Friday, November 23, 2007

Let's Talk Turkey

First, let's talk about the saying that "you should always listen to your mother". On Wednesday night, before the race, my mom said to me, "What you are going to do if it rains in the morning?" I replied, "I guess I'll run". She then said, "But won't that be unhealthy and aren't you running to raise money for a cause promoting health?" You really can't argue with that.

On Wednesday morning at 5:30 AM, there was thunder and lightning in the distance. Doug logged on to to view the current radar map. The good news was that it was 64 or 65 degrees outside, and according to the website, the big green blob was to pass directly north and slightly south of the course.

So much for accurate weather forecasting. Crossing the bridge to the starting line, it started to drizzle ("I can do drizzle", I thought to myself ... "at least it's not cold"). Little beeps sounded as I crossed the start line (about 6 or 7 minutes after the gun time). Adrenaline rushing, feet pounding the pavement, runners with garbage bags over their heads, a walker with an umbrella, all united in the darkness before the dawn. But we never actually "saw" the dawn, because somewhere between mile 1 and mile 2, the heavens broke open. Thus began the downpour, which was to come and go for 11 of the 13 miles (intermittent downpours and drizzle).

Yes, it RAINED for MOST of the race.

At mile 2, I called Doug and said, "When you meet me at the finish line, can you bring me a change of clothes?"

Somewhere between mile 4 and 5, my shoes got soggy and started to slush.

Just when I would think it had stopped raining, it would start again ... but for the most part, I just had to laugh. Because it would have been way too easy to cry and call to be picked up. So like lemmings, we all moved forward. One of the runners in front of me raised up his hands in the air (out from under his garbage bag) and shouted "Thanks a lot Sonny, you couldn't have waited until after Thanksgiving?" <---- reference to GA Gov. Sonny Purdue who assembled everyone together in a united day of prayer for rain last week. Well, it was a hard one ... we needed the rain (and still do) so maybe spending the next few hours running/walking in the rain would be a small sacrifice to help fill the reservoirs. I'm fairly certain in that instant, I truly believed the rain would stop.

But it didn't.

The race itself was good (with the exception of soggy feet). It was like a chronicle of my almost 9 years in Atlanta. I ran by dozens of restaurants that Doug and I frequented, (and as I ran, it rained), past the Borders book store in Buckhead where we used to start or end our non-dates, past the MARTA stations I would take to the airport when I traveled for work(it was really raining hard here), past Lenox Mall where we visit Santa each year, past PRUMC, the very first church I attended in Atlanta(have I mentioned that it was raining?),
past Peachtree Christian, the church we attend each week and where we got married (the sun tried to break through the drizzle at this point), past the Peachtree club where we had our wedding reception(oh, and by the way, it rained on our wedding day), past the Fox theatre where I attended my first opera in Atlanta (and when Doug would go with me months later, we would smuggle in boxes of Junior mints), past Doug's apartment where he lived right before we got married, past the Capitol(the sun was trying to break through again by this point), and finally to Turner Field.

For the most part, I ran down the hills and walked up the two big hills, but as Doug said, "I finished strong". He said I had the "face" ... the moment I crested the last hill and started running around the corner, thinking the end would be in sight, I was determined to finish this thing as quickly as I could. So, slush, squish, splat, slush, squish, splat, I crossed the line ... to insanity. It wasn't a long trip, though - since I was already so close.

A couple of notes:
1) No tears this time ... I was way too determined. Haven't cried yet ... and it's already been 24 hours - always a good sign.
2) Doug and Dominic were able to watch me cross the finish line (that was so cool!) Doug brought the change of clothes and coffee. He should be sainted.
3) My mom allowed me to lay on her sofa for the entire day (after providing a Thanksgiving feast fit for royalty - turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn pudding, green bean casserole, homemade applesauce, coleslaw, homemade bread, minestrone soup and meatballs<--it's an Italian thing ... ). My small contribution was to bake an apple and a pumpkin pie (which I did on Wednesday). 4) I did take another ice bath, like I said, I'm insane, but they really do make a difference. 5) I feel pretty good today (Friday) just a little tired. 6) I completed my second "13 miles" and my first official half marathon!!!!!

Now I have to get ready for 16 miles next week.

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