Tuesday, November 16, 2010
As many of you know, I was supposed to be in Harrisburg this weekend. It would have been great, but some other year perhaps. In the meantime, on the spur of the moment, I decided to do the Outer Banks 1/2 Marathon because I was in Washington, DC for work and thought that North Carolina was "close". What can I say? I live in a country the size of a bread box, and it's distorted my sense of distance.
The expo to pick up my racing bib closed at 6 p.m. At 5:30, I was pulled over by an extremely handsome, very polite state trooper who courteously introduced himself before inquiring as to why I was doing 75 in a 45 zone. So I told him. And he let me off with a warning. Clearly this man understands women and their need for bling!
In fact, I didn't get to the expo until half seven, but thankfully, there were still a few people there. I got my bib and set off to find my hotel. Mapquest obviously hates me and sent me up a flooded back road, but I eventually located my temporary home.
I'd never visited the North Carolina before and was unprepared for how lovely everyone is. So polite! Such a cute accent! And everyone is very friendly here. I hadn't been sure what to expect, what with names like Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head and Pirates Cove!
I popped awake at 3 a.m. and got ready to race. I drove all the way from Sanderling to Manteo to park at the finish line and then shuttle back to the start in Kill Devil Hills and line up by 6:30. The weather was perfect, and the sunrise was one of the prettiest I'd ever seen.
Now it would probably be overstating things to call myself a veteran, but I have raced enough times to have a sense of things, and this was an interesting crowd. I am usually the largest competitor, and not only was I not the only super-sized racer, in general, it was something of a ... how should I put it? A crowd that knew well what biscuits and gravy taste like! They weren't *fat* per se, but they were all a but curvier than I'm used to seeing. The atmosphere was relaxed. We half marathoners knew that there really weren't pacing requirements because the marathoners were starting 13 miles and 20 minutes behind us, so there would be course support for us for at least six hours. It felt great not to worry about being swept for a change!
I started in the back, settled into a comfortable pace, and chatted with other racers. Nancy Griffin of Manteo cruised along with her son, who sported a t-shirt that read, "Nancy turns 64 today" and had an arrow pointing to her. He also carried a sign wishing her a happy birthday. I wanted to get a picture of them, but Nancy was moving, and I couldn't keep up! Somehow, during the race, I got ahead of them and never saw them again, but Nancy finished in 4:34, her son finished one second behind. So sweet.
For several miles, I chatted with Lana from North Carolina. She used to weigh 500 !!! pounds and was down to 300. She had attempted this race last year but failed on the bridge in the 10th mile and was seeking redemption. She seemed to be struggling, and after a while, I needed to move on. I waited for her later on but didn't see her again.
The course was flat and fast, and the spectators were very kind and encouraging. In mile 6, I got passed by the elite runners, who were in their mile 19!!!! Talk about humbling! Plodding on, I faced the bridge, with its steep incline late in the race. My knees were really unhappy by then, but thankfully, no blisters this time. Maybe I've finally found the right shoes?
In mile 11 for me/24 for the marathoners, a one-legged women raced past me. The crowd went wild. Someone told me that she was just recently voted off Survivor, so maybe you know who she is? Anyway, she looked great and was running easily, finsihing with a sub 4 time. Amazing.
In mile 11, I got a bit of a jolt. I saw some of the finishers wearing their medals -- which were completely different from last year's and not nearly as nice! I was so disappointed that I almost quit! No, I'm not joking. I actually walked off the course for a few minutes. Last year, we got pirate gold. This year, it was a generic sort of medal. So lame.
I continued because I've never quit, but I wasn't nearly as excited. I finished in 4:10 and checked out the after party. Fun! Lots of people in fancy dress, free beer, good music, and dancing in the streets.
Later, checking the stats, I saw her! Lana Lambert of Sylva, North Carolina - good for you! Lana DID finish at the 5:10 mark. It takes such courage and perseverance to push through pain and fatigue for more then FIVE hours. I am so tremendously proud of her and hope she likes that medal more than I do. Well done, girlfriend!
GO, LANA! GO, LANA! GO, LANA! Go, Go, GO!
Overall, the race was so much fun that I already signed up for the Flying Pirate next April, after I was ASSURED that the bling would look like this:
WOOT! Can't wait!
Saturday, November 06, 2010
The Beirut races are tomorrow. Along with all my friends here, I signed up for the 10k. I didn't know how excited I was to do this race until the company's security chief said it was a no-go. At first, I thought I was ok with the decision, but as the day wore on, I just got angrier and more upset. I met one of my friends for lunch yesterday, still feeling salty and bitter two days later. We talked about all the cool things they were planning to do on race day, and it bothered me even more. I'm going to be traveling for the next few weeks, and she's transfering to another region before I return. So it's going to be a long time before we see each other again. The race was going to be our farewell hurrah.
All of the sudden, I found inspiration: just because I couldn't go to the start line and run the race didn't mean I couldn't *experience* the race.
My friends are all lining up tomorrow in downtown Beirut. ... And I am, too -- in the gym! We're going to use our mobiles to keep tabs on one another -- and I'm going to virtually race with them!
A 10k is 6.2 miles. Who wants to virtually race with me? Run, jog, walk, stroll the course and then post back to let everyone know how you did. C'mon, Sparkers - let's all race in Beirut tomorrow!
Sunday, October 31, 2010
I took my monthly measurements today. I only lost a few pounds all month and have been cycling the same few pounds for a while now. But the good news? I'm down 9 inches! People have been saying I look better, but I thought they were just being encouraging. Maybe it's true? Dare I hope?
Happy Halloween, everyone!
Sunday, October 10, 2010
One needn't be insane to travel 30+ hours for a weekend just to turn around and travel 30+ hours back, but is sure helps! I signed up for the inaugural Hershey Half in gorgeous PA when the knee seemed to be doing better. I hoped to see FLORIDAFAN and DANI1855, and FOODGIRL even thought she might come. (You know that combining racing with seeing Sparkfriends has become a bit of a passion of mine - hee hee!) Sadly, the knee is becoming a much longer-term project than originally expected and seems unable to fully heal. As people got busy and plans changed, it looked like Hershey was going to fall by the wayside.
Then Dani said she was definitely going to run the race - her first. We don't get to see each other all that often, and I wanted to be there to cheer her on. I arrived in Philly late Friday and started the two-hour drive to Hershey. I passed the exit leading to my mother's house and almost surprised her but knew I was too tired to be companionable.
Those of you who read my last blog know the news that awaited me in Hershey. My grandmother had died. Instead of going to Hershey Park for the day while waiting for Dani to arrive, I called my parents. I thought they might be caught up in making arrangements, but they were really sweet and drove out to Hershey so we could be together. We ate lunch in a diner, served by a cheeky waiter and then decided to go to Chocolate World.
We took the tour and then made out own custom chocolate bars. It was quite the experience. We selected the innards and toppings and even designed the packaging!
Dad mugs for the camera
The parental units show off their creations
Next, we wandered over to the café, where we selected toppings for our ice cream. The portions were enormous!!! It's honestly no wonder Americans are fat - sheesh! While we waited for our confectionery masterpieces to arrive, we were invited to paint the paper tablecloth. Apparently a treat for children, the waitress recognized that we were children at heart.
My little Picasso
M&D living their second childhood
Dani and her entourage arrived. DH and the kiddies stayed in another hotel, while Dani stayed with me so we could catch up on girl talk. The more we talked about the race, the more excited I got. You all know what a raging bling ho' I am, and we speculated that the medal would be a chunky silver hershey kiss. Cool, right?
The forecast was for gray skies and rain, but Sunday dawned blue and bright, and the clear, crisp, autumn weather was a delight after months of 90+ weather in Beirut. A fun fact about the Hershey race: instead of planting the walkers in the back and letting us make do, this race allowed walkers to begin in the front with a head start. Dani was feeling strong and felt she would be able to run, but the head start got me to thinking. So I decided to start with the walkers and see how things went.
The course was fast, flat, and gorgeous. We walked through the park, under the enormous rollercoasters, and the little zoo. Part of the course was on the main street, and I saw a minister standing in front of his church, his arms clasped behind his back.
"Pray for me, Father", I called.
"I will", he answered solemnly.
Aren't the streetlamps darling?
Dani passed me in mile 7, looking fantastic. She jetted off, finishing in a mere 2:14. I felt great until mile 12, when my knee decided it had enough and pooped out. I was so close to the finish line, I couldn't bring myself to bow out and soldiered on.
Dani and her family were waiting for me at the finish line, which I finally crossed at 4:09.
Afterwards, Dani and I luxuriated at the Hershey Hotel Spa.
hee hee - with our bling
sipping hot cocoa before our cocoa massages
We headed home after that, and I enjoyed a quick visit with the 'rents before starting the long trip back. Lufthansa refused to change my ticket, so staying for the funeral wasn't an option, but I'd like to think that Nana knew I was near.
Get An Email Alert Each Time CATIATM Posts