This evening completed a busy and fun-filled weekend. Saturday morning Patrick flew down along with four friends he met through his marathon training. Everyone flew down for the Long Beach Marathon. Patrick and Viktor ran the Half Marathon and Melissa ran in the full marathon. Patrick also rode in the Bike Tour. Veronica and Marian were there as moral support and a cheering section. They’re both runners too. Not wanting to feel left out, Bill and I walked in the Run Forrest Run 5k.

After they all arrived Saturday morning we picked up a rented minivan and drove to the Long Beach Convention Center for our racing bibs, chip timers, event t-shirts, and goodie bags of various free samples, coupons, brochures and other various schwag. There were lots of vendors showing off the latest in racing apparel, running shoes, sunglasses and nifty belts that can hold a dozen or so mini water bottles. There were the latest in energy bars, cookies, and granola, plus odd ones like gummy fruit chews, powdered supplements, or shots of gooey gel packed with carbohydrates, electrolytes and caffeine. Some of them really taste terrible. Many of the booths were advertising upcoming marathons all over the west coast. This was all interesting to me since this isn’t really a scene I frequent.

After the expo we did some grocery shopping and got settled in for the evening with plans to get to sleep pretty early. Bill fixed some penne with ground turkey and a marinara sauce along with a tossed salad and french bread. He also made some delicious bruschetta with diced tomatoes and basil from our backyard. I have a photo of it somewhere, but I can’t find it. I’ll add it later. After a nice meal and laughs while watching Clerks II, we all went to bed early.

Patrick, Viktor and Melissa were up first as Patrick’s bike tour was set to begin at 6:00am. His tour ran the full length of the marathon along the water near the Queen Mary, through downtown, in and around Cal State Long Beach and back down Ocean Blvd. Since he was also running in the half marathon (a 7:30am start time) he tried to get through the bike tour as quickly as possible. Since it was a tour, not a race, they weren’t really keeping track of who finished in what place… but Pat finished somewhere in the top eight. Thankfully, he had enough time to get the bike back in the minivan and his shoes and shirt changed for the half marathon. The marathon started at the same time and ran along the same route for about eleven miles.

Veronica, Marian, Bill and I were out the door a couple hours later as our 5k was set to begin at 8:30am. Marian and Veronica jogged over to where the marathon and half marathon split so they could cheer everyone on. Then they jogged back to the finish line to be there when everyone finished.

Marian checking out the map figuring out which direction to go. You can’t see it in this photo, but she’s holding a cowbell that we all got at the expo. There were lots of cowbells in the crowds.

Lots of bicyclists milling around.

Bill and I walked our 5k and actually enjoyed it. We had no intention of running, or even jogging, as we hadn’t trained for it. But, we did want to finish the 3.1 miles in under one hour.

Since our event was called the Run Forrest Run 5k, it was obviously sponsored by the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant chain. Forrest Gump himself was there to wave as we crossed the start line. That odd, pink monster on the left is supposed to be a Bubba Gump shrimp.

One really funny part as we stood around waiting for our race to begin was the random raffle prizes they were giving out. The emcee would shout a random bib number and the lucky winner would have won a quart of motor oil, a can of Spam, or a container of Tucks medicated pads. It was really funny.

Once our race began we were able to get a better idea of just how many people were participating in the 5k. The emcee said just over two thousand participants ran or walked. That’s nothing… the Bike Tour had four thousand participants. The marathon and half marathon had 15,000 participants combined. That’s a lot of people exercising. Or as one person stated… “that’s a lot of spandex…”

It took us a minute to reach the starting line.

On Shoreline Drive a Long Beach Fire Department ladder truck was sporting the stars and stripes.

Our race paralleled some parts of the half marathon. They had some really pretty views.You can see the Queen Mary in the background here along with a cruise ship and the Long Beach cruise ship terminal (the dome on the right).

Throughout our event we started to set small goals for ourselves. We saw a couple of guys doing the running-in-spurts thing where they’d run for about one hundred feet then stop and walk… then run again. We decided we could beat them. And we did.

The Nesquik bunny was actually running the 5k… we were okay loosing to him. Kudos to the runner who ran the 5k in that suit!

Then we saw a woman with a walking cast up to her knee and a cane. We really couldn’t let the woman with the cast beat us…. but after a mile, it was apparent that she was an actual runner sporting an injury. We didn’t beat her. But we did finish the race in fifty-two minutes. Not too bad.


And we got a nifty blue ribbon as our reward! Yes, we’re wearing jetBlue t-shirts. They were a sponsor, we had to represent.

We got free bottles of water and a box lunch courtesy of the Bubba Gump restaurant. It was an odd mix of some shrimp cocktail, romaine lettuce, a couple of pieces of chicken, a roll, a couple bites of shrimp salad, croutons, Caesar salad dressing, tortilla chips and a Snickers bar. It was nice to have that available to us 5k participants. I don’t think I would have been interested in eating it had I actually ran.

After eating our pseudo-lunch, we headed to the half marathon and marathon finish lines. Unfortunately, we were about two minutes too late to see Patrick cross the finish line. Viktor crossed a couple of minutes earlier that Pat. We did watch the 1st place finisher for the marathon cross the finish line. I don’t have a photo because he was moving so fast, he snuck up on us. His time was somewhere around two hours and twenty minutes. That’s an average of five and a half minutes per mile! Yikes!

It was kind of cool to watch so many people finish their race. You can see all sorts of emotions when they cross the finish line. I saw a few couples cross while holding hands. Most were smiling. A few looked like they were about to keel over.

This guy was feeling patriotic.

We were finally able to catch up with Patrick and Viktor after their race. Bill and I couldn’t get in to the area where they were hanging out as we needed to be participants in those races. Viktor finished his half marathon in about one hour and forty-five minutes. Patrick finished in about one hour and fifty-one minutes. The times are estimated because the actual times are recorded by the chip we all wore on our shoes. I have yet to figure out what website has our chip times.

Patrick’s medal. I don’t have a picture of the medal he got for finishing the bike tour.

A little while later, we headed towards the finish line to watch Melissa cross.

Here she is wearing the green tank top. This was an important marathon for her as she was trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I’ve been learning that it’s a pretty big deal to qualify for the Boston Marathon. For her age group, Melissa needed to run faster than three hours and forty minutes. As you can see on the clock, she’s clearly reached that goal. I think her actual time was around three hours and thirty minutes.

The finishers. Great job everyone!

Everyone was finished and heading back to the house before noon. The afternoon was spent with lots of rest and a couple of soaks in our bathtub, which was filled with ice. For the runners… not the walkers. Eventually they all headed to the beach to soak in some sun. Bill and I vegged for a little while then got to work cleaning up the patio and prepping for dinner.

I couldn’t resist, a still-life in sneakers. Notice the orange strips attached to our laces. Those contain a small disposable chips that kept the actual race times.

For dinner Bill smoked a chunk of tri-tip and some salmon. There was also a tossed salad and rotini pasta tossed with a pesto sauce I made a while ago and then stored in the freezer. When we were in Maui a month ago our basil plants went crazy, so I figured a surplus of pesto sauce would be useful. Patrick tossed some sweet potato spears with salt and paprika and roasted them in the oven.

We lit a fire in our fire bowl, I lit some candles and a few small lanterns, we opened a bottle of Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner. The wind had died down and made for a very pleasant evening. The tri-tip and salmon were incredibly delicious and I think everyone had a good time.


Patrick took the camera for a bit. Here we’re all enjoying dessert.


Dessert was a simple fare of and strawberries dipped in whipped cream and brown sugar. It’s an amazing mixture of flavors, and really easy to prepare. Pile the whipped cream on a plate and generously sprinkle with brown sugar. Serve with a bowl of fresh strawberries. We also had a plate of sliced Maui pineapple drizzled with caramel. Mmmm. We toasted to Melissa’s qualifying time with a bottle of champagne. We chilled around the campfire for a while joking about how the coals were perfect for roasting marshmallows, but everyone was too full.

This morning a few took the early morning flights to San Jose and Oakland. Bill flew to JFK where he’ll work for a couple of days. When I got home from work, I went out to Lucille’s with Patrick, Melissa and Veronica before they caught the last flight to Oakland.

It was a great weekend and, while tiring, I was glad we were able to play hosts to everyone for the weekend.

Now I have to figure out something to do with Bill in New York all week…



About wobetxela

Artist, mom, traveler, hiker, babywearer (for as long as they'll let me) and hobbyist photographer.
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3 Responses to

  1. christao408 says:

    Sounds like you all had a very fun time!  We should get down there for another visit.  Still haven’t tried Bill’s cooking.

  2. stebow says:

    Loved the still life. Great shot. Congrats to Melissa! Way to go!
    AND congrats to you and Bill. It’s a start…

  3. kristalucas says:

    I know…you can come visit me!! :)Race results:

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