Well....... I did it! Saturday, October 3, 2010 at 1:39 a.m. I crossed the finish line of my first half-marathon! As everyone knows that knows me, I have been training with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's (LLS) Team in Training (TNT) for the last four months or so in order train to run a half martahon in Orlando, Florida to raise money for the LLS. Those months have finally come to an end. I have been trying to summarize my training efforts throughout my process on this blog, when I had time. Now, I wanted to come here and try to put my thoughts down on how the marathon went. It is kind of all a blur but I am hoping I can remember some of the highlights.
9:00 p.m. Strolled over to our corrals with the other 11,000 or so people to get into position. The corrals were divided into 4 groups depending on your "speed". Of course I was supposed to be in the last corral "Corral D" but I slipped in "Corral C" with Kim, January and Melissa. Whew! I was not caught. As we were standing in the corrals we were making our "game plan". "OK ladies, when the starting gun goes off we will not run, we will simply do a brisk 3 minute walking warm-up to get our legs ready." - - - - - Well, the fireworks went off, Mickey and Minnie were at the start waving everybody on so we took off!!! "What happened to our walk?" January said. No can do - keep running!!! We ran for a few minutes then decided to make our way to the right side of the roadway to the "slower people lane" and start brisk walking. After all, we had 13.1 miles to go, didn't want to wear ourselves out before mile 1!
Mile 1 - felt good. Exciting, actually glad I was here. A band up on a stage playing music as we ran by. How Cool. - I made up my mind today that as long as I reached Mile 1, I would be happy and not disappointed if I did not finish. Goal met - check! January and Melissa had long left us, but me and Kim were there, right together.
Mile 2 - Oh look - Chip and Dale! Hello guys!!! (as I wave)......."Oh shit - I just twisted my ankle". This can't be happening already. Limp, limp, limp......I'm ok. But boy are my shins burning! I can't believe I am actually attempting to do this. I'll never finish......
Mile 3 - Oh look - there on the other side of the roadway the wheelchair racers and runners from Corral A are already circling back on their mile 6 and7. How do they do that?! Well, at least I am still on the track and getting my money's worth is what I say! :) Ankle still bothering a little.
Mile 4 - There's the first First Aid station and miraculously enough, I do not have to stop - I feel great. Woo Hoo - another goal met, check! Kim - "Oh my gosh, what is that smell?!" - Animal poo - we were getting close to the entrance of Animal Kingdom. That was OK - that meant we had almost made it to mile 4!!! And I actually feel really good....
Mile 5 - Running through Animal Kingdom, lots of pretty sights to see. People stopping taking photos - no time for that - got to keep up pace so the slow bus does not come yank me off course. Surprisingly enough we have maintained about a 15 minute pace up to this point. Oh look there is Bayne from LLS cheering us on. My gosh - where is that water/powerade station?!?!?
Mile 6 - Water!! Woo Hoo!!!! Those that know me probably did not think those words would ever come out of my mouth since I hate water. Grabbed cup of Water and Powerade - drank both completely - big mistake. Oh well, live and learn..... Going around a curb - "Kim, is that the end of the race participants across from us, have they already caught us?" Kim said no, not to worry - keep going.......I think she was fibbing............
Mile 7 - Oh look - hippos wearing tutus. Where's Mickey and Minnie??? Race course not as interesting as I thought it would be....time to start singing to myself to pass the time.......should have brought my ipod buds.......Oh look, a text from hubby urging me on.....I love him.
Mile 8 - A TNT coach joins us to make sure we are doing OK. We are still standing and not on the slow people bus, so doing OK. "No, the bus is 1/2 mile back." WHAT?!? It is only 1/2 mile behind us. Got to step up the pace. Second first aid station, and still no need to stop. WOO HOO!! More water - no time to drink - pick up the pace.
Mile 9 - Boring portion of course. No music, no Chip and Dale, no weird looking hippos in tutus. Oh look, a bridge. What happened to the flat course?!?!? OK, will run down the otherside to pick up speed. Our pace had slowed down quite a bit at this point. Kim not feeling really good but OK to continue on. (She is 9 weeks pregnant so keeping eye on here to make sure can continue forward.) Volunteers on side passing out Clif Bar power snacks - where are the doughnuts and cupcakes I say!!
Mile 10 - Running through Hollywood Studios at this point. I can't believe I made it to 10. I told the person next to me, if that slow bus even thinks they are grabbing me at this point, they are crazy. Came too far to cross the finish on a bus. They will not get me on that bus without thme suffering a black eye or some other disfigurment that I can fathom enough energy to give them. Two TNT walking coaches, both pregnant, join along side of me and Kim. Kim slowing down a bit. Coaches say bus can't fit on this narrow path so we are safe. Kim elects to slow down a bit with this tidbit of info. I'm still nervous so since she was in good hands with coaches, I starting increasing my pace a bit, still scared of the slow bus picking me up at this point.
Mile 11 - Still looking back over my shoulder and can still see Kim in the distance she is going OK and I can hear her talking. I'm plugging forward. Only a little over 2 miles to go - I can do this!
Mile 12 - Outside Hollywood Studios and heading towards the Epcot Hotel area. Hubby text again that I'm almost there and can finish this thing. I'm starting to get really tired. I can't give up now, too far. I'm also extremely hungry since have not ate since lunch. Good thing I brought peanut M&Ms for a snack along the way! Now athlete power bars or goos for me. Oh no - participant down on the side with medics, she is going to be unable to finish. OMG - so close, but yet so far. She was not a TNT member, but I felt so sorry for her having gotten this close and unable to finish. Tears were in her eyes. I must finish this.....
Mile 13 - Got to get to the end of this mile. But, what is that ahead - MIMES?!? Mimes usually aggravate me on a good day, I certainly dont want mimes "cheering me on" at 1:30 in the morning after running/walking the past 3 hours!!! I passed two of them only to come around the corner and there is another. He is holding up his hand for a "High Five" - - fine, there's your High Five so now leave me alone. No more mimes - WHEW!
Up ahead I see Kristy, one of the running coaches from Charleston. She immediately runs to me and asks where Kim is. As soon as I try to open my mouth to talk, I start hyperventilating. I keep moving. I told her Kim was with two other coaches walking in but close behind I was sure. Breath, breath, breath.......Kristy encourages me to the very end and said she was going to cross that finish line with me. I refuse to walk to the finish line so I pick up my pace and begin running again and want to run to the end. "Just around the corner Tina" she says. Up ahead I see my hubby in his TNT purple T shirt. He smiles at me. I wave. I see the finish line..... I hear my name announced across the loudspeaker.
I did it!!!