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The Big Race

1 December 2007

December 1
13.1 Miles
2 hours 18 minutes 23 seconds

Woke up from an out-cold nap at 5:00. Got out of bed and realized I’m hobbling just like famed DU dance instructor Joyce Roberts, still kickin—literally—after 60-something years as a dancer and 2-something hip replacements. (I’m a little stiff, but boy am I a badass).

A little unbelievable even now that it’s over. I actually welled up with tears twice during the race. Once right before my “corral” (lucky # 7) was ready to go and approaching the balloon-arch starting line, and again somewhere around mile 11-12 (and not from pain, though boy do I have the world’s biggest blister…).

Notable mile markers/motivators along the way:
–Running down Beale Street was a trip. I’d like to avoid the hokiness singing “walking in Memphis” to myself, but I’m not sure I can.
–Around Mile 4-5, Elvis impersonator singing “blue suede shoes”
–Long about Mile 7ish, 2 little girls and an older boy (with drum set) telling “yo’mama” jokes. Nonstop. Highlight: “You momma’s so fat, she tripped over 4th street and landed on 12th”
–Somewhere around Mile 10, high school rock band singing Wild Thing. No, wailing.
–Also around 10 some guy out in his front yard with the CUTEST cat. Made me smile. Dorky I know, but at this point I needed all the motivation I could get.
–Mile 11. Belly Dancers. Neat.
–Mile 12. A DJ and HONEST TO GOD they start playing “He’s going the distance” as I pass. How perfect is that?!
Song in my head throughout: it’s too late to turn back now…I believe I believe I believe I’m fallin’ in love…too bad that line is all I know of that song…

Lots of signs and cheerers along the way. Clapping, or with cowbells.
–Favorite poster board sign: “you’re all KENYANS to me!”
–Favorite costume: girls in apple, banana, and grape: “Grape job!”

Stopped for Powerade starting at mile 4…I think I only skipped one station between that and the end of the race. The miles through the park didn’t have stations b/c of litter I guess. But nothing was as refreshing as those 2 gulps of powerade. Seriously magical how that perked me back up. The slow-down–pick-up–drink–discard–don’t-stop dance is a difficult one to master.
For the last 3 miles instead of tossing my cup to the side (at mile 1 all the cup tossing sounded like rain) I crumpled and held onto it, then the same after mile 12, so I had something to grip and concentrate on besides my blister (which appeared about mile 5 and kept growing) and my legs (which were feeling it by that point).
Around mile 8 my left arm did a weird half-asleep thing. I guess I hadn’t moved them significantly in a while and they got kinda tingly when I looked down to check the time. I wiggled my fingers and hoped for the best, fearing the worst: a stroke, heart failure, loss of limb.

Wow. Beverage intake details. Thrilling.
I don’t know if I can put any of it into the right words. Or explain what it was like to be inside my head for those 140 minutes. (plus the about half hour of warm up after Jennie got in line for the 5k before my race started).
Without my iPod.
And I’m a little bitter at how many iPods were blatantly used. Rule-breakers. Quite a few. But I’m okay with my decision to follow the rules and stick it out with just my own thoughts.
Which were pretty easily corralled today. I’d say I did a good job in the first few miles of zoning out as much as I could. In between bits of song lyrics until I got distracted again. After mile 5 I thought, “just make it the next 5, then the last 3 are a breeze”. At about mile 8 “just 20 more to 10, then 30 to the end.”
These are the games you have to play, people!! I swear! But definitely my favorite game of all, which started I’m not sure where…maybe somewhere around mile 9 or 10…definitely got me through those last 3 miles without stopping or going insane.
I literally went through the alphabet, giving myself adjectives and motivations for every letter.
Awesome. Bitchin. Come on! Don’t stop now. Everyone’s going to be so proud. F*ck stopping. Good job. Hells yeah! Etc. etc. It’s probably not very professional or hard-core of me, but it’s what I had to do to stay sane. And it was a fun game.

Then running into that stadium and sprinting up to the finish. Couldn’t stop smiling.
As they cut the timing chip off my shoe (have to admit it was a bit of a struggle to lift my leg onto a chair), gave us our silver cellophane “capes” (for body heat I guess…and looking like super heroes), and our medals. Then we had to walk down into the dugouts and up some stairs to get out of there. I joke to the guy behind me: this wasn’t on the course map…
There was free chocolate milk right inside the stadium (best little carton of milk I’ve ever had).
Found Scott without too much trouble, and then Janice and Jennie. In the thick crowd of people. About 12 thousand runners total, plus cheerers on, equals huge crowds.
Took some photos. Triumphant. I didn’t look so bad. Then walked up the parking garage (stairs. punishment.), took some more shots looking down into the ballpark, with the finish line behind us…and everyone who finished behind me.

Apparently the MARATHON winner (as in, twice the distance I ran) came in 5 minutes before I did. Let that sink in. Amazing.

(But we’re all Kenyans.)

Couldn’t have asked for a better day weather wise. Sunny, just cool enough, felt 100% comfortable in my jacket over tanktop and running capris. Kept my ear warmer on the whole time though I didn’t need it, just b/c it let me not worry about my hair. (I may be a badass, but I’m still me.) Lost the gloves around mile 5. Tried (and failed) to get them in a trashcan. It was about this time that Elvis showed up.

Huh. I ran a half-marathon today.

Countdown widget has a little fireworks message behind “the Big Race”. Yup. It finally happened.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. arthi permalink
    24 December 2007 6:23 pm

    you are a hoss of the first order. what an inspiration :)

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