Sunday, January 25, 2009

Phoenix-Day 3-The race

So...day 3 in Phoenix...what happened on day 3?? Let me think....

OH! THE RACE!!!

All of our hard work and sacrifice were about to come to an end. I wasn't really sure how I felt about it.

I did know how I felt when my alarm went off at 5 a.m. READY TO GO!!

I had carefully laid out everything that I would need.


Yes, I realized that's a whole lot of stuff. High maintenance, remember!!

Becky and I headed down to the lobby. It was purple everywhere you looked!

After several friend pictures...We gathered on the stairs and took a Team Oklahoma picture.
Sadly there wasn't a camera that got a good picture! That's because I was in front of mine, not behind.

After one last 'Go Team' cheer...
We waved goodbye to the full marathoners as they boarded the shuttle and nervously waited until our shuttle came.

Way too soon our bus was ready and off we went.Once at the race location we checked our gear bag, started stretching, got in the 40 minute Port-a-Potty line, and made our way to our corral. Oh, and took more pictures!
To make the start less of a mess, each entrant had to guesstimate their finish time. They used those times to put each runner in a corral. I ended up in Corral 21and so did everyone else who figured they'd finish in 3 hours. Luckily I was surrounded by lots of other Angels.
And lots of strangers also.

CLAUSTROPHOBIA ANYONE???
Since there were 20 other corrals in front of us that had to cross the start line we had some time to kill! We actually ended up at the start line 40 minutes after Corral 1 started. Every 2 minutes we'd walk a little bit closer. What are a bunch of girls to do while waiting?? Take pictures of course!

This precious friend is a fellow blogger. I am crushed that I won't get to see her on a regular basis now.
This is my amazing friend Susan. She has six boys. SIX! And she's so cute and tiny you'd never guess it. For living in a house full of testosterone she is very girly. For the race I was carrying salt, energy jelly beans, GU packets, and chap stick. She had her sparkly lip gloss and camera. She walked the whole thing, and beat me...but I still love her:)
I did snap some pictures along the way. But since they were with the disposable camera, and I was kind of bouncing around, they weren't very good. Bear with me as I try to describe to you what they are.

See the people with the E, A, and M on their shirts? Those are TNT employees, mentors, and coaches. They were all along the route, just about every 1/2 mile. Cheering, encouraging, and waving. Since we had our names on our TNT jerseys they would call us by name and cheer for us. Very encouraging. I teared up most times. Strangers calling out my name and clapping for me? I felt like a celebrity!This was tempting...I've never been there. But, since the majority of the people were going straight, I followed suit.
I'm such a follower.


So, how did I do? Well first off, let me 'splain.

At the point of recommitment my longest run was 8 miles. I had to fill out my paperwork and guesstimate my finish time. I talked to some friends that ran the same pace as me and they said 3 hours. I was happy with that and went along my merry way. A few more miles under my belt and I really thought 2:30. I left for Phoenix feeling confident with 2:30.

But then I allowed myself to get talked out of taking my own water in my fuel belt the night before. Who knows why...maybe I thought the less extra weight on me, the better. Maybe it was peer pressure. I don't know. I found out the water stops were every two miles so I thought I'd be fine. What I didn't think about was that messing up my run 10 minutes/walk 2 minutes pattern. I also lost my running partner at mile 6 and spent 10 minutes walking and looking for her. She had been having some leg pain and was really relying on me to keep her on the 10/2 pattern. I felt guilty but finally went on.

So...enough excuses yet?

Wait, there's more! Well, not really. It did get harder. And the supposedly flat course went up from 9-12 miles, and it we windy, and hot, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

I know, stop complaining!

At mile 12 I decided to run it in. We started across a beautiful bridge with beautiful scenery and my motivating song came on my phone. I was set. I was going! Up ahead of me I caught sight of one of our coaches, Mark. He ran to me and asked how I was doing. I told him I was recommitted and feeling good. Dragonforce was jamming in my ears and I was out of there! He congratulated me and sent me on my way. I started getting really excited as I saw the 13 mile marker ahead of me. I was almost there!

But wait.

A half marathon isn't 13 miles. Oh no. It's 13.1. Can I just say that the last .1 is the longest, most grueling, mean, inhumane thing in the world! It seemed longer then the whole 13 I'd just done! It was also very curvy and the finish line was very well hidden until we were right up on it.

But, it was finally in my sights. I got a final burst of energy and crossed the line. I glanced at my watch and saw my time. 3:01:48.

WHAT!!

How did that happen?

I had hoped for 2:30 but really wanted to finish before 3:00.
I know, I know. 1:48. Why was I complaining? Still, I was mad.

But, then I saw her.
Tracy was waiting at the finish line, hugging each and every one of us as we finished.
My grumpiness left immediately as I threw my arms around her and started crying. It wasn't about my time, it wasn't about me at all. It was about Tracy, and John, and sweet Mitchell.
It was about all the things we had accomplished before we even got to Phoenix. The fundraising, the families that will be helped by our money, the awareness that was raised.
The memories. What could be better?

Coming tomorrow...After the finish line...

You're on the edge of your seat. Aren't you??

4 comments:

Debbie S. said...

Great job girl! You must remember... how many women in America can say they have finished a half marathon. You are in a small percentage. This was your first one of many and you trained in some less than ideal conditions. I want to hear more much earned pride in your next post. You did it! By the way, thanks for sharing it with us. Keep up the training.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't have summed it up any better... there is definitely an awesome writer in you waiting to come out!! Keep up the great work! Love you...Beth S.

Renee said...

I love you, I love you, I love you!! You are wonderful!! I'm going to miss seeing you! But we will meet up again, soon!! I just wish I was more movtivated to write my blog like you. I've sat down to do it like 90 times! lol! Soon though!

miruspeg said...

Oh Steph I have tears in my eyes reading this post and looking at the photos.

Your writing comes straight from your heart. And yes I am on the edge of my seat waiting for your next installment.

You have made many life long friends and helped raise much needed funding in finding a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.

You are my hero Steph.
Hugs
Peggy