As you can imagine - crossing the finish line was exactly everything I imagined it. Although I didn't see myself on the jumbo screen, I did hear them announce my name and there wasn't anyone cheering as loudly as I was at that moment. . . with as much oxygen as I could spare.
After I crossed the finish line, I started coughing (a little asthma issue I'll be getting looked at in the near future). I coughed so hard I nearly threw up - so I walked along the outer perimeter where there were trash boxes located. At one point a medical volunteer grabbed my arm and asked if I was okay. I said something like "yeah" and the encounter was over in less than a second. I stopped coughing and nearly puking after just a couple of minutes; however, due to my outer perimeter walking, I missed getting my medal and having my chip cut off. I was like "how do I get a medal?" Finally, "C" grabbed one off of the stand where they were hanging and said I'll give it to you. She put one around my neck and one around "L's" neck. Worked for me - it was all about the medal at that point in time.
We got post race grub and then got in line to get our photo taken. It was right before the shutter clicked that a super nice girl behind us in line reminded me to get my chip cut off (dude, totally forgot all about my chip - remember I missed that station due to my outer perimeter walking). Thanks goes to the mystery girl!
As promised in my last post:
4 lessons learned:
1. 13.1 miles is possible when you're 90 pounds overweight (though I'm sure it would be easier if I actually weren't over weight)
2. At the end of the day, it's all about knowing who do you want in the foxhole with you? (again with revisiting my army past) - I have clearly witnessed the importance of having the RIGHT people with you (for me at this race, it was "M", "C", "L", and my mom!)
3. It's okay to talk to strangers (displays of appreciation and high five's are also acceptable).
4. Racing in awesome weather makes all the HOT summer training runs worth it!
3 tools for success:
1. Amazing training partners - who are most importantly, my friends:
2. The interval timer (we affectionately call it "The devil beeper" - pretty sure that "L" NEVER wants to see it again)
3. Pacing Tat (Thanks Lutheran Hospital - genius marketing idea!)
2 semi-near death experiences:
1. Calhoun was closed so I was running south on the solid yellow line in the middle of the road when 4 cars were driving north at a high rate of speed (like 50 mph) - what the &$*%!!!!! Nope, they weren't part of the race - they were just neighborhood people pissed the road was closed and they wanted to go to the store (or something equally ignorant).
2. I was heading south on Old Mill just south of Lexington and was about 2 feet from a medic riding a golf cart heading north. I was in the process of extending my hand to give a high five when all the sudden a bicyclist zoomed in between the golf cart and myself. I was a milisecond from getting my art ripped off. The $@&hole didn't so much as say "on your left" or "coming" or "heads up" or heck, anything at that point. And the 2 feet between the golf cart and myself was the BEST path for him to take - what?!?!
1 final thought:
I had read in Jeff Galloway's book that your first half marathon should be at a large event where there are all the race amenities such as an expo, spectators, ample water stations, and generally a party atmosphere. Just prior to reading that, I had agreed to this half-marathon and had planned to do it at the Parlor City Trot (a tremendously fantastic event, but one that is stacked with awesome racers and zero "hoopla"). After reading that the first marathon should be supportive of first time half-ers and have ample "hoopla" (my word, not Jeff's), I decided to postpone my first half from the PCT to the F4F. That was THE BEST decision of all time!!!!