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Two More List Items Complete

Tuesday, May 3, 2011
I was so happy to see that we were on the 14th floor when we got to the hotel. It was a good sign, seeing that Brad's football number was always 14. Yes, some superstitions reign in life... and the number 14 is one of those. For some reason, every time I see a 14 when I'm nervous about something, I take it as a good omen or good luck sign. :) For instance, when we went to the emergency room about my eye a few weeks ago, we were both slightly relieved when they put us curtain area numbered 14.

And, 14 comes through for me again. It was a happy sign for me as I marked two more things off my list - a girls weekend away and running a half marathon. 

As I mentioned last week, Dawn, Maria, and I made our way to Nashville for a girls' weekend and to run in the Country Music Half (and Full, in Maria's case) Marathon. 

Nashville is a great city. We didn't waste any time when we got to town... we had to check in at the marathon expo to get our stuff ready for Saturday and then we headed straight down the street and found dinner, drinks, and music. Little did we know that Thursday night would be our "night out" instead of Saturday. :) I am so glad that we were able to get out on the town that night. We had dinner at Cowboy Saloon and drinks at B.B. King's. It was a great night of laughing, getting to know each other better (especially in my and Maria's case), and just relaxing. 

I spent all of Friday and most of the post-race time focused on three things... food, more food, and rest. I think I ate as much as most men do while we were gone... and I swear, I didn't actually feel completely full until Sunday night when I got home. :) On Friday, we ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a time span of about 7 and a half hours. :) We were getting fueled up and ready. :) And, we wandered around Broadway, checking everything out. 

And, even bars can remind me of my favorite kiddos... :) 

Saturday came early. We were up and at it at 4:30 a.m. (5:30 Eastern time). Nervous. I was so nervous. I thought about throwing up a few times. I kept moaning and groaning. I'm quite sure that Maria and Dawn were ready to knock me out to just get me to shut up. :) I think they were a little nervous, too, though. ;) 

Apparently, at 4:30 a.m., one of my eyes is smaller than another. lol 

We walked to the finish line (it was close) and caught the shuttle to the start line. I thought I'd have a nervous breakdown when they had us unload from the bus we were on to get on another bus because ours was having some technical difficulties. Great omen. haha. 

By the time we waited in the line at the bathroom (porta potties) and made our way to our spot at the start line, the race started. Ugh. I was so nervous. I was so excited, but so so nervous. 

And, then it was time. 

I started running... feeling good... I knew the first couple of miles were downhill and flat. Dawn and I ran together, which was great. We were giving each other pep talks most of the way. I told her when we hit the 2 mile mark that the next mile was uphill and that it should flatten out after that. 


... that was just not true. The race, from mile 2 until about mile 9, was mostly ALL UP HILL. Sometimes we would get a slight decline, but most of the race was at an incline. I really thought I was going to die. I didn't want to sound like a complete wimp, but by mile 8, I thought the hills were going to kill me. So, I mentioned it to Dawn, and she agreed. She (having run the Chicago and Boston Marathons) said that the course was one of the hardest she's ever run... that made me feel so much better. :) So, we walked a bit off and on... because truly, I didn't think I'd make it. We kept a good pace, though, even with walking. My foot didn't bother me... really, at all. :) YAY!

I had hoped at the beginning of my training to run the half in 2 hours and 20 minutes. I actually was really wanting to get 2 hours and 10 minutes, but I figured 2:20 was more reasonable. So, I was pretty pumped when Dawn and I were on pace to get 2:20. We kept running together (I totally could not have made it without her) until mile 11. We got separated there. The last couple of miles were tough, but I was so relieved to know that we were so close to the finish. When one of Jake's favorite songs came playing on my iPod, I just started smiling and ran as hard as I could. I was reminded that I was running for my little "heroes." And, it felt amazing to cross that line. I was thirsty (I had salt all over my face) and I was hungry. I was hoping for oranges (they had the BEST ones I think I have ever had when I was running on the course). :) But, I settled for a handful of other items, like bananas, apples, granola bars, etc. 

I had no idea what my time was. The race had a set up where you could receive text messages with your times... so, when I called Brad, he told me what my finishing time was. I started crying when he said, "2:20:53." I couldn't believe that I was that close to my goal, after all the setbacks. Dawn and I met up and commiserated, celebrated, and headed to the hotel to shower. We wanted to get back quickly to see Maria cross the finish line. 

I can't begin to explain the emotions that went through me that day. I felt everything during the run - anxiety, nervousness, frustration with the course, happiness about my pace, etc. Not one of those emotions compares to the feeling that I got when Brad told me my time. No. I wasn't even remotely close to being fast. Hell, I have probably run faster more regularly. But, I was so excited to be close to where I wanted. I couldn't believe I had finished... but to have finished near my goal... well, that was just icing on the cake. And, emotions run high at these things. I cried watching complete strangers cross the full marathon finish line. A few people would be injured and hobbling over the line... I'd cry. Two girls were running together, holding hands and crying... I cried, too. I was so happy that Dawn was just as bad as me... we both are big crying babies. lol. 

And, when Maria came running down that last stretch, Dawn and I were going crazy! We yelled at the emcee and asked him to cheer her on down the last stretch, we took photos, and we yelled for her like nuts. And, then, of course, I choked back tears and I think Dawn just went ahead and cried. haha. 

It was great. We had done it. We were all hesitant to say we would again... but I knew that wouldn't last. Dawn and Maria are already planning... planning... planning. :) I'm holding out on any commitments, but I know that another one will definitely be in my future. The full thing? I don't know... but I would say its a very likely probability. :) 

All in all, it was a great trip... a great race... and a great weekend. We were in bed on Saturday night, after a HUGE dinner and a few beers, at 9:30 p.m. Yes. Our girls' weekend... the only one I've had in 7 years... and I was happy, no THRILLED, to be going to bed. We were all so exhausted. But it was a great exhaustion. 

And, to end the weekend on a wonderful note, I came home to two awesome babies and an incredible husband, all claiming to be proud of me. They had a great weekend, too. They spent a ton of time with my mother-in-law, Kathy, who was so great and helped me SO much by picking up the kids from school and making sure they made it on Friday. They all had a great time (even though I'm sure Kathy probably felt like she ran a few marathons by the end of the weekend). :) Brad also took the kids to visit my parents and to my cousin's little boy's first birthday party. I hated to miss it, but I was so pleased that the kids got to go. They had a great time, as you can see. 

The pressure of the race is off, which feels great. But, I am already itching to figure out the next step. More to come on that when I figure it out. :) 

Thank you guys again for traveling with me on this journey... I would never have finished this half without all of you. Love you for reading... but love you more for supporting me! :)


  1. Congratulations!! You did so awesome!! Such a great weekend!!

  1. RebeccaLouise said...:

    Bloody excellent job, so proud!!!!