The events leading up to the race yesterday were much more interesting than the race itself.
Where do I begin?
Oh...with my freakout. I took my 2 nephews and my niece to paint pottery for Christmas presents Wednesday morning. Then it was off to Burger King for some not so nutritious lunch and some wearing out of the little rug rats on the playground. Everything was fine. They ate. Everything. They were loud. But so were the other 15 kids in that play area. Off they went to play while I tried to eat my lunch. Then it happened....Pete came over to the table to get a drink of his milk and be "safe" (they were playing tag), slowly turned around to go back to the playground, and bam...slipped and fell...hit his head on something...it was LOUD...and then he started...crying...6 years old...he doesn't cry about much...he's holding his head...and i go to console him...and say "aww....buddy...it will be okay...." when it happened....he lifted his hand from his head and blood started gushing everywhere....in his eyes...down his neck...in his ears...on the floor...EVERYWHERE. And well...I panicked. Actually, in his words (later, after he was feeling much better, "I was not being so brave...and I should have stopped and taken a deep breath...."...this from a 6 year old). At any rate, some good samitarians knew I was freaking out and came over to help apply pressure to his head while I gathered my thoughts (yeah, right)...called Troy...got him to tell me where to go, and off we went to the Urgent Care. I was driving like a maniac which I won't do next time, because by the time we got there the bleeding had stopped. 6 stiches, and one ice cream later he is all better. But will forever have that scar above his eyebrow...you know, the one that MOST boys have...that has really moved into or under their eyebrow now because of age? Yeah, that is what he will have. And Auntie Amy will forever be known by those kids as "not being so brave".
So, that pretty much freaked me out and ruined my hopes of getting anything done for the rest of the day. The plan was to leave at 5:30pm to get to Atlanta and the Expo by 8pm to pick up our packets. It's only an hour away...we should have had plenty of time.
Note to self: When trying to drive into Atlanta on the day before Thanksgiving, where most people are flying and you have to drive right past the airport exit, 2 and 1/2 hours is NOT enough time to get to your destination.
Okay, so it was "just enough time". Literally...Envision the Amazing Race, okay? Troy andI are now getting in our first arguement...EVER. Okay, so we both just became unusually silent, there was actually no verbal arguing taking place. We are both tired. Worried that we weren't going to get our race packets. Sick of sitting in traffic. And I leap out of the car at 14th and Peachtree and run down to the Sheraton...dodging cars...run in the lobby...spot someone with a race bag...ask them quickly where the expo is...they promptly tell me it's closed...cause it is 8:08...duh...but that it's back there...i run down the stairs, see people packing up merchandise, ask where the registration is, they tell me their closed...i want to cry...then someone says "run in there...to the back...see if they still have your packet"...off i go, dodging people trying to clean...looking like a freak (twice in one day!) and run to the back...they find my packet, but no timing chip...it's already been taken out...I run over to the marathon side...find Troy's packet. Yeah, they haven't dumped his chip...grab 2 Large t-shirts (crap) and run out of there. We made it...just in time.
So, off to dinner, then to the condo...We're both exhausted.
4:30am came much too quickly. I ate fast, got dressed and ran to catch the marta. To jump on there with 1,000 of my closest friends :) And Sarah? I think I saw you at the Marta station. But I was too chicken (and too cold) to approach you and ask if that was you. Where you standing at the far end, with another guy and someone else? I was wearing a striped hat (orange, yellow, hot pink) and all black. Anyway, hope you had a great race!
So, on to the race report. First of all, I was really nervous about running by myself. It was my first race ever by myself, and I just kept thinking what if i lose my motivation. Second thing, even though everything clearly said no headphones, I was obviously the only one to follow the rules. I won't make that mistake again. At least if I had no company, I would have had music....
The first three miles were like any time. Hard. My legs were cold. I was cold. And I was lonely. I had decided that I would walk through the aid stations, because I thought they were every 1.5 miles. They weren't....But the first three miles I averaged a 10:15 pace! I couldn't make myself slow down (and yes, I am acutely aware that 10:15 is not really that fast...but it was for me and that's all that matters) But really, i wasn't winded so I felt like I could keep it up. But then I got worried about ALL OF THOSE HILLS. I mean, who thought this was a good course???? I've driven Peachtree a million times. I never ever realized how many freakin hills there are! With the first three miles under my belt and no pains whatsoever, I decided to make the executive decision to walk for a few seconds at each mile marker. Those aid stations were few and far between so my theory of walking through them wasn't going to work. (and yes, I do thank each and every one of those volunteers who came out on Thanksgiving day to help but I still think the aid stations were too far apart...) About mile 3 I also had some tummy trauma start to brew. Nothing ever came of it, but I just had these sharp pains here and there. I'm not sure if I ate my breakfast too late or what, but it wasn't fun.
So, here I am...bored...lonely...running up all these hills. I really wished that I had of had someone to talk to. I thought that it might be good for me to have some "quiet time"...get my thoughts together...think about the future...think about yesterday...think about eating Thanksgiving dinner. But it didn't, because everytime I got in a comfortable spot of thinking another hill was looming ahead. OMG. Did I mention all those freakin hills???? I should mention that at this point I did get behind a squadron of military guys, in bdus...boots..full ruck sacks. One had a radio strapped to the top of his ruck sack. One was limping. But they were all in it together. The commraderie (sp?) was awesome. Inspiring. And sad that I even wanted to complain about anything. But...oh...those hills....
I did think about Troy alot. And would try and figure exactly where he might be at in all of this. Oh, I forgot to mention that when I got off of the Marta he called to tell me that he got totally turned around from the condo and ended up in Buckhead when he should have been at Turner Field. So, needless to say, I was worried that after all of this he might not ever make it to the start line. But, then that made me want to check out the sidelines and see if he might be standing there, cheering me on. (which was a huge mistake, because I think that I ran too close to the curb and now the outside of my right knee is KILLING me).
So, basically I was just running. Ticking the miles off. I knew all along that I would finish. So, I wasn't worried about that. But as I got closer, I started to realize that my goal (which was a 12 minute mile....I knew that we had run San Diego at 11:28 but there weren't any hills like this so I gave myself an extra 30 seconds) was so reachable. Actually, what I intially told myself was that this was a baseline. And that regardless of how I did, I would have something to improve upon for next time. So, I set it at 12 minutes and just ran. But as I got closer I knew that I was somewhere in the 11 min range. And I tried to calculate what exactly I had to run to get an 11 min mile. I calculated it at 2 hr 23 min. (I just left out that .1 mile...and I'm so glad I did!) Also, as I got closer there was this ridiculous hill...I'm guessing it was about mile 9 or 10. And this lady at the bottom said "Last Hill!" and I was thinking "today, I am so thankful for you...." I shouldn't have been...she was LYING! There were at least 3 more hills, although not quite as big, they were still there. Again, I ask, who would put 2 hills back to back on the last mile of the course????? It was pretty, running alongside the Capital building and turning into the sun towards Turner Field. But, the prettiness was ruined by another looming hill....but it was the finish line. And I had that hill. And it was getting close to my goal time. And something happened inside of me....I just started to run. Really really fast. Up the hill. Even though I really didn't know how far I had on the other side. I thought about what Troy had always told me about running up hills. Lean forward slightly. Use my arms. Just run. And I did.
To the tune of 2:23:23.
I can't wait to see those final pics. I don't think I had any sort of a smile on my face at all. I could hear people on the sidelines, talking about me passing everone. They knew I had a goal. Not just to finish, because that was given. But to finish in time. And I did!!!!! And because I didn't calculate that .1 mile, my pace was actually 10:56!!!!!!!!!
So, now just sit and wait for Troy. Little did I know that I was literally looking at the car the whole time....I made a couple of new friends who were waiting for their family as well. And then Troy called me. My heart sank. I thought this was the dreaded "the car is parked here...I'm at mile xxxx...come get me". Instead, he called to tell me that he had made it to mile 22 and that the rate he was going it would be another 40 minutes for him to finish. I told him he could do it and to call back if he needed any other motivation. Then I started to think...he pulled me through those last few miles in San Diego...why can't I do that for him? So, I started back tracking the course. Giving out "atta boys" and "looking good" and "gobble gobble, turkey is just over the hill" (and yes...I really did say that!) And I finally parked myself about a mile out. At the bottom of one hill and the beginning of the next hill....and I waited...and cheered...and had people tell me "congratulations" and cheered some more. Until I saw him...running down the hill. Smile on face. The police officer standing next to me said he must have recognized me with that grin. And as he came by I yelled "you can do it...almost there...one more hill" and he said "really, only one more hill?" And I said "have I ever lied to you before?" And he stopped...looked at me...and then realized that it was me. Because in his own words (and if he was lying, I don't really care...It still feels good) he ran down that hill thinking "hot girl ahead" and when he ran past me he just thought I was some hot girl cheering everyone on. (by the way, I've got a big grin on my face even as I type this today). So, I started to run with him. And run we did, all the way up that hill. And back down, and back up, and past the camera guys (we got a great shot of the two of running!) and then into the corral where I stepped off to the side and let him run it in.
I was so glad that I had the opportunity to motivate him like he did for me. Or at least run behind him and pat his butt and say "you can do it!"
So, there it is. Another running success story in the books. I'm not sure if I will take Thanksgiving day to run another race, but I'm glad that I did it once. Rest for a couple of days and then begin GA ING Marathon training next week!