What a great race. I had a wonderful time driving up and bunking with Kelli (and Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmm and Thanks for dinner!!) AND indulging in the pre-race/post-race ice cream ritual with Kelli and my friend Stephanie - her 1st 1/2!
The morning started out great, but early. I was there to run the race with Steph and keep her going the whole time, we lined up mid-pack and were about 2 min back from the start. The first 6 miles down the canyon she was hitting AWESOME paces and feeling good, but once we hit the flat at the bottom her legs started falling out from under her. It was great to just be going a comfortable pace and just encourage and compliment the crap out of her! At one point we turned a corner (mile 11) and she said "Rach, I've got to walk" I said "Look, the aide station is just up ahead, just make it there and we'll walk through it...you can do it, see the orange jug, just think how much you want it...the faster you get there the sooner you get to walk." She did great and pushed through, we walked a little more that aide station, but then she finished strong! I was so proud of her, I don't remember being as emotional at the finish of my first 1/2 as I was at her's! I would talk about how neat it would be at the finish with her family there...and would tear up, I saw her family and teared up, we crossed the finish and I teared up. What was wrong with me? Still so proud of her! It takes SO much to be able to do it.
Got some rest/stretch/visit time in then at 3 hours headed back to find Amy, I knew she'd be close. I found her about .25 before mile 12. She was walking with her head down "head up and let's go!" I shouted from across the street. She later told me how she'd just puked at mile 11 (due to a coughing fit) and had just finished praying she would just finish...I got to be her angel yesterday. Kelli and I ran her into the finish and I kept her moving the whole time, she said she probably would've walked if I hadn't have been there. She worked so hard and put so much effort into this race, again...I teared up like 3 times that last mile with her! Especially at the finish watching her hubby cheer her in was just AMAZING! She finished in 3:22 and her 12 mile run was 3:20, so she did even held a good pace for her through the race.
To me, THIS is what running is about. Not the medals, prizes, t-shirts or times (although they are ALL good motivators that I love!). The effort and sheer will that you have to have to do it, and all the people that support you and help to push you along your way. You can only ever beat your own time...we can't compete against each other (I understand a race is this, but work with me here for a minute), we can only conquer ourselves. I saw the same exhaustion in Amy's eyes at 3:20 as I did in Kelli's that finished in 1/2 the time. Running is an individual sport, and we all get to encourage each other through the journey! I love it!!! Thanks to all you out there who have helped me get where I am today, you are all MY angels!