As you may have already noticed from the pictures I posted yesterday, I had a LOT of fun this past weekend. Actually, "LOT" is a bit of an understatement. The title of this post comes from the slogan on a shirt I bought at the race expo on Friday. It's totally me.
Friday evening I spent some time down at Mercy Ministries for the pasta dinner they were having for all of us on the team. My boss and I met our goal and raised a little over $2000 for Mercy this year! We were very excited because this money will cover about 12 days in the program for a girl. It doesn't sound like a lot, but when it comes to helping young women out it really is a lot! We enjoyed some yummy food, and then I headed home to go to bed early to be ready for the race.
I woke up around 4:30am and heard it pouring down rain. I've been told it was storming prior to that, but since I can sleep through anything I never heard it. I dosed til time to get up at 5am and then it was off to downtown Nashville for the race. It was pouring the whole time we were driving and as we walked to the start line for the Team Mercy picture. We of course donned trash bags (I know, it's weird, but it's what runners do in the rain to stay dry before the race). It actually let up and had stopped raining shortly after the race started, so I was able to stay dry.
We located Bennett and Chris just in time to head across that start line. It actually felt a little weird to only be running the 1/2 since the other 2 times I crossed that line I was heading out for a full 26.2 miles. At the same time, it was really fun in a different way because this time I wasn't as worried about pace or energy or anything.
Chris runs about my pace, so we ran the whole time together chatting and enjoying the streets of Nashville. He hasn't spent much time here before so I pointed out items of interest and we both were amazed at how many people were running with us. There was a record field of over 30,000 finishers this year! Of course, a few thousand run the full.. but it's still a lot of runners gallavanting around the streets of Nashville.
Some things worth noting from the race: I always love hearing people in disbelief over the statue with all the naked people at the top of Demonbreun. It's funny to me that people laugh when they hear you talk about the Batman building... seriously people, it looks like Batman! (You can see it in the pics from yesterday). We saw a blind man running. His guide wore a shirt saying guide and held poles behind her that he also held to keep him going in the right direction. Amazing. I reminisced over the spot where I stopped to throw up last year. (Chris probably loved hearing about that.) We both complained that miles 11 to 13 were pretty much all uphill (not cool Elite Racing course planner people - not cool). I saw my roommate from college on the sidewalks cheering for her dad. I hadn't seen her in ages, so that was random and fun! People kept cheering for me by calling me Team Mercy, so that was nice. I tried to smile and wave at all of them. I generally smiled and waved a lot and tagged the hands of little kids holding them out as they watched us run by (I hope it made their day).
Chris and I finished in 2:02. It was a new PR for him since this was only his second half, and it tied with my second best time ever for a 1/2. I was pleased. I hadn't really trained as hard for this one so it was nice to just run along laughing and talking and seeing the sights and not worrying much about the clock. Bob finished in 1:52 and Bennett and another pal Kirk finished in 1:42.
I of course napped most of the afternoon, but not before having lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. YUM.
My pals Crystal and Tim joined me to meet up with Bennett and Chris for dinner. Then we headed downtown and were at the coolest piano bar in town (ok, also the only one I think) by 8pm. You heard me. 8pm. But seriously - it was already packed and we got one of the last tables. And no cover. Score!
We had a blast. The band plays requests all night, so we laughed and talked and sang and danced til a little after midnight. A personal favorite moment of the night was dancing to Billie Jean with Bennett. We took quite a few pictures (believe me, it was hard to pick just a few to post here) and I think they show that we were all smiles and having some fun.
The night ended with a trip to Sbarro. It's amazing to me how many people are in there eating at 1am. I really was kind of sad that the day was over so quickly, but it was probably one of the most fun full days I've had lately. Don't get me wrong... I've been having some fun times in my world these past few months. But getting to run a race and go out with good friends all in one day takes the cake for now.
Sunday was much calmer... I slept in and then went to the baseball game with my family to watch my sister's boyfriend play. He did really well and it was a relatively exciting game, which was good since I'm not all that into baseball.
Congrats to everyone else who ran the race! And for those of you who have mentioned in your comments to me that you want to run a 1/2 someday, then I say to you that it's time to make it happen! For your first, you don't need to worry about time. Just do it to get across that finish line. It's really a lot of fun if you make sure to take some time to enjoy yourself. So put on those sneakers and go run for 5 minutes or 10 or whatever you can handle right now. You've gotta start somewhere.
Thanks again for all the race well wishes. Racing season is pretty much over in this part of the country since it's practically summer, though my next race will be a 10-miler in June. But that's because I'm crazy and I go run 10-milers in the heat even when I hate running in the heat. After that, no more til fall. I'm contemplating my next marathon. I could go back to Huntsville in December but I'm leaning toward doing Memphis the weekend before instead. There's also one just outside Chattanooga in November. Maybe I'll do both? We'll see...