Sunday morning, 5:15 AM, I picked up Orlando and Elda at their home. we drove to the Costco at I 10 and 1604 to pick up Linda, Elda's sis. This was Elda's first marathon event and Orlando's first half. Elda was extremely calm and said she SLEPT well! This is unusual for most runners the night before a big event.
We drove to Tom B's house where we were to carpool in Tom's truck to the start. Robert B. was there and he drove Yukun, Tom's friend, to the start in his car. We parked at I37 and St. Mary's and walked to the start. It was COLD! About 33 degrees. The staging area was very well organized , I thought. We looked around a bit and soon we all wished each other well and parted ways. I was assigned corral 1! How that happened? I don't know. 7 AM and I removed my long sleeve shirt (too early, I was freezing), checked my bag and walked to corral 1. I spotted Tom and Joe T. in corral two and hung around with them until the start. Paul Baltutis was also there dressed as Leonidus! The Spartan of "The 300" fame.I told him I was only running the Half. He said "Hey, the half is still 13 miles man! It should have a name all it's own. We'll call it the LEON." (short for Leonidus)
The race got started a litte late, about 7:40. I did not have my Garmin on and thought I would just run as well as I felt. I have adopted a new running philosophy,"I don't run as fast as I can, I run as best as I can." I felt pretty good the first few miles. At about mile 3, Tom fell back and asked me to hold his bottle as he fixed his shorts. They were falling off! He did not quite get it right. Then we saw Kelli N. on the sidelines. I yelled at her and she waved. I waved back, yelling at her to come over to us. She broke through the barriers, through the runners, and took Tom's long sleeve shirt and gloves as Tom again adjusted his shorts. He continued on, passed me, and I did not see him again. At mile 6, Joe T. came up on me and we talked a bit, then he took off. At mile 8 my right knee started to hurt. Remnants of Cactus Rose. "Oh no." I said to myself. Please pain, go away. I tried using the same Psych job on myself as I did at Cactus Rose. About Mile 10 Chuck W. came running by. I called out to him. He started about 15 minutes late, but was running well and at a great pace. We talked a while and he helped keep my mind off my knee. Chuck took off and looked very comfortable. At mile 11 the pain was now at my hip as well as my knee. I pushed through knowing I was almost at the finish. Mile 12 and I wanted to walk, but just slowed down. I took deep breaths and kept running (I did walk through the last aid station at mile 10). I was able to finish strong. Edgar was at the finish line taking photos. We shared a high five.
I saw Orlando come in about 20 minutes after me. He looked great for his first finish. We hung around, met with friends and drank our beer (Elda would come in at 5 hours and looked great! Smiling Too!).
Then I got the call.
Kelli told me Tom had trouble at mile 23 and was taken to Santa Rosa Hospital after collapsing. My God! So many emotions go through your head when a dear friend is suffering. What can I do? How can I Help? I felt helpless. 3 hours of not knowing what was going on with Tom. We tried to get in contact with his wife, Michele.
Thank God all was well. Michele made it to the Hospital with Tom. I arrived at Tom's house at about 3 PM. What a great sight to see him. He looked tired and disappointed, but TOM WAS OK!
Tom, IS OK.