It feels kind of like passing a test... or a graduation of sorts. I'm SO glad the anxiety of this blessed event is gone, but I'm still left wondering what more the future could hold, how much I could improve, how much further I could go.
Its SUCH a love/hate relationship, this running thing.
It hurts. Its inconvenient. It smells bad. It takes time away from my already too short day and attention starved family.
But it adds such quality to my life, makes me a better mom and healthier and better looking wife, strengthens my friendships, and its basically free therapy.
This weekend was a huge pay-off for all the downsides.
The PF Chang's Rock and Roll marathon event in Phoenix, Az was absolutely amazing (there were over 40k participants, and probably at least another 40k spectators cheering us all on.
I asked my brother KJ to run with me on a whim a little over a month ago. He laughed it off at first, but eventually came around, and worked his tiny heine off in training almost daily. I can't believe the little snitch actually even ended up beating me in overall time... by exactly 55 seconds!!!
You better be lookin over your shoulder next time, little man! It is SO on.
There were 5 of us friends participating in total: Me, KJ, my best friend since high school Chelsea, her husband Wady, and her brother-in-law (and our friend), Robert.
Our times are as follow:
My sweet Dad (our event sponsor... ah, who am I kidding. He is my every-event sponsor), funded some sweet new shoes for KJ and I... pretty snazzy, eh?
The day before the race, we picked up our packets and loaded up with all the free stuff we could carry at the expo center:
That night, Chelsea's sweet sister had us all over for a carbo-load feast. I was already feeling the nerves.
The next morning, we set our alarms for 5:30am so we would have plenty of time to wake up, hydrate, caffienate, meditate (ha!) and fumble out the door by 6:30am to make sure we caught the shuttle. We were pretty close to on time schedule, and we STILL almost didn't make it to our starting corrals in time. As it turns out, its quite a project to navigate from one point to another in a crowd that large!
Talk about nerves.
But then, the race started, and it was ahhhhh-mazing.
The longest training run I had done before hand was 10.7 miles, and it hurt. Bad. I wasnt sure I was prepared. But I didn't account for the adrenaline rush you get from being in a new city, people you don't even know screaming and cheering you on, and of course, the anticipation of the blessed finish line.
There were all kinds of inspiring things to behold over 13 miles. People wearing wigs and/or tutus, old women with cottage cheese thighs who were running their little hearts out (if THEY could do it, then I didnt really have a choice, right!?), spectator signs that read "FREE BEER AHEAD!! (oh, and the finish line)," or "GOOOO, (insert your name here!!!)."
At one point, I passed a gorgeous blond with legs up to my chin. That felt good.
At another point, I passed 2 giant black guys. That felt good.
Later on, I found a group of runners holding a 2hr30minute marker sign, and I thought "I have GOT to pass them, I do NOT want my time over 2.5!"
I could almost see the finish line when I coudnt help but scream aloud "AHHHHHHHHH IT HURTS, IT HURTS, MAKE IT GO AWAY!" (mostly for dramatic effect), and this adorable little older lady in front of me looks over her shoulder and goes "C'mon honey! You can do it, you are ALMOST THERE!"
It melted my heart so much I forgot to whine the rest of the way (which really wasn't far from that point at all!).
All 5 of us had different start times, so we didn't see much of each other during the course. I started with Chels, but we got separated a couple miles in... and Robert and I saw each other once at the beginning, and then re-met a couple miles from the finish.
Victory for us all could NOT have felt sweeter.
Well, actually, maybe it was slightly sweeter for some of us more than others.... BwAhahahahah, Chelsea!
Chelseas family is SO sweet, I just love them all SO much. It feels like coming home every time I get to visit her and hang out with them.
Her sister, Ashley, has 2 young kids, and still seemed thrilled to lug them out into the elements in a crowd of 80 thousand+ people, find parking, skip nap times and eating schedules, and stand at a spectator point indefinitely just to take pictures and cheer us on. I'm thinking that sounds ALMOST as exhausting as running a half marathon itself.
Also on the cheer squad was Chelsea's mom, Jeri, who drove 2 hours to be there, and Robert's mom and Dad who came all the way from New Mexico to be supportive.
Maybe its silly, but it really means so so SO much that everyone in my circle and around my life is so encouraging. The day before I left, I posted on facebook about packing, and I seriously got chills reading all my friends voicing their little comments of well wishing. I actually even teared up a little (I know, I'm a baby)!
The road trip with my brothers was looooong, but fuuuuuuun.
We found little ways to entertain ourselves as the miles passed.
Just when I thought I had gotten out of traveling with small children... I was wrong. ;)
Other highlights of the trip included simple pleasures such as the particularly lax pool surveillance at our favorite luxury resort in Scottsdale... thanks for the pre-run soak, Phoenician~!
And of course, food. With best friends, and family.
Thanks for a fun trip, brothers. And for keeping me accountable to a hearty training regimen, Bethany Sobraske! And for the shoes and gas, Mom and Dad! And for the time away, husband and grandparents!
I have so much and so many to be thankful for.
TO LIFE, HEALTH, AND HAPPINESS... and MANY MORE EVENTS TO COME!