We proceeded to get all checked into our hotel & were pleasantly surprised when they up-graded our room. We ended up with a king suite that had a lot of room to stretch out & cause complete fits of uncontrolled giggling around mid-night. From dinner that evening into early morning the laughter was non-stop. Not sure it was at all appropriate at times, but hard to stop once we started. When it was time to prep & run we were all serious.....well sometimes serious about running our first half.
We were running in blue again to honor the service & sacrifice of our military men / women. It was already a super emotional day but throw that into the mix and tears at time were wiped away. But for the most part it was a lot of fun sharing this special moment with my Sole Sisters as well as other members of the wear blue community. It was a true sea of blue in corral 17 yesterday.
Once we got moving it was my game face on for the first five miles. Then I came running around a turn to spot Ashley just ahead. I sprinted ahead for about a minute and had a good laugh when I snuck up behind her to pull her ponytail. My favorite part was when a lady gasped " she pulled that girl's hair!" in a horrified voice-hehe After months of training together it was fun to chat for a few minutes during this huge life event for us both. Then we threw back on our game faces & kept logging the miles.
In my head I kept saying just get to the wear blue mile. Once you see those flags, the blue shirts, the smiling faces, you will remember why you can't stop. It was no joke as I hit the first poster of the fallen they had lining the mile my legs kicked it into over drive. I jumped over the yellow tape separating the half from the full to high five SFC David Cooper's poster as well as pose for a quick picture with SFC Clifford Beattie's Poster. I have no idea who the nice lady was that snapped that picture on her cell phone but I hope it pops up soon on the facebook page. I hugged retired Veterans who held the flags. I waved like a rockstar when really it was those we were honoring who are the true heroes. All those volunteers holding flags, cheering GO BLUE, Run Strong may never know the little umph they gave me to keep going at that point in my race.
There is Ashley & I as we hit the start of the wear blue mile. See that yellow tape? That was the last time I was on that side for awhile during that mile.
After that mile came the crazy hill that I had to walk super fast, I still managed to pass a few people on that climb around mile 8 of the run. Then more running until I saw the 15k sign. Once we hit that point I was tired and ready to take a break. Thankfully out of nowhere ahead I see a blue shirt and the "teddy bear" as I call him aka James running. He has been a constant source of encouragement over the past few weeks of long run trainings on Saturday mornings. We ran/walked a little bit as he was having some cramps & I was so thankful for his company. I needed to see a friendly face for sure at that point in my run. We took off again only to separate around mile 10. I keep chugging along happy to hear shouts of Go Blue from other blue runners as they passed. I was not in it for time today just to finish especially around mile 11 as sweat rolled down my face and the stomach growling started. I found James again and we stayed together for about a 1/2 mile before losing each other in the run.
For those of you that have run 13.1 miles before I'm sure you can relate to seeing the 12 mile marker. I smiled and just kept telling myself one foot in front of the other. My legs were tired, I was hungry and I saw a hill. I stopped literally in the road & shook my head. I decided to walk half the hill & run half the hill. I knew at that point conserving my legs & energy was the only way to cross the finish line looking happy. Once I heard the shouts of " only a quarter mile to go, you CAN DO IT" from complete strangers my legs propelled me forward with a huge smile plastered on my face! I crossed that finish line strong and almost in tears. Then the amazing guy handed me my ice cold chocolate milk and all I could think was please more food!
I located three of the ladies for cheers, smiles and guessing at our finish times.
Words fail me at times when I look back at this day. From the sweet facebook message Karen left me that was the last thing I read before handing my phone to be put away. It literally made me tear up when it reminded me that no matter what the out come I put in the time, the work, the tears, enjoy my day I earned every single second. Thank You Karen for that encouragement.
The moments of weariness that consumed mile 11 & 12 were the only reason I got through them was James as well as a few other special blue runners cheering me along the road. This is a moment in time that I won't ever forget. It was a day shared with the best friends honoring the loss of good friends as well as a triumph of all our hard work. Thank you to all those that helped me along the way. With out every persons encouragement right down to Paul my husband who put up with cranky training me, those are the reasons I made it 13.1 miles in Seattle 2013. The help of all my running partners and my family is the reason I finished 8 minutes under my goal time of 2:30- my official finish time posted at 2:22:31- I was SHOCKED but extremely happy girl.
P.S. Next half is set for September 14th on JBLM-lol I'm Hooked!
Perfect song for all our wear blue families .