I'm not going to be able to walk tomorrow.Kick ass!!
I can't feel my left toe.
That was the most difficult race I've ever run.
These are the thoughts going through my mind as I cross the finish line, smiling. My goal for this race was to just have fun and finish. Mission accomplished. I just didn't realize that I was going to finish that fast. Ultimately I said "under 3 hours" and even told Travis that that was probably my estimated finish time, and perhaps even 3.5 hours. Let's just say Trav missed my finish because Kasey, Cassie and I were speedier than we anticipated. ;)
Rewind to Friday Night...
This was the first time I was going to utilize the gear check, so I had to have all my stuff laid out. Compression Cat (aka "Murphy") thought he'd jump in the picture because he is crucial to my post-race recovery. I just didn't think he'd like being in a plastic bag for 3+ hours...so I decided to leave him at home.
After my gear was done posing for pictures, I proceeded to work on my post-race sign. Yeah, it was past 11pm, but I needed to make this sign. It would be too much fun to pass up. Not sure if I should've been so close to that Sharpie for so long...
Finally crawled into bed and little Miss Goober couldn't contain her excitement either--she was moving around and "dancing." Silly Goob. But I finally managed some sleep. Of course, I woke up 20 minutes before my alarm went off. GRRRR. Oh well, I was too excited! I quickly got dressed and made a PB&J sandwich and was on the road to meet up with Jill, Mel, & Marlene to carpool. My car was super stoked to see Mel's car; they haven't "hung out" since February! Reunited! Before I left, I noticed that Travis had got me a surprise and left it on the kitchen counter:
Isn't that sweet? :)
Thank goodness Jill was gracious and let me tag along that morning...I probably would have freaked out if I had to drive myself. Mel & Jill knew some super secret route, and before we knew it, we were already outside the van with thousands of other anxious runners. Someone was actually dropped off at the start in a Limo. Um, serious rockstar status much? Next year, right?
(Again, thank you to the wonderful ladies for providing some great group photos...)
Me, Mel, Marlene, Jaime, Jill -- carpool peeps!
I went straight over to gear check to free up my hands, and I bumped into my HS buddy Brian. Also said hello to my little sister's friend. How am I seeing people I know? Crazy! Somehow I lost Jaime in the crowd and called Jill to see where they were. Corral 6. Gotcha.
I'm the prego albino chick that isn't cold. ;)
Shortly after Cassie found me and we hugged and cheered! We haven't run together since High School X-Country, and I've missed her so much! (She's the Raiders girl on the right in the pic w/ me blindfolded in the "How 'Run, Zoe, Run!' Came to Be" post about my Mum. We've got a lot of history.) I introduced her to my new blog friend Kasey who was going to run with us too. Then we went to Corral 9 and waited a little bit for the start. EEK! Nerves! And then we clapped...uh, for what? Dude next to us says "They just had someone sing the National Anthem." Ohhhhh. We did not hear a single note. But the crowd started moving forward. Yes!
The crowd of runners behind our Corral (#9)
Then we were up to the Start Line and the we're running! The Announcer says over the mic "Baby Runner on board! Does he get his own number?" And I smiled: Miss Goober is famous.
And there was more smiling. More running. More laughter as I spot a line of Nekkid Semis just parked all neatly next to the road. But of course! They were finally showing their support! Then I swear I smelled freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. My uber sensitive nose was playing on tricks on me: "That's cruel!" Cas and I proceed to reminisce about the killer delicious Otis Spunkmeyer cookies that were sold during break in High School. I think I may have drooled. Before Kasey, Cas and I knew it, we were passing mile markers left and right.
We made a quick porta potty stop, which is a first for me during a race. It wasn't too bad, but why isn't the hand sanitizer stocked? Seriously, I'm about to eat one of my Clif Shot Bloks and I've got nasty honey bucket hands. Then I hear a familiar voice yell out my name...it's KERRIE! YAY! I wave and smile and she's awesome and takes pictures:
We ran through some cute neighborhoods that had people sitting out front of their houses watching and waving. I told Kasey and Cas that if I lived here, I would totally have a stereo system blasting some Michael Jackson tunes for the runners. Um, three houses later what do we hear??? A disco beat with "don't stop 'til you get enough..." HECK YES!! Are you kidding me?! Coincidence #1. That was totally awesome.
With my Baby Runner on Board tank, and the sign that said "Baby on Board's 2nd Half Mary" on my back, a LOT of people were making comments and saying "That's awesome!" "Congrats!" "Good for you!" A couple of younger guys passed me and tried to slyly look at my belly...but I caught them. It was funny. The shirt/sign combo was definitely a hit!
I felt really good going up the hills, as I get a lot of practice in my neighborhood. Downhill was a different story, and my legs did NOT like it. There was a spot where we got close to the Lake and a long line of spectators were cheering and holding large American flags. It was beautiful! I spotted a soldier in uniform and ran up to him, gave him a high-five and said "Thank you."
Around this time I spotted Coincidence #2 (you'll get why later). A dude's running in a freaking polar bear suit! WTH? The guy's nuts! Kerrie was kind enough to get a pic of this dude (because she knew about the coincidence too!).
The race course was right next to the water, and we walked a bit (but seriously not that far) here and there. The view was amazing and I totally felt like going swimming right then. We stopped to stretch a bit right before we went up to the I-90 tunnel. Getting back to moving was hard and my tummy was starting to growl. It was loud and hot in the tunnel, and Gus II did not like being surrounded by so much concrete. Kasey got a serious kick and we were going a little faster. Perhaps because it was so loud and hot? Blech. We were getting so close to Downtown!
Since our pace was not entirely consistent due to slowing down for water stops and some walks, I noticed that we passed the same two dudes often. One in a physical therapy company shirt and another with red hair. They were running together and they'd pass us, then our group would pass them...and so on. Well, when we passed the red haired dude again after the tunnel I turned around:
"We've been yo-yo-ing here. What's your name?"
"Hey Scott, I'm Zoe. Nice to meet you!"
"Yeah! You too! Guess I'll see ya in a bit!"
We approached mile 10 and I called Travis to see where he was. Of course I told him my goal time would be 3 to 3.5 hours. HA! Travis had just left our house! I was about 30 minutes from the Finish Line. Boo. :( Oh well. As long as I got to see him at the end.
I tried my hand at running pictures with my new iPhone 4. Surprising steady considering I'm, well, running.
Ooo! Safeco in sight!
Rock on, Cassie!
At this point all three of us just wanted to be done, so we decided to just keep running with no walking breaks if possible. Since I'm a huge fan of running through the city during races and seeing large crowds of cheering spectators, I felt amazing! Then there was a steep decline before we got on the viaduct. Holy crap! I thought my shins were going to break in half and I'd roll down the hill. Ugh. Not the best feeling. But then the viaduct was home stretch! SOOOO CLOSE!
Running towards Qwest Field I told Cassie to leave me if she needed to go faster (and Kasey was booking it! Woot!). I got my usual kick, but I didn't realize that the Finish Line was OUTSIDE of Qwest Field. It's right THERE! I picked up the pace even more and had a goofball mega-grin going on. Yes!!!
I'm actually considering purchasing these pics from the event photog:
I DID IT!!!
Me, Kasey and Cassie with medals!
We grabbed water, bagels, granola bars and headed to gear check. I needed to put on my brand new Swift Socks I got from the Running Skirts twins at the expo. Oh my gosh, can I just say that I've truly been missing out on this calf compression stuff? Incredible! They made my legs feel soooo good. Travis met up with Cas and I near the giant gear UPS trucks. "Good job, babe!" Three words that just lingered in my head. *sigh*
Trav didn't want to miss the USA World Cup game that started in about an hour, so it was time to head out. But NOT BEFORE I busted out my sign near the finish line and cheered for 10 minutes!!!
And now, I present to you, the reason behind Coincidence #2:
Ah ha ha ha!!
I yelled! I cheered! I whooped it up! Some people saw the sign and were bewildered, but many others were like "Right on!" and one woman even said "That's the best sign I've seen all day!" People actually took pictures of me and the sign while they were running. All I was looking for were some smiles. It was definitely a success. ;)
Then it was home, epsom salt bath, lunch, nap, lounging, dinner in Bellevue and comedy show in Kirkland. Busy day, but oh so worth it.
Like my Baby Runner on Board Tank? You can purchase it HERE.