Sunday, December 2, 2007

Race Day Memphis 1/2 marathon

We were a little late getting on the road and then we encountered some construction traffic that had us running behind. I had spoken to Kelly and Heather about where they were, unfortuantely we didn't get to meet up with any of them.
We did get to the race in time to make it to the port a potties and thank goodness!!!
As we were heading to the 10:00 minute pace corral we passed Susan, it was just a brief moment but it was great to see her.
The whole time we were waiting for the start I was scanning the crowd for Kelly and Robert, come to find out later they weren't very far behind us.
They do wave starts at Memphis so it took us around 9:00 minutes to cross the start line. Normally it is at this point that Kim and I say good luck and good bye, today was different we actually ran the whole race together along with Cheryl.
We started off at a very comfortable pace, for me yesterday was all about Cheryl. Kim and I want her to love running as much as we do and she didn't have the greatest experience at the LR 1/2 marathon so we wanted this race to be different.
The race course was VERY crowed much more so than last year. It was kind of hard for us to run together so we had to do a lot of weaving, sometimes I was having to catch up to them and vice versa. One of the many great things about the Memphis marathon is they have water stops at every mile. We skipped the first one, but took water at the second one, this kind of became our pattern for the rest of the race. We would only slow down long enough to take a drink of water and then we were off. I had worn an old denim shirt as a warm up and I finally threw it off about mile three. Before the race I had been worried that the Elijah shirt would be too warm but it was actually perfect, I was comfortable the whole race!
One of the bad things about the Memphis 1/2 is the roads, they are very uneven and slanted you constantly had to be on the lookout for holes and it was a struggle to try to stay in the middle of the road to avoid the slant.
Some of my favorite parts of the early miles were running down Riverside drive and seeing the Mississippi River, soon after that though there is a pretty steep incline before you get to Beale street. Beale street is always fun there are lot's of crowds and music.
I pretty much needed to pee from the start of the race... very frustrating especially since I used the port a potty just before the start. I did ok until mile 4 and then I told the girls I was going to have to stop at the next aid station. Luckily Cheryl needed to as well so I didn't feel like I was holding her back. As I was in the port a potty I heard Kelly calling Cheryl's name, I was so dissapointed I missed her.
That stop was really the first walk break we took, other than just a second or two at the water stations at mile 2 and 4.
I really don't know why I thought this race was flat with only a few inclines... I mean I ran it last year so what happened to my brain??? I've been saying it was runners amnesia, but I also think it was because last year this was our first big race. Also last year I got really sick right after the race so maybe that erased my memory of the course??? But when we were running yesterday I would think oh yeah I remember this hill. I was also thinking of poor Kelly, I had assured her over and over this was a relatively flat course. I was afraid she was hating me and would never trust me again!!
Somewhere around mile 6 I think it was I felt something rubbing my right little toe, I have never had problems there so I think maybe something was in my sock. Finally just as we were approaching the park into the zoo Cheryl needed a walk break so I took that opportunity to take off my shoe and adjust my sock, Cheryl also needed to take off her ankle brace. The potty break and the shoe break really affected our time but both were very necessary! We got started again and I knew that the adjustment hadn't helped my little toe, I just had to live with it. I now have a nice little raw spot on my little toe, not a blister that would be better, no I have a spot on my toe with no skin at all.
We missed the GU station, it was somewhere around the zoo, I did hear someone say something about chocolate gu, but yuck I didn't want that!
I had started my Luna Moons about mile 4 and took one every other mile or so after that.
Oh I can't forget to mention that at mile 4 we saw Chasen and he saw us and he called out my name and said good job. It was so awesome to see him, I have never been at a race where I knew someone in the crowd. Right around mile 10 or just before it Cheryl spotted her Aunt Martha and cousin Grace, we started yelling and waving our arms, at first she didn't see us, but then when she did see Cheryl the smile on her face was priceless... she even ran with Cheryl for a little bit with her arm around her. The smile on Cheryl's face during and afterwards was priceless too!!! It gave us all a jolt of energy that lasted quite a while! It was a little bit after that that I got to see Chasen again, and again he saw me and yelled encourging words to me.
The stretch between the beginning of mile 10 up to about 11.5 were just awesome the crowd support was wonderful kids were lined up for low fives and I was on top of the world. Somewhere around here as I was woo hooing and yelling thanks to everyone in the crowd a man came up beside me and said he wished that some of my energy could rub off on him... so I rubbed his arm and told him he was doing great, that just made my day too :) especially since I remember last year at that time I was really struggling so it was nice to maybe help someone else just a little bit.
The constant hills were starting to wear on us, I don't know what point we were at but I remember the three of us were calling out all of our body parts that were hurting, which were pretty much all of them.
Cheryl really was starting to struggle and at about 12.5 she just suddenly stopped and said she couldn't do it, that everything hurt. Of course Kim and I were right there and didn't let her stop for long, I told her even if we have to walk it in it's ok, but that if she ran it in she would have a huge PR. I don't think Cheryl cares about any of that but I was just trying to think of something to keep her going. Of course she was never really going to stop, she just needed a breather. Right around this point there is one last uphill, and there was a guy there who said " I have to be honest with ya'll, you look like HELL, but you are almost done" it was perfect we all got a good laugh out of it and it helped take our mind off that last hill. Thankfully the last part of the race is downhill into Auto Zone stadium and for the 1/2 marathon runners it is just a short but around the track to the finish line.
There was a man with his son and maybe other family members running together and we had kind of played leap frog through out the race, I thought it was so great that they were running togehter and he was doing such a great job so around mile 12 I ran up to him and told him how awesome he was. We passed him just after that, but as we were approaching the stadium that little guy just zoomed by us I was so happy for him !
I really wanted me Kim and Cheryl to cross the finish line together but there were so many people with us I didnt' know if we would be able to.... but we did :) I can't wait to see the pictures.
I was so proud of Cheryl yesterday she has had a lot of setbacks with her running, she has had to do a lot of travelling and just as she was really starting to build up her mileage and feel good she twisted her ankle while in Seattle. The Dr. told her no running for a least 4 weeks. After she was able to run again it was almost like having to start over, but she did it and she did great yesterday!!! She still doesn't love running but I am not giving up hope!!!

Big shout out to Kelly who had an awesome race yesterday with a huge PR!! Way to go Kelly.

After we got our medals and chips off we went upstairs for food, on the way we ran into Jackie, Ginny and Jamie. I was thrilled to see them!!!! We chatted for a bit but I was starving and ready for some of that yummy McAlister's soup!
Luckily while we were in line for the food Robert found us :) we all got something to eat and then went to the bleachers and sat with Kelly and Robert.

It was an awesome day I wish I could have seen Heather, Sarah S. and Shaylynn they all had great races as well!!
My only regret was that I was not able to be there for Susan when she started struggling during the full marathon.

My very favorite thing about this race is that all the proceeds go the St. Jude's hospital and most of the crowd support is family members who have been touched by St. Jude. All through out the race I would yell thank you's to the people clapping for us and they in turn would say no THANK YOU for running... it's not very often that you have people thanking your for running and it was just and awesome feeling.
I thought of Elijah often yesterday and of my old friend Kathy and her son Brandon Tyler who recently earned his angel wings. I did a lot of praying for healing and hope and peace for Elijah's family and for Kathy.

I plan to run the St. Jude marathon or 1/2 marathon every year for as long as I can run.


cheryl said...

Great race report!! Thanks again for running with me, you still have a lot of work to do to make me love running! But, you made me get through yesterday and I feel pretty good today thanks to you and Kim!

Kirsten said...

Annette, Congrats on an awesome race! I love reading everyone's different experiences. How great to run with a friend for her first half. I have hope for Cheryl to LOVE it! Excellent details and CONGRATS!!

Susan said...

WOW - your race sounds great!!!! Way to go. You and Kim were Cheryl's angels on Saturday! :)

ShirleyPerly said...

Great race and what a race report! You really have a knack for details. Great job all around!!