Sunday, May 6, 2012

The LONG version of my 1st half marathon

There's a lot of stuff I will never forget about last Saturday. 
I wish there was a way I could remember every second. 
From the time I woke up at 4 am in my warm comfy bed til the moment I crossed the finish line of the St. Jude Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville, Tennessee on April 28, 2012.

Anthony was sweet enough to be my chaffeur to Clint & Kyla's house. Since Kyla has done the half before, lives in Nashville, and has trained on the race course it just made sense to tag along with her and her chums on race day. 

When we got there, Kyla and her best pal Carlos (who had flown in from DC to run with her, how sweet!) were pretty much ret-to-go. We pinned our bibs and off we went. We picked up one more. Amy, a first timer like me. She got in the car and immediately said "This was a bad idea." I laughed.

We finally found parking and walked down to the race. Thank you Marriott for letting us use your fine facilities. No port-o-potty lines for us.

We hopped into a corral just in time to hear the national anthem and official start.
This was the scene - a throng of about 31, 000 people running the full and the half. 
We didn't all start at the same time. It's called a wave start. Pretty much the speedy folks were in the first 8-10 corrals. Every minute or two, they'd release another group of about a zillion. Well, at least that's what it seemed like. But I didn't care. I was about to mark somethin off my bucket list!

Around 7:10 or 7:15, me and my little bunch were officially running the marathon. I lost them pretty much immediately. That's okay though. I trained solo so running the race solo would be fine, just fine. It's hard to keep pace with others anyhoo.

I'm pretty sure I grinned like the cheshire cat for the first 2 miles down West End.

When we were getting ready to start, they informed us Sheryl Crow was running with us. It was her first half, too. Oddly, she didn't sing the national anthem though. 

Her sister ran with her. I didn't see em though.

Some crazy person ran in a Gumby suit. It was so HOT that day. I can't imagine!!!

I did see this guy - I reckon he juggled those three little balls the whole time he ran. 13.1 miles of juggling? Um, more power to ya buddy. I couldn't juggle for 13.1 seconds. I did see him drop em one time. He claimed he was distracted by a spectator. 

There were two men in white suits with red ties and I swear they had on dress shoes, but I can't find a picture of em online so you'll just hafta take my word for it. And again, IT WAS HOT. I can't imagine how they stood the heat in those suits. They were jogging pretty slow, but still. Suits are for church fellas. Not marathons!

Oh, and I saw two different dudes running barefoot.

There was pretty much every shape and size represented. And every age. I saw a couple boys who looked younger than 12. And some OLD folks passed me. Like retirement age. Just a gettin it.

I saw these folks run across the bridge. It was a neat sight. I heard there's a group running in several marathons across the US this year with this big ole dragon. I think they're affiliated with PF Chang (the restaurant). Super cool. 

So people had told me there'd be spectators along the route cheering you on, holding signs and high fiving, etc. 
They were right.
There were TONS OF PEOPLE everywhere. 

Probably my favorite group - the girls in the fat suits dancing to "I'm Sexy and I Know it"

The Hampshire Tennessee cheerleaders dressed in sumo suits during Country Music Marathon April 28, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (John Partipilo/The Tennessean)
Do it girls~

My friend Amy had warned me about the hilly climb on Demonbreun. She did the half in 2010. But Demonbreun wasn't as bad as 12th. Whew! It seemed like we were running up Mt. Everest. And did I mention it was really hot?! Not enough shade on the course. Humid and hot. 

Somewhere along the route, we ran through a residential kinda area. People were sitting in their yards just hangin out watching all us nuts run by. One kind lady had her water hose out and sprayed anyone who ran under it. And I headed right for it!

Thank you water hose lady!

I had a Lyndy moment on another part of the route. There was a misty spray water thingy up high like you see at Six Flags, right? I ran over toward it and it was misty til you got to a certain spot and then WHOOSH! So like half my hair was soaking. I did have sense enough to remove my prescription sunglasses before going under the mist. Of course my hair dried before my finish line photo, so all's well that ends well.

Some spectators had cowbells they played while holding signs. One little girl clanked a spoon in a metal cooking pot. I like it when people improvise. Where there's a will...

One dude yelled I've never seen so many hot ladies as a group of us ran by. It was a play on words. Cuz it was a HOT day.  

Some would yell words of encouragement, even telling you stuff like 'after this hill, you get a break, it's downhill,' etc. That was nice.

Some of the signs I saw along the way were inspiring. Some were funny. Some had inappropriateness.

Pain is temporary. Pride is forever.
One foot in front of the other
Don't stop! People are watching.
Keep going - your legs will forgive you later
You're beating all the couch potatoes.
Do one thing that scares you today - marathon   __check
Chafe now brag later
Toenails are overrated.
Run like you stole something
Your pace or mine?
Worst parade ever
Hope you don't have to pee
Shoe sale up ahead

A Star Wars sign or two - 
May the course be with you
the other one had a hand drawn Yoda on it, but I can't remember what it said

A couple Hunger Games signs - 
Run like Katniss
Run like your chariot's on fire

One from the Michael Scott repertoire (the Office) - 
Keep going, Keep going
that's what she said

The one sign that kinda made me emotional (I'm not a cryin kinda girl, but there was just a lot goin on in my head that day) - - 
You're no longer just a runner, you're a MARATHONER

I just felt SO PROUD OF MYSELF to have worked so hard for 16 weeks and to be actually doing it. Running 13.1 miles. In a race. Without puking, fainting, cramping, or dying. 

I may have been a wee bit too excited for this photographer... I look eerily like the creepy dude from KISS 

So as far as the race goes - the maneuvering around water/Gatorade stations was a little tricky. I tried to stay outta people's way, but it gets congested no matter how ya slice it. 

I took water at one station, Gatorade at a few others. Drinking and running isn't as hard as I once thought. And there's somethin cool about people handin ya water like you're a real athlete or somethin. 

Once, I took a GU (it's energy gel stuff) since my oatmeal I had eaten at 4 am was pretty much wearing off.  They were handing out bananas and apple slices at some stations, but I didn't partake. And I also passed the beer stations. 

It's funny how when you run 13.1 miles, it all kinda becomes a blur. 

There were times it was pretty easy and fun. Oh how I enjoy people watching. And there was plenty of opportunity for that. 

Then there were times when I thought just keep going - the faster you go, the quicker you get done! 

I definitely felt strong that day. And I know that's because yall were praying for me. Some of you told me so. See, I had a sinus infection the week of the race. But during the race, my nose didn't run. It didn't stop up. I didn't cough. My throat wasn't sore. I didn't even have an urge to go potty. My body felt great. 

Of course while running I also had thoughts like I'm never doing this again. Fantasies about what I was gonna eat after the race (still haven't had that milkshake). Wondering how many pics the photographers got and what pose to do as I crossed the finish line. Just everything.

As we approached the final mile I saw lots of spectators. I absolutely sprinted as hard and fast as I could that last tenth of a mile. Every ounce of energy I had left, I was gonna use it. And I finished in 2 hours 39 minutes, and 4 seconds.

My only goal was to run the whole time. No walking breaks. I wasn't really concerned with my finish time since this was my first race. I've never even run in a 5k. 


As you walk through (or should I say as you're herded like cattle) they gladly place a shiny (and heavy) medal on your neck. And you smile. And you thank them. 

You keep walking and they give you a colllld wet towel. uh-mazing. 
Then you get your finish pic. Red face and all.
Being such a picture person I'm slightly irritated that my finish photo is off in color. And I don't know how to fix that in Photoshop. Oh well.

They have tons of carb snacks and goodies for you post race. I had some Gatorade, some little cookies, a yogurt tube and some chocolate milk.

I was so glad when I spotted Kyla and Carlos heading toward me at our designated meeting spot. They finished just a few minutes behind me. Then Kyla's trainer's wife came, and then Amy. Kyla's trainer ran the full marathon, so we didn't wait for him. 

Here we all are, post race. 
Thanks Lisa for taking our pic since you were the only one with a working phone. So sweet of you to come out and congratulate us. See, Amy's died during the race and so did Kyla's. What luck! I had left mine back at Kyla's house. Didn't want to carry it while I was sweatin and racin and what not.

On our way back to the car we stopped for another pic with the Nashville skyline behind us. I like ! 

Clint and Anthony didn't make it out to the race. Clint had to work late, so they made it up to us by grilling for us back at the house. Grilled brats, corn on the cob and asparagus. YUM! Thanks guys!
So now I guess I can take this giant post it note off the mirror in our master bath. I put it there in January, when I started this crazy little journey.
Or I could change it to say 13.1 I DID IT! :o)

I decided to put the sticker from my swag bag on my car. It has a guitar on it, so it's kinda cool.


You only get to do something for your first time just once. I'm glad I had a great experience for my first half. I think I'll do it again sometime. It was pretty fun. 

And if you're still reading this... Wow! Thanks. That means you love me. Even when I'm long winded. 

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