Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Romans 12:1
They started the elites at 7:30. The rest of us wandered toward the line at around 8:04.
And this is what it looked like. A sea of people and not a drop of rain. Perfect California conditions – cool, dry cloud cover. I started to believe that I could DO THIS. And it might actually be FUN!
The crowd surged ahead. Dudes started running out of the crowd like their pants were on fire. I trotted ahead with a group of friends – Lindsay, Tyler, Rusty – looking behind me for John and Michael and Paul with my phone in my hand. Men suddenly lined the bushes outside of Dodger stadium to take one final whiz (thanks guys!). Finally, they caught up to us and we got down to the business of the first six miles.
Most of our talk on the first portion of the marathon revolved around how we couldn't get over how the weather had cleared out, whether or not I should take a pee (and I made the right call and took one at around mile three), and where the first stop would be with the camera crew (just past mile four). I tested out my knee, which still hurt, but it was a dull throb. Manageable. Up and down the hills we went. I sang the ridiculous LMFAO songs on my iPod mix and acted goofy. I spotted a woman dropping trou in the bushes off the freeway. We laughed at the Vaseline held up by volunteers, smeared on pieces of posterboard. Somewhere in there I ate another Gu. We were running at about a 10:30 mile clip. The crew got what they needed at mile four in one take while I ran ahead with Michael and he blocked my view so I wouldn't get tempted to turn my head around and mess up the shot.
At mile six I looked up, huffing and puffing, and saw what must have been the biggest climb EVER in the history of marathons (not really but YOU KNOW. It was a HILL). "You have got to be KIDDING ME." The guys chuckled, and Paul, who would soon become my new favorite person in all of history encouraged me in his lovely, soothing South-African accent: "This is the worst of it." And as I charged up the hill (I am known to hate inclines so much that I just power up them to get them over with) a guy who was cheering on the side of the road tried to encourage me with "YOU'RE ALMOST THERE!"
"LIAR!" I shouted back through clenched teeth. And the group around me erupted in laughter. Because as usual? I was so very, very right.
And yet? I felt good. I felt alive. I was running a ding dang MARATHON.