Monday, September 24, 2012

Nashville Women's Half Marathon recap, Running for my Dad

So, after a week of wondering what my father's outlook was from day to day, by Friday he was doing a bit better and I knew that I could take my well-earned trip to Nashville with the girls.  It was a whirlwind of a week, with little sleep, lots of stress, a sick boy, and zero exercise.  I wasn't expecting to reach my original goal at the race (sub-2hr half), but I was hoping to beat my previous pr of 2:13.  So I left the kids with hubby, hopped on a plane, and set off for a weekend of fun with my team, the Steel Magnolias!

I think my Friday was doomed from the beginning, unfortunately.  I couldn't find a Starbucks in my airport, so I had to painfully wait until my layover.  There, I ordered a ginormous latte with soy milk (I'm lactose intolerant), and set on my way happily.  Got picked up at the airport by my friends, we were set to have a good time.....and it hit me.  They must have put regular milk in my drink.  And my body was NOT happy.  At all.  I laid down in the back seat the entire drive and hoped I wouldn't vomit in my friend's car. (Gee, thanks for driving me!  I think I'll puke in your back seat!)  So yeah, not a great start.  We got to the hotel and I suffered my way through the expo, which was a good bit smaller than last year's.  But I guess that was a good thing for someone trying to get out of it, huh?  We set off to dinner, and I had to turn around before we made it a block.  I ate a few bites of a sandwich, took a nap, and woke up in time to get ready for bed.  NOT how I wanted to spend the night before working towards a half PR.

I woke up on Saturday feeling good.  Weak, but good.  Put on my Team Sparkle skirt, ate a Clif bar, and chatted with the girls.  I didn't get my morning coffee because I was scared (still am) of going back to Starbucks!  But shit, I had already broken all of my pre-race rules, why not continue the trend, right?  So we headed down to the start line on what seemed to be a beautiful morning.  Just like last year, you could feel the excitement in the air!  Women were chattering, compliments were being thrown left and right, and the feeling of all those powerful women invigorated me.  I loooove being surrounded by healthy, self-confident, STRONG women.  My soul needed it. 
Pre-race silliness ensues
 We lined up for the race together being a very tall man in a very fluffy fairy outfit, and the excitement was high.  We started in the front of corral 2 instead of the middle of corral 3 like last year, and I was so glad.  We actually got to RUN in the first quarter mile, and that's always a plus in a large race!  I was off and dedicating my race to my father.  I felt okay, but I didn't see a PR at all in my future.  I just didn't get enough calories the past few days.

I immediately got in the groove with my favorite running pal T, and we pushed through the first part with good feelings.  In the pre-race emails, WHM had said that the two massive hills at the end had been taken out this year.  They didn't seem to mention that they replaced them with some big hills in the beginning.  So up we went!  Living in NY gave me some good hill training, but I've apparently lost it all in pancake-flat Charlotte.  But we kept trucking and were actually pushing towards a PR for both of us!  The water stops were often and very well-manned, and I grabbed two cups at each to make up for my previous dehydration.  It was working, and I was feeling better with every step.  We got pumped up by some fun musical acts, but there was one that was just plain depressing.  When we passed, he was singing a slow twangy "Everything is gone, my life is gone", and we actually laughed at how inappropriate it was.  But we pressed on.  Soon, T started feeling a bit tired and urged me to go ahead.  She's a fellow Tough Chik and a true badass, but she's an even better friend and I could tell she wanted me to take off.  It was the only reason that I left her, and from mile 9 I set off on my own.  I pushed my pace up a good bit and felt great.  I thought about my dad and sent him all of my energy and strength.  I pushed harder and harder, and in the last half mile I was sprinting like a boss.  I felt like I would puke, but I didn't want to give up.  I hit the finish line at 2:06:47 for a seven minute PR!!!!!  I felt SO incredible!  Six minutes later, T came across the line for another PR, and we watched all of our team cross the line, met up with friends, and celebrated.  I ate one of everything at the finish line and began feeling like a normal human being again, and we celebrated with huge hamburgers and beers.

Post-race team pic--I love my Steel Magnolias!
Just like last year, I loved the race.  The WHM is always uplifting, friendly, well-organized, and incredibly fun.  I love seeing the women cross the finish line empowered and loving life.  I also got to spend a lot of time with T and some other friends from home that I really miss like crazy.  I'm so grateful that I had this weekend, even with my nasty Friday night.  My soul got a much-needed cleaning out, I bonded with some of my best friends, and I got to run hard and strong for my dad.  I'm already planning for next year!

On my dad's note, I will be flying out to CA to be with him this week.  He needs family around, and the boy and I will take this chance to be with him.  Hubby and the kiddo will stay back for school and work, and hopefully it will be a nice, healing week for my father and everyone involved.  I'll be bringing the jogger and hoping for a few times to go out and breathe in some ocean air with the boy while running on a boardwalk or two.  Thank goodness for running, and especially thank goodness for family!  Please keep him and all of us in your thoughts and prayers.

1 comment:

  1. I had no idea you were racing in Nashville this past weekend. I ran this race as well with a few runner blogger friends. The girl I ran with kept saying that she didn't remember it being this hilly last year. Congratulations on a new huge PR! That was very impressive especially for this course. Have a safe trip to CA to see your dad.