Tuesday, October 29, 2013

healdsburg half, take 2.

this past saturday morning i found myself once again standing in the dark, surrounded by people trying to get warm-pre-sunrise-preparing to run 13.1 miles.

it was freezing, well, around 40 degrees- and i totally spaced on the bag drop option. most of us did. so there we stood shivering, inappropriately dressed, wondering why the hell we got up so early and got on that bus to the start line when the race wouldnt start for another hour. at least i decided to wear pants and not a skirt.

i was feeling no nerves this time which was in stark contrast to last year. last year it was my first half. this would be my third. big difference. plus i had a partial boston marathon under my belt which helped a ton.

so what were we doing there? we were there to raise awareness.  our team: the rett warriors.  seven ladies with matching shirts-chasing the cure. these girls dont just show up the day of to run.  they register (which costs money), they train (which takes time), they buy shirts (more money), they chip in for a place to stay, they leave their kids/families for the weekend and they do it all with a smile. they do it for Avery.  they are some of the greatest friends a girl could ask for. truly.

just before we thought we might freeze our buns off, the sun started to come up and it was soon time to trek over to the actual start. i was excited to see the new course-a little nervous about the hills and elevation.  i had seen the elevation map and it looked like a doozy.  up, then way down then up and down the rest of the way but even those downhills were up.  seriously.

i started off great.  stopped twice- once to take off my jacket and then to get a piece of gum but ran straight for the first 5 miles.  it might be one of the most gorgeous places to run-wine country.  you have to remind yourself to look around-look left and there are vineyards, to the right-more of the same.  quaint homes are peppered throughout and adorable wineries everywhere. it is breathtaking really.  the weather that day was silly amazing.  clear blue skies for as far as you could see.  pretty chilly at the start but not too hot by the end.

i didnt hit a wall at mile 9.5 like i did last year.  that was a good feeling.  there were plenty of times when i had to tell myself to slow down as i was at about 10:35 when my comfortable pace is more around 11:10.  i was sort of secretly hoping to at least beat last years time but i didnt want to use up all my energy in the beginning.

there was a point midway when my left hand was pretty numb.  both hands were cold (next year ill have gloves) and i had been running for over an hour.  i remember trying to get something out of my pouch-shot blocks or lip balm or something but my hands wouldnt work. they would not do what i wanted them to do.  i immediately thought of goose. of how hard her life is, how hard she has to work to do the most basic of things and it motivated me so much. every person that passed me read my shirt.  i know they did.   and a lot of people passed me. 

at mile 11 i got a little emotional about boston.  it was mile 11 where i met up with my husband and friends in boston-it was an amazing moment-one i will never forget. i was ecstatic that day, until i wasnt.  and running past the mile 11 marker in healdsburg brought back some mixed emotions. i was also thinking 2 more miles. just 2. i had already started mixing in a lot of walking but was able to run more than a tenth of a mile at a time so i was feeling good.  by this time, the course had meandered onto a fairly busy road.  we had to stay on the left side of the road in sort of a single file line.  that was annoying. then the buses started to pass.  with runners that had finished. runners with medals.  their faces so relaxed and happy.  and im still slogging along. annoying. but finally i could hear the finish line.  i took out my headphones and put them away and kept pushing.  i was so close.

i got the end where i could see people cheering and im looking for my girls.  but i dont see them, and then i do and they are screaming for me holding their hands out for high fives and i cannot make it over to them as it would take me a few extra steps out of the way.  at this point im feeling like i might vomit. truly.  i was thinking "is it socially acceptable to puke at the finish line?, im sure it wouldnt be the first time" then the clock is in my sights.  i cant see it very well and then it comes into focus. 2:37 something-what? i slow down, because i know now that i wont beat my time. but i felt like i had gone so fast.  then i remembered i started in the back-my chip time should be closer to my garmin time. so i pushed it. and i still didnt beat my time.  but whatever. it wasnt the point.

soon enough i have my wine glass in hand, i have met up with my team and we are tasting champagne and beer and enjoying the post race party. we chatted up a few people who asked us about our shirts.  i handed out some awareness cards. it was awesome.

we headed back on the bus to our car and went to our rental home.  we popped the champagne and got in our suits and sat in the sun on the deck. we hot tubbed, looked at magazines, talked about silly things and deep things. we laughed so much. 

it's funny we kidded around all weekend about how next year we would switch it up and maybe do a girls weekend without a half marathon involved. but as soon as we were all done, we all gave our word we would be back next year.  it means so so much to me that these girls have decided to do this with me.  and what would we be doing if we werent doing this? ill never know, and i dont want to.  im so grateful for the way my life has turned out.  i wonder a lot what kind of person, mom, wife and friend i would be if i had gone down the path i expected. im stealing this from a very wise mom friend of mine, but avery saved me from that life.

im leaving out so much of the weekend-great talks, SNL, food that you wouldnt believe, wineries with amazing people with great stories, outlets, raccoons, sock borrowing, hair curling and above all great friendship. here's to you, my fellow rett warriors.  see you there again on 10/25/14-chasing the cure.
kelly, me, heather, pam, anne, lee ann, and julie.

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