Holy cow...it's race day. Once again I think..."what was I thinking when I signed up for this?" But I have already paid my money and I'm too cheap to not at least get a shirt for that so... I get out of bed and try to figure out what one wears to run when it's 22 degrees. Let me repeat that...its 22 degrees. I'm not even sure I CAN run when its that cold. I decide to go with the 'zero gravity, wonder woman sports bra", dri-fit shirt topped off with a pink running sweatshirt (which I think looks quite nice with the pink stripe on my nike's),sweats, hat, gloves and handwarmers. One bowl of cheerios and one cup of coffee and we're off.
On the way downtown, Tom "encourages" me by telling me that he's heard this is the 'worst and hilliest' run around. He makes some groaning noises as I describe the course and finishes off the pep talk by commenting on how few people are at the starting line. ( I think he thought my chances of actually coming in last were pretty high...especially with so few competitors).
I jump out of the car, after a good luck kiss and an "I hope you don't die" embrace to join the other runners.
I quickly find a few people I know and we huddle together, trying to keep warm. All around us runners are jogging around, stretching, etc. and I start to feel insecure about my 'warm up" (which consisted of flexing my legs while sitting on the seat heaters in my car) so I throw in a few knee bends and lunges. A few minutes later we're ready to start....
Gun goes off! Michael Jackson is singing "wanna be startin' somethin'" on my ipod and I feel empowered to be a part of the "small-ish" swarm of bodies pounding the pavement.
Mile 1: Feeling good. Starting to get a little sweaty so I ditch the dollar store hat. There are a lot of people passing me at this point as everyone falls into their pace. WOW! I start to wonder "how long until people stop passing me!"
Mile 2:I thought I was seroiusly kicking butt at this point because it had only been like 7 minutes since mile 1. My accomplishment was short lived, however, because a few minutes later I passed another "mile 2" sign and realized that the first ego-crushing sign was for the full marathon (which was going on concurrently.) By the way....People are still passing me.
Mile 3-6: Basically uneventful except for the soreness I started experiencing in my toe. I walked for about a minute to shed my sweatshirt and gloves and decided that I run faster when listening to 'bust a move'.....
Mile 6:My terriffic dad shows up on the course to give me water and shed some tears. I hope it was because he was proud of me and not because I looked like I might end up in a medical tent.
Mile 7: Some lady in front of me dropped her really nice running glove which I bent down and grabbed. I then spent the next mile trying to catch her. I think that really helped my time! Maybe if I ever do this again someone should run in front of me with a donut or something so that I'm actually chasing them??? I wonder how fast I'd finish??
(I did finally catch her in case you were wondering)
Mile 8-9:Pretty much from here on out, it sucked. My toe was killing me, my knees were aching, the people around me were annoying with all of their breathing and shoes on the pavement noises. I hated the spectators with their clapping and cheering. My ipod was uninspiring. Did I mention the fact that people were STILL passing me? I begged Tom to give me a ride. (I think he thought I was kidding)
Mile 10: I got another small boost which was soon squelched by reality. Suddenly these REALLY FAST men were running up behind me and passing me (big surprise). I was thinking to myself, "How in the WORLD did I stay ahead of these stellar athletes for 10 miles? I am a stud!" Moments later I realized that our course had just merged with the marathon course and these men were the elite runners, about to finish 26 miles and finish them before I could finish 13. UGH! I thought about trying to draft behind them but by the time I decided that, I couldn't see them anymore. (There is also not much of a 'draft' when you're only going like...2 miles an hour.)
Mile 11-12: Just... keep... g-o-i-n-g.....I had to keep telling myself this. Everything hurt at this point and to top it all off, we were now running on a gravel/dirt road with a sidewalk that was like...2 feet up from the road. I had to go from sidewalk to road a few times(to pass people..yes, I finally passed someone) and let me tell you...it was painful! My legs were lead. I think I was almost running in place! The really fun part was when a car would go by and spin up some dust into my already burning lungs. My dad showed up again to 'run me in' and/or check me in to the hospital. One quarter of a mile from the finish my sister-in-law Ann joined us (who had already finished. GO ANN!)and the 3 of us ran in with Tom snapping our photo. I was never so glad to see a finish line.
So here I sit, on the couch. I am thankful to mark this off my 'list' and I do feel accomplished. I did it!!! I am sporting my new tee shirt and also a half dollar sized blister on the bottom of my big toe. In addition,I feel worn out, sore, and like I might have diarrhea at any moment. I'm not sure that I am really cut out to be a runner but for today....
I am a (half)-MARATHONER!