Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Country Music 1/2 Marathon

I've been meaning to blog about our weekend to Nashville for my 1st 1/2 marathon but just got these pictures uploaded to the computer! So here we go, get a snack, drink, port-a-potty, ect...I'm a story teller! We got to Nashville Friday afternoon and met up with (at our hotel) my high school friends/"long distance running partners" Heather & Heidi and husbands early that evening. We hopped back into their SUV and headed to the Expo to get our race packets....AKA a bag full of wasted/good trees (advertising about future races and such) along with the much needed race # to identify us and disposable timing chip....very cool.....I thought!! Mind you this was my first BIG race, I've done a few small races in Chattanooga so either I did not get a timing chip or you had to stop at the end of the race and let them take it off your shoe!! Along with reminding you that this was my first BIG race.....there were SOOOOO many people I wanted to turn around and go home, and this was just seeing people coming and going at the Expo! Very intimidating but luckily we had Heather and Heidi with us who knew the ropes and made it a very easy in/out experience! Then on to the "carb loading" meal......yah along with every other person! So we eventually ended up at an Olive Garden and at this point we were thankful for whatever pasta we could find....it was getting late!  I was quite nervous at dinner because I envisioned an evening of eating early and then relaxing in our rooms prior to blissfully falling off to sleep around 9:00ish!!! NOT!!! We didn't get back to our hotel from eating and settled into bed until 10:45.....I'm not sure that Jon, Kristi, or I got any sleep! I was nervous that I would miss the alarm and nervous about running.....did I eat right the week before? did I hydrate well? was I going to run in the time I had set a goal to complete the race in.....who am I kidding WAS I GONNA BE ABLE TO FINISH THE RACE period!!! That 4:15 alarm went off just as we all settled into a good sleep! We managed to drag ourselves out to the car and hit the highway only to find ourselves caught in stand still traffic! Well if that just didn't send me into a frenzy but I was assured that we would make it and we did....in enough time for some pictures and one last potty break! Nathan (Heidi's husband), Heidi, Heather, and I went off to line up with the other 31,000+ runners. Kristi, Phil (Heather's husband), and Jon were off on their bikes for breakfast and then to find a spot to cheer us on at some point in the race! I truly could have used them about 3 times but the 1 time I got to hear my named being yelled and cheered on was AWESOME!!! Now on to the GREAT part!!!! As I started running we ascended up a very small hill but enough of one where the sun was GLEAMING through the city and you could see thousands of runners ahead.....to say it was surreal is an understatement! I probably could have cried....it was very exciting and I'm sure that you 1st time 1/2 or full marathoners can relate! I was feeling good, I really tried hard to pace myself....not knowing what to expect.... I didn't want to start off with a bang and not be able to finish. There was a band at every mile, drink stations, and thousands of people standing on the side cheering everyone on! I took the Hammer Gel about 50 minutes into the race and knew that I would take 1 more at mile 10 along with keeping myself hydrated at just about every water station.....I even sucked on a couple orange wedges that they passed out. I was feeling really good until about mile 9ish. I got a wave of chills and knew I was gonna go downhill from there. (Let me stick in here that I have been running for about a year now, nothing serious.....just a good release for me and a good form of exercise. When Heather came to visit last year we decided we would sign up for the 1/2 marathon and do it together....it's good to have goals. I followed a training plan for this 1/2. When I did my long runs during this training I would get those chills towards then end but just push myself to finish the amount of miles I needed to complete. I never researched or asked anyone what those chills meant and how to prevent them.) So sure enough at mile 10 I wanted to STOP. I was feeling really fatigued. I got a small wave of energy as I saw/heard Jon, Kristi and Phil cheering! Also at this point I was still doing good on time and would be able to finish in my goal time of anything under 2 hours. But it was from about mile 10.5 until the end that it was completely mental for me to continue. My body kept telling me to stop....I had to walk several times but my brain would kick in again and I would run for a little bit. It didn't help that up until this weekend it had been pretty cool outside and then all of a sudden we were in the low 80's.....people were passed out left and right....lots of people treated for heat exhaustion (on a side and very sad note a 26 y/o male died after finishing the 1/2 but cardiac related problems). I really felt at times that I was running soooo slow I really wasn't even moving....wish I could have seen that on video!!! I remember saying out loud to someone running next to me "where is the end????"......she didn't respond!!!! As I crossed the finish line I really felt like I was going to pass out and I couldn't figure out how to quickly get to Kristi and Jon so I found a grassy spot and laid down. Maybe not so smart so I got up and just tried to walk around slowly but I found myself bobbing off people as I made my way through the food line which I had ZERO interest in but forced down some water. After about 40 minutes I was able to find Kristi and Jon and couldn't have been more excited! That's when the emotions kicked in (which I thought would happen as I crossed the finish line)! I didn't finish in my "goal time" but this being my first 1/2 my goal ultimately was to finish and I did just that and came in at 2:09!!! I feel like I am giving an acceptance speech here but in all seriousness I have to really thank Jon who pushed and supported me during the weeks of getting ready for this. My girls who were troopers in going to the gym with me along with keeping me company in the garage while I ran on the treadmill. My mom who spent a few days on the river walk (at the end of my training when I needed a boost from someone) keeping me company. My sister who came with us to Nashville to cheer us on and take lots of pictures over the weekend along with meeting me at the gym during training! AND my long distance running partners Chap and Heidi!!! Love you guys!!!! In ending this, either you're still with me and thanks for listening to my experience or I totally lost you about 3 hours ago. I have to relate this experience to something and that is giving birth to a child! Although I didn't go through too much pain in the delivery of both my girls I experience painful childbirth in a different way several times a week at my job. Women will scream out "I'M NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN, THIS IS THE 1ST AND LAST CHILD I WILL HAVE"!!!! Once that baby is born there is some type of amnesia that kicks in and they have another and sometimes even another and another!!!! So while in the middle of this race I know for a fact that I said (in my head) I WILL NEVER DO THIS AGAIN, after I finished and felt better I will DEFINITELY be signing up for another one......and maybe even another and another!!!

"Carb Loading"!!!
Very fun to be with high school friends.....really like not a day had passed!!
Too early to be up! My eyes appear to be struggling to stay open!

Disposable timing chips
My GREAT support system!

Trying to be silly....anything to keep my mind off of the 13.1 that lie ahead!

Yep that's right a picture of isles of port-a-potty's!!! A good 30 minutes to get in and then I will spare you the disturbing details of what I found inside!!! 
Jon praying with me.....or really for me!
My corral 

Packed in...getting ready to start!!!
Look at all those sad water bottles screaming to be recycled! 

The picture does NO justice to the amount of people out there but an idea!!

***Please be aware of the following pictures where you will find the cheesiest smiles but people I FINISHED and I was VERY happy!!!

Right after I found Kristi and Jon....my post race food!
Yay!!! My medal!!!
Post racers!

My wonderful sister who captured the whole weekend on camera!

Our meeting place....for obvious reasons....Hughes, Heather, Heidi...very little brain activity needed to find your family!
These 2 became the greatest of friends out by the pool Saturday afternoon while the rest of us rested the afternoon away!!
I had BIG plans for Saturday evening but we were all exhausted and ended up eating mexican with talking and lots of laughing involved. Then back to our hotel where we talked and laughed some more....to the point that we received a phone call with a "noise complaint"!!! 


The Hadfields said...

I am so impressed!! Way to go Kera!!

Heather Figueiredo said...

FINALLY! I have been checking your blog 12 times a day....the suspense was making me crazy :) You are a fantastic runner! And always have been, well at least since I've known you. So what is next? Let me know! I had so much fun training and racing with you, but I think the most fun was spending the weekend together! My goal is someday to keep up with your pace :)

Heidi said...

yea!!!! i was getting a little worried about you! very fun weekend.... and race :) love all the crazy shots! thanks for such a fun weekend!!

greenchickadee said...

SO fun!!! You have just motivated me. I'm putting my shoes on right now and I'm taking the kids out with me. Rain or no rain, we're getting out of the house!
So proud of you! AND with two kids! You rock!

Erika Reiner said...

Great job kera! Very proud of you! What an accomplishment. I think you should do the amazing race! That should be next. You and Heather...(high school buddies gimic)...I'd watch for sure and watch you win!!!