OMG! Where do I begin? On Friday when I went to the Expo to pick up my race bib number a lady came up and started talking to me. We soon realized that we were both in Team in Training with LLS and we were both walking the half marathon. What a coincidence! We exchanged numbers and planned to hook up on race morning. Saturday evening I went to the carb-loaded inspiration dinner with all of the team members. Our team raised over $160,000 for cancer!!! Parents of first grader Hayley got up and told their story of how she went through chemo and how Team in Training helped make it so that her last chemo treatment was in March. She’s cancer free! (pic of Me and Coach Tina at the Dinner)
I went home less stressed than I felt all week and gathered up everything for race day. You guys saw the major list that I had to get ready. Once I had everything laid out I made a failed attempt to go to sleep.
You’ve heard me say over and over that I’m a night person. I paced around and finally got in the bed a little after 11 pm. I tossed and turned and tossed and turned. I was glad that the coach warned us that this was normal the day before a race. I don’t know what time I finally got to sleep.
At the inspiration dinner they said that they wanted the team to meet at 5:30 AM and walk to the starting line together so that there will be up “Sea of Purple Shirts.” I decided to be a team player and woke up a little bit before 5 AM. I forced myself to eat a muffin, as I had absolutely no appetite at that time of morning. Aside from avoiding alcohol, one of coach Tina’s final pieces of advice were to go to the bathroom before the race. Like “really go” like, number 2. I figured this would be no problem as I’m pretty regular (sorry probably too much information.) Anyway this morning my body was very confused, and had no clue how to function at 5 AM. I danced outside with Nyah I walked up and down the stairs nothing was making number two happen. I gave up and made it downtown around six o’clock, terrified that I would have to use the Porter potties. Luckily by the time I made to the host hotel my mind was awake and so was the rest of my body. Whew, thank God, porter potty avoided. I hooked up with the nice lady that I met the Expo via cell phone and we were off! Everything was groovy as I had driven the race path on Saturday after the dinner. That was until I tripped and fell over a pipe sticking up out of the street shortly before mile 2. I am “tangle-footed” as my Dad calls me, so I’ve learned not to fall on my face or my knees. I let my hands catch me, as my water bottle and new iPod went flying. Contrary to elementary school days all the other participants were genuinely concerned and helped me up. I was so worried about passing out and oddly enough falling had never occurred to me. About mile 4 I started to “feel it.” It was nearly 90 degrees already, nothing like my freezing cold training conditions for the last 4 months.
When we got to mile 6 most of the walkers and runners had passed us and there was a small group of us walking together. Two of the ladies dropped out. I couldn’t believe it; I was finishing this race, if I had to limp across the finish line. At about mile 7 or 8 my personal cheerleaders waved signs with my name. My Mama, my Big Little sister and Auntie’s baby girl cheered for my little walk group. My other Little sister promised the pastor she would be at church and she text me throughout the race. They gave us all a moral boost. However, around mile 9, it started to get kind of grimy. It seemed that we would never get to Mile 10. Then we ran into Coach Tina, she walked with us almost all the way to the finish line. Everytime we said something negative like my feet hurt or I don’t think I can do this, she gave us something positive to focus on. At one point we started naming body parts that didn’t hurt, like my ear or my walk buddy said her tongue LOL! Soon thereafter, the blazing sun heated my silver earring to the point that it burned my neck. Coach said it was so hot that they shut down the rest of the marathon race. My heart went out to those people that trained and weren’t allowed to finish their race. There were so many ambulances and I saw several hurt people on the ground. The heat was getting to everybody and really slowing me down.
Around Mile 11 I started to get pretty crabby. And I told the ladies I was walking with, “Nice Carli is gone and I’m warning you that I have a bad attitude.” Just like the guys that I date, I give you fair warning if I’m about to flip the switch, since that’s typically not my character. One lady cheered “Way to go!” And I think I rolled my eyes at her as I envied her standing on the sidelines. My coach said “I guess she didn’t get the bad attitude disclaimer.” LOL! I kept looking at my biblical scripture temporarily tattooed on my wrist that read “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I said it about 1 million times in my head, when nothing Christ-like wanted to come out of my mouth. Finally, as we approached mile 12 “Not Forgotten” a gospel song came on that helped push me through. My feet hurt so bad, it was beyond hot, and I was exhausted, I didn’t know how I could go any further. And then almost miraculously I saw the finish line. I actually started to get a little emotional which is totally not my style. I started thinking about all of the encouraging comments on Facebook & my blog and all the people that I would inspire as Roni inspired me. I decided to suck it up because I didn’t want to do the “ugly cry” in my finish line photo, and I was wearing eye makeup. As I got close to the finish line I saw my Dad, I waved at him and decided to run it on in, I dug deep and gave it every tiny bit that I had left. I ran across the finish line pumping my fists in the air to “Eye of the Tiger” which was playing over the loudspeaker. My homeboy with the video camera was nowhere in sight. I could have strangled him. I was a little disoriented and the volunteers had to tell me to get my metal and get something to eat. I hobbled my way over to the Team in Training tent. They gave me my 13.1 mile pin and finally I sat down. I decided to put away the crabby witch and be nice to my Dad and my homeboy that were nice enough to stand in the extreme heat until I finished nearly an hour past my projected time. It took me a while to get back to feeling quasi-normal. They drove me to my car and we all went to Red Lobster for a victory dinner. I ate as many cheddar bay biscuits as I wanted and didn’t care about WW points. I felt that that was okay since I walked for nearly 5 hours and burned over 2000 calories. Thank you family and Running into Shape supporters for believing in me. Now, since I almost fell asleep in the bath tub earlier, I think calling it a night.