Saturday 10:30 pm: turned off season 1 Weeds DVD (hard to do, interesting show)
3:30am Sunday: alarm goes off, ok because I was waking up spontaneously every 15 mins or so anyway, ate a banana and a clif bar. Rick wakes up and offers to make eggs, sent him back to bed.
4:20am: Kim arrives, we get in the car, drive off, realize we need $$ for tolls and parking, return and try again.
5:15am: meet up with Tampabay Fit team in convention center, can't believe how crowded and bad traffic was getting into downtown. Stretch, poop (big relief) and then walk towards start line.
5:45am: In throng waiting for start, unbelievable how many people are running. I can't actual see the start line but eventually hear the National Anthem and the crowds start to move. The time as we crossed start line was 3:35 but thats ok because my time is recorded based on a digital chip clipped onto my shoelaces, cool huh? Over 5 thousand people finished the half and full marathon and we all start together, the first couple of miles we were packed in like sardines. After we crossed the Davis Island bridge, things open up a bit.
I am in total awe of what a big deal it feels like to be in the race. Strangers line the road at 6am shouting encouragement. A lady plays a flute and waves, a block later its a guy on a banjo. Families and kids are waving light up circus type toys. Some guy is putting on a juggling show. People watching are bundled up in blankets and jackets, its about 58 degrees and the temperature is dropping as the cold front moves in. Crazy gusts of wind blow debris and leaves around. I am in my shorts and tshirt with my windbreaker tied around my waist.
I lose Kim less than 1 minute into the race, her pace is too quick for me. I had a plan, I was going no faster than my usual pace which averages out to around 13:00/mile with my walk breaks. For the first 6 miles I saw alot of Ray and Pam from my Tampabay Fit group, they were keeping a similar pace but we were not on sync. My cool garmin wristwatch/heartrate monitor thing made it easy to monitor my pace and I am ahead of schedule but not by too much. Of course I have to pee but see 20-30 people waiting in line at each mile mark to use the port a pots. Eventually I find one on a construction site, not an official race port a pot so no tp, but with only one person waiting, it will do.
As we finish the Davis Island loop and cross the bridge again to head toward the convention center and through the finish line by pass, we are between miles six and seven. There are already runners finishing the Half though as I am passing that point, unbelievable. The crowds are going wild and I watch them finish as I am approaching the halfway point and I am really starting to feel the race take its toll. There were inclines in this area and the wind had picked up and I was really starting to tire. As I pass the 7 mile mark and am heading onto the Bayshore loop the skies open up and the rains pour down. I put on my wind breaker, tie the hood tight around my visor and run/walk into the wind for the next 5 miles. I did not think I would ever get to the turn around at the 10 mile mark, it seemed so far away.
Somewhere between miles 11-12 the rain lets up and I realize I will finish the race and my pace picks up again. The windbreaker goes back around my waist. Rick appears out of no where and wants to take my picture but I refuse to stop, I'm afraid I won't start again and at that point I just wanted to finish. The Rough Riders Crewe are passing out beads and I realize it will end soon.
I am looking for Rick and the girls as I approach the finish but don't see them. I cross with the clock showing 2:59 and I am so happy because my goal was to finish under 3 hours, never imaging how bad the weather would be. I am given a fake medal at the finish, they have run out and will mail me the real medal. I get a picture taken with a pirate. It takes a while to find the family, Kim finished just 2 minutes ahead of me but was limping pretty badly. Lots and lots of hugs and kisses, the girls are so excited. The wind is so strong one of the port a pots at the finish line blows over. We skip the post race festivities because of the weather and head home. Shower, eat the wonderful eggs dh makes and make it to 11:00am service.
Official time 2:55:34. Finished 3159 out of 3439 total in the half. Max heart rate 193, avg heart rate 180 (I'd never seen me hit 190 before). Pace 13.5/mile.
Sore quads still but no other problems. Will definitely do this again. Maybe even 26.2, who knows?
Thanks to all who supported and cheered. Its your turn. If I can do it, so can you. xoxo