Whoa oh so pretty at 7AM. Yeah, a million kinds of sleepy, but I'm ready for this 12 miles. I was 2 seconds away from not wearing my pack, but instead opted to wear it. I put it on and headed towards the back. I saw a sign for the 9 minute pack, but there was no 10 minute group. I'm in the 10 minute to 10.5 minute pace group, but it just ended after 9:30 minute pace group. I stared at everyone back there and moved up to the 9 minute group. Everyone in the back was walkers or people just doing a 10K. Sure enough, the first 2 miles I spent bobbing and weaving, doing my best to escape people or get out of the way of some of the faster people who were being more than ambitious. I was happy and energetic.
I told myself that I would skip the first water break and stop at the 2nd. Around mile 2.5 I struck up a conversation from a girl who'd just gotten married. She was training for her first half marathon. She told me that she was a runner before she got married, but kinda fell off during the wedding planning, but a few months after being married, she decided she needed to get back into it. Her husband is not a runner, but he was there to support her and was camped out at the beer garden for her. He promised he'd be at the finish line to wait for her. At the 3 mile marker she turned off and I kept going. Running over the bridges was awkward. It felt like a double bounce on a trampoline. Definitely not what I expected and actually made me feel a little woozy.
Running around the lake, I really wished I would've had a nice point and shoot camera. I had overheard a female runner talking to her running mate about how her oncologist was furious with her. Apparently a month after she finished her chemo treatments she was out running a marathon. She'd promised after that race to wait to run a marathon, but then she slyly proclaimed, but that didn't include half marathons and 20Ks!! What an inspiration. Runners everywhere have that type of perserverance and it is a beautiful thing to witness.
Chae warned me that I would go through a series of serious hills. To not go crazy with them, but to just take it slowly. Running with Clyde, he told me that he likes to walk up the hills and jog down them. After the first monster hill, I pushed the desire to race up it to the back of my mind and instead did a brisk walk while enjoying my water. On the descent, I picked up the pace and let my legs react. I quickly leapfrogged everyone who'd just passed me. This happened for the next couple of miles. I waved at people who were cheering along the way and then I happened upon a woman named Pam. She's a part of the Dallas Running Club and we got to chatting.
She was training for a half mile on November 2nd as well. She'd be running here in Dallas and my sister is actually going to be running in that race so when I'm running through the streets of NY, she'll be running through the streets of Dallas. It gave me a warm feeling just thinking that thought. She talked to me about proper nutrition and about her father. How he was her inspiration and why she ran. I told her that I started out running to lose weight, but then when the opportunity to run in the NYC marathon, I couldn't pass it up. Robin Hood is a 100% non-profit organization, since all overhead costs are paid for by different companies. Essentially, 100% of all of the money put into that foundation is given or used to DIRECTLY help someone living in poverty. This is especially close to my heart because my mother grew up in extreme poverty. She always taught us to give back whenever we could and so this was my way. But then I talked of my mother and how she was was a vibrant force to be reckoned with. And well, she's still a force to be reckoned with, but is a lot less mobile and has to spend quite a bit of time in her wheelchair. She used to cheer me on, telling me to run like the wind. She told me she loved watching me run and I remember when she'd run alongside me.
And then one day she couldn't run any more.
Then, the day came where she could no longer walk more than 10 ft.
So, I choked back tears and told her (and finally realized) that I was running to honor my mother. The best part is that she'll be there in New York with me, cheering me on, whistling loudly to urge me keep going.
I could hear her whistle at mile 11. I looked at my watch. 10 more minutes and I'd be finished. 1 hour 50 minutes. I could be finished by 2 hours even. That would be great! Well, the monkey jumped on my back when there was this monster congestion at the bottom of the last hill. I had a great rhythm going, but when I was nearly blown over by a biker, I was discouraged. I tried to make friends with another guy and he did a fantastic job cheering me on until I saw them in the far distance. Moments earlier I contemplated to stop, turn back to the 7-11 to pee, but I said, nah, I could do it. And then there they were. Don and Mari, around the bend. My legs flew under me and while I realy thought that I was about totally void all over myself, there I was in front of them kissing my beloved and bouncing along with my daughter. He told me to run the last 200 yards and finish. I refused. I took her in my arms, he pushed the stroller and we all jogged in to the finish line. Mari happily kicked her little legs as we crossed. I LOVED it!! I was grinning from ear to ear, totally excited that my only problem was that I needed to use the bathroom. (After all, I had stopped at every stop except for that first one!! - photo taken from Qualen's TDF 2008 Set)
I wasn't breathing hard, my body wasn't tearing down, I was just seriously hungry. Oh and my feet were tight. They had been doing some cramping throughout the run, so I need to monitor my electrolyte intake a lot more. I discovered this same thing on my 20 miler. Thank God I found Clyde and the Plano Pacers. My running strategy would've totally been different and while I may have had a faster time, it wouldn't've been that much faster and I certainly wouldn't've felt as great as I did. I mean, I felt so great that within six hours I'd be hosting a charity poker tournament. =) Yes, b/c that's how I roll. LOL!
After the run, we went to the beer garden and I tasted beer fortified with vitamins. It was ok, but that water I had was oh so much better. Even more so was the AWESOME gelato from Paciugo and the free coffee from Starbucks. This event was REALLY fun and I'm definitely going to do it again next year. Except next time I'm probably gonna just stick to the 10K, but I'll probably push Mari!
Here I am after the race and after having had that taste of beer. I look a bit more awake, but certainly not ready for a Vogue covershoot! ha ha! Oh and that's CK who ran an AMAZING race and she finished nearly 20 minutes before me! Talk about speedy, speedy!