Friday, January 30, 2009

A few more pics and video....

Just a few last pics the official race photographers took at the marathon (is it just me, or does everyone else agree that my mom's photos are better than the professionals'?), along with the official video of me crossing the finish line. This cracks me up to watch, because at the time I was so tired that I felt like my arms and legs were all working separately from my body-- and on the video you can really tell-- arms and legs flailing everywhere! lol

video


There's another advantage for me to posting all of these online... when my computer finally takes it's last breath- as it's been threatening to do for awhile now, at least I know these pics are 'safe' out there in cyberworld--- if there is such a thing as safe in cyber world.

It looks like I have finally recovered from my virus-- but I'm not up for long runs just yet. So rather than running at the DRC 15k and 5k tomorrow morning I'll be volunteering--- but that is fun too so I'm alright with that.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Marathoning and child birth...

Someone once told me that running a marathon is like going through childbirth... you're unlikely to do it again until you've had time to completely forget the pain of the first time. I can't speak for the childbirth side of that analogy, but I see how it would be true for marathoning.

Recovery seems to be going well overall. I went for my first 3 mile run about 4
days after the race and that felt good. Saturday I joined the DRC group for an 8
mile run, which I got through okay- but felt pretty bad afterwards. I wasn't
sure if this was due to jumping back in to running to soon or something else. I
think it was something else because a few days later I officially got sick! With
as much work as I put into avoiding this bug pre-marathon, I guess it made sense
I would finally get my turn. So for the last day or two I've been working from
home trying to get myself better.
Fortunately these last few days Dallas has been overwhelmed with ice, sleet and freezing temperatures, so many businesses and classes have been cancelled due to the road conditions. So I really don't feel like I've missed all that much- good timing. Maybe it's because I spent the last 2 years in New England, but it's still hard for me to believe that there could be real winter weather problems in Dallas--- but apparently there can be. A few pics highlighting the last 24 hours- courtesy of the local news station.... makes me glad I live in a neighborhood with so many businesses in walking distance...


So as it turns out maybe Dallas does have a reason to panic about winter weather occasionally. I suppose that means that giving away all of my heavy winter clothes before I moved to Texas was a mistake. Oops!

But, I digress- back to marathoning and childbirth...

Possibly since I've just been focused on my coughing, sniffling, sneezing, etc.-- I've adequately forgotten the pain of miles 22-26, because yesterday I officially committed to running the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon at the end of April.



I've heard a lot of great things about this marathon- that it's really more of a must have life experience than a must run race. Most of the volunteers for this race are family members of people who lost their lives in the Oklahoma City bombing. This race is about finding hope and moving forward.


From the website: http://www.okcmarathon.com/
"On April 19, 1995, a great wrong was done in Oklahoma City. However, on this day in April the forces of fear and hate were beaten by love and compassion.The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon is a race that is not about running—it is about
life.168 banners line the marathon course, one for each victim. Those
banners serve to remind us as we run that we have been given the gift of
life and that it is too precious to waste. This is what the Memorial
Marathon is about: realizing the preciousness of time, valuing one another,
taking life as it comes and making something magic from it. Celebrating
Life. You don’t have to be a runner to participate in the Memorial Marathon.
All you have to do is change the world you live in one moment, one opportunity, one person at a time. It is not about running—it is about living."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

After the finish line....

After getting through the secured finish area and retrieving my gear bag, I managed to make my way back to find my family and friends. After over 5 hours, this 'walking' thing feels a bit strange...but I'm still moving, and still unbelievably happy- and tired!



That night I went to the post-race Smashmouth concert at Tempe Town Lake Park. It was actually very well attended, I took this picture before any of the perfomances started. Given that the majority of this crowd had just run 13-26 miles a few hours earlier- this may very well have been the most mellow group Smashmouth ever performed to. It felt great to lie back in the grass, enjoy the cool weather, and know that I had earned every bit of my sore muscles.
I spent much of the evening chatting with Andrew, who also ran the marathon-- although we never came close to meeting up as he was in the 'preferred corral'. This is the corral for runners with expected finishing times just after the elite runners. Andrew also has run the Boston marathon every year for the past few years. He spent a while trying to convince me that being a Boston Marathon qualifier someday could be within my reach. I found this hilarious!! A Boston qualifying time for a female my age is 3 hours and 40 minutes. So sure, all I need to do is take an hour and a half off my time and I'm in! lol According to Andrew, this is not all that unreasonable-- he took an hour off his finish time from his first to second marathon. Still-- I think I'll just be happy with being a marathon finisher for awhile. :)


So after all that would I do another marathon?? Absolutely!!! I learned so much
from training for this first one. Throughout the process I've been keeping track
of everything I'd do differently for next time. It's hard to believe I ever
thought of running as a 'boring sport'. There really is so much that goes into
all the aspects of your training and race performance that I never even
considered (even for non-elite runners). Here's what I've come up with so far:
- keep better track of when it's time for new running shoes (esp. for long training runs)

- actually incorporate the suggested 'cross training' into my training plan
(this time around I just ran on cross-training days)

- add in some regular strength training workouts

- try training with a group
- carry SPF lip balm on race day
- do more 18-20 mile runs before race day
I'm sure I'll think of more things as I keep processing the experience.
A few weeks ago I started the marathon spring training program of the Dallas
Running Club. This has been AWESOME! It's so much fun running with an organized
group at my same pace. Most of this group is training for the Oklahoma City
Memorial Marathon at the end of April. So that may be my next goal--- but
there are a few medical things to work out before then, so I'm taking it one step at a
time for now.
As far as post-race soreness I feel really good. Two days after the race was probably the worst of it-- but thanks to a dive into a freezing swimming pool post-race, a massage the next day, and the fact that I've tired to keep moving as much as possible, I really feel great today! I'm going to try for a short 3 mile recovery run tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to getting back to my good 'ol Katy Trail runs. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

26.2

With a crack of the gun we were all off running and cheering. My first goal of the race was to get to mile marker 1 and then re-evaluate things from there. Baby steps...one step at a time...26.2 is a long ways to go. I tried to go into this with the attitude that getting to the start line was my final exam-- the real test of whether I would actually make it through all the sacrifice and dedication that was required to train for this after the past year. Once the gun went off- the next 26.2 miles was a celebration party!!! I really wanted to keep that in mind the entire race-- attitude is everything! Though I had some questions of how well I'd be able to maintain this optimism by mile 20.... time will tell....

Mile 1- "Remember when times get tough, Susan will be watching and pulling
for you! Who knows...knowing Susan, she'll probably be running along side you."
:) (Justin Turley)


Miles 2, 3, and 4- "Good luck as you gracefully stride completing miles 2, 3, and 4. Relax and enjoy this event with pride. Tis a good cause you're running for." (Bruce and Janet Mortensen)


Somewhere along mile 2 I ran into Elvis--- well, he actually almost ran into me...



Seriously, this guy (his 14th marathon I found out) ran the entire race in this costume and guitar. You see a lot of these people in big races--- I can't even imagine doing that!!! I had my hands full without a rock and roll costume and musical instrument.


Mile 5- "You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can't do something
themselves, they wanna tell you that you can't do it. You want something? Go get
it. Period."- The Pursuit of Happiness (Lisa Mortensen)

Just one of many bands, cheerleading groups and dancers we came across on the course-- I gave up trying to get pictures of all of them, there were just too many. But they were incredible and really added to the party atmosphere and experience. I just missed the picture of Elvis (from mile 2) stopping to get in a few dance steps with this group.


Mile 6- The miracle, or the power, that elevates the few is to be found in their industry, application, and perseverance under the promptings of a brave, determined spirit. Go Anna!!!! (Doug & Vicki Mortensen)



Mile 7- Divide your race into thirds, run the first part with your mind, the middle with your personality, and the last part with your heart. (Marty Mortensen)


I was kind of excited to see this thought again as I really liked it. I spent
a little time trying to mentally calculate just what 1/3 of 26.2 really was
(don't laugh... see how quick at arithmatic you are after running 7
miles)... fortunately some help came along from my mile 8 message...



Mile 8- "You know you're a dedicated runner when the trip to the race was longer than the race... You have completed about 1/3 already!" (John & Linda Digman)


Wow! Thanks John & Linda for coming to my mental arithmatic aid! :)


Ran past a very excited spectator holding signs and cheering us on with excitement. "Great job you guys! I'm going to run the half marathon next year! I'll be out there with you next year! Keep running!" How awesome! She got all kinds of support and good wishes from the runners.


Right about this point in the race my feet and shins begin to ache pretty significantly. I wasn't all that surprised, as just a day or so earlier I remember thinking that I had been on a schedule of tapering long runs for so long-- that I wondered if my body would remember how to handle them. I decided to go with the attitude that the pain would be temporary and to keep my pace--- good call, within 2-3 miles everything loosened up and felt good again.


Mile 9- The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare. (Annette Mortensen)
Mile 10- This is for Susan. (Chris Peel)


One of the things I love about big races in big cities is the mass of diverse supporters. We ran through many commercial districts where businesses had sent their employees out to the streets to offer food, water and support to the runners. The residential areas were no different. I stopped by one table a lady had set up in her front yard and took an orange slice from a bowl full of fruit. "Thank you so much," I said, "this is wonderful! Do you do this every year?" "Yes, I always look forward to it! I'm so sorry but I just ran out of brownies. If you can wait just a minute I've got another pan in the oven". I decided against waiting for a brownie, but left encouraged to again have confirmed how many wonderful people are in the world-- and was so grateful for events like this that bring them all together.


Mile 11- That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the task itself
has become easier, but that our ability to perform it has improved. -Ralph Waldo
Emerson (Steve & Katherine Anderson)

Right around mile 11 I had a flash back to this same event last year when I was running the 1/2 marathon for the first time-- at mile 11 I was DYING--- this year I felt like I was just getting warmed up! It seems such a rediculously obvious statement-- but it really is amazing that slow, persistant practice at running really does work!


Mile 12- Giving up is a permanent solution to a temporary situation. -Gerta Weismann-D.C. Holocaust Museum (Steve & Katherine Anderson)



Funny mile 12 story-- just after passing through a water stop- I overhear one volunteer say to another in a very concerned voice, "You know what is scarey is they're not even half way there yet!" The runner next to me and I shared a good laugh over this--- Boy, they sure seem to have a lot of confidence in us- don't they?? lol

Mile 13- Never, never, never give up. - Winston Churchill (Marv & Janis Turley)


At mile 13- the half way point- I was physically feeling good-- but as I started to watch more and more runners excitedly greet friends and family among the spectator crowds, I started to feel just a little bit lonely running through the streets of Phoenix. Just as I was getting deeper into this thought, I see a small group up ahead who might be waving at me- but it was hard to tell... I get closer and they're still waving-- and suddenly I realize.....It's Randy, Kelly, Erin, Mark, Calley and Matt!!!!!! All there to greet me on a random street in the middle of Phoenix.


Words can not even begin to describe how excited I was to see them!! I think I did a little dance of joy right there in the middle of the street before running over to hug all of them.


After some more words of thanks and encouragement were exchanged I took of back to the running the course...still completely overwhelmed with the excitement and emotion of seeing my aunt, uncle and cousins all there for me. Any feelings of lonliness or fatigue that were starting to set in had completely vanished-- I could keep going!!


Just as I was getting back into my running zone, I spot two more excited wavers..... MY PARENTS!!!


I couldn't believe so many of my family had managed to find me in spite of extremely vague directions of from me as to where I might be along the course at what time. Seeing them there was just incredible!!!

video

A few more things set in just after mile 13- one was the time. About two hours and twenty minutes had passed since I started running-- meaning the elite marathoners had just finished the race and were likely getting into their cars ready to head back to their hotels. Wow! The other thought was my half-marathon time from last year-- at this point I had beat it by more than 20 minutes. Granted, still slow--- but improvement is improvement! Cool! Maybe I could take 20 minutes or more off my next marathon time compared to this one-- woah baby....at mile 13 let's just focus on one thing at a time- long way to go yet!

Mile 14- Go Anna! You can do it! You Rock! Raisin and Truffles are cheering you on- ruff, ruff! Love From, Ashley and Laura Harris



I spent this mile thinking back on some of my best memories from my favorite families from my dog training days. How great to have a little canine support on mile 14! :) Thanks to Ashley and Laura I focused on giving high fives to as many child spectators as I could this mile. (Kids at these races collect high fives from runners like tokens of accomplishment-- it's fun for both the kids and the runners!) :)


Mile 15- Stopping at third base adds no more runs than striking out.- Anonymous Go Anna, you can do it!!!! (Marv & Janis Turley)


I took the opportunity at mile 15 to check in with myself physically and see how things were going. I took a short walk break to use my breathing machine, ate a package of fruit snacks, some extra Gatorade, and although could definately tell I was well beyond warmed up at this point- decided I was good to keep going.


Mile 16- The anticipation of extraordinary performance. (Fred & Shauna Mortensen)


This thought was accompanied by a small photocopied picture that was difficult to make out-- but as near as I could tell might be Darth Vader wearing a baseball jersey??? Not sure just what was going on with this picture- but it definately gave me a good laugh!


Mile 17- Your determination is inspiring! Chin up, you can do it!! (Karen Rodrigue, Kristen Kennedy, Girard Bischof)


Mile 18- The great lesson from the true mystics...is that the sacred is IN the ordinary, that it is to be found in one's daily life, in one's neighbors, friends, and family, in one's backyard....so keep running for an unordinary woman, Susan. Your strength is sacred today. (Monique Mendel, Jim Garrison & Family)


Mile 19- She who has a strong enough WHY can bear ANY how. (Rob Bever)



Mile 20- "Victory belongs to the most persevering." - Napoleon Great Job...Keep going...Only 6.2 more to go. (Tim and Janet McClellan)


Very true-- I had at last come to the infamous mile 20 wall so famous in marathons for being the beginning of the end for once hopeful marathoners. I was definately feeling it. Mentally I was still really excited to go forward, as from this point forward every step I took would be further than I had ever run before. But physically the pain was definately starting to set in, my feet were starting to feel numb, I was starting to get really hot-- for the first time that little voice came up that said maybe this is more than I'll be able to handle....


But before I get to think about that for one more second.....


It's Randy, Kelly, Erin, Mark, Calley, and Matt again!!!!!!! This time I was so surprised and excited to see them I nearly had myself an asthma attack on the side of the road. I couldn't believe it, they had found me again!!! What a boost this was for me at mile 20!!! Mentally I started to feel like I was headed to an altered state of consciousness brought on by heat and fatigue, evidenced when a few moments after I left this second happy reunion I realized I had forgotten to get a picture. I paused briefly, seriously considering running back-- but at last decided it would be in my best interest physically to save those 50 feet of extra traveling for later--- I may not have any to spare to get to the finish line.


Back to the road.... Now running through all the commotion of downtown Scottsdale-- when I meet my parents again!!! What a welcome sight their encouragement was and their bag of food and Gatorade, which I rifled through looking for extra nourishment each time I saw them.




Just after I saw my parents was the first obvious display of the official event photographers trying to capture pictures of every runner at the mile 20 wall --- how cruel! -- where were they the first 13 miles? None the less I did my best to make long strides and smile-- a photo lasts forever!!! I wondered if by looking at this picture years from now I might actually be able to fool myself from remembering how much pain I was actually in by this point.



Mile 21- Remember when you see a man at the top of a mountain, he didn't
fall there.
When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. Keep Going!!!
Love ya! (Kent & Gail Mortensen)

Mile 22- Anna, Mile 22, 4.2 to go. According to our calculations, when you
finish you will be part of a select group of people. Of all the people who
have ever lived on this planet, we estimate that less than a tenthousandth of 1
percent have ever run a marathon. Quite an accomplishment! Love, Randy, Kelly,
Erin, Mark, Calley, and Matt

Mile 23- Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it's all about. - PattiSue Plumer, U.S. Olympian Way to go! I wish I could run 23 miles at one time. (Kristin & Nate Mortensen)

Really hurting now--- mentally I'm still aware that this pain is what will make the finish line all worth it, but physically there are signs I'm starting to fall apart. My limbs no longer feel like they are working together, but instead are parts of four separate bodies-- took a very short video here-- didn't realize how short it was at the time-- probably evidenced just how not good I was feeling at the time.


video


Also around Mile 23 I'm told I met up with my parents again. My recollections of this meet up are rather few-- but I'm told it did happen and there are pictures to evidence it. I seem to still look happy- or maybe my facial muscles have just spasmed into that goofy smile, I'm not sure. I remember my Dad telling me that I had plenty of time and inviting me to sit down and rest awhile-- a very nice offer!! but clearly he didn't understand that if I sat down at this point there would be no getting up again. I settled for some brief attempts to stretch out my calf muscles.


Mile 24- You know you're a runner when you have to think of your run schedule to remember what day of the week it is. We love you Aunt Anna! Hugs!!! (Dylan & Tyson Mortensen)


The thought of my nephews at this point was a warm and welcome brief distraction that carried me through just a bit more..... but it was clearly time to change my strategy of just keep going and having fun--- this was getting tough!!! I had brought my ipod shuffle with me in my gear belt in case of 'emergency', although I really didn't have any desire to listen to it at any point. Any more noise and commotion would have just been more than I wanted to deal with at the time. Instead I found myself in a sort of meditative zone I had never experienced before... I started counting my steps.... one by one.... starting at one, counting to 100, and then starting over again. I did this over and over again in the last few miles- in some strange way it was meditative and comforting. I never would have guessed!


Things are really starting to get hot now. Temps must have hit the 70s by this point and the bright sunny day sure could have used a little cloud cover. Medically and physically heat is one of my biggest challenges to deal with, so I started to get very careful trying to focus on making sure I would make it to the finish line without being carted off my medical volunteers. I poured cups of water on myself at every water stop, which unfortunately evaporated far too quickly. I drastically slowed down my pace at this point in an effort to keep cool and conscious.


People were everywhere crowding the sidewalks in support. The combination of heat, sun and fatigue was making it hard to see....but I could almost make out a priest just ahead of me standing in the road. Uh oh! Was this a bad sign mentally imaging a priest when I felt this bad? Was I going to get last rights? Turns out....it was a real priest! We were running past a church who elected to head out to the streets and support the runners just after morning services. Amazing!



Mile 25- When you were a little girl you told me it wasn't fun to ride
ponies when no one was watching, well, today everyone is watching and cheering
for you! Go Ann Marie! Love, Grandpa Mortensen


Pretty funny message from Grandpa-- and he was right.. with the finish line just a little over a mile away people were everywhere...including a few firefighters dousing runners with water hoses- the most welcome sight of that mile!


The finish line was no where in view and I couldn't tell which way the course went up ahead. Someone from the street shouted, "keep going, just two more quick turns and you're there!" Jeez I really needed to hear that at that point, I just hoped he wasn't one of those guys who thought he was funny by giving hopeful runners false information. Fortunately...he wasn't.


Mile 26- Way to go Ann Marie! You're almost done. All that training, planning and pain are worth it. You've almost accomplished your goal. Keep going...you're awesome! (David Mortensen)


I was going to make it! I started to prepare for the party that I really hoped was around the promised next corner. At the last water stop I doused myself with water once more and picked up my pace just a bit.


2. to the finish- Dearest AWESOME ANNA, Just put one foot in front of the other and keep your eyes on the finish line. Susan's strength and enduring spirit will supply the rest. We are so proud of you we are busting our buttons!


Just the emotional lift I needed to get me this last little ways-- keep putting one foot in front of the other-- I could do that! What I couldn't do very well was see or think-- I was really out of it by this point. I turned the last corner and it took several moments to process the faces in the crowd ahead of me. It was my great friends Amanda, Shawn, Alyssa, and Noah-- I couldn't believe it!!! She had promised they would be at the finish line-- and there they were-- could this mean I'm done?


Just to show how really out of it I was by this point, Amanda grabbed me from across the barrier and gave me a huge hug. I saw the rest of her family on her right, so what do I do? I step to the left and hug the person next to her (some surprised lady I didn't even know). At this point I was so tired, confused and fatigued I couldn't even figure out how to step the other way and say hi to the rest of Amanda's family-- and very regrettably I was way to far gone to remember to take pictures at this point. I was so glad to see them! I was going to make it!!!



I turned to my right and it was true! The finish line was right there! I just ran...no plan, not the emotional moment I expected to have for the moment! I was just SO TIRED!!! I still have that goofy smile on my face so I'm pretty convinced at this point that my muscles had spasmed permanently into that face.




And then it was over. After 5 hours and 13 minutes (chip time anyway), I could stop running! And stop I did, again to meet my favorite family members and friends just across the finish line.




Post-race pictures and reflections still to come..... :)

Corral #5

To help ensure 10,000 runners get off to a safe and smooth race start, when we registered we were immediately separated into separate start corrals (yes, like cattle) based on our projected finishing times. Finishing time is a difficult thing for first timers, still yet to complete many long training runs, to predict- but you make your best guess and hope everything works out for the best.

Just before sunrise we heard the announcement to get into our start corrals.
This is where those extra layers of clothes you come dressed in come in handy,
as there is still a fairly long, chilly wait before the race will actually
start. Most runners come to the start village layered in old clothes they plan
on leaving at the start line or along the first few miles of the race as they
get warmed up. Race organizers collect all the clothes and donate them to
Goodwill. As part of the whole 'life metphor' I was going for in this race, I
chose to leave a few pieces of clothing at the start line that represented
things I wanted to leave behind in more ways than one. Cheesy I know-- but
clearly that's the least of my concerns by this point. It felt great!

Waiting those last few moments for the gun to go off I took this short video of a few people in corral #5. So much energy, hope and optimism-- will it still be there 26.2 miles from now?

video

While waiting for the race start, I also eagerly dove into the little book my mom put together of messages from all the race sponsors for Susan's foundation. Reading these messages from my family and friends was so amazing-- I really felt like they were all right there with me. A lot of you sent along some great messages--- so I hope you don't mind me sharing them....

"Dear Anna, I am so proud of you! Running a marathon is a huge accomplishment.
You will do great, just like you always do. You are AMAZING!!! See ya at the
finish line. Whoo hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love ya, (Amanda Sullivan)

"There is no chance, fate or circumstance that can circumvent, hunder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul." Thanks, Don & Laurie Nicoll

"Hi Ann Marie, I decided to go with a deep thought... this is from Emerson:
"That which we persist in doing becomes easier- not that the nature of the task
has changed, but our ability to do it has increased." It reminds me how far
you've come in your preparation for this race. Remember when 10 miles seemed
like a lofty goal? You have worked really hard through medical/physical odds to
get here today, and I am really proud of you. I can't wait to see you cross the
finish line! Congratulations, xo" (Cassie Capps)

"Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart." (Gerard Bischof)

You'll notice once the race gets going that some messages end up getting
repeated-- this ended up being a good thing for several reasons-- one, depending
on what mile I was at-- I definately needed the extra cognitive processing time
to ponder some of these-- and, a message that meant one thing early in the race
took on a completely different meaning for me much later in the race-- it made
every message very special and tressured. Thank you so much to everyone for
sending these messages and my mom for putting them together.

The Start Line Village

After numerous checks and re-checks that I had everything I needed laid out for the next day, I actually did manage to get a few hours of sleep before the big day-- although easily beat my 4:30am alarm to the wake up call. My Dad dropped me off at the shuttle buses to the start line at ASU at 5:30am. With more than 36,000 race participants, it's incredible how smoothly this entire process took place. The start line shuttles are one of my favorite parts of the whole big race experience. Everyone is so full of the same nervous excitement that it's easy to make new friends quickly. As the bus ride to the start line in downtown Phoenix got longer and longer, concern started to set in among all of us that we were going to be making our way back this entire distance on foot before the day was out.

The start line village was fun filled chaos where I immediately made
several new friends as we nervously re-checked each other's gear packs, race
numbers, and shoe tags to be sure we had everything we needed. Race organizers
had provided tons of tables filled with free food and samples of all sorts, but
we were more concerned about finding our correct start line and corral numbers.

Celebrating pre-race anxiety....

One of my starting line buddies, Megan from Colorado-- also her first marathon...

Margene-- another excited first-timer...

A few marathon veterans sharing some pre-race advice and comfort...

Double checking our timing tags-- since there are so many participants in major races like this-- these plastic strips tie into each runner's shoe to record the exact time they crossed the start line-- because for us non-elite runners--- that was several minutes after the actual gun went off.

General pre-race chaos-- still waiting for sunrise...


The white bags you see here were our gear check bags. Race organizers arranged for a host of UPS trucks to take all the gear we were not running with directly to the finish line-- an awesome service!

Pre-race Pasta Celebration

This last weekend was one of the most incredible experiences of my life for more reasons than I'll possibly ever be able to describe here at one time! After all the weekend events I arrived back in Dallas at midnight and went straight to work this morning, hence the delay in race updates. My apologies. :)

I'll do my best to sum up everything here, probably in more detail you would
ever want- this may be more for my benefit than any one else's. I don't ever
want to forget these memories.

First things first...


After the expo on Saturday my parents were nice enough to open their home for a
pre-race pasta dinner get together for a few family and friends. Since I was in
town for such a short time this weekend this was my attempt to get to see as
many people as I could in a short time frame. We watched the movie "Spirit of a
Marathon", which has become a favorite of mine. I got it from Netflix nearly two
months ago and still have yet to send it back. Fortunately I finally bought my
own copy of the movie at the expo so I can finally open my netflix queue for
something new.


Race pics and news coming up in next post....