I did it! My race was yesterday and I did it! I finished it, I ran the whole thing and I had a lot of fun. It took me about 45:30, which is pretty slow, but I don't really care.
That's me in the pink shirt and capris crossing the finish line. :)
So here's how it all went down:
Friday the 3rd was Adam's birthday, so we wanted to go out with friends for dinner, but not stay out too late since the race started pretty early on Saturday. We went to a nice steak and seafood restaurant on Okaloosa Island and ate outside with a beach view.
Then we came back to our house for cake. It was not beautiful, but it was delicious. Adam also opened his presents. He liked the book, season of Battlestar Galactica and LEGO plane that I got him. :)
Briana and Will were spending the night with us because they were running in the race with us. Obviously we wanted to hang out a lot since we hadn't seen Briana since we left San Antonio, but we needed to go to bed relatively early. So we played a few games of Scattergories, I made my playlist for the big day and we got to bed by midnight.
We were on our way to Pensacola just before 6am. Of course there was basically no traffic and the place was easier to find and park near than we had thought, so we were pretty early. We got our numbers (I was 126), our tank tops and our bags and we still had about 45 minutes until the race started. We walked around a little park and stretched out some. (Well, everybody but Will stretched out. He's a rebel.) We were also eyeing up the other runners. There seemed to be an overabundance of cocky runner guys not wearing shirts and incessantly jogging to warm up. We could see where the starting and finish lines were, but had no idea where the route would go. At least we knew that the car wasn't far (about 2.5 blocks) from the finish line, so we could grab the camera quickly for some post-race shots. We decided kind of at the last minute that everyone was going to stay with me and run at my pace.
Finally, there was some action and everyone moved over to the starting line. They had some poor low-ranking airmen in their blues uniforms (i.e. wool suit pants and jacket) present the colors for the national anthem and then we were off! We were toward the back of the pack, so it probably took at least 30 seconds to get to the official starting line. Briana and Adam starting chatting as they were running and got ahead of me. They got about half a block ahead before the realized that their "slow" pace was too fast for me and waited around for me and Will to catch up. This happened again at least 2 more times. Whatever.
There was water at the first mile and we made it there in just under 15 minutes. By this point all the serious runners had passed me, but I was still just doing my own thing. For the next mile or so the route went on the highway right along the water, which was very pretty but also very hot and facing into the sun. Also, pretty early into mile 2, I started seeing the really fast runners coming back toward us to the finish line, so I knew that I had to make it to a turn-around point and then make it back to that point. Those first guys I saw probably finished the race in a third of the time it took me. But, I mean, I was wearing a shirt and the drag from my shirt probably cost me at least 10 minutes. :)
Also during mile 2 was when I noticed power walkers starting to pass me. Whatever. I just kept doing my own thing. When we got to the turn around, just before the start of mile 3, Adam decided he was going to press ahead and run faster to the end. That way he could get the camera and be waiting at the finish line. Even at the old age of 24 he was able to turn on the gas and get to the finish in about 37:45. Good job, baby! There was a time clock at the start of mile 3 and I got there right about at 30 minutes. At that point, I knew there that I was going to finish. I felt slow, but fine and I knew I wouldn't let myself wuss out in the last mile. I saw Rosie who works with me at the Hallmark store behind me when I made the turn and that made me feel a little bit better. I knew that she was a registered walker and I would have felt really lame if she was one of the people who passed me.
The only little hiccup I had in the last mile was that the playlist I had made was only 40 minutes long, and I needed another 5 minutes to keep me going. Not really a big deal, I just had to unclip my iPod from the back of my pants and replay my last power song "Heart of a Champion" by Nelly. It worked out pretty well, though, it ended for the second time just as I was handing my number to the volunteer at the finish line. I was definitely breathing hard and pushing it to keep it up until the finish line, and I didn't feel very good for a few minutes right after I stopped running. Walking around the park at the finish line helped a lot. I got lots of hugs and high fives and everyone was very proud of me. Here we are in all of our post-race glory. And no, I didn't sweat profusely from my neck, I just poured half of my last water cup awkwardly over my head. It felt good for a second, then just felt soggy.
So that was it. My first of hopefully many more races. I promised Briana and Will that next time they run with me I will be faster. Now I just have to find the next one to sign up for to keep me going. I'm pretty sure I'll be out there tomorrow morning, making sure at the very least I don't get any slower.
I'll be back later to share some pictures and stories from the rest of our awesome 4th of July!
9 hours ago