I'm only 3 months behind on my blog... I know I should be posting St. Patty's day celebration pics but let's go back to Christmas time for a bit, shall we?
We ran the St. Jude Memphis Marathon a couple of weeks before Christmas 2011 and it was an incredible experience. We stayed at the Peabody which is one of my favorite hotels because of its beautiful lobby. It's amazing at Christmas. There is a huge Christmas tree and the whole lobby is decorated and filled with activity. They had a vocal music group singing Christmas carols when we first arrived and later in the day someone was playing Christmas music on the grand piano. The Peabody has such a warm atmosphere at Christmas that it really got us in the spirit of the season.
We met up with friends and family and hit the race expo and then loaded up with carbs. Race morning went smoothly since we were staying very close to the start line. Our crew was ready to run here! I'm the one with the k-tape on my sad right knee. I don't know if it really helps or just cons me into believing it helps. Either way, I was willing to try anything to help my knee.
The St. Jude race is one of the most emotional races I can imagine. It's such a great cause and I am very thankful that we were able to participate in this event. The posters of little bald kiddos are enough to break your heart and make your eyes fill up with tears. Then you run through the St. Jude hospital campus! There were children in wheelchairs outside cheering for us. It was completely heart wrenching but at the same time amazingly hopeful. The kids at the hospital are most likely going to live a long healthy life once they leave St. Jude's because of the advanced treatment they receive there. The spectators at this race are like no others because many of them have a connection to a child that has been treated or is currently being treated at St. Jude. They are cheering like a life depends on them... which is a dramatic thing to say the least.
The first half of the race was great. We felt strong and we were encouraged by all of the other runners, volunteers, cheerleaders, and spectators. When the race split at the halfway point, that was tough. Knowing that we had to keep running another 13.1 miles was definitely daunting! We just had to trust our training and say a prayer that we would be able to finish it. We slowed down around mile 15 but we were still running consistently until about mile 24. Then we got TIRED. There is no word I can think of to describe just how exhausted we were. We kept hobbling to the finish line and then around mile 25, we both had a lot of pain. My knee was on fire and my husband's hip was killing him. We were barely able to walk, let alone run. I couldn't have run the last mile if a bear was chasing me. We just gimped our way to the finish and made a last effort at the finish line to jog a little for the pics. This is what two people in extreme pain look like...
We finished the St. Jude marathon together. We could have been faster on our own but we were definitely stronger together. We encouraged each other (and threatened to drag each other at some point). I am so happy we got to cross the finish line at the same time. Sharing that experience is amazing.
What do a bunch of runners need after a race, shower, and nap?
You guessed it...
We went out for a nice dinner the night of the race and enjoyed catching up with everyone and numbing the pain from the marathon.
The next day, our race crew had to leave early to drive back home but we had a later flight that day so we were able to meet some more friends in Memphis and hang out with them. We went to Graceland and got to see all of the exhibitions there. Pink Cadillacs, airplanes, and bling... Elvis was the original pimp!
We had BBQ for lunch and enjoyed spending time with our friends on Sunday.
It was a great weekend because of the reason for the run (St. Jude Hospital!), good friends, good food, and an unforgettable race weekend experience!
We have a new running goal now! I keep seeing 50 staters members at all the running events and I'm totally inspired by these people! The willpower and determination is must take for distance running to be part of the lifestyle you lead is truly motivational. How many people can say they ran marathons in all 50 states? Not many! Hopefully someday there will be two more people in the 50 states marathon club! I'm in no hurry. I'm thinking it may take 30 years but I'm fine with that time span. It's a way to stay healthy and always have a goal to look forward to. There is always "the next race" and isn't that what keeps us motivated?
2012 running events include:
March 4: Scallywompus San Antonio 10 mile Trail Run
March 25: Dallas Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon
May 27: Madison, Wisconsin Marathon
July 29: San Francisco Marathon
November 11: San Antonio Marathon
If you're doing one of these or have done it before, let me know what you thought about it! Thanks!