The start was in the CBD and snaked around an entire city block, We were somewhere in the middle of the back of the line and it took our corral 29 minutes to cross the Starting Line. There were well over 20,000 people in this race and we met about a hundred of them standing in the corral and mooing our way to the front. Some were wearing the same shirt so I asked if they were a part of a club. No, this shirt was for runners who had completed 3 Marathons in 3 months. Any three consecutive months. Now we saw another shirt that read 50 States and asked about it. This man, in his 70s had run 192 MARATHONS in every state of the union. I'd capitalize the 192 if I could, for emphasis!
Here are R and P at the start of the race..... all fierce and ready to rock.
I found some sport tape at the Expo the day before and wrapped my right ankle and left knee is an effort to give them some added support. The good news is the ankle felt great the whole way through. The bad news is I have done some damage to the knee regardless the tape and by mile 9 .5 , I was in agony.
But Rachel and I slowed down to walking fast. Even at that, we were passing other walkers. I had no concept of the time that had passed and was determined I would cross that finish line in under 4 hours.
That was somewhere behind the the NOMA in City Park and as we approached the buiding itself, I saw hand-made sign reading ".25 miles".. Me: "REALLY!!!! REALLY???? It's only a quarter left???!!!!"
So we made a break for it and eventually ran under a huge scaffolding I mistook for the end...... Oh no wait.... keep going! Keep going!!!! So we plogged a little further and crossed.
YEA!!!!!!!! WE did it, now what do we do???
Here was the best part and now that I am more familiar with what to expect, I want to do it again.
After we crossed the finish line, we were handed or medals and limped away to where people press on you bananas and bagels and chocolate milk, Gatorade and water and fruit cups and oh, I don't remember what all...... Here is where I intend to linger at any future HM. I left that area WAY too quickly... big mistake!
But I was really hankering for that free beer and jambalaya we were promised. We hadn't eat much for breakfast and I was ravenous at this point.
We never found the free beer....... We finally found and I stood in a beer line that NEVER advanced for what seemed to be over 10 minutes. I saw people with cash in their hands standing there but never saw anyone ever leave the front with beer..... Meanwhile R and P went in search of food and came back with 3 styro cups of absolutely delicious jamba but they cost $5.00 each! Hmmmm... we clearly were doing something amiss.
We finally gave up on the beer altogether and tried to go back to get another water bottle or two but once you leave the gauntlet, you may not return.
So the question immediately after the run was "would I do it again?" At that time, the answer was a firm no. But enough days have passed now and the answer is yes. I will and here is why:
I know better what to expect from all of it. The training, the actual distance, the prep the week before, pacing. clothing, and I had a great time. Now I want to do it again, only faster.
I know.... but another t shirt read
"Half Marathoners are only Half Crazy"