Leading up to the weekend of the race, I had been struggling with tight IT bands, knee pains and shin splints. Nothing terribly dream-dashing, but enough to be annoying. I laid off of the running as prescribed, did extra yoga and ice baths. On Friday evening, my family made it into town and the festivities had officially started.
Saturday morning, Mark headed off to football and I got up early to make sure I could get to bed early that night. Mom & I did another session of yoga while Dad stood behind us and imitated. Tommy & Steph were sound asleep until about 10. Finally we load up the car with 5 people, 2 dogs and 2 bikes. We head down to the Trail and realize that it's alot colder out than we had anticipated! Tommy & Steph had planned on riding, but with the cold, wind, traffic and hills, that didn't work out so well. They came back after about 15 minutes. Mom & Dad had planned on playing fetch with the dogs at Auditorium Shores until I got done, but that also was slightly thwarted. I say slightly because Stoli took himself swimming anyways =) As for me, I ran over to the Palmer Events center for the race expo and scored some sweet shorts for race day.
After lunch, we made it home and found Mark working away on my pasta dinner. Pesto pasta with rotisserie chicken and grilled shrimp. mmmmmm good! Mark's parents came over bearing my favorite pea salad and a surprise dessert. Minus the nerves, it was a great evening. In spite of myself, I was completely exhausted by 8pm, which was probably a blessing in disguise.
I woke the next morning at 3:45AM. Time to start the routine. Within 15 minutes, I had cleaned up and started my breakfast. By 4:15, I was on the sofa enjoying my peanut butter toast with bananas. 4:30, I was all body glided up and dressed. But still hadn't heard anything from Tommy & Steph's room. 4:35, start getting the car ready to leave by 4:45... oh, here come the sleeping beauties! I think they must've slept in their clothes because they got ready in about 3 minutes. OK, so it's 4:55, but anyways, we are headed out! I call Emily & Leslie on the way. It's about 5:20 when I finally talk to Leslie. She's at home putting on her tattoo. Priorities. =)
By 5:45am, we are all 3 gathered. The family is determining where their stations are. At 6:15, Tommy & Steph leave to start their hike to mile 2. About 6:30, Mark, the boys, and my parents head to the bridge to stake their spots for the start of the race and us girls head to our pace marker. We got in another bathroom break and our now much more relaxed than the day before. It's all good. We've made it here after 6 months of training. So happy. Like Mom said, we're already winners.
We head into South Austin. I've never run this way before. I saw on the map that we will go past Oltorf, down by St. Edwards and almost to Ben White before we turn back around. All I know was that in college that distance on I-35 took about 40 minutes in rush hour traffic, so if I could run it in 30 minutes (almost 3 miles), I'd be doing pretty damn good.
At mile 2, I spotted Tommy & Steph up on a ledge. I saw them before they saw us since I was 1 of thousands. But they started jumping up and down and screaming and you would've thought it was the last 2 miles and not the first =). But that gave us the distraction we needed. To be quite honest, those first 6 miles passed rather quickly. I chatted with Leslie the entire time. She was probably annoyed with me, but I had to keep up the banter or my body would start noticing the pain I was putting it through. At mile 6, we were back downtown and greeted by our families. That was a great revival. It lasted us about a mile before fatigue started to set in. We slowed down a little and stopped for a drink or two. After that, it was much easier. We made it out to Lake Austin and I'm telling you, it seemed much much longer the last 2 times that I ran that. But that day, it flew by. Sure enough, we were getting close to Hula Hut which meant Mark's parents would be there any second to cheer us on. We found them exactly where they were suppose to be... mile 9.5. Mark's mom wins the award for the best cheerleader on the entire route. After that, it was all down hill. We found Mark at mile 11 where he helped us through the toughest part of the course... the HILL. At close to mile 12, he took off in a different direction for the finish line. He got there seconds before I did to see me finish.
What an amazing feeling to see that finish line. I was hooked. I was ready to do it again. Maybe not today, but maybe tomorrow. Surely that was the adrenaline speaking =) I saw all of my family as I crossed the finish line, but it would be 20-30 minutes before I would make it over to them.
We finished the festivities at Hula Hut... my favorite place for good eats. I think I'll have to come back another day when I actually had an appetite.