Monday, December 27, 2010

St. Jude Marathon

Our weekend in Memphis started out on Friday morning. The Pattersons and Igos loaded up and headed out of town around 10:00. We wanted to have time to get there, enjoy the Race Expo, eat a good dinner, and then get in the bed! We had so much fun picking up our race numbers and exploring all the booths at the expo. Amy and I found great race jackets in the St. Jude booth, gummies (because I left mine at home L), and even 26.2 tattoos. Yes, tattoos. I jokingly told Craig while training for the race, that after the marathon I was getting 26.2 tattooed somewhere on me. He wasn’t very excited. . . but I WAS joking! Amy and I felt like the temporary tattoos would give us that extra little bit of inspiration needed to get to the finish line. I think they worked!

We decided to eat dinner at the Spaghetti Warehouse. It was ONLY a few blocks from our hotel, according to the guy at the front desk. A few blocks into our walk, we realized it was a little more than a few blocks away, and we weren’t exactly in the most populated area of downtown Memphis. Needless to say, we took a different route back to the hotel. Dinner was great, even though the waitress was a little weird. I enjoyed my pasta, although my nerves were making it hard for me to get it down. On the way home, we wandered around Beal Street and through the Peabody Hotel before ending up back at our room.

The night flew by and before I knew it, the alarm clock was telling me it was time to get up. My stomach immediately started turning flips. After getting dressed, we headed downstairs to eat breakfast and ran into Kescha Lamb, my co-worker, who was running the half. I was so excited to see her and she sat down to eat breakfast with Amy and me.

Before I knew it, it was time to head to the start. Amy and I found our corral and ended up right next to Mr. James, our team captain. He has run the marathon and half several times and this year he was running the half. Robert and Craig followed us as the race started in waves, taking pictures and waving. They planned out where they would meet us, so we knew we’d be seeing them along the race route.

As soon as our corral started, my nerves were gone. I was ready to knock out 26.2 miles. The weather was cold, but not too cold, it was overcast, and the crowd was excited. We saw our sweet husbands at mile 3, which looped right outside our hotel, and then waved goodbye. We’d be seeing them again at 13.1.

The first 13 miles seemed like a breeze. We laughed at the funny signs, commented on the sweet, inspirational shirts from the St. Jude supporters, cried through the St. Jude campus, and sang along with the Elvis impersonators. I think we heard the song “Walking in Memphis” about 100 times, but it never got old! We ran through the back of the Memphis Zoo, down by the river, and down Beale Street. Amy’s parents saw us around mile 7 or 8 and cheered us on.

When we got to the point in the race where the half marathoners turned off, I still felt good and excited. Amy and I soon realized that after that point, there was no turning back. Thank goodness for Robert and Craig. They were waiting just past the turn off at the 13.1 mile marker. For a few minutes, they ran along with us, took a few pictures, and then headed off the next meeting point. It was crazy how much the crowd thinned at this point in the race. We went from running side by side, to it being just the two of us with a few folks in front and behind us. Amy and I got a good laugh from a guy we passed about 13.5 or so. We were heading up a hill, so we decided to slow up a little bit. He was walking and huffed, “Are ya’ll worn out too?” He did not look good. I wanted to say, buddy, you might have wanted to turn off back there, you’ve got a long ways to go to be worn out now! I hope he made it ok.

Fast forward to mile 17. Robert and Craig met us again with signs and cheering. We saw Amy’s parents just a little while after that, and then I had a panic attack. Well, not really a panic attack, but a moment of fear when I realized that we were 17 miles in, and still had 9 miles to go. I wondered what had possessed me to tackle this distance. I wondered if I could do. At this point, everything hurt- my legs, my knees, my arms, my shoulders, and my head from the lack of caffeine. I had to fight back the tears and couldn’t talk to Amy for a minute. I told myself that I could do it, it WAS possible, and I swallowed the tears. I felt better and ready to finish. After my slight breakdown, Amy started not feeling well. Thinking back, she thinks the Tylenol taken at mile 17 on a pretty empty stomach is to blame for this. Robert and Craig saw us at mile 21 and noticed she didn’t look so good. She held it together until they left us, and then let it all out. Literally. I didn’t really know what to do, or if I could do anything. A friendly fellow running by saw her behind the tree, and gave me a pack of sport beans for her. He said it would help replenish her carbs. I popped on in my mouth while I waited- ew. I’m not a big fan. Amy was able to down a few of them. We caught up with the friendly guy, and she gave back the rest of the pack. What a champ. After getting sick, she picked back up with the running. Her stomach wasn’t too happy with her, so the last 5 miles for us were slow and go. When we saw the 5 hour pacer, we had a moment of hope for a minute. We stayed with him for a while, and then slowly fell behind. It was disappointing, but at that point, beyond our control. The last few miles, I was worried about Amy. It was clear she did not feel well at all, but she was determined to get the finish line. I tried to keep us focused on the short distance we had left to go. FINALLY, we came to the 26 mile marker. Hallelujah! Only .2 to go. Never mind the fact that it was up a ramp into AutoZone Park. We took off with a burst of energy from who knows where. Seeing that finish line was emotional. We started saying “we did it!” and ran across the finish line with our arms around each other. I am very thankful for Amy. I could not have made that 26.2-mile journey with out her, and that includes training and the race. We started out our training as girls who both like to run, and ended the journey as friends with a special bond. There were times I had no desire to get out there and train, there were times in the race when I felt the same way, but because I had a friend with me, I knew I could do it.

We celebrated at the finish line with our medals and pictures. We finished in 5:15. WE DID IT!

1 comment:

  1. I have been waiting for this post! What a great story and experience! I love it! Congratulations on a wonderful marathon! I love the tattoos. And I think sports beans are gross too. :)