I DID IT!!!!!
This was definitely one of the most mentally challenging events in my life! And one of the hardest. But definitely AWESOME!!! I was really glad that Laura & Jay made it! Mom, Wes & I got to Memphis around 4 and went to the Expo. I bought a short sleeve tech shirt (we all got a long sleeve tech shirt with registration) I also got a 26.2 magnet for my car and a cap. After that we met up with Jay & Laura and ate at the Hard Rock. It was REALLLLY COLD! I knew it would be cold during the race, but it was really cold the whole time! We nearly froze!
(Here are pictures from Hard Rock)
I didn't bring a big jacket... Mom let me wear one of hers.
I wasn't real nervous, yet still I wasn't able to sleep that well on Friday night. Tossed and turned most of the night. We got up early and met Tim in the lobby. Took a few pictures of us before we headed down there. (The hotel was about 3/4 of a mile from the start.) The trolley stopped next to the hotel. I took a picture of the D-tag (timing chip) because you'll notice a misspelling on it..... (Click on the picture to see it more clearly-It says "Tear along Hear.")
Mom & I heading to the start... The 5K start was in a different place.
Don't know why I look like this... Maybe my eyes were froze open! I was seriously cold! (Have I said that before?) The temperature at the start was around 28 and it never got above 40 that day. I wore my Under Armour cold weather shirt, a black athletic jacket, full length tights, my blue raceready shorts, hat, toboggan and headband that covered my ears, and two pairs of gloves. I had on a pair of Addidas pants over this to keep warm before the race. My toes got the coldest of anything. I only wore one pair of socks, the same thin socks I've worn for training. I didn't want to chance getting blistered by wearing more than I was used to. Next time I'll know to train with thicker socks.
The race was started in corrals (yeah, like cattle!) The first corral was for the elites. (here's some pictures of them leaving). Tim was in the 2nd corral. I was in the 12th! Each corral started two minutes after the one before. I crossed the start at 8:21.
Here I come... Wes is videotaping me (on the left in the brown jacket)
Mom was manning the camera.
Ready to go!! I was so cold!! I could not feel my toes or fingertips for the first 4 miles. My left foot toes started to go real numb and hurt a little bit. I got nervous about it. I kept praying that it wouldn't cause any problems. About mile 4, I started to feel them again! My fingers took longer. I kept both pairs of gloves on until about mile 15, then took the top pair off. (People with red numbers are running the full marathon, green numbers were for the half marathon)
There were a few folks dressed up... Here's some bananas. I saw a couple of Elvis's and one spongebob. There were a lot of people with special shirts made for their St. Jude patient. Some said in memory of, some had phrases like "Sommer's Crew," "trotting for Trevor," etc. Lots of people had pictures pinned to their backs. (These are pictures from mile 3)
Here I come....
We ran through St. Jude Hospital's campus. It was MASSIVE! There were lots of people there lining the road, waving and holding signs. Lots of signs. What hit me the most was the kids. There were lots of kids there waving and holding their hands out to give "high fives." There were a few kids whom you could tell were sick. Most were smiling and cheering for us. Some were too weak to. It was really emotional, but uplifting at the same time. I thought about Maddie. A girl I went to high school with, Candace; her little girl has cancer and is at St. Jude. I don't really know them that well, but I prayed for her.
The first half of the race went pretty well. I felt good. I didn't start too fast and didn't get tired until about mile 15. Throughout the race, there were people scattered. We ran through several nice neighborhoods. Some people were giving us candy and pretzels. I grabbed a handful of candy, but all I got was an Oatmeal Raisin granola bar (I don't like raisins!) I ate a bit or two because I needed something. There were several places where people were handing out Beer! At one point, this guy started jogging with me. He said "how long do you want me to stay with you?" I said as long as you want. He asked me where I was from and encouraged me. He said he'd better turn around now. I said "yeah, I think the beer's back there!" His cup was almost empty. He said it was Mimosa's. I said "better than nothing I guess!" That was uplifting. I don't know his name. But it helped!
My original plan was to stay with the 5 hour pacers. That didn't last long, because they weren't stopping at all. I planned to walk some. I ended up loosing them. But at around mile 14 or 15, the 5:15 pacers came up behind me. I decided to stick with them. I did for the next 4 or 5 miles. I still stopped and walked periodically, but caught back up with them. About mile 18, they had gotten a good bit ahead of me. I didn't care. I just wanted to finish. I wasn't worried about time at that point. I started to hit a mental wall. (the last 8 miles were the hardest, mentally) I was sore all over. I was tired. I was mostly alone. I was cold. I needed some motivation. So I called Kelly! She told me to call her if I needed a pep talk. I definitely needed it them! She talked about random stuff and then let me tell her what was happening. I told her about the bananas and the spongebobs and some of the kids and the signs people had made for the race. Talking to her really helped boost my spirits. I wish I could have kept talking to her, but it was hard to hear and hard to hold the phone as well.
Around mile 20, I got a little boost of spirit. Going from the 'teens to mile 20 is like a big milestone. You're out of the 'teens. 20 sounds better than 19 even though it's only one mile difference. Then it seemed like the miles went by faster, even though I walked a good bit more. I got water and powerade at every stop. (I had used 5 gels throughout the race). I stopped to stretch several times to loosen up the stiffness in my thighs. (Next time, I'll try some strength training) After the water stop at mile 24, I walked for a minute. When I started running again, I felt it! I had to pee sooooo bad!! It was serious!! I tried to walk again, but that made it worse! So I ran a good pace till mile 25 so I could pee at the water stop (each water stop had two porta-johns). Maybe it was all that water and powerade I had in that last hour. I wasn't dehydrated at all. After I peed, I felt much (much) better. We turned a corner and I saw the downtown area on the horizon! (Thank GOD!!! I thought). Then I saw the mile 26 sign! (It was beautiful!) There was this guy there who had already finished the race. He was dancing in the middle of the street. There were only two or three people around me. But he was getting down like he was in a night club! It was great! I laughed and cheered as I passed him. He said "You're there baby, You're there!!!" That's when I started tearing up! At that point, I didn't really feel the soreness anymore. I knew I was done! The finish line was in the baseball stadium. Wes, Mom and Laura & Jay and Nathan were there. I was super excited!! ( I know this sounds cheesy! Oh well!) I crossed the finish line and the girl gave me my medal and said "Congratulations, you are officially a marathoner!" :) That was awesome!!
Here's the pictures Mom took of the finish... Wes was still videotaping... (I'll try to get that loaded later)
I crossed under the finish at 5:53. My official time was 5:32:53.
Mom immediately called Dad and I told him I finished! He was excited for me. He had been on pins and needles at home. Mom said that he actually had the phone with him in the barn while he was fooling around in there. He didn't want to come to the race because he saw me run in July in the 5K in Jackson. That day it was seriously HOT!!! It scared him. He didn't like to see me about to pass out.
My face was seriously wind-burned! It was so dry and irritated! I still haven't recovered from that yet...
It's more obvious in this picture... notice the bright red nose!
After the race, Wes gave me a card that had a gift card to the Peabody Hotel Spa for a hot stone massage!! :) That was AWESOME!! (Thanks dear!!) After a shower and the massage, we ate at Rendezvous!! Awesome! I had a big plate of ribs and chicken. We got their early (like 5pm). It was really busy. We also ran into Kendy & Nathan (Wes' cousins from Jonesboro)! There were lots of marathoners there. When we left, there were people everywhere waiting for a table. (The Christmas parade was that night as well).
Here's a link to the official results from the race. I haven't checked for pictures yet. They should be there soon.
On Sunday, I could barely stand up! It took me several minutes just to get out of bed! It was worth it though. Once I got moving, I was fine. Sitting still for too long made me really stiff. We ate breakfast at the hotel buffet (really good btw) and then checked out and went to meet Laura & Jay at a mall (Jay lived in Memphis once). We bought some stuff from Brookstone and then went to Old Navy. I made Wes buy himself some new jeans. :) We got back home around 6:30. Me being obsessive and all, I unpacked everything before I even sat down.
We are going to Nashville this weekend for Wes' family's Christmas. Yea! Back to Tennessee!!! :) Thanks everyone for your thoughts and prayers. Thanks for listening to me talk about nothing but running for the past 6 months as well. :) I DID IT!!!! It was all worth it!! :)