My motto these days is: I think I can fit that in.
This has, however, become increasingly difficult, especially over the last two weeks partly due to my in-laws visiting from Florida. See Jane Run Half and surrounding festivities had been planned for months: Saturday evening, we would hit the expo and then go to dinner. Sunday, run.
But my family wanted to go to the Sequim (pronounced skwim) Lavender Festival on Saturday. Sequim is two-plus hours away on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula (where the North Olympic Discovery Marathon starts). I have never been to the festival and heard its lovely, so I was excited to go. However, my family consists of late-risers, and we did not all congregate in Sequim until after 1 p.m. I needed to be back in Seattle by 5 for the expo, which meant I needed to leave Sequim by 3. (My husband and T Junior would ride back after the festival with my in-laws.)
That gave me two hours at the festival. But the festival is spread out over many lavender farms. The first farm we went to, which was nothing more than about 100 lavender plants, a cash register and a Honey Bucket (thank goodness because I’d been hydrating for the race), was my favorite because T Junior was able to explore between the tufts of purple flowers. I also taught him to take pictures with my phone.
|What Mr. T looks like to T Junior.|
|He wanted to take a picture of the butterfly.|
|This has to be one of my favorite pictures of us ever — and T Junior took it.|
I felt guilty leaving my family at the festival. Like panicked guilty, but I’d had these plans for a long time. Of course, I stayed a little later than I should have – about a half hour – and that meant I was still a half an hour away from the expo when I was already a half an hour late. Got that?
Luckily, I have awesome friends and Chelsea (Will Run for Food) picked up my bib. Turns out the expo was lackluster anyway, so missing it was not that big of a deal. I did, however, feel awkward at the semi-fancy Il Fornaio in my Superman shirt (T Junior and I wore matching shirts to the festival).
|Lisa’s hubs, Lisa, Chelsea and Mike, me, Jayne, Mel and Zoe.|
There were eight of us at dinner – a really nice number for conversation. I stayed away from dairy, something I learned from Alma (The Average Woman’s Running Blog) – and had the cappellini al pomodoro (basically spaghetti), a beer and lots of bread. Too much bread, really, but it was so good. I love bread. I’m a bread fiend. I love it toasted. I could eat toast for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
My favorite part of the dinner was people-watching:
- A disheveled-looking man in a stocking cap pulled down over his eyebrows at a table with an otherwise clean-cut family. Once, I looked over and he was smoking. Um, we have a smoking ban here. Mike, Chelsea’s boyfriend, informed me that there are such things as electric cigarettes that produce steam instead of smoke. What?! I’d never heard of these.
- A man who looked just like Vizzini from The Princess Bride. Inconceivable!
- An older man, probably in his late 60’s, on what looked like a date with a much younger woman, probably in her early 20’s.
And then Chelsea made a map of where we were to meet before the race on Sunday. The spoons are trees, the sweetener packets are parking.
I went home to get ready knowing I needed to be at Zoe’s by 5:30 the next morning so she could drive us to Chelsea’s by 6:30 at the latest. I set out my blue and pink “ice cream” tank from last year’s You Go Girl! Race, my white Nike running skirt, my pink RunLove socks from RunningSkirts and my sparkle headband Chelsea gifted me from RazzyRoo. I went to bed feeling like something was bound to go wrong since I was way too relaxed.
In the morning, I got dressed, made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to eat right before the start, and headed to Zoe’s. I transferred to her car and then spent the next 15 minutes laughing at her trying to drive while melted peanut butter dripped from her toasted waffle and PB sandwich. It was all over her face and it was pretty freakin’ funny at 5:45 a.m. …or any time, really.
Then Zoe and I just chatted and we both agreed that pop songs should not bring back saxophone solos (Lady Gaga’s On the Edge and Katy Perry’s TGIF).
Anyway, we got to Chelsea’s (after walking through a few spiderwebs – yuck!) and I had to go potty. That’s when I discovered that this would be a very, very, very bad day to wear a white skirt. Luckily, I had supplies.
Mike drove us all to the race…after a quick stop at Starbucks for Chels. Zoe and I w
aited in the car like their children and then took pictures of ourselves.
|Mom and Dad…er, Mike and Chelsea.|
|After several attempts at a self-portrait, Zoe had enough and took over. |
I’m sort of famous for bad self-portraits.
Mike dropped us off at the race start in Gasworks Park, and I was suddenly nervous. (Technically, this would only be my fourth half marathon, so…) It was like the opposite of the full marathon just a few weeks ago. In the days leading up to that race, I could barely speak, I was so nervous, but once I got to the actual race, I felt calm. This time, I was relaxed and then nervous.
I felt like maybe I had to pee, but the lines for the potty were so long. I chalked it up to nervousness, but really, I just did not want to wait in that line.
Chelsea’s suggested meeting place pre-race was perfect, and easy to find thanks to her sugar-packet-and-spoon map. Diana in a super cute argyle RunningSkirt managed to find us even though she had not seen it, but then she left to get in the Honey Bucket line. Poor Diana. It was a little chilly, so we stood around freezing and being silly for a bit till Mel (Tall Mom on the Run), her hubs and her sister Jayne, who would be running her first half just like Chelsea, arrived.
|Tested out a new ‘do: two buns on top of my head. |
It was great because it held my bangs back, too!
|You can see my buns. Hehehehehe.|
|Jayne, Mel, me, Zoe and Chels. Thanks Tall Dave for the pic!|
|They’re posing in honor of Jill (Running to Sanity) since |
she wasn’t able to make the race.
As we headed for the start area and to get our wristbands for post-race Champagne, I saw a homeless man wandering toward our meeting area and I wondered what he thought about all these crazy women dressed in tutus and sparkle skirt in his “house.”
Over at the start, we got to meet many of our virtual buddies, including Jenn (Runner…Maybe?), Janna, Photina (My Running Tales), Katey (I Run on Purpose) and Megan (My Marathon Diaries). Then the pre-race warm-up began. I’ve only been to one other race (my first race, a 10K at Issaquah Salmon Days) that had a pre-race warm-up like this. They played dance music and people did aerobics. It was silly and fun, and we joined in.
|Okay, maybe we were not taking it seriously.|
Then I suggested doing a Charlie’s Angels pic, but someone changed it to Ninjas and forgot to CC Mel.
|Charlie’s Ninjas? Hollywood, call me.|
After that we stood around wondering how more than a 1,000 women were going to fit on a 5-foot-wide trail just beyond the starting line. We predicted mass chaos.
We were right.
The first two miles were slow-going. We had to take teeny-tiny steps to make sure we didn’t trip on any feet around us and watch out for low fence posts and potholes. Chelsea wanted to stay loyal to her 5:1 run:walk plan, and “pulling over” to walk was virtually impossible. Somehow, we managed to, but it was not easy.
We got to the first water stop and they were not ready at all. Looking back, I wonder if that stop was supposed to be for people on the “back” portion of this first “out and back,” and that’s why they didn’t have anything ready. They thought they had more time. Not sure, but it was a disaster.
Then, just as we were all getting into a groove on the trail, we heard yelling and suddenly the women in front of us were moving forward as bikes approached with some really fast women runners (the leaders) behind them. How frustrating for them! They had to run upstream. Maybe next year, they can have some chalk lines on the trail so people know to keep right.
I did like the out and backs, though, because we got to see people we knew and we got to people-watch. There were some fun outfits. My favorite were two women in pink camo tutus. And having Mike along the course for moral support for Chels and with his trusty camera (and water) was awesome!
I don’t actually remember a lot about this race because I was very focused on Chelsea and my Garmin. (Chelsea’s recap is really good, so go check it out HERE. And Zoe remembered a bunch of things I forgot HERE.) I was in charge of keeping track of 5:1. I wasn’t sure how much talking was helpful, and how much was annoying, and I kept asking her questions and then kicking myself because she needed to concentrate on breathing and not talking to me! Duh!
Around Mile 12, there was a sharp turn, but we were due for a walk break. I moved over to the right to get out of the way before I stopped running and a spectator wearing a red satin prom dress accused me of trying to cheat. Um, yeah, I wasn’t going to cut the corner, just needed to get out of the way, crazy lady. Sheesh. But it did irk me. I let it go since we were so close to Chels finishing her first half. Nothing could get in the way of the excitement of that. We made plans to hold hands in victory at the finish. (You have to plan these things.)
My first half in 2009 was sort of uneventful. I ran, I hurt, I finished, I had to pee. I didn’t really feel any different. I felt like I needed a potty and some food. To be brutally honest, I didn’t really feel proud of what I’d done right away or that anyone cared. I had no spectators or family there (my fault, I told them to stay home). My first half recap is HERE. Don’t worry, it’s not a total downer or anything.
|Self-portrait post-Seattle Half in November 2009.|
I did get to meet Amanda (5 Miles Past Empty) afterward, though, and that was awesome.
|Me and Amanda in November 2009.|
But I think this is why I wanted to be with my friend Chelsea for her first half. I wanted it to be fun and I wanted her to feel different when she was done. Running 13.1 miles is a pretty big deal, and I wanted her to feel like that and be proud of herself.
And Chelsea did amazing especially considering she had to stop training for several weeks because of a hip injury. She hit some rough patches, and she had some pain, but she pushed through, and even found her kick at the end (even though she told me she’d have no kick).
|She’s kickin’ it in!|
As we came around the bend to the finish, she said, “Here we go,” and freakin’ stepped on it! “Oh yeah!” I said and sped up to stay with her. We saw Zoe and Mike with their cameras. I waved, but Chels was all business. She was about to finish her first half!
As we approached the finish line, we grabbed hands and raised them up as Chelsea began to choke up. Seeing her get emotional made me choke up as I remembered my first half, so our finish line pictures should be interesting. After we crossed, she broke down obviously so proud of her accomplishment and this just made me so happy.
This is the reaction I had wanted for myself af
ter my first half, and I was so glad I got to be there with her. I hugged her and then we got our cute medals.
Then Mike was there with flowers, hugging her as she cried. I felt so proud of my friend. She was with Mike and I wandered over to First Aid to get some ice for her troubled hip (whom she named Mr. Hippy), but they were out. They were also out of water, which baffles me.
Soon, all the girls were there and Chelsea choked up again. Hugs all around! The rain started to come down and Zoe’s lips were blue, but we all headed for the Champagne Garden anyway. Other races should take note: Champagne and chocolate at the finish is the bomb! The combination of the sweet and dry was awesome. I went back for seconds on the Champagne…and thirds.
|Cheers to the two new half marathoners, Chelsea and Jayne! And to Zoe on her PR!|
On the car ride home, I said a few funny things that I will never hear the end of. But that’s nothing new.
*ahem* Running fun is fast. *ahem* (Or something like that.)
Hey, maybe that should be my motto.