12AM: Go to bed. I meant to go to bed early to be up at 6AM so I could head out for the race. The walk portion was at 7:45, and normally it takes about 25 minutes to get there. I wanted to leave at least an hour, so I'd be able to find parking and maybe meet up with the others from the bank. The event is projected to have 30,000 people. But my sleep schedule was still off from my trip to Seattle. Still, midnight was probably early enough, I figured.
1AM: Get out of bed, having been unable to sleep at all.
2AM: Go to bed again.
2:15AM: Get out of bed to find my iPod and put on some music in an effort to drown out the grinding bass of whatever's going on at the hotel across the street. Go back to bed.
2:45AM: Get out of bed. Terrorize Trask by ranting about the noise from the hotel and not being able to sleep. Watch most of a movie with him afterwards.
4AM: Go to bed.
5:45AM: Wake up. Look at my clock. Reset my internal alarm clock for 7AM.
7AM: Wake up again. Consider my cynicism about walking for a cause. It's not like any of the three people who sponsored me are going to begrudge me it if I am too sleep-deprived to go.
7:08AM: "Wish me luck," I tell Lut. Lut: "Short on sleep, going anyway?" Me: "Sure." Lut: "Feeding the cats before you go." Me: "... will you take care of that for me?" Lut: "Sure."
7:09AM: It's pretty cool outside now, high 60s and breezy. Nice for walking.
7:20AM: Hit downtown. Discover that the 5K race route has blocked off most of my approach to the race start.
7:33AM: Find a parking spot a kilometer from the race start. Follow the trickle of people heading for the race start.
7:43AM: Walk past my original intended parking area, and discover to my surprise that it still has spots left.
7:47AM: A block from the race start, I see the ginourmous mob of people filling the street as far as the eye can see. I forget about reaching the official start; it's clearly too late to find anyone else. I flow into the stream, and walk.
It's now 8:25AM, and I am walking alone in a crowd that fills the streets before and behind me. I cannot see where we begin or end. We walk.
The route is lined with race supporters. I've passed two groups of adorable high school cheerleaders, three live bands, three water stations, and a handful of groups holding signs or waving in support. I've seen countless strollers and several dogs, including one wearing his own t-shirt The vibe is upbeat and celebratory.
After the first water station I passed, the side of the road was littered with paper cups, a yard deep extending for a quarter block. I stuck mine in my pocket and got it refilled at the next two.
It's 8:40AM. We've been walking for nearly an hour now and the mob seems to be getting denser and slower. I've passed a Mexican music station and another two live bands, plus another water station and two cheering groups. I've been blogging throughout the walk, but I've put aside my phone to dance for the live bands and wave and whoop and thank everyone else. By now the morning has turned warmer, low 70s, and in the direct sunlight I'm overheated and sweaty.
8:52AM: I'm about a block from the end. A live band is performing a song about walking home to a lover. The singer improvises: "o/~Walk along/ 'Cause the finish line's right down the street.o/~"
8:54AM: I walk beneath the pink arch marking the finish. I have to walk another block or so to reach the point where I joined the race, but I wend my way slowly through the little stations race sponsors have set up at the end. I don't think the bank has one this year, but I look out for it anyway. I get iced tea from the Starbucks kiosk. Almost everyone else is out of anything they'd brought to give away.
9:10AM: I sat by the fountain in front of Union Station to listen to the last singer on a stage and as they begin honoring survivors. People are streaming away from the event. The mood is more subdued now: we walked 5K, we're tired.
9:17AM: I start walking back to my car, hoping I can find it again. I pause to pet an adorable little dog who's ready to do 5K: she wasn't on the walk. I take a peek in Panera: the crowd's not too bad, but I decide to pass on getting a bagel anyway.
9:32AM: Almost back to my car. Traffic is pretty sparse here: about half the cars that had been parked near me are gone already. Despite the extra walk, I am kind of glad not to be stuck in a big parking lot or garage.
9:36AM: At the car. I have walked about 7K on three hours' sleep. I feel surprisingly alert. I ask Google for directions home, because I'm not sure what the most efficient route is from here. Google takes me two miles down a city street before getting me to an exit to the highway, but it's a quick trip nonetheless.
9:57AM: Home. I need a shower. First, I give Ash her medicine and feed the cats again; we've taken to feeding Ash whenever she shows any interest in eating, because she's eating so little now.
10:28AM: Cats eating, me showered, two slices of leftover pizza beside me for breakfast. I am not very sleepy now; perhaps I will try staying up the rest of the day and going to bed early, in the hopes of resetting my sleep schedule before work tomorrow.
I am thinking now that perhaps I am wrong about the Race for the Cure walk. It's not the thing you do in order to raise money. It's your reward for having raised money.
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