I so TOTALLY did it.
Where to begin...
Well, we got to VA Beach around 3:30 or so on Saturday afternoon. It was a lovely drive and only took about 3 1/2 hours. We expected some serious beach traffic with the Labor Day weekend and all but NOTHING. NADA.
The Expo was really cool. Lots of neat running stuff and upcoming races and all. Lots of mega-expensive souvenirs that were ridiculously priced. I bought a cup and a magnet. And a SpiPack belt for my gear which is a really cool little gadget that you can pack full of stuff and it just expands. I also got a beautiful bracelet of black, gray and clear Swarvoski (??) crystals from http://www.sydlets.com/ and I swear that you would have got one too if you saw these people. They sell them to help cover medical costs for their daughter/granddaughter/niece Sydney who is battling cancer. I got all teary and picked one out and ran away b/c I knew I was going to cry if I talked to them anymore because they were so nice. You can read the story on the website.
Anyywwaayyyyy...I digress. So, the girls were getting a bit antsy so we decided to head out and go to the hotel. We grabbed Jeff a ticket to the B52s concert, which actually turned out to be a pass to ALL the music festival events including the ones that already happened (???) but whatever, and left the Expo Center.
We headed into the resort area and arrived at our hotel.
Nothing fancy but pretty much what I expected. It was clean and didnt seem too noisy. We threw all our stuff in the room and let the girls put on suits to jump in the 12 person pool. Yes - the pool had a limit of 12 people. Since we knew that the Reeleys were headed down there, we knew that we had BETTER claim a spot or we would have to wait it out. ;) The girls had a great time swimming around and we managed to NOT exceed the max number of swimmers allowed. I met Jen's friend Susan from Easton ROCKS and we all chatted about the next day's race.
We got quick showers and decided to head out for some Eye-talian food. The desk guy recommended this PI-zzeria (yes, Pi as in 3.14) and we waked down there but there was over an hour wait and that just wasnt going to happen. So, we went to the NEXT pizza type place and sat right down. The girls got pizza, Jeff got chicken parm and I got baked manicotti with garlic bread and we all split a Greek salad. It was dee-lish. Then the girls got ice cream (I refrained) and we walked back to the hotel. We decided to pick in on the Reeleys and see their posh suite. :) It was like a double hotel room and definitely had a lot more space to spread out and kitchen facilities.
9 pm saw us back in our room and getting ready to throw on a movie (Dumb and Dumber) and try to sleep. Surprisingly, I was quite tired and had a feeling I would fall asleep quickly. Unfortunately, I did not STAY asleep very well as there was no alarm clock in the room (yes, AGAIN, a room with no clock just like in March). Jeff and I set everything settable that we had and I scheduled a 4:15 wake up call. But visions of that Seinfeld episode kept running through my head when Kramer had that wake up call service and Elaine's boyfriend missed the NYC marathon....
So, I was up pretty much every hour after midnight. Then Sarah (who was in my bed) jumped up crying around 2 am for no apparent reason. She calmed right down but then it was hard for to fall back asleep. Poor Jeff was having trouble sleeping as well. Anyway, all the bells and whistles went off at the appointed times and the wake up call came through on time and everything. Jeff got up with me and helped me fix the pads in my shoes and wish me well. Sarah woke up around 4:45 and was awfully giggly for that hour of the morning. Anyway, my feet were most definitely NOT feeling good but I decided to ignore them. They were just being stupid.
I went out and met up with Jen and her running partner Julie and we headed down to the shuttle. There were about 4 or 5 waiting there for runners and I have to say that the whole process was very very smooth. We reached the start line in about 10 minutes and the entire scene was very surreal. I guess most things are at 5:30 am.
I hung around with Jen and her training friends until it was time for them to go meet up with their group. I excused myself and went off to contemplate the day. In other words, I found the potty line. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were about a gazillion port-o-potties and no lines. So, I chose one and went in and peed. When I opened the door to come out, I was literally shocked to see about 100 people lined up in front of this bank of potties. I thought that this did not look good. I meandered around a bit and got back in line as it seemed like they were growing longer by the second. And I was so nervous that I was drinking water like crazy. Not a good mix.
So, after peeing literally about 6 times and meeting all sorts of interesting people, I heard the first gun go off for the Elite runners. Whatevs, right? ;) Meanwhile, there is a man behind me with his wife who was a mega close-stander. He was SO invading my personal space. Everytime I moved, he moved so it was useless to try to get away from him. Meanwhile, he was doing a really bad impersonation of...I dont know what...the Sveedish Chef from the Muppets or something about using port-o-potties before a race. Then he was mad b/c the line next to us seemed to be filtering to THREE potties and ours was only filtering to TWO. Then he wanted to know why no one was using the handicapped potty. I was giving him the *stare* from the back of my head.
Then, the best part was...he saw a guy in the other line who was wearing what was obviously his hoped for finish time of 2:22. Now - you know what that means, right? He wanted to finish in 2 hours 22 minutes. Apparently, Mr and Mrs Suasquatch behind me coudlnt figure that out and were wondering what kind of person would predict a mile pace of 2 mins and 22% of one minute per mile. I was all sorts of rolling my eyes and, because I am such a professional runner, I turned around and schooled them because I couldnt bear one more minute of it. The woman wanted to know why someone would pick such an odd number and I said, as if talking to a 3 year old, "Maybe his last race was 2:24", idjit (I added that in my head).
That shut them up for a while but then Mr PotatoHead said maybe it was a bible verse.
OK so, at about 7:15 am I headed over to the corral area and waited for a bit for my number peeps to move up. Corral #18. That was me. I squeezed in and took part in doing "the wave" and the beach ball hitting. I was continuing to ignore my foot. It was doing it's best not to let me. I sucked down a salt packet with a swig of water and some Luna Moons (aka Crack Moons). I tried to rev up my iPod but I think my sensor died at that moment b/c it kept telling me I needed to hook up my sensor and I had no idea what to do so I just bagged it.
Soon it was 7:34 and they called for Corral 18's runners to be READY and then there was the GUN!
We were off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was pretty much ready to be done after the first .1 mile but suddenly there were TONS and TONS of people on the streets cheering and yelling and jumping up and down for everyone that it was really really cool. I wasnt feeling great b/c it occurred to me that I had not had coffee and that did not bode well for my head. Never mind the foot, I knew I was gonna have a headache in the very near future. Oh well, nothing to do about it at this point.
I was passing people and getting passed. It was crowded but not unbearably so. I was passing time between bands/cheer squads/spectators by gawking at some of the things that people were wearing. NOT the blue hair afro guys or the Elvis dude or the many brides/princesses/birthday girls that ran past me. But the people that were wearing "fashion" sneakers (e.g. Skechers) to run in. Or the people in regular-ish clothes. Even the people in Tshirts and knit shorts. Do people not prepare? Ask around? Look online? Get Runners World? Have common sense? Oh well, I just knew that I didnt want to be them around mile 8. *giggle* I had my own set of problems but at least I was dressed properly!!!!!!!!
I had opted to carry a throw away water bottle and was glad I did b/c I had it for the first 2 water stops that were pretty crowded but then trashed it around mile 4. There were plenty of fluid stops so I knew it would be okay. I avoided the CytoMax b/c I had never tried it and didnt want to have it wreck my GI system in the middle of the race, if you know what I mean, and stuck with the water.
Lots of neighborhoods had parties set up on the roadside and had music blaring and were in costumes, etc. Between mile 4 and 5, some smartypants had a hose and was squirting people all over. MY SHOES GOT WET. This was NOT good. My suspicions were confirmed when I felt rubbing around mile 7...grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
Around mile 6, I got a text from WeWa Jen and I starting laughing b/c here I am in the middle of a half marathon and I was texting. I decided to shoot Jeff one too to let him know where I was and he sent me an encouraging one back. He and I texted here and there and I let him know where I was and how I was and he finally said they had a spot at the bend in the road right after mile 11. I got all choked up at the thought of seeing them but mile 11 seemed really far off and unattainable at the moment.
Mile 7 came with Power Gels. Right at the right time b/c my stomach was actually growling. I sucked it down with some water and kept on. At this point, my feet were screaming and I KNEW that I would not be making my projected finish of 2:30. I knew I would be nowhere near that. Given the circumstances, I truly knew that I would be thrilled to just finish this one.
I think that the length of road between mile 9 and 10 was actually 4 miles. Between 10 and 11 must have been 3 miles with a bridge thrown in. Coming around the bend, I saw Jeff and the girls. The girls had signs they made and pom poms and Sarah had a cowbell (I told Jeff I coulda used a "little more cowbell at mile 11" lol). They were totally looking in the wrong direction for me so I snuck up on THEM! I gave everyone a smooch and kept on going. Jeff got a picture of me running away.
I am on the left with the black/white outfit and white hat on. If you saw me from the front, I would be the one grimacing in pain and screaming "WHO MOVED THE FINISH LINE???????????????"
Mile 11 to 12 had us looping back the way we had just come on a parallel street. The crowds were CRAZY. Lots of runners who were done came down to this mile to cheer people on. I saw the 12 and knew that I was going to make it. We went down a lot further than I thought we would have to, to turn and head up onto the boardwalk for the final stretch!
There was a man on the side of the boardwalk screaming "This is IT! One more push and it's over! One more big push and you are done!" I couldnt help myself...there was a guy next to me and I said "Thats what they said when I was in labor. I didnt believe them then and I dont believe him now!!!!" I COULDNT SEE THE FINISH LINE!
Suddenly, I just started running. Like Forrest Gump style. I was going to get to see that MILE 13 sign if it killed me and there it was!!!!!!! It was in my sight!! I kept going despite the terrible breeze that was head on, trying to blow my stupid hat off. I clamped my hand on my head (because NO ONE wanted to see what was under that hat at this point!!!) and made for the finish line. There were billions of people there, screaming and cheering. I didnt see Jeff and the girls and apparently, I was running so fast that I was just a flash of white b/c they didnt see me either!!!! lol
I ran over the finish and there were lots of red shirts there asking "Are you okay? Are you okay?" to everyone. HELL. NO. I was not okay woman! I just ran 13.1 miles.
I didnt know where anyone was but I knew that I couldnt just stop so I walked. And people handed me stuff. A medal (yeah!). An ice cold towel (double yeah!). A popsicle (yum) and a bag of yumminess - snacks of all sorts. People were so nice and just kept trying to give me stuff but I just wanted to find my peeps.
I knew that Jeff was at the finish b/c he wasnt answering his phone and I knew it was b/c of the noise there. So, I walked for a little more, went off the boardwalk and sat my butt down on a lovely patch of grass in front of a hotel that had palm trees.
Finally, we were reunited. We headed down to the beach and we went to the medic tent so I could ice my feet. Nurse Ratchet PTA student saran wrapped naked ice bags to both of my feet as if I was going parasailing and she didnt want them to fall off. They were on there so tight I thought I was going to die. I dont deal well with bare cold like that. I made Jeff unwrap them and I just sat with them ON the bags.
Beach pic with the fam:
The girls and I dove into my goodie bag and then we walked down to check on the Easton ROCKS people and happily they all finished and were doing well. So, we went to catch the shuttle back up to the hotel since there was NO WAY that I was walking anywhere.
We got there and I showered, much to my family's happiness. All I knew was that I needed to eat. A LOT. We wound up back at the PI-zzeria (remember 3.14??) and we ate a $94 lunch. I had a sangria and a HUGE salad and bruschetta and humungous mozzarella cheese sticks AND pizza. It was so good. We all ordered way too much food so we boxed it up and took it back to the hotel for later.
We decided to hit the beach. We ran into Tracy and her girls and Jen and her family so Sarah and Sammy were THRILLED to have buddies to play with.
We stayed on the beach until almost 6 and we were all getting tired. Jeff and I discussed the whole B52s thing and I just said that I didnt think I could muster the energy to go to dinner at 6 let alone a concert at 9. He didnt care either way.
We took the girls up to the hotel, got fast showers and Jeff ran out to get some drinks (all caffeine free of course!!!) We had bed picnics of leftovers and then an M&M fest. We put on Indiana Jones and layed on the beds. It was 8:30 people. I was asleep before 9 as was Sammy apparently. The movie ended and Jeff and Sarah decided to put on Bruce Almighty. Neither one saw past the credits.
Yup. We are real party people. :)
Today, we went to the Pocohontas Pancake House (who KNEW Pocohontas knew how to make pancakes??) and then to the junk shop so the girls could get some...well...junk, aka souvenirs. We then surprised them with a trip to the Virginia Aquarium which was nice but doesnt hold a candle to Baltimore, of course.
We decided to feed the girls to the sharks instead of bringing them home...
OK, not really.
We got home around 8:30 and threw them in bed.
Every bone in my body hurts. Every muscle aches. My feet dont hurt NEARLY as bad as I thought they would. Jeff is on the fence about a stress fracture but he doesnt THINK that it is and I would have to agree. I will see the doctor this week just in case though and then we will make a plan from there.
I am glad that it is over. It doesnt feel as anti-climatic as I thought that it would. I accomplished something that I never fathomed for even one second that I would achieve. If you had asked me a year ago, hell, 6 MONTHS ago, if I would ever consider a half marathon, I woulda said you were crazy. But, I did it and no one can ever take that away. I saw a really cool shirt when I was running and it said on the back "Pain is temporary but pride is forever". I dont know who said it or if it is just made up but it is true!
I KNOW that Lance Armstrong said that pain is temporary but QUITTING is forever and that is true too...I could have quit any number of times...13,876 times probably to be exact. I am SO glad that I didnt and I proved to myself (my biggest critic) that I could do it. And hopefully, I will get to do it again!
Thanks to everyone who has helped me down this path, especially my trainer/therapist/biggest fan, Jeff! And my girls who love me and want to hug me even when I am "just a little stinky" or who want to know "how many tonight, momma?" or who ask me if it is a running day when I am a bit cranky (and it usually is!!! lol) And to everyone who has encouraged me with kind words of encouragement along the way, especially in the harder times these past 18 weeks...I couldnt have done it without any of you!!
Now I have to go put something else in my blog title since I have finished AND survived!!!!!!
Official race stats:
Place Overall: 13815 out of 16336
Women: 7298 out of 9240
F 35-39: 1244 out of 1511
FINISH: 3:05:44 pace: 14:11
5 Km: 39:48 pace: 12:49
10 Km: 1:22:58 pace: 13:22
10 Mi: 2:18:51 pace: 13:54
11.3 Mi: 2:39:10 pace: 14:06
20 Km: 2:53:30 pace: 13:58
Chip Time: 3:05:44
Gun Time: 3:38:40
Supposedly, there were between 20,000 and 24,000 people in this race (it was hard to determine the exact #). Either way, with a total number of finishers as 16,336 - that is a TON of people who either didnt do it or didnt finish! I bet they were all wearing Skechers, though...