knew we were close. The talk turned to the reason we were doing this and it helped us to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I find it hard to keep in mind what I am running for because I don't have a close personal connection with these diseases, thankfully. I hope I never do. But I have days when I don't feel like I am really doing anything special. We shared this with Coach Jen and she told us a story of a woman who might be at the finish for us who was diagnosed and basically given a "death sentence" with the diagnosis she got. But because of LLS and TNT a doctor developed a drug that has helped her. She is survivor. Yep that is what I am doing this for. This is bigger than my little "bucket list goal". This is really big. This will help change people's lives. Ok I can run a little longer.
We could finally see the ocean. We were so close and after 19 miles it was so hard. So hard. We made it to PCH and turned the corner and could see the end. But not before we saw the signs on either side of the road with our logo and people's names on them. That did both of us in. We didn't say a word but you could hear each of us squeaking out breath with each step trying not to just bawl. Yeah, those people on those signs are who we are doing this for. I am going to be an absolute hot mess on race day. We crossed the finish to cow bell, clapping and high fives and could finally breath again. We did it. We did it. 20 miles. 20.52 if you ask my watch. Time 3:55. 11:36 average pace. Lots of the team were there and we had food and drinks. Not exactly hungry at that point but I did grab a water, a cold wet towel and a handful of grapes. We walked it off and headed to the water and just kept walking. The only things that came off were the watch, hydration belt and shoes. We walked right into the cool water and it was heaven. My body was so mad and so happy all at the same time. Iced up we headed back up as Andy and Dad came up the beach. Yahoo.....towels, foam roll and sticks. We made our way back to the team and grabbed a sandwich and started recovery. It was beautiful out and it was fun seeing all our teammates come across the finish. Some of them started at 5:30 and 6 am. We finally packed it up and headed home. There was discussion of afternoon activities of which mine would include a shower and the Gator game. I tried to convince Dad that he needed to root for the Gators since he couldn't watch OU on tv today and we weren't in the same conference so he could root for us. I don't think he bit. Besides when he mentioned "peeping the tats" to Steph, (I not only almost fell out of the car laughing) I think he wanted to go check out the Tattoo Expo. Just saying. So here I lay, showered, writing and really happy that we accomplished a really long run. Oh yeah and the Gators won. It's a good day.