Saturday morning November 19, my eyes fly open at 4:30, 10 minutes prior to both alarms that I had set. I stumble to the bathroom to change clothes, use the potty, brush my teeth and gear up. I double checked my change of clothes bag and hurried downstairs to get some breakfast.
4:45, my alerts went off on my phone reminding me to grab my race bib and pins for the race. I shoved them in my workout bag and remembered my camera was FULL of about 800 of RAW images. I needed to empty the camera, and also plug in the good camera battery for Chris.
5:00 I am pacing restlessly waiting for my ride. Josh Stayley, a man in our ward was also scheduled to run the race is my ride. I am getting nervous and decide to use the bathroom. Again.
5:15 I double check my bag, iphone, earbuds, water bottle for the start of the race, gloves, earwrap, all ready.
I grab a banana for afterwards. I set out coats and hats for the kids, my warm coat and comfy shoes for after on the floor so Chris will grab them.
5:20 I am getting really nervous, Josh was supposed to come and get me at 5am. Did I miss him when I was upstairs downloading pictures? Ugh. Do I call his house?
5:25 I see headlights, Josh has arrived and I bolt out the door.
The drive to the stadium is fun. Josh tells me all about the races he has done in his life, and gives me some great tips and some GU for the run. (these save my life later) He gave me the good advice to just enjoy the race and have fun.
6:00 We arrive at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium parking lot. I am beginning to wonder what the heck I am doing up at this time in the morning on a Saturday and why in the world I want to run in the dark in the cold for 13 miles.
6:15 After checking our stuff one more time and getting our ipods ready, we venture out to use the bathrooms and stash our stuff in the bag check. I take this photo with my iphone:
6:30 Josh and I begin to get the pre race nerves. We chatter and talk and decide we need to use the bathroom again. We run over to the bathrooms and are grateful to have been smart enough to avoid some of the longer lines.
6:45 We get in the big heap of people to race. He heads to the front of the race pack since he is going to run a crazy time and I head to the back since I am a newbie and will probably be pretty slow this race.
I am amazed at how cold I am and all of a sudden I get a huge rush of excitement. I am totally ready! I am totally pumped.
7:00 Supposedly we are waiting for the national anthem. It doesn't play. We wait. My iphone decides to shut off and not play music. Ugh. I was a bit panicked at this point and was worried I wouldn't have time to get it working again. I do and I pray it has no more issues during the race.
7:15 I am hearing chatter all around me from the other racers, we are all anxious and excited. I thought I would be lonely all by myself waiting to start the race, but I was just content to enjoy the moment alone.
Finally, the pack begins to move forward, it's time! I start to walk slowly until about 200 feet before the start and I begin a slow jog. Our herd of runners is shouting and talking, excited about this race. I pop one earbud in and get into a groove.
7:45 Mile 3, race pack is still think I am clocking a 10 minute mile time, which is good. I am enjoying the scenery so much! It is a beautiful morning. I am beginning to wonder again why the heck I am doing this, but am hoping now that I am past the warm up miles that I will really feel my groove and relax.
8:30 I am almost halfway, and have really been enjoying old Annapolis and the bridge that goes over the water. It is a bit of a climb, but I hunker down and reach the top. The pack I am with passes the first wave of finishers...fast-lean-mean-running machines charging over the bridge as we ascend for the first time, several men and finally a tiny little girl runs down for the final two miles. I am beginning to wonder where we are going for our loop, and at what point we get to endure this bridge again and I am thinking I still have half the race to finish....I gulp down a GU and thank Heavenly Father for Josh who gave me two for the race.
*Quick explanation of GU-It's a soft, jelly like mixture of carbs and energy to get you through your race. They don't taste very good and the flavor is highly concentrated, kind of like eating a very gooey Jolly Rancher candy, and you get it down as quick as you can. You take one every 45 minutes to give your muscles and body what it needs function. I had meant to get a couple for myself during my week of race prep but simply forgot, thankfully Josh offered a few to me and honestly they helped me so much! *
The worst part of the race for me was miles 7-10. First we were running on the highway which was a little unnerving and later they funneled us onto a trail. I did NOT like the trail we were running on, it was a narrow paved path and you had to share the space with both runners going forward on the trail and heading back in, so we were basically shoulder to shoulder for that three mile loop. NOT fun. The whole race I was pretty packed with runners, we were on each others heels the whole way, but this part was nuts. Also, the water and Gatorade stations were terribly placed, the frequency was bad and I was so grateful I had my own water bottle for the first part of the race. I worried I would need more, but I gulped down two cups each station so I was okay.
Mile 11- (Notice I don't know what time it is anymore, I am getting close to the finish and I am just watching my race time on my watch) My hip is bothering me, I have really tight hip flexors and I am wondering at this point if I have enough juice to make it back in two miles.Then I think, 'that is silly of course I do, I have already run 11 miles, 2 is nothing'!! But then I think about walking for a few feet, but my body is not interested in that, so I keep going.
Mile 12- I am getting really excited and I can feel my last burst of energy kicking in, I am trying to pass a bunch of walkers on the course, and I want to achieve my 2:30 race goal. The course is lined with spectators cheering us on and my body can feel the finish, I am so happy! I can't believe I have made it and I ran the whole way....one more mile to go.
Mile 13.1- I cross the finish line at 2:32, just two minutes over my goal time. I feel amazing! I feel like I could still run actually, my body is in a rhythm and wants to keep going, but I am grateful for the end. My girls, Gradon and Chris are there to cheer for me, and hug me. I get my medal and a few other goodies. I think, I loved this, I want to do it again. Such a great feeling. We take pictures and head back to the car. I am so humbled and grateful. After this experience I truly believe that we can accomplish anything we put our minds to, if we work, commit and persevere. A huge mental block has been removed from my mind, I know I can do anything I put my mind to, I just have to believe in myself enough to try.