I did it. I did what I said I would never have the desire to do. I did something that I once described as, "ridiculously boring" when I pondered the idea of having to run any race that would take me over 2 hours to complete. Well, eating crow never tasted so good.
My parents and Fred's mom all came up with us. I know that aside from Fred, my parents are my biggest fans. Especially my Mom. She really is. This was abundantly clear to me when she hugged me the night before and said, "Don't worry about being first. You'll do great no matter what." At which point I just cracked up because clearly my mother has not been following my short little running career as close as I'd thought. I just laughed and told her my goal was to finish and enjoy every minute of it.
The race was an incredible experience that I will always cherish. Even though it started at 4am...
So, yeah, 4 am. Fred and I woke up after a not-so-restful 4 hours of sleep, to get ready before catching our shuttle bus at 4:50am. We took that bus to the high school in Traverse City where we immediately boarded another bus bound for the start of the Bayshore Half Marathon. The race took place on a peninsula. The Half started out at the end of it and headed in to finish at the high school. The Full started at the high school and then went out to the peninsula and back.
At about 5:45am, we were dropped off in a field by the start line. The race didn't start until 7:30am so we had some time to kill which we pretty much spent by freezing. It was in the low 50's. The event coordinators did however provide us with water and music to freeze to. Fred was so cold that he pulled his arms into his shirt which was amusing enough but when he began dancing the armless 'lawn mower' and 'sprinkler', I almost peed myself.
When the race began at 7:30, the sun was shining bright. The weather was perfect with cool temps and beautiful sunshine. The course ran along the shore line so that there was a great view of the bay and Lake Michigan. Amazingly serene.
Gotta love a race that is 'black tie' optional!!!
Me: Hi. Is something wrong?
Mom: No. I was just calling to see where you are.
Me: (In my head) Uh..... seriously? What came out of my mouth though was: "Well I'm kind of running a half marathon here... can I let you go?"
Mom: Sure. I'll talk to you later. Love you!
See, Biggest. Fan. Ever. I love you, Mom.
I wasn't expecting to see Fred until the end. His pace is much faster than mine. However, he experienced some serious knee issues at mile 3 and by mile 7 he was having some pretty horrific pain. He pushed through, stopping to stretch or walking when it got too bad. When I caught up to him I knew it wasn't good. I felt awful for him knowing how disappointed he was about his knee. It had never bothered him this bad during training. Serious bummer that it did it during the race. I felt crushed for him.
Our friend, Tyler, who was a Featured Runner a while back, rode his bike along the course during the race. A very nice surprise. It was pretty cool to have someone cheering us along the way.
I felt really good throughout the whole race. Just soaking it all up. My foot bothered me a little around mile 9 but I pushed through. I took a few pictures during the race and stopped for water and GU but never paused for more than a few seconds. I kept a pretty steady pace staying between 11:00 and 12:00. I stopped once to untangle my iPod which had managed to get all messed up and kept skipping. I remembered to pause my Garmin though. I pushed really hard the last mile and finished with a strong sprint.
Once I crossed the finish line I grabbed some water and walked a little bit along the fenced in path. I stopped to drink my water and then remembered to stop my Garmin. When I looked up from my Garmin, I saw my family standing in the bleachers across from me, all waving like maniacs. It was the best sight ever. My emotions overwhelmed me and my eyes filled with tears.
This amazing life moment was made ever more memorable by another female runner who quickly walked toward me and said, "Block me. I have to pee so bad and I can't wait any longer." right before she stepped behind me and dropped trow. I tried to spread my running skirt out but really there's just not a lot of material there. I think I probably let her down with my incompetent blocking abilities. I think she was too relieved to notice though. I hope. If you're reading this, sorry, I really tried my best.
At the end of the path I was given my medal and then congratulated by Tyler. Which was another great surprise. I was glad that he had stuck around to congratulate us. Very cool, Tyler, thank you!
Then, my calves exploded. Never before, I mean NEVER have I experienced such excruciating pain in my legs. My calves hurt so bad. I never had any pain during training so I know it must have just been the last mile of really pushing myself. I didn't know if I could keep walking let alone standing. I bent over into a forward fold and tried to stretch them out. It helped a little but now my foot was hurting again too. For crying out loud, I went from 35 to 90 in about two minutes. My chip time was 2:35 and my Garmin time was 2:33. I'm guessing I finished around 2:32 or so since I forgot to stop my Garmin at the finish.
Fred was able to finish the race running. I know he is disappointed with his time, his knee, and the overall experience of his first half marathon. I'm still very proud that between January and now he has lost over 50 pounds, taken his health and fitness to a whole new level, and completed his first half marathon. The big picture, babe, it's all good.
We all headed back to our hotel after the race. We stayed at the Grand Traverse Resort. (Very nice, and they have a Starbuck's in the lobby! Awesomeness!) We showered then went to eat at one of the resort restaurants. Then we went back to our room and declared it nap time for everyone. We hit the pool with the little ones after nap which was quite the challenge since we had no energy and were incredibly stiff and sore. Looking back, I'm probably lucky I didn't drown. Our kids didn't seem to notice any of that though.
Between his knee and my legs and feet, we were quite the pair hobbling around the next day. It really was quite comical.
I'm already making plans to do it again next year though. I totally get why this race sold out in 3 hours. Traverse City is beautiful, the race course is beautiful, the beaches are beautiful. There's practically a winery on every corner. So yeah, it's my kind of town.
Huge love and thanks to my family, friends, and everyone who offered support, advice, encouragement, and congratulations!!!
Major 'thank you' to my Fred. For everything.
Peace, Love, Happiness!