Yesterday, I left off with the fun volunteers and spectators.
One thing I noticed in Denver was that there were children! Kids, I tell you! I never think about how rare it is to see a child in Los Angeles, until I see lots and lots of children in Denver. Families. Weird, right?
I love when I see little kids at races with their families. They get to see from an early age how amazing and incredibly fun running events can be. (Yay!)
As the race went on, it sort of felt like the majority of ground I was covering was in a park. As miles wore on, I kept looking around thinking, “Haven’t I been in a park already?” “Is this the same park I was just in?” “How much park space is there in Denver?”
Then, I came across a little path where I could see the end, and the end was a road where I’d walk the same area going the opposite direction. And at the end of that, we’d walk back down in a different lane of that same road, only in the opposite direction again (the same direction we had started going while on the paved park trail). Goodness gracious.
Okay, weave, weave, weave. Do that for a while. Eventually, I made it out of the turnaround/turnaround.
At some point before the relay switch point, I met this amazing woman wearing an Obama pin on her hat. That spurred me to start a conversation, and she was so lovely. Then she had to leave me to tag in her relay partner. Wah wah.
I was getting a little tired toward the double-digit miles. (It had been a long morning, and I was coming off of no sleep.) Somewhere around mile 11, I ran into Chaunecey. (I’m not sure if I’m spelling his name correctly, but it was cool. It wasn’t “Chauncey.” It was pronounced Chaun-ess-see. Or maybe that is just how they pronounce Chauncey in a far away land? I’m not sure…)
Anyway, I run into, let’s call him Chaun. And he gave me a little packet of Mini-Oreos, thereby becoming my new best friend.
My energy level skyrocketed. (I’m not saying it’s healthy to have sugar rushes, but in that moment, I was all “Yeah, baby! Let’s do this race!”)
I started running. I ran around to different groups. Whenever I heard some fun-sounding people behind me, I ran back to see what was going on back there.
Life was good. I finished strong, with Ann the awesome race announcer saying, “Look who it is!” She gave me a big high-five as she danced by the finish.
Then, they gave us more food than I’ve seen at any finish line! There were burritos, my friends. Burritos!
As a nice woman handed me my Evol burrito, I almost couldn’t believe my eyes. But then, I had to hand it back and say, “Sorry, I’m vegetarian this week.”(!)
First, she laughed at me when I said, “this week.” But then she gave me one without meat! Sweet business.
I also got a banana, a Gatorade, chocolate milk, a Marathon bar, a water, and a bag of Snikiddy baked fries. They fed us super well after that race. And thank goodness considering I was still without any money.
To add to my mix of lovely moments and not as lovely moments in this day of emotional roller-coasting, as I was walking toward bag check, a volunteer said, “How’d you do?” I smiled and said, “Well, I finished.” He said, “But what was your time?” I said “Really, really slow.” “Numbers. What was it?” “Pushing 4 hours.” “For the marathon?” “The half.” Then in all seriousness, with disgust, he said “Ugh, that is slow!” Yeah, man. I know! I’d been dodging your question for a couple of rounds. You could tell that I definitely knew I wasn’t fast. Do you need to bring so much negative attention to it?
I grabbed my backpack, and made it back to the airport. Sure enough, my wallet had been found!
I picked up some dinner at Sbarro, and a man very quietly paid for it for me. When I got up to the register, the woman pointed to the man who had already walked away. She said, “He paid for it.” I yelled out, “Thank you!” He turned around, gave a little smile, and went on his way.
What a lovely random act of kindness.