(...continued from part 1 and part 2)
Once our van was at the finish line, we just had to wait for a text from Colleen saying that she was a mile away. We had some time to kill, so we went to the beer garden to claim our free post-race beer. There, we sat and chatted with a few other teams. The weather was GORGEOUS--perfect for the finish line!
When we heard that Colleen was a mile away, we headed over to the finisher's chute. When we saw Colleen round the corner to the chute, we all joined her and ran the last tenth of a mile with her to cross the finish line. It was fantastic!
Once we crossed the finish line, John got our medals, and told everyone to take one and then put it on someone else's neck. Of course, I wanted to crown John with his medal, and he did the same for me :)
Once everyone had their medals, we took a group photo.
I have no idea how it happened, but Colleen wasn't in this photo. She was in the one that the professional photographer took, but I think she must not have noticed that we stayed for a few afterward.
The whole race was SO amazing. This team, Strangers to Sole Mates, made it such a great experience! Every single one of them has something uniquely fun about them.
We stayed at the after party for a little bit, and then headed to John's house for dinner. John's husband, Ric, went ALL OUT for this dinner party. He'd decorated the backyard and I was stunned when I saw how breathtaking it was.
It looked like it was set up for a wedding! There were even "floating" umbrellas overhead, and outdoor heaters (that pole next to Caitlin in the bottom pic is a heater). It was simply amazing!
Before everyone got there, John pulled me inside to give me Mark's bracelet. I had gotten a mustache-shaped slap bracelet to wear in honor of Mark, and we passed that along between each and every runner from our team along the course. I know that my team did it for ME, which just shows how thoughtful they are.
Ric and Sue, John's aunt, made a delicious dinner--pasta with two different kinds of sauces, bread, and salad; and there was a ton of wine and beer. I sat next to Colleen, and this was about the best picture I took, which wasn't very good!
The food, drinks, and awesome atmosphere made the lack of sleep really start to kick in. I was dead tired by 10:30, and Dean drove us back to the hotel.
I wish I could say I slept like a rock, but that wasn't the case. I drank more than I probably should have, especially considering I was dehydrated and working on little sleep, which is probably why I didn't sleep well. At 4:00 AM, I was wide awake, so I got out of bed and worked on my blog posts.
At 10:00 yesterday, we went to brunch and John's favorite spot--Baja Betty's. They had a brunch buffet and all-you-can-drink mimosas. The food was really good! I had two plates, and a couple of mimosas, and I was stuffed.
Tay had to leave after brunch, and it was sad to say good-bye to her. She was voted "MVP" by Van 2, because, well, she's awesome. The rest of us (except for John) wanted to go to the zoo. That was the one thing I really wanted to do on my trip here. We headed to the zoo and spent the afternoon exploring. We took the Skyfari (I think that's what it was called!) to the far end of the zoo to work our way back to the entrance.
It actually felt pretty hot outside--much more like I expected from California! The weather was great, and we had a good time at the zoo.
After a few hours, I was really starting to feel fatigued. The whole weekend was starting wear on me. We got on the tour bus then, because I think we all just wanted to sit down, and we rode around the zoo seeing a lot of the animal exhibits we'd missed on foot.
We left the zoo at around 5:15, and headed to dinner at a place called The Fish House. The food there was SO good. I got a cup of clam chowder, which ended up being the best I'd ever tasted, and swordfish tacos.
After dinner, we had to say good-bye to Caitlin. She wasn't supposed to leave so soon, but her aunt fell and broke her hip, and needed Caitlin there. It was sad to say good-bye, but I'm going to be seeing her in Boston in a month for Ragnar Cape Cod ;)
Dean dropped Colleen, Thomas, and I off at the hotel. We sat around chatting for a few hours, and went to bed at around midnight. I FINALLY got the sleep I needed! I slept from midnight to 7:00, and only woke up once during the night. I feel really rested for today. Dean and Thomas are going to see the Midway museum, and I think us girls are going to rent some beach cruiser bikes to ride. Should be fun!