Sunday, I ran my twelfth stand alone half-marathon. Wow. A dozen. I remember when Joe ran his first and I thought he was absolutely nuts to do so! If you were to average it out, I’ve run a year for almost every year that my oldest child has been on this earth. Next Sunday, my baby will turn thirteen. She’ll be a teenager. Already.
|35 wks preggers -- post-workout|
I think I was still jogging at this point.
How did that happen so fast? Then again, a lot’s happened in the past thirteen years - moves, new jobs, two more babies, and triathlon. Sometimes it all seems like a blur. Some days I lived moment by moment. I know that thirteen years ago, I would have never dreamed I’d achieve the fitness accomplishments that I have just in the past six years. Thirteen years ago, just the thought of walking around the block made my joints ache. I still made myself do it because I knew it was good for me and for her (at the time, gender unknown). I’ve always been active, just not as active as I am now.
Sunday’s race was a repeat race – the National Breast Cancer Marathon/Half-Marathon. All of the proceeds from the race go to benefit breast cancer research at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville where Herceptin – the targeted therapy drug that I took to help reduce my risk of recurrence was developed. I like to doing repeat races if the course is fun because I, being the creature of habit that I am, like to know what’s coming. Lynn and Joe could never understand how I could run the same routes over and over again or run on the treadmill while training for both marathons but it worked for me.
|We were freezing before we even got off of the buses!|
Anyway, last year, Lynn and I ran this race together and had a great little girls’ get away, despite the freezing cold and wind. (It was 18-degrees at the start of the race and not much warmer at the end.) This year, I was running by myself. My friend Tracy from work was initially planning on running the full, but then broke her back and ended up having to settle with walking the half. Still, I wasn’t planning on seeing her out on the course, just beforehand and afterwards.
At the very last minute, Joe decided that he would run the race as well. He hadn’t been training like I had been, but Joe is decidedly more fit than I am, so it probably wouldn’t do him much harm. We decided that the kids would be fine in the hotel room with Michelle in charge until we got back. Besides, we reasoned, they would probably all still be asleep when we got back or glued to the television. Ah… the best laid plans…
We arrived for packet pick-up mid-afternoon. Apparently, that was too late. Well, too late anyway to get a “Survivor” shirt that fit. The next size up was HUGE. I could have worn it loose thirteen years ago to the day! Unfortunately, the volunteer was not overly helpful and actually a bit snotty when I politely expressed my disappointment. That was just the beginning of what would become our mantra for this race, “Well, this the last time we do this race.”
|Waiting in the warming tents. It was COLD outside!|
The race organizers changed the start of the race this year to help alleviate the parking woes of years previous. (Lynn and I waited forty-five minutes in the freezing cold after the race for a shuttle bus to take us back to our car.) All the race info warned everyone to arrive early. We arrived moderately early, but still with plenty of time to spare. So did Tracy. After we located each other, the three of us headed to the warming tents to wait until the last possible second to head to the corrals.
Joe and I were in the first corral, based on estimated finish times (you know the drill). It was very empty, despite the start time being less than twenty minutes away. And then the announcement was made that, because of so many people not being at the race yet, they were delaying the race for fifteen minutes. What to do? What to do? Stand there in the freezing cold or head to the warming tents. We’d already been to the potty one last time and eaten our pre-race nutrition. Fifteen minutes ticked by as we all instinctively huddled closer to one another. And then the next ridiculously cheerful announcement came – another fifteen-minute delay. Yet another clue. At this point, I could barely feel my fingers and my toes weren’t much further behind. This race was chipped time, we all grumbled. Why can’t we just start and let the parking procrastinators start when they get here?!
Once we finally got started, I never saw Joe or Tracy on the course. I ran at a comfortable pace, trying to be mindful of my cadence. The course was as I remembered it - just a little congested at certain turns, then the lovely windy stretch on the beach, the great crowd support as we ran through the little beach communities, the doggies wearing pink bows and tutus in support of the race and then that last long, windy, cold push on the overpass to the finish.
I was monitoring my time somewhat and knew with each passing mile that I was going to earn a PR for this race. My nutrition, despite the delay, and my clothing choices were dialed in. I stayed in my box, but looked out to enjoy the scenery every once and a while and to offer up words of encouragement to others. I actually let myself walk about a tenth of a mile up part of the overpass since we were running into the wind at mile twelve-thirteen.
|Joe is always so proud of me,|
and I am of him.
In my mind, I could hear Joe’s excited and proud yells as I crossed the finish line. He would probably be more excited than I was about the PR. As I came down the chute, I looked and listened for him. No Joe. I got my medal, Mylar blankie and water. No Joe. I walked to the picture spot. Nada. Crap! He missed it. Then, Uh-oh! I hope he’s alright! No zero to overkill. Just call him. He was right behind me, walking back to the finish line after a massage surprised and disappointed that he missed me because he thought he had plenty of time before I came in. Oh well. He missed my last PR as well.
Thanks to the delayed start. We needed to get back to the hotel asap to get the kids breakfast before the hotel’s breakfast service stopped for the day, showers and food for us. After a quick cup of warm soup and Griswalding the finishers’ village, we got in line for the, new and improved shuttle service. A bus quickly pulled up.
Random runner to the bus driver: Where are you going?
Bus driver: I don’t know. They <dispatch> haven’t told me yet.
(Collective GROAN from the freezing cold, sweaty and tired runners.)
Another older and wiser random runner: If we all just pile onto the bus and tell her that she’s going to the start line parking lot, she’ll go there.
And that, my friends, is how it went down but, this race being this race, the drive took forever! We, thankfully had already called the kids and the hotel. The kids were just finishing up when we got there and the hotel staff was cleaning up the remnants of breakfast. We looked at each other and laughed ruefully. This is the last time we do this race.
|After Blue Man Group - What a great show!|
We spent the next three days in Orlando at Universal Studios for Mic’s birthday. The kids had a few days off from school and Jamie and Josie were finally tall enough to ride most of the rides, so going a week before her actual birthday aligned nicely with the race. We had a great time, riding rides, exploring “Harry Potter World” and getting to visit with old friends and cousins. We also went to see Blue Man Group – fourteen years after Joe and I had seen them in Chicago. Jamie grumbled about it, until the show started. Then, he loved it as did the girls! WE knew they would.
|Enjoying Butterbeers in front of Howarts|
No workouts were to be part of our agendas, but I couldn’t resist getting up early on Wednesday morning to do the scheduled interval run. The rest of the week’s workouts were completed as scheduled, but I could definitely feel the effects of the race and getting bounced around on roller coasters for three days. Ah, well. It was worth it to spend some good quality fun time with Joe and the kids and for a couple of Butterbeers!
In the end, Joe finished 50th out of 1150 men and 5th for his age group of 126 men and 62nd overall. I was the 2nd survivor to cross the finish line for the half-marathon, 109th out of 3100 women and 19th for my age group of 470 women. There were a total of 4250 runners for the half marathon. I’m still pretty amazed when I look at those numbers. I keep looking for errors; I can’t be that fast compared to other runners. I have plenty of friends that are so much faster than I am. Granted, they’re all triathletes and generally a whole lot taller than me, but they’re still faster. Sometimes it is nice to be a big fish in a little pond. And, having shaved four minutes off of my previous PR in November, I guess those EN OS workouts are working. ;0) Now, if only parenting was as cut and dried…
|Michelle and I on Dueling Dragons at WWHP -|
Good times w/my almost-teen!
Like most parents, I’m heading into the teenage years with trepidation. Michelle has always been wonderful and obedient at school, saving her less adorable self for those she loves best. Her moods change as often as she changes her underwear. Most days and like most parents, we manage to keep our cool, but there are days when she gives us both a run for our money. Seriously though, she really is a loving, thoughtful and caring kid. She’s bright and inquisitive and actually expresses herself pretty well. She’s a work in progress, but then, aren’t we all?