I was able to go to Santa Barbara on Thursday after all. Katie was feeling better. And I left her in VERY good hands. My dear friend, RoseAnn, kept the kidlets for us so we could go. I love that sweet lady.
We arrived Thursday afternoon and checked in to our hotel. I love staying at Fess Parker's Resort. Yes, THAT Fess Parker. He built an amazing hotel along Cabrillo Blvd. in SB. After we checked in, Andy & Mariah came to pick us up for dinner. Mariah and I are really close. She is my cousin/fellow foodie/half-marathon partner/etc. Andy is her fabulous husband. I wish we lived closer together - we would be together all the time. Dinner was amazing: good food, good wine, and fabulous company.
Friday morning we woke up and went for a jog on the beach path. It was beautiful and I wish I could exercise on the beach every single day. I have a feeling I'd be in far better shape than I am if I lived on the coast. After our run/walk, we went to the SBIM Expo to pick up our packets and shirts, then we went to wander around downtown for a while. We made reservations at Enterprise Fish Co. to celebrate our anniversary. The food was incredible, but my favorite part of the evening was just spending it with Mr. C. After 17 years of marriage, I still can't get enough of that man.
We got up bright and early on Saturday for the race. We were both nervous and excited so neither of us had slept well. We caught the shuttle to the starting line and met up with Mariah. We decided to take some "before" shots:
Mr. C warming up
Mariah and I even found Big Bird. He ran the entire race in this outfit - and the dude had the sexiest accent ever. I am a sucker for an accent.
My race bib.
They printed our names on them so spectators could yell encouragement to you throughout the race and call you by name - and the DID!
It was awesome!
Some crazy man ran it in sandals. Ouch.
These were the people behind us in the starting area.
These were the people in front of us in the starting area.
They started the race in waves. There were 3600 runners entered in the Half. The first group to go out was the "under 8-min. milers". Next came the "8-11 min. milers", which was Mr. C's group. Last was our group, the "over 11-min. milers". When our group was started, they were playing "Highway to Hell" on the audio system. Hehe.
Along the race route, musical groups were set up every couple of miles. There were string quartets, Accordion groups, Beach Boys singers, a dude dressed as a king playing a ukulele, etc. It was incredible. There were also spectators shouting to us and holding signs.
THIS sign was my favorite:
This is Mariah and our new friend Julie. We didn't know Julie until that morning, but she found us at the starting area (I have no idea HOW with so many people there, but she did) and decided that we looked nice and she wanted to walk with us. She dubbed us "Team Half-Crazy" because of our shirts (which, by the way, were very popular with the spectators and contestants all day long). Julie is a doll and we are so glad she decided to join us for the day.
After Mile 11, we could finally see the ocean. It was such a welcome sight for us because we knew the finish line was close.
When we started down the final hill, look who we found! Mr. C decided to come back up to give us some encouragement for the final leg of the race. He had a goal of finishing in under 2:10 - he actually finished in 2:04:27.2!!!! He was shocked that we were already that close to the finish, he thought we'd be further back still. :) At this point I could barely walk. I had developed a rather large blister on the ball of my foot during Mile 4 (which meant I had to walk on that sucker for NINE miles)! I also could feel one of my toenails coming off and several smaller blisters. I was in so much pain!!! Mr. C said that when we saw the finish line, we would get a burst of energy and start running. I did NOT believe him because I was exhausted and I hurt so badly.
However, when we saw this...
Mr. C took a picture of Julie, Mariah, and me after we received our medals. I look like crap (I pulled my hair all the way back that morning because I didn't want it in my face - NOT a good look for me), but I was so happy that I decided to post these pics anyway. LOL.
This is the medal we received. I will cherish it forever. And I can look in the eyes of my beautiful grandson and tell him,
"I am a half-marathoner".