After hardly sleeping I finally rolled out of bed at 10 minutes to 4am. That is an insane hour that I rarely am happy to see. I put on my 5 layers of clothing 1)wicking sports bra. 2) wicking tank top. 3) AWBC cotton T-shirt. 4) Long Sleeve 1/2 marathon FleetFeet t-shirt and then my black Under Armour jacket. My shorts seemed a bit frivolous at this point. My hat and we were off. We loaded the bus at 4:47am and headed for Speedway Meadows for Opening Ceremonies.
The bus dropped us at Speedway Meadows in Golden Gate park, the stage was up but very little else. At 5am it was decently warm and no rain or need for gloves and log pants like the other years I've walked. There was lots of hustle and bustle as people were preparing for the event and walkers were filtering in. We dropped our luggage again at the truck that corresponded with our tag # and headed for the food tent for some poor mans mocha (black coffee + hot chocolate packet) a banana and cream cheese on a plain bagel. We filled our Camelpack up with water and waited for Opening Ceremonies to begin. Every year the place these things called stacks up for us to sign for whatever city we are walking in. It is very emotional and fun to see what cities hold the most signatures so far. Its one of my favorite parts of the weekend
Opening ceremonies is always a tough thing to get through. You stretch and bend and warm up then they give you inspirational speeches from those effected but BC, one of the gals not once but twice a survivor. Amazing. Then there is the amazing Barbara Jo who has thus far raised $1,006,000 and walked in 91 walks for AWBC and the Susan G. Komen foundations. She is not a spring chicken either but she can go and go and go. One of the sweetest ladies I have ever met. They also told us that we broke records this year. SF has never had so many walkers, over 3,000 this year or raised so much $$$, over $7.5 million for 2008. That in itself is so amazing. They let us go at about 7:10am and the flood gates opened.
It took us an hour and a half to reach the first quick stop (water and potties only). There were so many people and so little room along the route. We just had to take it slow and steady. We had our Moto Crew (those on Motorcycles to escort us across the streets) and our very own security from San Jose Police Department Bike crew to keep us moving in the right direction.
There were so many fun things to see. We walked through town a bit and headed for the Precidio for a Rest stop (food, medical tent, water and potties) hosted by Urban Dog Walkers. We were almost to the Golden Gate Bridge. Although we were excited we did stop long enough to have our pictures taken in the their little doggie get up.
The bridge is so beautiful. Although it was still foggy and hazy when we got there we did get some excellent views of the city and the path ahead of us. I love walking across it. It makes you feel like a Californian. Like this bridge belongs to us. It is so beautiful. I have walked across the bridge with my 4th walking partner and I see it with new eyes each time.
Not the most flattering picture but off we went across the bridge. Our friends, the Hookers for Hooters met up with us on the other side. I shouldn't say our friends I should say our regular cheer leaders. They have hung with us every year I have walked driving by in a mini van and hollering out the open side door with a amplifier singing and shouting and keeping us all moving. We love them. there will be a picture of them with Good Neighbor up shortly I'm sure. We headed down the hill under the bridge on the way to Sausilito with a memory that we have to go back up it on the way back. Luckily we are still moving through the pack and things are still a bit slow to keep our muscles moving but not too fast that we run out of steam. It is a gradual and slow decent and much of the time single file down into Saucilito, a quiet little bay side town with tons of charm. My mom, aunt, my sista, niece and nephews met us at Starbucks with a iced mocha to enjoy and we headed off on our journey.
We had lunch right out side of town and took our shoes off to breath a bit and check on our feet. We changed socks and felt like new girls, our feet weren't even hurting yet. Good thing too because we had 16 miles left to walk today. We were now at the 10 mile mark and my Fam met us again. My niece Princess Nani was capturing every one's hearts as she gave them high 5's and waving at everyone. So sweet.
I always forget about that long 3 miles to the half way mark. Its out along the bay and wetlands, along an open wide bike/walking path from Sausilito to Mill Valley. It gets hot and seems to go along forever. This year the fam met us again and that really broke things up, made it not seem like the longest 3 miles in the world. Princess Nani even got to take pictures with the nice Police Officers from SJ. Aren't they cute? No I mean it... Aren't they stinkin' cute. You should see them on Sunday when they wear their pink polo's. Never have you seen so many hot men in pink before.
We walked through Mill Vally which although it doesn't have the same charm as Saucalito it is very cute and its on the way back. By the time we hit the 16 mile mark we were on a mission. We needed to make up time from the VERY slow first half. We worked in spurts, we would hang behind for a while then surge forward and around a group... get in behind another group and do it again. All the way from Mill Valley to the cursed hill we had to get up to pass back over the GG Bridge.We stopped and took some wonderful pix of the bridge, Alcatraz and of course US.
By now we were tired but focused on our goal. Afraid to slow down for fear of stopping we just kept going full hilt. I even ran that last hill, I made the nearly 1/2 mile treck in 7 minutes and passed everyone along the way. I did leave Good Neighbor in a bit of a dust since I had the compulsion to run the second half of the hill, but I waited for her at the top. We passed over the GG Bridge under perfect weather and took some more awesome pictures since picture perfect weather NEVER happens or at least rarely and for our walk we got to actually see the top of the bridge was a miracle in itself. Our last mile and a half to the bottom of the hill where the Wellness Village at Chrissy Field was took FOREVER. We were finally feeling the pain of 13 hours on our feet and dreaming about Yoga, showers in Semi Trucks and real Food. What a welcome sight.
That's what we did, got our tent and our bags. Watched the nice Tent Angels put it up, took showers in Semi Trucks, Did yoga, Ate penne pasta with marinara sauce, Huge Meatballs, Salad, green beens, rolls, water and milk then headed to bed with a belly full of Ibuprofen. Rolled our sore muscles with tennis balls, climbed into our sleeping bags and tried to sleep. (those damn port-o-potties kept calling our names and we resisted... til almost 6am)