Sunday, March 6, 2011

Finish Chelsea's Run

Okay, so maybe I didn't need to get to Balboa Park at 6am. The race was to start at 7:30am sharp and I knew they were expecting at least 3000 runners, I was hoping to avoid long lines to pick up my bib. I must admit that the hotel shuttle driver looked at me a little odd when I arrived in the lobby at 5:45am to go to Balboa. Needless to say, it was still dark when I got out of the van and I'm pretty sure I was the 1st person to pick up my bib. The cool thing about being there that early is the chalk artists were finishing up the huge sunflower at the start line.

The sunflower was Chelsea's favorite flower.

I must say this was a very well organized event. You could opt to be timed or not timed. If you opted to be chip timed you had a blue bib and were directed to the front. All other participants had a white bib and were told to line up behind people with blue bibs, so simple, but brilliant. We were directed to line up at 7am as they promised a 7:30am start, I'm sure a prompt start had to due with their permits. This is sort of a Where's Waldo shot, but I'm in it, I have a light teal headband on, can you spot me???

An amazing 5000+ people showed up for this inaugural event. As an event planner I can only imagine in my wildest dreams having 5000 people show up to my event, let alone my first one! And if you have ever wondered what 5000+ people look like, well here you go.

The King's moved out of state after Chelsea's death. But Brent, Kelly and Tyler all ran the race. Kelly actually trained for the run and I know Chelsea would have been so proud of her Mom.

Before I knew it, we were off. The magnitude of the event was just huge and very emotional. All along the route were Chelsea's favorite inspirational quotes, it was difficult to not push hard based on the overwhelming amount of inspiration on the route. I looked down and realized my heart rate monitor was not registering, and I think there is no way to not look a little odd when you lick your finger and pull your shirt up to try and get the sensors to work on your heart rate strap, it didn't work, so I figured I was going to have to wing it and just try to find a nice pace. When we reached the 1 mile mark they were calling out times and I passed right at 10 minutes, I was surprised to say the least, I'm a slow runner, so it was nice to know I had a good first mile. the course was beautiful, I tried to grab a photo, but it doesn't do much justice to how gorgeous it was.

We actually got to run on the freeway. I saw a Chippy out there as we entered the 163. I was very tempted to yell a "HuRah" as I ran past, but he was in his patrol car and I figured it would be wasted. Kind of cool to run on the freeway. We ran down this amazing hill and I must say it was fast and fun, so fast that someone behind me actually fell down it, she was fine. As we got to the bottom of the hill we hit the 2 mile mark and once again they were calling out times. As I passed she called out 20:33. Holy crap, I thought, I might actually be able to PR. And then I quickly thought of the fun hill I had just run down and realized that we would have to go back up, okay, maybe no PR for me today. We passed through the back side of some mountain and it was nice and cool and shady back there. And then I saw it, the hill I would have to get up. Holy crap, once again. The entire time I kept pushing thinking of Chelsea and how she wouldn't give up, her spirit kept me moving through out most of the race. But that hill, I slowed to a walk when I felt like my heart rate was too high and my lungs were burning. I looked around and there was no one around me running. I've tried to determine the elevation of said hill, but I'm ending up with somewhere between 85 and 150 feet of gain in .33 miles. We all know that math is not my strong point so lets just say it was painful. We had almost reached the top when we hit the 3 mile mark. Okay, .10 miles I can run. As I ran to cross the finish line, I found myself once again emotional with the magnitude of the day. While it was a day of celebration of Chelsea's life you couldn't help but think of the tragedy that occurred to bring us all together.

The shining light in all of this is to witness and be part of what a community can do when they band together, the power of the people truly is amazing. I was so proud to be part of this amazing day and I hope to make it back to San Diego every year to be part of Finish Chelsea's Run.

Official Time: 33:36 76/123 in my age group (of the folks that were timed anyway :))


  1. Mere - thanks for the recap. Sounds like it was a spectacular day and race. It was a wonderful testament to Chelsea's family that you could be there and run for their daughter. - Myla

  2. I found you in the photo - do I get a prize for that? :-)

    Wonderful RR and so great that you could be part of such a special day. Awesome job on the run!!!

  3. What a wonderful way to honor Chelsea's memory. Great job, Meredith!