Monday, May 16, 2011

13.1 Miles In My Shoes

What a great weekend in Pittsburgh. A chance to see my brother, his wife and my niece (we became fast friends again although by the sounds of it she may think my name is "Mike"), all of whom I hadn't seen since January. But lets not forget why I was there---Sunday was (cue drum roll).. RACE DAY! 

Baby's first half marathon, as I like to call it. While I knew I was as ready as I was going to be, it was still naturally a bit scary, but in an exciting way. I'll tell you one thing, few things will get me this awake at 5:00am. 
My brother and I arrived in downtown Pittsburgh around 6:15am for the 7:00am start. My sister in law had warned us to expect long bathroom lines. Apparently, I had no idea what she meant. The whole morning I had been conflicted between hydrating my body and not forgetting my oh-so-small bladder situation (understatement of the year). I seriously panicked that we would a) miss the start (even with the 45 minutes we still had left to wait in line) or b) I would acutally pee myself mid run. Eff.

Long story short, 35 minutes in line later we hopped the barricades and found our spots in our "corral" (literally) with minutes to spare. Phew. Then it was time! For those of you who haven't had the opportunity to stand in a sea of people, all as excited and as pumped up on crazy as you are, you're absolutely missing out. I could not believe the adrenaline that was already surging through my veins. My heart was racing out of my chest; part of me feared that I would somehow still pee myself despite my empty bladder. It took us about 10 minutes to walk to the actual starting line. One last "good luck" exchange with my brother, started up the iPod, crossed the starting line, and knew there was officially no turning back.

The amazing thing is, I really was ready. Whenever you can say that the first eight miles breezed by, I think you're doing alright. As I approached mile 10 I started to feel the time wearing on my body, but by that point I was so far in there was no turning back. I had to let the cheering crowd be my reminder of how badly I wanted this. Slowly, mile 10 turned into 11 which turned into 12 and before I knew it I was in the final half mile stretch, turning the corner catching a glimpse of the finish line. While I wish I could say I sprinted that last half mile to the finish, my body violently rejected that idea, but I did pick up the pace significantly. 

Then at 2:20:22 I crossed the finish line (along with a Nigerian to my right who was completing the FULL marathon). I stopped, after unsuccessfully trying to walk in an straight line, only to bend slightly doubled over to catch my breath. I stood up, and collected myself. I thought about what I'd just done. I thought about what it had taken to get here. Much more than 13.1 miles. Oh my god, I just did that. 

And just like that, it was over...for now.

Next stop?

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