First off, it was AMAZING! and that is a serious understatement. I have never seen anything like it, all the people in their running gear lining up in their corals (which the word its self is reminiscent of cattle) some standing strong, some stretching their legs one last time, some pushing their way to the front middle. The attire of the early morning ranged from tank tops, to crop tops to dinosaur outfits. Men in shorts too short I wouldn't wear... spandex and Lycra all for the sake of running. One group of faithful cheerleaders held signs that said "We love people who run when no one is chasing them"... that got us through mile 4 laughing.
We wore your typical running shorts and Bry wore a blue long sleeve shirt and I wore a tank and a pink running shirt over it. It was a little chilly but PERFECT weather! (later the fan base said it was good I wore pink because if not they wouldn't have been able to spot us "zooming by") Bry sported a head band of course so i am sure that helped as well. ( Ronnie I think the head band was in honor of you :) oh, and we couldn't run without our new faithful kicks and trackers!
Bry and I woke up about 4:10... you heard me FOUR TEN! Which meant Kehnely was up by 4 30... i love that she is a morning baby, she was just as chipper as if it was 8 30. We dropped her off at the rents and headed to the George R Brown Convention center where we could see the miles of people walking to get the race started. We got caught up in the hype and stared walking in THE WRONG DIRECTION... but quickly joined the group of people going TOWARDS the race. lol We did a little videoing for your enjoyment!
sorry these are so dark!
Starting out the race there was a dip down that gave us the chance to see the miles of little bobbing heads as runners trekked their way up the streets of downtown Houston... some people wore names not their own like one lady who rushed past us wearing the name "Herold" lol. I am guessing she took his spot. Before the first mile was spent there were people in the median already headed back, they barely started the race and it was already too much for them. One guy was trying so hard to pass other runners he bit it and had a hurt leg the rest of the race. We felt like we were walking the way others were passing us... but we just kept our steady pace and didn't let the hype get to us. (it helped in the end) At one point the halfers and the full marathoners merged and it was a beautiful sight. all these people, some running for status, some running for fitness, some running, like us, for someone they love. There were shirts in honor of people and causes all around us. Some racers even wrote the names of the loved ones they were sweating for on their arms and legs.
So the hills provided much stress on the feet and as we ran, about mile 4 i started to feel the tingling in my foot. As i pushed on I thought of the days that Erin or Beth may have hurt feet and legs or hurt all over and they have to push through at work, or at the store or at home...their strength gave me strength and I prayed for them.
Every time we seamed to get tired or aching someone on the sidelines would yell "Go Bryson" or Go Keri" (our names were on our bibs) I thought about how often we DON'T cheer on strangers in life... we don't encourage people we KNOW let alone people we don't know as much as we should. It really changed my perspective on that... i want to be someone who cheers for people I don't even know. Maybe it's just what they needed and God uses me in that moment to be Him calling out from the sidelines saying "you can do it!" and they won't remember my face, but they will know God's voice. That's the kind of person I want to be.
The hardest stretch ended with the YMCA... we were supposed to turn around as halfers and go back along the same rout to get to the finish line, Bry and I could see all those who had turned before us so we assumed that it was coming soon...it didn't! And that was the first time I REALLY started to feel tired and anxious. Bry's saying "ok it's coming, lets move to the left" but it didn't come, and it didn't come, and it didn't come... it felt like FOREVER! then finally we saw the marque scrolling that it was coming up and we made the u-turn and they had a DJ playing YMCA... so that lifted our spirits. We held up our hands Y---M---C--A and it was sad to see all the runners on the other side of the U-turn probably thinking it was coming soon and it was not... being tempted to just jump the median and get to the other side (like I was) but Bry said he would have called me out if I did "cheater!" lol. Glad he's got my back. (and they found out soon enough, the U-turn WAS coming up.... just not fast enough.
About mile ten I wondered which was harder, this.... or labor. I decided that the results were THIS, because I had drugs during labor.
Closer to the finish line we spotted people handing out beer as if it was the same as water and we could see the sky line of down town and at about mile 11 I got this energy to push harder and go further.... but Bry's toe cramped. Yep, a TOE! It was wild... he hopped for a minute and as we saw others walking and stretching it looked SO tempting to join the side steppers but we pressed on and his toe strengthened :) and we were booking it... well to us anyway. We saw the record breaker Marathon runners pass everyone on the other side and we marveled at the their speed. They beat our time in DOUBLE The distance... it's amazing how their bodies are just MADE to run like that. It was cool to see them whiz by. We thought we saw the finish line in sight and so be pushed harder just to find out it was a glare fro the sun and we actually had to take a left turn and run a few blocks THEN we saw the REAL finish line and close to the crossing Jen calls out my name with her hard rock t shirt on, we slap her some skin and I thought of how much she would love to be on our side of the barricade. Them i hear our names from the left I looks over and there is mom and kehnley, cheering us on. As we cross the finish line Josh and Kandace call out our names, i was so glad for Bry that his Bro was there, and RIGHT at the end, how cool.
Surprisingly, it was MUCH more painful the next 15 minutes of walking than the whole 2 and a half hours! We finished in 2:35:22 and my ipod says that we ran 14.81 miles and not just 13.1....I think I am going to go with THAT distance :)
I think Bry cut me off... all I said was that I would have practice on more hills and not forgotten my dried cherries!
We stretched, ate some ice cream, drank water and waited in line for our shirts, talking it up and remembering the run, thankful it was over.... and ready to EAT! Everyone went to IHOP after a mini photo shoot. It was an amazing meal. The last time I remember wanting to eat that bad was ironically after labor.... I ate a turkey burger then, and an egg white omelet with whole grain pancakes now. Is it wrong that I remember that? Anyway, it was an awesome day followed by many ice packs and naps... and more eating.
The most rewarding thing, besides getting to do this as a team; Bry and I getting to train and suffer and fight and encourage each other together... was we raised 1000 dollars for the people we love. Now that's something to celebrate.
Thank you all those who supported us, we love you!