On the Thursday before the big day, I went out to the Flying Saucer where I met up with some friends who also run. I was introduced to a guy who had done an obscene amount of marathons (concidentally, it was about the same number of plates he had on the walls at the Saucer) and he put my mind at ease. He reassured me that I was ready, because I ran 9 miles...I'm good to go and to not be nervous. Easier said than done. Okay, really, I felt less nervous and told Haley (also freaking out at this point) what the guy told me to calm her nerves. It worked...up until about as soon as I woke up the morning on the big day.
The night before, I was cleaning and putting up decorations doing everything to busy my mind about my impending death. I had a restless sleep when I finally went to bed, because I kept thinking I would miss my alarm (side effect from the Seinfeld episode). But I woke up at 5:20 a.m. when my first text from Jules came in saying she was headed my way (I enlisted her to drive me and support me). Haley texted shortly after to make sure I was awake. Then, I started to get texts from friends wishing me good luck. Mal went so far as to send me flowers and a balloon and posted on both Haley and I's facebook page. I felt the love.
|I can't love this girl anymore than I already love her. She thought of me all the way from Grenada. Thank you Mal.|
For breakfast, I had an English Muffin with peanut butter and LOTS of water. I could say that I had a marathon of water. Yup, pun intended. I went there. Don't judge me.
We found our way to La Porte. Now, I have driven through La Porte, but never actually stayed there or visited there or even really been there. I think I was asleep everytime I drove through or just drove fast. I wasn't exactly sure where we were going, but I knew it was at Sylvan Beach and luckily for us, there were signs guiding us everywhere. Jules parked at the school and we met up with Haley at the chip pick up table (we actually got our packets early this time...GO US!).
|Haley and I in our standard before shot trying not to look nervous.|
I saw a group of people just stretching away and I said, "Let's go join them" after Haley and I went to the bathroom. They were passed the good stretches and on to the let's raise our heartbeat. We took that time to stretch on our own; however, we rejoined the group at the end when they went back to stretching.
|Haley and I having fun with our tandem stretch.|
Then, we found out that we in fact crashed the Bay Area Fit Club warmup. I'm not sure if you need to be a part of them, but it was probably a good thing. The main guy huddled us all up and they started shouting "HOORAA" and "Bay Area Fit Club." We were kind of near the middle and couldn't really sneak out of there without notice.
After our crash, we went over to get some more pictures with the bay in the background.
|Yeah, that's right...I busted out the guns. Whatchya gonna do, punk?|
Finally, it was time to head over to the start line. And wouldn't you know it, that's when it started to rain on us runners. The whole time we were there waiting and waiting, the weather gave us a reprieve and false hope that it wouldn't rain. But then, I could distinctly here this evil laugh coming from the skies and what sounded like, "You stupid peons....I will rain upon thee." So, as we stood there in the rain, it got cold and I was wishing that I had brought Jules' windbreaker (although, I'm glad I didn't). One guy was supporting his wife by standing there holding an umbrella over her head so she wouldn't get wet. Now, everyone at the same time, "Ahhhhhhhhhh."
I was getting antsy, jumping around, wanting them to hurry up and just blow the whistle. I complained that this race started later than the other 2 bridge series races. If we had started earlier, we wouldn't be rained on while we were waiting. But instead rained on while we were running (much better).
Then, I heard them announce the La Porte high school glee club to sing the Star Spangled Banner. Finally! Let the countdown begin...5...4...3...2...1...GO. It was time to start running...well, sort of, since we had to walk with the crowd before crossing the line.
I couldn't believe it. Haley and I were RUNNING OUR FIRST HALF MARATHON! Whoa! The song choice of course was I'm Sexy and I know it (video) and we sang that the entire run. I sang the Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle and she sang the Yeah. We had it down to a science.
Even with the cold drizzling rain (reminded me of England for some reason), it was hot. After awhile, I took off my under shirt. Before we reached the first mile marker, this loud group of guys started chanting Haley. They were Haley's friends and coworkers. She was so surprised to see them and just started running faster. In fact, every time she saw them, she got faster. They showed up throughout the course and were just awesome singing and chanting and yelling. They even had me tear up a little, especially when they finally learned my name and started chanting for me, too.
|The boys cheering on Haley.|
|Jules standing by the boys as we came around close to the first mile.|
Our goal was to stop for a walk at the 4 mile marker (or see how we felt), but we had a quick stop at the 3 mile marker so that Haley could fix her knee brace (it was quick...I swear). We ran mostly with this group of three ladies. They ran what seemed like 5 minutes and walked 1 minute. Even though we kept running, they were keeping up with our pace. At one point, we tried to follow them, but they stopped too much. This may have been our downfall in the end when they beat us at the finish line.
Everytime we reached a mile marker, I said, "1 down, 12 more to go." "2 down, 11 more to go." And of course Haley would sing, "I'm sexy and I know it." We had a system.
|The top of the Hartman Bridge covered in clouds.|
|Haley looking like a bad ass as we approach the incline.|
We ran the level area until we got to the incline where we walked to the halfway point before we picked up the run again. This is the time when we had goal points of when we would walk. However, Haley would get fast everytime she saw the boys and I would have to tell her to slow it down, bring it back. We made it to the turnaround point, which was roughly between the 6 and 7 mile marker. We weren't dead yet and in fact, feeling okay.
|A viewpoint of what we just ran over from the turnaround point.|
|Seriously, I love these guys and want to adopt them as my friends.|
|I thought this was cool seeing Santa at the turnaround point. They asked if we wanted to stop to take a picture and I said, "No, gotta keep moving."|
As we made our way back on the bridge, I still felt good, but my legs were hurting. My toes were hurting. It took a lot just to get to the incline so we could walk again. Finally, we made it off the bridge.
|On our way back down the Hartman Bridge.|
|Our other goal was to smile everytime we saw the photographers. Although, I contend that they didn't have many actually taking pictures. A lot of them were slacking.|
|Look at those smiles. I think I was hallucinating at this point.|
|Me and my bling. What an accomplishment to finish not only a half marathon, but all 3 bridge races.|
|The guys made this for us after the race. How freaking cool are they? And the best shot ever!|