And because I didn't have it yesterday, here's another picture a group of us took that serves as my excuse for not going potty pre-race!!!
Me, Fiona, Amanda A, Robin W, Amanda H, Dana, and Marcie
(Note to self: Don't stand by the most petite person in the group when taking photos...)
But as I was lying at the finish, chugging a water (thanks Christina), and texting Adam and Tricia, who I knew would be waiting to hear from me... I noticed a text from Holly C. She was at mile 10.25 and wasn't feeling good. Hmmmm, I know that feeling. I had just experienced it. Who am I kidding... I was *still* experiencing it, even after stopping. 8 minutes after finishing, I was up and heading back out.
I tried to start running back and couldn't manage to shake out my legs, so I started a quick walk. I knew I could cut across the field and get to about the 11 mile point with only about a 0.5 mile walk (thankful for a course like that on this day because I couldn't have made it nearly as far back if I had to backtrack the whole course). Timing was perfect, as soon as I crossed the field, I saw my friend Heather who told me Holly C was just a smidge behind her... then I found that inner mojo that lets you continue through pain and started running the course backwards, and I found her in just a couple minutes.
I don't think she expected to see me. And in the moment, I don't know if she was upset that she knew I would push her, or happy to have company. I tried to minimize my chitter-chatter because I could tell she wasn't having the best time. I tried to remind her that she was still on track for her goal even though she was beating herself up. We took walk breaks. Every time we would start to walk, I would pick a landmark that would be where we started running again. I think it was at one of these points that she told me she hated me. He he he. I knew what she meant. (I love you too, Holly.) And despite the look of death she gave me when I told her it was time to run again... every. single. time. she did it... she started running again.
We kept it to a slow shuffle, but we were still moving forward towards the finish. I pointed out the last water stop around mile 12, and we took another brief break up the small incline to get back to the main road. She was doing awesome. She was saying no, but she was moving forward anyhow. Pretty sure she only told me she hated me and that she was gonna punch me 3 or 4 times. (No worries, I tell Adam I hate him every speedwork day.) I think I told her to please punch my arm because my leg and gut couldn't take it.
We rounded the final corner, and I warned her it was still about 0.35 from the corner so it wasn't time to sprint the finish yet. I think when I even mentioned the word "sprint", flames came out of her eyes. She was thinking "Really? You *still* expect me to sprint the finish." We took one more quick walk break to refresh before the last stretch... then we slowly pushed towards the finish. Her awesome cousin, Cassie, was cheering and came out to join us. I knew sprinting too early would be bad, so I pointed out a flag and said "that's it, I want you to let loose when you get to that flag." Again, I got the evil eye.
But we got to that flag and my goodness... she went off so fast I couldn't keep up, my chest was constricting because I was so emotional watching her sprint in her first half marathon. I was a basketcase. I ran around the finish line to hug her. And despite her beating herself up for struggling the last 3 miles, she slid in just under the goal I had set for and had an average pace that was noticeably faster than her training runs!!! Amazing.
Going back out there meant I missed Holly F, Denya, and Helen finishing... but I think they understand. And I'm glad there were several others there to cheer them across. But crossing that line with Holly C, no matter how much she hated me at that moment, was the highlight of my day. It. Was. Amazing. (I think she's finally back to liking me again... maybe?)
Including this photo again, because I love these girls and want to recap how they did...
The Cheerleader - Denya - This was Denya's 4th half marathon, and she paced her best friend, Helen, for her first half marathon. She's like an assistant coach on the run... preaching about breathing and pacing and everything else... congratulations Denya on yet another successful half!
The Amazon - Me - We already know how I did... boo.
Lightening - Deanna - This girl trained from nothing to a 10k in under 6 weeks. And still had juice to push the pace at the end. I cannot wait to see her conquer her first half.
Hot Sauce - Christina - She's petite and gorgeous... and her heat is going to sneak up on you. She's gone from 0-10k super fast (like Deanna), and the potential is just oozing from her. Watch out, folks!
The Soldier - Holly F - Mother of 4, dedicated soccer mom, soccer playing, softball playing, etc. I honestly don't know how she fits it in. Mom role comes first, but this lady put down a solid first half marathon. She can soldier on through anything. (Let's all remind her of this so that she realizes she *can* take on the marathon.)
The Rock - Holly C - Week in and week out, she puts in the time asked of her and gets it done. This girl is rock solid in her commitment and dedication, not to mention her courage. I never cease to be impressed and inspired by her.
Other important mentions:
Congrats to Robin D (2nd in Age Group!) and Robin W on their PR's. Congrats to Helen, Heather D, Jenn C, and Sharon Y for first half marathons. Congrats to Stephanie for her first 10k.
And to top the day off... I had organized a lunch afterwards for everyone I knew who was running (and the people they knew!). We ended up with quite a large group, and it was REALLY nice to unwind with so many really amazing and supportive people before heading home to get back to the grind. It really allowed me some time to relax, cool down, vent, and re-fuel. So glad we did this, and so glad so many friends decided to join. It was a party!!!
Down right of table - Sherry, Shannon, Robin D, Elaine (hiding), Robin W, Cara, Catherine, Sharon (hiding)
The latecomers... he he he... Heather, Jenn, Laura, and Holly F.