So, I thought I would start with Race Day as my first San Antonio post, and then fill you in on other trip highlights in my next post.
We woke up at 4:50 am and got dressed in our running gear and then several layers on top of that. The temperature outside was a chilly 32 degrees and we knew we had quite a bit of time to wait before we crossed the start line. When we opened the door, we were surprised to find it decorated by our TNT Chapter!
We met the team at 5:30 for a pre-race team photo (which I'll post at another time when it is emailed to me) and for some last minute advice from our coach. Here we our with our coach. Yes, he is dressed like Elvis!! What more appropriate attire for a Rock N Roll marathon??
We boarded the TNT charter bus and headed to the starting line. It was dark. It was cold. It was pretty exciting!! We rode up to the start line with 2 fellow team members from Iowa City. One was doing the half; the other one the full marathon like us. It was a first for both of them and they were very excited.
We lined up in corrals based on your expected time of finishing the race. We were in corral 23 (out of maybe 40). The race was started in waves, with a minute and a half between each corral. It was over 45 minutes from the starting gun before we even crossed the start line!! (The Kenyans were almost to the half way point by that time, FPS!) But with as many runners as there were, it was a GREAT way to start the race. It prevented having to just run in a solid pack of people for the first several miles. Our corral finally made it to the start line and we were off!!
Mile 8 was the first spot that we came across our personal cheering squad! The kids were there with shirts they had made and holding signs and cheering loudly. What fun to see them!
I think that they had a great time cheering not only for us, but for all of the runners (over 30,000 of them!!) And they were not the only ones who cheered for us! I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard 'Go Iowa!!'; 'Go TNT!' It was greatly encouraging!!
The kids surprised us and booked it to the mile 10 spot and were there again with their signs and shirts and smiling faces!!
The shirts they had on were great! M's shirt said 'My Inlaws are Rockstars!'. :) A's shirt said 'In Our Dreams We're Kenyans'. (On the back it said 'Ken ya keep up?') R's shirt had one of his famous rock star drawings on with our names, 26.2 etc..
After mile 10, the majority of the course went south of town and out of the populated area. It was beautiful, but started getting pretty long! The bands were a welcome diversion but came and went too fast. And then we hit MILE 20. At mile 20 the pain in my right knee was almost unbearable. Every step when I was running was so painful. At that point we were running 4 minutes and walking 1. I knew I wouldn't cross the finish line if we kept that up. It was a hard moment for me. I thought of the ribbons on my back and reminded myself of why we were doing this. For Lindsay, David, Barb and Jared and everyone who had supported us and I knew I had to keep going. We switched our running to a 2 minute run and then a 2 minute walk. It helped. But it wasn't until we hit mile marker 25 that I knew that I would really make it.
The kids were there at the finish line and had rallied a crowd to cheer 'Go Mom and Dad' as we made it the last .2 miles (uphill no less!) and across the finish line. I couldn't fight the tears of joy when we finally made it across the line, holding hands. We had done it. Despite all of the injuries and set backs and not getting in the training runs that we wanted, we had crossed the finish line. And not in a bad time... 5:32.
In the TNT tent afterwards Steve gives me a victory hug. Steve was a huge encouragement during the race and kept me going even through my 'grumpy' moments. Sometimes he was a bit too perky, but I know he was just trying to keep me going. Thank you, my love.
Will I do it again? NO! Not a full marathon. (And friends and family have been give strict orders to wap me upside the head if I even mention the thought of doing another one!!) I do hope to keep running and will certainly do more 1/2 marathons if the body permits. And I would DEFINITELY do another one with Team in Training. The experience has been incredible and I truly believe in what they are doing. I believe that someday there will be a cure for blood cancer. I believe in the work that LLS is doing in helping those who have been given the diagnosis of Leukemia or Lymphoma. They have come a long way towards a cure, but there is much work to be done. GO TEAM!
Until Next Time...