I. Scenery & Music
I stood at the starting line in my "corral" of 2:30 race pace people. The lady next to me chit chatted with me about this being her 45th Half Marathon.. sheese... all in 8 years. I really hoped to see her at the finish line... what awesome motivation.
As the starting gun went off and we slowly merged to the front, Pound the Alarm filled my ears... and it made me laugh as the song reminds me of one of my older students who is always trying to sneak on YouTube to listen to music, this being one of the songs I see on the video title. (Another kid in this same class said "Mrs Blanchard, don't watch that video.. it's inappropriate." lol)
As I passed through the timer to start the race, I INSTANTLY teared up.... WOW! I am here! It has begun! I am gonna do this!!! I made myself focus... long road ahead.. cut out the drama, Patricia.
Apologies right now to the lady who's shoe I untied by stepping on her laces at some point in this first mile. But, you know.. I learned in my first 5K that if I was going to be slower than others, to keep my body to the right to let people pass on the left. The first 3 miles or so, people would just stop running right in front of me and start walking on the hills... all good, I understand but dang, talk about a road block.
(This brought back a story a friend of mine told me about her first half, which must have been this one based on the scenery, and how people did this to her and it drove her nuts.. that kept my brain occupied for a little while, trying to figure out the last time I saw her and how the birth of her baby went, etc.)
The course wound through neighborhoods near Oglethorpe University. Beautiful homes in mildly hilly neighborhoods, with trees and lushness galore. The sun rose while we were in this neighborhood, somewhere around mile 2. Lights by Ellie Goulding queued into the playlist just as the sun came up.. it was perfect.
And then, somewhere in this 2nd mile, I realized.. I HAVE TO PEE! lordy me... really? There were water stations and port a lets every two miles, I believe, but damn, I didn't want to stop. I decided that I would only stop if I was absolutely about to be in pain.
Somewhere around mile 4, I felt that small pang in my stomach telling me I was hungry.. dammit again. I had 6 Sports Beans with me (ooo I found watermelon at Big Peach Running yesterday.. my new fave)... so I ate one and realized yea! A water station... didn't have to waste the water I was carrying.
Poster I saw around this time:
"If a half marathon were EASY it would be called YOUR MOTHER."
another one was a group of teenagers with a sign that said "You are all CRAZY!"
Miles 4, 5, 6 really were great. I know at mile 4 I thought "two more like that plus 1 mile" but that didn't really help me any... just kept counting down the miles. I timed my Sports Beans/water combos well so as not to get stomach aches but not get hungry either. In fact, at around mile 6, I had this burst of energy that I felt AWESOME.
We had some boring highway miles. The highlite of these miles was the Wesley Cook band that was set up on the side of the road, jamming out. I was hoping to remember their name, and I passed them again at about mile 11 and then on the way home so yep... name transferred to memory.
I knew that the race was headed to a park, but didn't realize we would double back at the end of the race. So on the left of us passed a dude running obviously in the front of the pack for the head of the race. The next person I saw was a woman... most definitely was the winner in the female category. Yea for her.. awesome chick.. however I will say this... she was tiny to begin with, and was obviously only muscle and bone. SOOOO skinny, but with muscle tone.. pretty scary, but then the next 20 or so people behind her looked pretty similar. Maybe they all hang out together and don't realize they look kind of freakish.. in my opinion anyway.. mind of like the Desperate Housewives with all of their collagen and botox :)
At around mile 8 or so, while in that park... gotta look up the name... the water tables were run by a Troop of Boy Scouts.. who also had candy and oranges, and I almost took something but didn't want to chance a stomachache... I would be regretting not taking something at mile 11 when I was SOO hungry :) They had speakers blaring One Direction's What Makes You Beautiful. Which mixed well with the techno song on my headphones, and made me smile, thinking of my big 10 year old birthday girl at home (this being one of her fave songs).
Somewhere around this time I saw a woman in front of me with a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale shirt on.. yes I was dreaming of the beer I would eventually drink and was pretending she was the beer.. she stopped and I kept going...
Mile 9 started us into the park, which was pretty and on a paved but wooded trail. And then came mile 10..
Endomondo told me I was at mile 10, but of course I started a good bit back from the start line, so Endomondo was a bit ahead in marking the miles. Well, the hills started, which I knew from looking at the altitude map when I signed up for the race. I had no idea how many hills, how big, etc. So hillward bound I went... each one I went down.. there was some flat land.. and then yet another hill on the other side.. finally I just hollered out "OMG these hills SUCK!" yet there were still more, one decently big and similar to Cardiac Hill in the Peachtree Road Race. Really??? at 10.5 miles... ugh...
My knees were starting to not be happy, my feet had been hurting for at least 2 miles, every now and then I realized I had to pee still...
I had no doubt I could push my butt to the finish line but dangit, I didn't want to be miserable.. it's too bad thoughts can't make the endorphins release for pain relief! or can they...
Maybe I got wrapped up in one of my new favorite running songs, Criminal by Disturbed (thank you, Tay, for having it on your play list.. and thank you, Brian, for the influence.) I think right after that was Animal I Have Become by Three Days Grace and then Bad Religion by Godsmack.
Mile 11.5-ish was Breakin Dishes by Rihanna thank you Andrea! and my another new favorite song, Kyoto by Skrillex.
Mile 12- Lady was carrying a sign that said "Think of the bragging rights" ... ahhh.. that made me smile.
Passed by the Wesley Cook band again, as well as this duet- two guys one with a guitar and one with a harmonica that were awesome
And I hit the turn back around the start line... and there were photographers.. and I tried to smile but I knew I was a hot mess.. :)
and as I got right to the finish line I hear a bunch of names and then "Patty Blanchard... welcome to the finish line" and I teared up again.. I had done it! I ran the whole thing!
I crossed the finish line and forgot to stop running, and then I walked to a girl handing me a bottle of water.. and another one handing me a banana, and then another girl was giving out bags of cookies.. mmm.. and another bags of pretzels... and then another was giving out bagels.. and don't forget the chocolate milk.. and then someone walked up to me and put my medal around my neck, and smiled and called me by name (thanks to my name on my running bib) and said great job.. and I almost cried again
and I walked around till my legs slowed down and I thought I could handle sitting.
and I ate almost ALL of that while contemplating passing out under a tree...
a little girl, she looked about 3 or 4.. was eyeballing my chocolate milk.
On the course I saw...
- 3 cases of road kill (2 chipmunks and a very flat bird)
- about 100 empty packs of Gu (that runner energy gel stuff I can't handle the texture of)
- 1 Shot Block energy chew (the kind that tay likes.. I hope whoever dropped it had a spare)
- 1 Runner's bib.. I thought about it a mile later, I should have picked it up and carried it to the finish with me
- A good sized group of ladies scattered out throughout the race with "preserve the sexy" shirts on.. oh yeah
- Way too many runners with today's shirt on.. I thought that was bad karma?
- About 8 Natural Light cans all within 10 feet of each other... but really not much trash on the road with the exception of
- a million little empty cups from water and powerade... aw man, the job of picking all that crap up
- only one couple in costume.. bet they will make the highlights
- way too many women with too tight shorts on a the wrong panties.. ouch.. I hope their cracks aren't chaffed (hey you run that long, what else are you gonna look at)
- this one dad with two toddlers, seemingly the same age, on the side of the road in one of the neighborhoods, who worked for the whole time they were in my sights trying to keep one kid and then the other out of the road when the runners passed...poor guy, I wonder how long he stayed out there herding cats.
- lots of "Go Mom" signs on the sidelines, held by kids... made me smile.
III. Final Thoughts
You guys knew this was going to be a long post...
Something else dawned on me as I was running...
the fact that I did pass so many people that were running together, and here I was running solo.. which I love to do (so Andrea and others, when we get to run together, we start and end together but the middle is a solo thing... unless we are doing some kind of keg run or something... lol)
But then I thought
I am not really alone
essentially, when I run, I have a crew with me... or I should say a KREWE with me.. and this is in no particular order, except for the first one :)
- first and foremost, I always have my family with me... my babies and my hubby... I started this jaunt with running 2 short years ago. Lots of mornings I would hit the pavement before anyone woke up and y'all would hold the fort down till I got back... also, the expense of the running gear, etc. (especially the search for the right shoes) props to my mom for those! With the motivation of being mom and wife to the best I can be, the running goal might not have gone to this level.
- Kila and Brandee were my first two running friends.. well I think Angie Kraemer, you might have been one of the first back years ago... and then Kila ran that triathlon which totally motivated me to do SOMETHING. Kila mentioned Couch to 5K, which my friends Shannon and Tara in Lullwater reiterated. Tara then talked to me every day, or so it seemed.. did I bore you to death Tara? haha... about her 5K and other running experiences. We had talked about running my first 5 miler together (it was supposed to be right around Autumn's first birthday) which I didn't register for.. darn it. Tara ran her first 1/2 marathon in March 2011, and I couldn't even imagine wanting to do that, let alone DOING it...
- my buddy, Stephen, who recommended I run the Peachtree this past summer (oh what fun) which led me to running even further and completing this race
- The main reason I started running in the first place was because Camryn seemed to be into running at the time, and I wanted to keep up with the "Cam-zes" :) and Taylor was also running... and I figured maybe if I started running, and Taylor kept running, we could do a race together one of these days. We did a 5K in Feb., the Peachtree in July, and we are soon to register for the Hot Chocolate 15K in January. :)
- Charmaine and Jason, Emily and Robert, who did the Rock n Roll Marathon last year in NOLA, who put the bug in my head about maybe doing one myself one day...
- Andrea Marcel, who started running around when I did, and who kept me motivated and gave us yet another thing to talk about and keep in touch about.
- All my other new friends I have met through running who motivate me daily.
- And then a few that might not seem so obvious:
- I only met him once, and only in passing, and I am surrounded by his presence daily at Kennesaw Charter. Jay Ingram was a friend to many, and he was a runner, and his spirit has been a spot of motivation on long runs, as I know how much he loved to run and the thought of how many miles he would have tallied.
- My cousin, Aimee, who never was able to run and who fought for every day of normalcy. I run in her honor, and the pain in my feet is nothing compared to what she contended with her entire life. We miss you, Aim.
- My fireside posse was hangin with me during DJ Trashy's Close My Eyes at mile 9 today.
- Maw J was with me for Gloria's 'Conga" and Tom Jones' "Kiss".
- Andrea, "Breakin Dishes"
- Godsmack crew of 2000 during "Bad Religion"
- Brian and Tay= Disturbed's "Criminal"
- Blind Melon fanatics during "Galaxie"
- My Sis, Chrissy, during the Foos' "Monkey Wrench" and green Day's "Peacemaker"
- Any Paramore song brings me back to Tay's 8th grade year, as does Avril Lavigne
- My DMB buddy Brad was with me for "Shake Me Like a Monkey"
- Donnelly from KCSMA was there for "Rush" from Big Audio Dynamite
- Darude's "Sandstorm" made me think of Autie at the North Cobb games
Whew. ok.. all my thoughts are out... If you read this far, thanks for determination to make it to the end!