As I mentioned Friday night in my post from the hotel, we made it to the expo around 6pm or so. We didn't have a whole lot of time, and it was pretty crowded. Briar is like his Daddy about stuff like that, and he didn't really want to fool with it. Except for when he begged me for that fuel belt. I told him he could use mine anytime, but that wasn't good enough, so I finally just said "No - I'm not spending another $30 on a fuel belt. Don't ask again." So he was ready to get out of there and go eat. But I wanted to get a few things. When I did the half last year, I didn't buy much of anything, and I wanted to take a few things home this time. I found a CMM running hat that was overpriced, but I decided to go ahead and get it. The next thing I did was go to the Fleet Feet booth and pick a pair of socks and a thing of Body Glide. They have the Balega socks I like and I needed another pair (I couldn't locate my favorite ones at home amidst all the laundry that needed to be put away). Now that I had the essentials out of the way, I browsed for other things. I found a shirt from the onemoremile.net booth that I felt like was the story of my life lately. It's the pink one above. And I also was brave and purchased a "26.2" bumper sticker. I told J.T. that I took a chance in buying it, because I would only be putting on my vehicle if I finished "respectably." But it was only a couple dollars, so I thought 'what the heck'. Briar and I found several freebies, and by this time J.T. had already bailed and gone outside the expo doors to wait on us...he doesn't like big crowds. I met back up with Gary and Tracy, and we visited the I Run For The Party booth and talked about how we were gonna get J.T. to run that this year. If we could ever convince him to run one, that one would be it. So we got out of there a little after 7 pm, and decided to have Olive Garden for dinner.
We actually got in and out of Olive Garden quickly, and got back to our hotel around 9:20 or so. Got checked in with no problem, and we got settled in. J.T. found the song writers pickin' and grinnin' downstairs and was all over it. Briar put in a dvd and got settled in bed. I layed out of my stuff for the morning, pinned on mine and Briar's race numbers, and got my chip on my shoe. I posted to my blog, and was off to sleep. J.T. got back to the room shortly, and we all slept until about 4:40 a.m.
A wake up call got us up the next morning, and we started getting ready. We were out the door by 5:25 or so, and on our way...until we hit the horrible traffic. Ofcourse we sat in that crazy interstate traffic for an hour. When we finally got downtown, we realized that J.T. had to go different way to take Briar to the kids race. So he dropped me off in the parking lot with Gary and Tracy, and proceeded to follow the directions to the kids drop off. To make a long story short about this - the traffic was at a complete stand still, and anyone who wasn't already at the kids start by atleast 6:30 - wasn't going to get there in a car. It was awful. I felt really bad for J.T. - he kept calling and saying he was trying and didn't know what else to do...he ended up somehow getting out of the traffic, going back across the river and trying another way, and still couldn't get there. He finally gave up at 7:30 when Briar's was set to start and they were still in the middle of a traffic jam. I am going to email elite racing...or whoever...and ask them to go ahead and send him his medal. He worked really hard to get those miles in, and he ran the last one with me in the race - I think he deserves the medal.
In the meantime, Gary got stuck in the parking lot and couldn't find a place...and couldn't really get out. Tracy and I ran to the Tiger Market and got our bathroom stop out of the way, and he finally found something. We boarded the bus just before 7 a.m. , got to the park, found Michele, checked our gear, made use of the bushes in leui of the port-a-potty line, and hopped into corral 9 or 10, I think. We shoulda been in 7, but didn't make it.
The gun went off - and all was well. The first mile was around 10 minutes according to my watch, and then we got down around 9:30 pretty soon. I felt like I could stick with 9:30 if I played my cards right. We caught up to Ronnie around mile 5, and not too long afterwards Tracy ditched us for Ronnie. I found out later, her knees were hurting at mile 3, so I can't blame her. Somewhere around that time we passed a man handing out Mimosas...haha...and one runner took one and drank it!!!! Not me. Then we passed a guy in a big black Gorilla suit - can you imagine?!?! I wish I had my camera. But I was too serious to carry a camera...LOL. Looking back, I shoulda lightened up a bit. We met Kim around mile 7 I think....and got an orange around mile 8. That was the best orange I've ever had (Michele agreed)...I sure coulda used one of the those around mile 20. So we pressed on...we finally came to the half marathon split...made some jokes about taking it...but we stayed on course. Our pace was low 9's I think...and I felt good. Michele forgot to put body glide on and her legs were hurting. I had body glide on, but it had worn off, so when we found a medical tent we got hand full of something that made us feel alot better! The medical tent visit was definitely a first for me - but it didn't take but like 10 seconds. By now we were around mile 13 or 14, and it was lonely. Very few spectators, bands few and far between. The river was beautiful though, and I just kept telling myself what a priviledge it is to be out running in this marathon. Michele's heart rate seemed a little high, and she dropped back a bit. We went through a water stop after turning away from the river, and when I got out of it I turned around to look for her, but didn't see her, so I went on. I found out later that she was close...I wish she should have yelled at me. Anyways, I believe miles 16 and 17 were uphill...or one of them was...and close to the top of that hill was where I saw the most moving site of the marathon, in my eyes.
I saw a guy who was very physically disabled in a wheel chair, by himself, on the side walk. He was sitting there with what looked to be a smile on his face, and his hand was stuck out to give the runners "five". I swear I almost cried. I ran over there and gave him five, and told him "thanks" for the support. I still can't get over it. I thought "what he would probably give to be able to just walk, and he's out here supporting us...how can I complain because I'm having to go up a hill or I feel a little tired." It was very emotional for me. I believe I will pray for that guy for the rest of my life.
Coming upon Mile 20 i spotted J.T.'s blue shirt! Boy was I happy to see him and Briar! He snapped some pictures and asked what time I had on my gps. Briar ran a little ways with me, and then I was off again. The Sport Beans station was just short of Mile 21...I grabbed the beans and knew I needed them, but I could not get them down. I barely choked down 2 of them and realized that was all I could do without the risk of vomiting. At this point I saw lots of people with gels...and I wished I had one. From here on out, I had to concentrate. I was tired...my pace slowed down, and I kept my mind focused on moving forward. A few of the bands cheered me up, and I knew all along that I wouldn't be quitting...I knew I'd make it, but I knew I needed to focus. I spotted Rae and Brent just short of Mile 25!! Yay! I yelled at them and they cheered, but I don't think they knew who I was. By the looks of some of the pics at that point(which I won't be posting) it's no wonder they didn't know me!
A few yards later I heard Holly. She was running towards me and yelling loudly!!! And J.T. and Briar were right behind her. Boy did it cheer me up!! Briar jumped and said "I'm going with ya!" and off we went! He was so precious. He kept looking at me and saying "You can do this, mom! You can do it...come on...you can do it!" I told him I believed him...and how much he was helping me...he talked to me the whole way...and when we made the turn to the finish line I ran as strong as I possibly could. It is kind of a blur - but I heard lots of cheering, and heard Kim's voice (Kim is a friend who ran the half) yelling as loudly as she could for me. A few yards later I spotted Bo up on the fence yelling and waving with my Mom....my Mom had a HUGE smile on her face! We crossed the finish line.
My time was 4:17:17. That's good enough for my first one, I guess. I got the medal and Briar and I went through the food area and hung out for a while. I was a little disappointed that I couldn't find some more Power-Aide there - perhaps I overlooked it. Anyways, we found Michele who had just finished, and then went on out. J.T. was waiting for us at the exit.
Gary came in shortly after...then Tracy...then Ronnie. We all made it. It was a great experience. I don't think I'll be doing another one for a while, but I won't say I'll never do another one again. For now, I'm gonna try to make up some of the time to my kids and J.T., and start thinking about the Mach Tenn Triathlon on June 3rd.
Oh, and I'll be putting that bumper sticker on my car.
4 years ago