Posted by: Hallie | May 19, 2009

My Great Race and My Almost-Tow

Let’s start off with the good:

I completed my second-ever real race!

Last Sunday, I ran in the Bay to Bridge Run/Walk, sponsored by the Navy Region Southwest, Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Program. My friend was walking it, and asked me awhile back if I wanted in. I have just gotten back into running, so I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to run all 4 miles, especially given that part of those miles would be over the Coronado Bridge. But I figured I’d give it a shot, and support a good cause at the same time.

Bright and early Sunday morning, I woke up and although I wasn’t hungry (pre-race jitters?), I had a pre-run snack that I thought would serve me well for the next few hours: 1/2 cinnamon-raisin bagel, 1/2 banana, almond butter, coffee, and water.

pre-race bkfast

I made my way downtown, and spent some time looking for parking because I was too cheap to shell out $15 to park in a lot (and I can’t parallel, so my choices were more limited!). I FINALLY found a spot, and as I headed in the same direction as the other runners/walkers, I made note of where I was (…or so I thought…).

runners gear 

Woohoo! I’m a RUNNER so I checked my bag at the RUNNER’S gear tent.

So after what seemed like forever, I was off. I didn’t have any music, so my biggest fear beforehand was that I wouldn’t be able to get “in the zone.” Right now, that’s my biggest running problem: my own freakin’ brain!However, being in a somewhat unfamiliar place, surrounded by tons of people (like the 2 guys running in banana suits?) distracted me, thankfully. I ran under a bridge and saw some amazing graffiti art with Spanish slogans. One read, “Mi Raza Primera”  (My First Race). Now, the “race” in the artwork meant the Mexican race, I assume, but the double-meaning made me smile.

After the first mile, we get up to the bridge, and that’s where I started to falter. I started to think about walking. Then I see a guy in front of me, running with a prosthetic leg/foot. Now, of course he might not have been a Veteran, but for a moment I thought about the purpose of the race, and all the men and women in the Armed Forces who give their all to serve our country. No matter your political affiliations or opinions about war, you have to have respect and appreciation for those folks and their families.

That motivation kept me going for a little while, until finally my legs were burning so bad that I stopped to walk. I’d say I ran-walked for about 1/2 mile, and then once I got to the top of the bridge, I started running again and then I ran the rest of the way! About 49 minutes and change from the start, I crossed the finish line. My clocked time was a 12:22 min/mile, and considering it took me over a minute to get to the starting line and my walk break, I was REALLY happy with my time. My goal was to give it 100%, and I know that I did (and I burned 570 calories which is always nice).

I hung out at the party after the race for a while and listened to the Navy Band play.

navy band

See that bridge in the background? I RAN THAT!

joint juice

This “Joint Juice” only had 10 calories so I tried it. It was ok for the first half, but then started tasting gross so I threw it out.

I eventually met up with my friend who also ran the race, and a few of her friends and I went to a little cafe in Coronado because the line for the ferry to go back was REALLY long. I had some oatmeal and a chai latte. Nothing too exciting (I wanted French Toast for my efforts but there were none to be had, boo).

We finally got on the ferry to get back to San Diego around 12:30 PM. The sun, which had eluded us all morning, was peeking out so I tried to take some fun ferry pics.


bay bridge from boat

Man, San Diego is beautiful. I’m so lucky I get to live here!

I said goodbye to the girls and made the mile-ish walk back to my car. That’s when things went downhill (figuratively).

I COULDN’T FIND MY CAR! I went to where I thought I had parked, which was 9th Ave. and J Street in downtown San Diego. Now, this was right next to Petco Park, where an afternoon Padres game was just starting. I hadn’t remembered parking so near to Petco, but I could have sworn I parked at 9th and J. At this point, there were no cars on that block, and I saw the (SMALL!) sign that said,“No Parking During Petco Games. Tow Away Zone.”

I called Mitch and said, “Honey, we might have a problem.”

Keep in mind at this point, I was getting sunburned, I was tired and thirsty and starting to get hungry. I walked around a little more (8th and J, 10th and J), nothing. I saw several tow trucks and police cars driving around. I went into “freak-out” mode and called my best friend, who has had her own experience getting towed downtown. She called the tow company and the police for me. I called my mom to find out if the car was registered to me or her or my dad. And I called Mitch to come down and pick me up.

Once Mitch got me, I called the tow company myself and they told me that they hadn’t logged my car yet, but they had towed many cars that morning and wouldn’t have all the cars in the system for a half hour. I told Mitch, “let’s go home and we’ll call back.” So he headed toward the freeway.

AND THEN I SAW MY CAR. I told him to turn around, and he dropped me off at my car, that was parked in a totally legal spot. Instead of being at 9th and J, I was on 9th between E and F. Just a FEW blocks up from where I was wandering around! But I was looking east/west instead of north/south (or vice versa?).

I felt like SUCH a dork for making everyone worry and scramble around for me. But as Mitch said as we were driving, “well, you’re a dork either way, so hopefully you didn’t get towed.” And really, he was right. I was SO emotionally and physically drained after the whole ordeal that I came home, ate a VERY late lunch, and took a long nap.

At the time, everything was so traumatic. Now it’s just a funny story. Next time, I’m sucking it up and parking in a lot! $15 doesn’t seem like that much money anymore. AND I’m taking a photo with my phone of my surroundings so I remember where I parked!

Did you ever forget where you parked your car and had to get someone to pick you up? Have you ever been towed? Please tell me a story or two so I don’t feel all alone in my stupidity!



  1. Congrats on the race!! And I can totally feel for you with the car story… I went with my fiance & his 2 cousins to a Pitt/WVU football game in November and we were late to the game so we had to park really far away in what we thought was an OK lot. Well the game was long and FREEZING (like single digits), so when it was over we walked the 20 minutes or so back to the car, ready to warm up, only to find that it had been towed. Luckily one of the cousin’s friends went to the game too and was able to pick us up after a half hour and take us to the tower’s. $150 dollars later we had the car back. Lesson learned: read the signs!

  2. Congrats!!

    I was towed once. I was with a group of friends and one of them SWORE we could park where we did. Needless to say, we were towed. We made him pay the tow fee 🙂

  3. I’ve never been towed but it’s pretty much my biggest fear. Here in Boston, they are so hardcore about parking so I always check signs like 80 times before I park somewhere. And here most lots or garages are $20 or $30 a day, so it’s worth it to try and park in the street.

  4. And congrats on the run! Good job 🙂

  5. GO YOU!!!!

  6. Aww you poor thing! What a nightmare – and that is SO something I would do! But congrats on the race, that’s awesome!

    My Grandma likes to tell the story of the time she met her roommate at the mall to go shopping. After they finished, they got in the car and drove home. And didn’t realize (I think until the next day?) that they had driven separately and left together, leaving one of the cars at the mall!

    I also got towed when I was babysitting once, but it was their fault since they told me to park there. They paid for the tow fees but forgot to pay me for babysitting. What a waste of a night!

    Oh AND once my (ex) bf’s car got towed with dinner leftovers in it. Yeah, that smelled GREAT when we got it back the next day.

  7. I wish I would have know that you were going to be there. I was there volunteering with the “wounded warriors”. We all met up at Balboa hospital at 6pm and were bussed downtown. It was an amazing experience for me too. I met some really amazing guys with even more amazing stories. The guy that I was partnered up with lost his left leg and almost his right arm walking over a bridge in Iraq when an IUD went off. Last year was his first year at the run. He did it in a wheelchair. This year he decided he wanted to walk it. I was inspired by the fact that not only was he physically well enough after only 3 years but his injury happened “on a bridge”. He is a pretty amazing guy. It makes you realized what is really important in life. Sometimes we all need a little reality check.

  8. lol.. congrats on the race! your car story made me laugh. i haven’t gotten that far with losing my car but I have def walked around for at least 20 min trying to find it. and one time, i parked at a friends and woke up the next morning and my car wasn’t there so I thought maybe I had drank too much the night before and searched the entire lot and it turned out my car had been stolen. at least that didn’t happen to you!

  9. I am so proud of you! You did awesome! The race sounds fantastic, too. Yay!!!!

  10. […] sure my parking spot was going to be ok (long story) and for the first 15 minutes I was paranoid (again!) about getting […]

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