Earlier last month, I was thinking back to my first Long Beach Marathon experience. The big pasta party at Todd’s. Stressing even though I wasn’t running. Remembering scanning the stretch of course oft repeated on Second Street between Bayshore and Ravenna, and basically only seeing Laura. And then, only seeing Laura, because I helped her run in the last 8-10 miles. Thinking how successful AREC was because we had so many runners doing their first 5K - Brandy, Karine, Marlaigne... to name a few. It was really the first time that there were more than THREE ARECers in a race. Pretty exciting times, if you ask me.
Flash forward to the present. Everything seemed a little discombobulated. I didn’t know if we would even have a pasta party, or if anyone would show up. Ten of us had a blast at Laura’s the Friday before. On Saturday, I made the trip to the Seal Beach 5K/10K to record the results (though I was sorely tempted to run the races as well, but that is one BAD idea!). Who did I see there, but Tim, Ed, and Karine; who all made a great showing for AREC (Karine topped her 1 year racing anniversary by proving she can win a completely different age group - and with competitors this time!).
Sunday morning was even more electrifying. Laura and I managed to find Jamie Brooks, Scott Young, Ian Varley, Todd Byers, and Lance Millar at the start. There is nothing quite so fine as having someone to run with. We heard that Ed and Tim were hastily finishing up the Bike Marathon.
The gun went off, and Lance, Todd, Laura and I set off. It was warm and the course was a little boring. We looked for others, like Marlaigne and Darcie, in their first marathons, but only saw some fast running friends, and Tim (fresh from the bike ride) banditing. Laura, Lance, and I stayed pretty close together at the beginning of the race. I, in my infinite wisdom, had opted for the usual uniform - not much! Laura and Lance had to do a little striptease for Bernard at mile 3.
As the race wore on, it got hotter and hotter. I was dealing with foot cramps and a charley horse. Marlaigne had an IT band problem. Neva got severely dehydrated. And there was just not much shade or anything interesting in sight. I think we all perked up just a little when we reached the Hash House Harrier beer check, because we knew we were just about done!
By the time I neared the finish line, I had been walking for almost 8 miles, and I had horrible blisters and was pretty dehydrated. I managed my usual sprint, but cramped up to my waist as I reached the Electronic Carpet. Thank God it was over!
At the finish were Todd, Laura, Ian and Lance. Nobody looked particularly well. I figured that at 4:24, everyone had finished hours ahead of me, but they had faced the same problems at the end of the race.
When I finally looked at the results, I realized what a show we had put on: Saturday’s 5K/10K - 3 runners. Sunday’s half marathon - 6 runners. Sunday’s marathon - 8 runners. All right AREC!!!