To start, thanks so much for the well wishes and encouragement after yesterday’s post. Looking back at it, I realize that it sounded rather negative. That’s the kind of thing I’m less able to see clearly at three in the morning, ha. I appreciate all your kind words so much and they brightened my day; it never ceases to amaze me the kind of support one gets from the blog community. I am slowly feeling better today (no more ER trips), and I’m hoping and praying by the end of the weekend, I’ll be ready to jump back into real life. It never occurred to me that my recovery time would be this long, and I think that’s what has made it more difficult. But things could be so much worse, and I have so much to be thankful for, part of that being all of you. So, thank you.
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It completely blows my mind that it has been twelve days since we ran the OKC half marathon. Carrying on with our training throughout our moving/living with parents and job change process made it seem like it lasted forever, and now suddenly even the race seems like it was forever ago! I honestly have to say that while we stuck to our training schedule the best that we could during this season in our life, it wasn’t ideal, and it didn’t even come close to preparing us as well as our half three years ago. But we obviously weren’t running for serious time goals, and training together definitely gave us something to focus on and helped keep us active during these crazy last several weeks.
Not only were we not super well prepared physically, our mental game was also a little off. I was definitely ready and excited to run the race, but I just wasn’t super focused. The day before we spent some amazing time with friends from college and ended up getting back to our hotel super late. We decided at the last minute to stay in a downtown hotel primarily because my mom’s house is about 45 minutes from the race start and because we had enough points for a free night! We even got to take the baby along:)
So, after a late night and about five hours of sleep, we woke to our alarm and rolled out of bed to get ready. Thankfully we turned on the TV, and there was coverage of the race already on. It was at this point that we realized how crazy the weather was: forty degrees, windy and pouring rain. Further proof that our heads were just not where they should have been was that the weather forecast had predicted rain and colder temperatures all week, but for some reason we just hadn’t really paid attention. By the grace of God we had both thrown in a long sleeve running shirt just in case or we really would have been in trouble.
Just when we were finishing up getting ready, we heard the news announce that the race start had been delayed due to lightening. Cue the next sign that we weren’t really ready – I was a little bit relieved. We had been rushing around so much, and I just felt really scattered (which actually coincides nicely with how I’ve felt the last ten weeks or so) and disorganized…like I was forgetting something important. I couldn’t decide whether to take my iPod and risk it getting wet. Whether or not to take a gear bag to check in case I wanted to ditch my long sleeve right before the start (ha!). Whether or not to wear my headband or a hat. Etc etc. Let me break here and say to any of you who have not yet run a race: never wait until the morning of the race to decide these important matters! I should have made all the decisions at least the night before. But alas, I had not so I was frantically debating all these issues with the husband, who by the way was lounging in bed with Olive like it was the middle of Sunday afternoon. Clearly, we were on opposite ends of the spectrum, but he was every bit as mentally absent as I was.
After about another twenty minutes of watching the news, it suddenly hit me that if they were not going to delay the start another thirty minutes, then we should really be getting ourselves out the door and down to the start line. Again..hello?! So, I grabbed our gear check bag and my water bottle, and off we went. Once downstairs, the husband realized that he hadn’t brought his headband (his ears hurt if he runs in wind), so he had to go back upstairs and get it. At this point, I wasn’t super worried yet, but I was beginning to feel some urgency. The day before when we picked up our race packets from the expo, they had been out of programs (what!?), and because the start had been moved to a different location this year, we didn’t even know exactly where we were supposed to be headed. And it was still pouring rain.
We took off walking in the direction other people were going, and I distinctly remember the point where I started to stress. Looking at my watch, I realized that we couldn’t be more than about ten minutes from starting time, and with our gear check bag still in hand, we had no idea where we were even headed. About six blocks later, we found our way to the corral area, but it was all gated off, and I honestly couldn’t even tell which way everyone was headed in the corral. It was just so confusing! At this point I began to get a little frantic. There were people everywhere and it was all we could do to try and squeeze through the crowds. I kept asking everyone if they knew where the gear check was, and somehow not a single person knew anything.
Two minutes and counting.
The excitement in the crowd was overflowing (as was the rain), and we somehow ended up caught in the 5k corral. People were packed in like sardines, and they were not going anywhere. I kept trying to worm my way through, but despite the usual friendliness of Oklahomans, no one was even remotely willing to step aside. The husband and I were caught in a packed sea of people, having no idea where the gear check station or the actual start line even was….
and the gun went off.
I have to say at this point I felt so disappointed. I was so mad at us for getting ourselves in this position. If you’ve ever run a race, you know one of the best parts is the start. Everyone is so high on energy, and there’s a sense of euphoria that goes through you when the gun goes off and you start moving forward as a giant unit of runners, ready to embark on what you hope to be your best race ever. I just wanted to be there, but there was nothing we could do.
After about another ten minutes of trying to get through the 5K crowd (those 5Kers can be some stubborn folks I tell ya), we finally broke through. We took off jogging the opposite way of the runners in search of the gear check. Asking everyone we passed, we finally got some direction and found the station. I practically threw the bag at the gear check person, and the husband and turned back toward the corral…and then I spotted the bathrooms. Now typically, there is no way you could have paid me to waste another two minutes going to the bathroom when we were already 15+ minutes late starting. But really, at this point what did it matter? I seriously had to go, and I figured it would be better to go before our chip time started, even though the husband was looking at me like I’d lost my mind. Locking myself in the little porta potty, I quickly took care of business and then began to readjust my clothes when I heard something hit the floor. uh oh. My chapstick. Trying to block out the disgusting nature of the situation, I reached down and snatched it up and then stuffed it into the little zipper pocket in the back of my pants. Uh oh again. I immediately knew what had happened. Turning slowly, I gazed downed into the depths of the black hole, only to see my precious iPod headphones resting gently on top of the pile. I have to be honest here and say that for a split second I did consider fishing them out. But I quickly came to my senses, bid them a quick goodbye, and raced toward the start.
Finally at least heading in the right direction, I started feeling a little more positive. We weaved our way through some more 5K and 10kers and finally crossed the start line at about 17 minutes past start time.
to be continued…