11.09.2009

Race Day!

OK...so I feel a little bad about not posting a "Day 2", but Saturday was a fabulous day with friends.  We mostly just hung out at the house and enjoyed each others company.  There were a few cut-throat games of Scrabble going on (thanks Steve!) and the girls took a short walk in the neighborhood to keep our legs loosened up.  The hubbies all chipped in and cooked us a fabulous dinner...grilled chicken, spaghetti, salad, brocolli, and garlic bread.  They even cleaned up, too!  We ladies are so blessed to have such great support from our men.

Pre-Race Jitters

I was a bundle of nerves Saturday night and didn't get to bed until around 11, despite knowing that I needed to sleep.  I probably got a total of 3 to 4 hours sleep when it was all said and done.  I'm not really sure why I was so nervous...I think maybe because my longest run in training was only 10 hours because I was fighting injuries.  I'm sure some of it was also just not knowing what to expect.

Alarm went off at 5:15 AM, with intention of snoozing until 5:30, but there was no snoozing!  I was up about 5 minutes later with nerves so bad that I had goosebumps.  My stomach wasn't too happy about that, either, and took over for a few minutes.  After that, though, it was smooth sailing.  I got dressed quickly (thanks to laying everything out the night before), attached my race number and headed upstairs for breakfast.  I had planned on a bowl of Go Lean Crunch, but could only get about 1/2 of it down.  I did manage a bit of coffee (can't go without that!!), and finished off a banana and most of a CLIF bar on the way to the start.

This is me (to the left) in my race gear...including my new Spibelt, which I found at the EXPO.  I had a larger belt with water bottles, but had chosen not to use it.  I never could get used to the bottles and they didn't hold enough water to be worth it.  My one concern was carrying my CLIF Bloks and Shots, and this belt was perfect.

You can also see my computer chip on my right (your left) shoe.  It was a pretty cool thing to know they would have my exact time from when I crossed the start to when I crossed the finish.  We were starting at the back of the group, so we knew the gun time would be off for us.  And yes, those are my bedroom slippers beside me.  Don't be jealous.  :)

At the Start-Line

Alan drove Jane, Trudy and I to the runner's drop off area where we met back up with Ashley.  She had gotten a hotel room for herself the night before to ensure a good nights sleep (only to be awoken at 3 am by a fire station alarm...LOL!).  We found her fairly easily and snapped some pictures before Alan took off back to the house.   Afterwards, Ashley and I went to find our friend Michelle, who was also running with us and the three of us caught the sunrise over the ocean.  It was beautiful...and I figure I'd best watch it that morning, becuause I never would get up on my own just for that...LOL!

We made one last potty stop and then headed over to the 12:01 - 13:00 corral.  We had all figured we could do a 12-minute mile, but thought it best to start one corral back.  We didn't want to get in the way of the more serious runners.  They had a great band playing good classic rock and a couple of '80s songs.  To give you an idea of the crowd size...by the time our part of the crowd got quiet for the Star-Spangled Banner,  the singer was almost to the last stanza!  After that, they played Eye of the Tiger (from Rocky) and everyone was getting pumped!  The excitement was fabulous!

The RACE!

Right at 7:00 am, the first gun went off and the Elite runners were off.  They moved us through corral by corral, giving each group their own gunshot.  Of course, getting through the crowd at the beginning was very, very tricky because there were a lot of walkers in our group.  Michelle and Ashley took off first, and I quickly lost Jane and Trudy after that.

For the first few miles, I would catch up to and then fall behind Ash and Michelle.  They were doing 3-and-1s (Galloway Run-Walk method), but I was doing 6-and-1s.  The funny part is that while my running pace is a bit faster than theirs, their walking pace is faster than mine...I blame my short legs!  So, we were constantly going back and forth, back and forth.  Finally, I decided to give up on the 6-and-1s and just stay with them.   I would drop behind each time we walked, but would then catch up during the run.  Plus, the 3-and-1 saved some of my energy for the end.

The race track had us going up Hwy 158 - the main road through Nags Head - and through a couple of neighborhoods, including going right behind the house we rented.  Alan was waiting for us at the entrance to our neighborhood, cheered us on, then ran back to the house to get the kids outside.  When we got to the corner of our street, several of them were waiting.  Trenton was there and he joined me in running towards the house.  In the picture above, you can see Tanner (in blue) running to switch out water bottles with me, and Trenton is actually holding my hand, running with me.

Of course, running by the house also gave me a chance to shed my jacket, which felt so good!  We knew that we would be running by, so we had planned on all that, but in the excitement of seeing the kids and keeping on pace, I nearly forgot!  Good thing Matt reminded me!

As expected, all the high fives and cheers were wonderful to keep us going.  In fact, there were spectators along the whole course!  I was surprised by how many people had come out to the course with their chairs, signs, balloons, and even costumes.  We even saw one group dressed up as pirates.  All there for the express reason of cheering on the runners.  It was so encouraging and so uplifting that it really did keep us going.  Businesses had put up signs along the way...including one that told how much longer to go in miles, feet, inches, etc., ending with "it doesn't matter, you're almost there!".  There were a lot of families on the route, too, cheering on their favorite moms and dads, and everyone else for that matter.  They had posters, cowbells, whistles, clappers, and even pom-poms.  It was great!


The Bridge

Once out of the neighborhood, we quickly hit the halfway point (6.55 miles).  At that point, we were back on the main road headed toward the most daunting part of the race...the BRIDGE.  There is a bridge connecting Roanoke Island, where Manteo is, to Nags Head, and we had to cross it.   If you are familiar with the area, it's the last bridge you cross before hitting Hwy 12.  Um....the one with the "High Crosswinds" warning (eek!).  We had talked a lot about plans for the bridge - run it, walk it, wait and see what the pattern was, etc. 

As we approached the intersection with Hwy 12 South - and after Ashley reminded me not to turn left towards Hatteras - we discussed the bridge again and decided we should just go for it!  So at the next station, I grabbed a couple of Hammer Gels, which the race had provided throughout and sucked one down with some water.  We walked a bit at the beginning of the bridge, and at various times broke out into our steady jogs.  I was the last to start the jog, but eventually passed Michelle, then Ash, and kept trotting upwards with my head down, looking up only occasionally so I didn't get too overwhelmed.  I had to slow my pace quite a bit, but I made it!!!!  I even let out a little yelp and threw my arms up at the crest...it was such a major feat for me.

Of course, the coolest part is that the boys were crossing the bridge in the traffic as we were running.  They were trying to get to the finish line to see us, and for a while didn't think they would make it.  I'm so glad they did see us on the bridge, though, because they got some great pictures.

They caught up with Jane first (I think they must have missed Trudy) as she was starting on the flat part.

Next, they caught up with Michelle and Ashley, who had caught back up with each other.  I think they had either just crested the hill or were just about to.  (The horizon in the distance makes me think they were heading slightly downhill.)

Then, on the downslope and past the water, they saw me.  The close up is of me yelling, "I ran it! I ran it, baby!" to Matt in the car.  I was absolutely stoked!!  I had pushed through the hardest part - the part I worried about - and conquered it.  It was an unexpected boost and from that point, I kicked it in high gear. 


Finishing Up

While on the bridge...almost at the very top...we passed the 10 mile marker.  Of course, that meant only 3.1 miles to go and after the "conquering hero" moment I had just had, there was no stopping.  When I reached the other side of the bridge, I walked for a minute or so (didn't check the watch) and then began running again.  At this point, I had decided to take my friend Sharon's advice and just keep going until I needed to walk and stop worrying about minutes.  I did no set pattern from then on out.  Just walked when I needed to and ran the rest of the way.   I figured Ash and Michelle would catch up when I was walking, like before, but they didn't.


We took a right at the second stoplight, into downtown Manteo.  The closer I got to the finish, the more crowded the spectators became, and the more encouraging.  "Only one more mile!", "Just another block!", "Just around this corner!", "You're so close!"...all of those and more.  I can't begin to express how supportive everyone was of the runners. It was also there that I saw my favorite sign...a man had a poster that said "Short-Cut, This Way" pointing ahead down the course.  He was saying, "just follow them, you'll be there before you know it."  It made me laugh, and trust me, 12.5 miles is a great place to have a laugh!

When my watch said I had travelled 12.6 miles, I decided that was it, I was running the rest of the way.  The course made its way back near the water and shortly afterwards I saw the red-and-white banner of the Finish Line.  It was wonderful and the crowds were nuts!  I tried to look for Matt and the kids at first, and then just gave up and focused on getting there.  I heard my name called out, then saw the clock and busted out a short sprint to shave off a couple of seconds.  Pushed it through to the end!!

Later in the day, we looked up my offical results:  2 hours, 30 minutes, and 49 seconds, which is far better than I expected.  Finished 232 out of 336 in my age group and 1283 out of 2205 total participants.

Post-Race

Immediately past the finish line, there was a lady giving out medals to everyone.  I tried to wait to see Ash cross the line, but they kept shuttling me down the chute.  I grabbed some water and started looking for my boys.  After grabbing a couple more goodies, including a peanut-butter sandwich and banana, I found them.

It was so good to see them and to have them there celebrating with me!  They had bought me a big congratulations card and each (even Trenton!) had written a message on the inside for me.

We finally caught up with Ashley, but never did see Michelle, Jane or Trudy because of the crowds.  Ash and Michelle were only a couple of minutes behind me, and Jane and Trudy only a few minutes later behind them.  We caught up with them via cell phones (thank goodness for technology) and decided it would be best if we met up with them at the house. 


We headed back to Ash's hotel to grab her stuff and then headed back opposite the race course to Nags Head.  We cheered on those still running, and at this point some of the marathoners were coming through.  I'm still very impressed with anyone who can run 26.2 miles and not sure that I ever want to try it.  It is simply amazing what the human body can do.

After making it back to the house, we piled into the cars and headed to, where else?  Five Guys!!!  Of course, the ladies all sported their medals like they were crowns to a new kingdom or something.  We had worked HARD!  Now, I love me some Five Guys food, but I don't think I've ever tasted a better burger than the one I had that day.  Maybe it was the sweetness of a hard days work mixed in with the company of good friends.  It can't be topped.

After that, it was back to the house for some hot-tub time and some relaxation.  Several of the group went down to the beach, but I decided on a small nap.  When I got up (about 30 minutes later), I had yet another sandwich and then snacked again before dinner.  I was hungry all day!  Steve, Trudy, Alan and their kids all left so that the kids could be back in school Monday, but Jane stayed behind with the Barnes' and us.  We headed out to the Outer Banks Brewing Station, which was very delicious!  We picked it because we all figured we had a beer or two, but I ended up with a "Painkiller" mixed drink, and even then only drank about half of it.  I just wanted water and food....and lots of both!

I was in the bed by about 9, which is unheard of even by my early standards.  I slept pretty good, but still not wonderfully.  I don't know if I was just too tired to relax or if the bed was just terrible (oh, and it was terrible!).  So, I'm looking forward to being back in my own bed tonight.

Thanks to my family and friends who all supported me, both there at the race and those at home.  I couldn't have done it without your support.  It's been an amazing experience and I can't wait to do it again!!!




2 comments:

  1. Angie...you rock. I'm so impressed and inspired by you!

    ReplyDelete