Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Where to begin?

From the beginning, I suppose. We arrived in Memphis at 12 midnight, surprised to find out we gained a hour on our trip. We didn't know there would be a time change. We hysterically ran from a room full of sleeping people and finally settled into our room at about 1am. We woke up late for us on Friday morning and got out on the town at about 10am.

The woman at the desk, Jennifer, told us about the trolley public transportation system and we caught the trolley about a half mile from our hotel. We took the two mile trolley ride to town and found it to be very empty. We had an authentic Southern breakfast of bisquits and gravy and grits, home fries cooked in bacon fat, and the most tasty omelette I've had in long time. Then we headed to the expo, still not finding many people walking in Memphis. We were a little worried at that point. We walked a couple miles to the Missippi River and ceremonially spat in the river! My running friends and I always spit over every bridge we cross, so we HAD to spit in the Missippi River!!

Then we headed to the expo and got our stuff. It was a pretty cool expo. I picked a PACETAT for the four hour pace. I purchased a Memphis Running Club winter hat and some xmas presents for my family.

After that we headed to GRACELAND. It was awesome. You wear these headsets with controllers and you listen to a man talking about Elvis' house and life. You can punch in certain numbers to hear more about certain aspects. I loved it. It was so cool to learn about such a famous musician and his family.

Last, we went to Beale St. for dinner. Now this was Memphis. The Memphis you hear about in all the music. One awesome Blues bar after another. We opted to eat at Hard Rock Cafe because we wanted to keep it simple. We were back in our hotel by 8, lights out by 9pm.

By the way, Thursday and Friday were cold. I was freaking out since I wasn't sure what to wear running.

BUT I woke on Sat, race day to beautiful weather. At five in the morning, it was already like 40' and the sun was popping through, but it was still pretty cold. We went to check our bags at The Autozone Baseball Complex and hung out as long as possible. We made our way to the start line at 7:45. The weather was warming up beautifully.

The marathon started in two minute waves and my friends and I lined up in the 3:50 finishers corral. The start was smooth and we were off. I was following the 3:50 pace leader for about three miles and then realized I was right behind the 3:45 pacers. My girlfriend and I stayed in between these two pacers for the next ten miles. It was really fun because the 3:45 pace guy was shirtless and he wrote his name, Jimmy, on his chest. We got lots of cheers. I felt great the first 14 miles.

At miles 15 and 16, there is a slight incline and I started to get tired. I was no longer able to stay as close to the 3:45 pace guy, but I had them in my sights for about two more miles. By mile 19, my muscles were just starting to cramp. They were fine if I took it down a notch. I slowed to about 9:15/mile pace.

It was by mile 22, that I knew my possibility of qualifying for Boston was slipping through my fingers. I was sad for about one mile, then I kicked myself in the ass. I told myself that I needed to appreciate what my body was doing right in that moment and continue to run as hard as I could. I was able to continue to run hard.

Two events enabled me to keep focused and moving. At mile 21, a man was going down and my first instinct was to go try and catch him. I quickly realized that I was really only able to keep myself standing at the moment and ran up ahead a few feet as fast as I could to get help. I don't know how he fared, but he sure did make me realize that I should appreciate that my body was strong enough to continue.

Another event was at mile 24, a young woman passed me at the water stop. I must have looked tired because she said, "I have been pacing off of you for about 5 miles, don't you quit now!". Well I'll be damned if I slowed down then, I only had two freakin' miles to go. I kicked it in and passed her and got my hungry ass to the finish line. I was so happy to break four hours.

We finished in Autozone Park at home plate. The stadium was packed of screaming fans. After getting my tin foil and medal. I spotted Elvis and posed for a professional photo. I can't wait till they are up. Then I crawled up the stairs to the concourse and devoured whatever food I could get my grubby hands on. I ate two slices of pizza, soup, a banana, yogurt and an orange. I drank two bottles of water. Then I went to try to get my bag, my friends were out on the course and I wasn't able to figure out how to get out there. I figured they would find me and they did.

Once I got my bag, I called my family and tried to change into dry warm clothes. The only problem was that my feet were so far away and I was afraid that if I sat on the ground to change, I would not be able to get up without assistance. At that point I was like what they hell do I do this to my body for???

The only answer I have ever come up with is because I can. I am blessed with a strong runner's body and I am going to use it!!


Wes said...

Nice marathon, chica! Can't believe you bought a 4 hour PACETAT. What's up with that? LOL. Luved the part about you slowed down to a 9:15 pace ,tee, hee. That's faster than my normal marathon pace!

Glad you got the chance to spit in the King of Rivers and get a photo with Elvis :-)

Michelle said...

Just came across your blog. Congrats on the sub-4!!! Memphis sounds awesome. My husband and I went to Nashville a few years ago and loved it.

I ran the Hartford half this year, too - it was my first half-marathon, and I thought it was a pretty well-organized race - and the weather couldn't have been more perfect!