A week ago right now, I was sitting in a stranger’s driveway waiting for Boo and David to pull the car around. I had just finished the marathon, and I was happy. Like, morphine-drip happy. The sun was shining. I had seen an old friend around mile 10, a super-fast older guy who had just finished his relay leg with 6:30 miles. He cooled down by pacing me up the course’s infamous 2 mile winding hill that would take us to a veritable wind-tunnel, and the Bixby bridge. The sun was shining. I had told myself jokes, and made friends along the way – there was the scared mother from Nashville that I’d sat next to on the bus at 4:30 that morning, and the 40-ish guy with whom I’d run the last 10 miles. We passed each other periodically, and made comments about pacing off of each other and the opportunistic buzzards flying overhead (jokes!). The sun was shining. As each mile stretched out in front of me, I’d read the funny mile marker signs and pumped my fists to thank all of the bands and volunteers. I smiled the whole way, really. The sun was shining. As I approached the 26-mile marker, I heard a gospel choir and saw a woman to my left sobbing hysterically. I cried, too. The sun was shining. As I ran the final 100 meters, I saw Boo on David’s shoulders. David shouted “MAMA!” and took a picture. The announcer said my name as I crossed the finish line. I cried some more. I wasn’t sure why; I didn’t feel in control of my body, but that was ok because the sun was shining.
I ended up finishing in 3:57:02, 0:22:02 too slow to qualify for Boston. Not that I had gone into this whole thing even knowing what the qualifying time was, but as soon as I realized that I’d reached my internal goal, I searched for a new target to fixate on. Something ridiculously hard to internally chastise myself for failing.
The other highlight of our trip was an afternoon spent at a vineyard outside Healdsburg. Wine tasting is right up Boo’s alley. Clearly, David and I only went to appease our child. We spent most of the time wondering what the middle class was doing.