When I signed up for the half marathon… I was still 5 months away from my RA diagnosis. It wasn’t that I didn’t hurt, I did, but I chalked it all up to over-do-ing working out or sitting with my knee the wrong way. < insert self deprecation comments here, I’m still beating myself up for not going to the doctor sooner…>.
I asked my Rheumy very nicely if I could still participate. Not only did she say it was okay, she encouraged it. She said that, with RA, unlike Osteo or some other conditions, walking if fantastic, it keeps joints moving and smooshes out the extra “juice” from the joints.
So I pushed on. I know I didn’t push as hard as I should have, but I kept working.
I’m not one to say I can’t… even worse, NO ONE needs to tell me that I can’t.
So I did.
Saturday we went to the Expo to pick up my bib (and backpack… outstanding!!!) and extra goodies that the booths were giving away… things to eat that give you energy for the most part. DH bought me a charm that says Austin Marathon Austin Half Marathon and on the back it has 2010… in sterling silver.
Awfully sweet and I wore it the whole race.
DS wanted to be there and help… so he signed up to be one of the “Love Team” volunteers. He worked the clothing dropoff from 5 am to 8 am.
We got up and ready at 3:30 am… drove into town (35 miles into “town”) and weaseled a parking spot in the garage that I park in for work… funny… the garage wasn’t full and it was exactly 5 blocks from the finish line, 12 blocks from the starting line and 3 blocks from where volunteers signed in and got donuts and coffee and t-shirts. He usually dresses all in black… black jeans… black band t-shirts… black boots… black hoody… the lime green shirt made quite a difference in how he looks.
This is him way after his 5 – 8 shift was over. He took the race to heart and made sure he actually smiled at runners and cheered people on and took bags from people with a cheery face. He did manage to eat a couple donuts but he isn’t a coffee kind of kid (and they didn’t have tea)
The race was set to start at 7 am. We got there for his shift at 4:45 and I walked around the nearly deserted streets taking in what was going on. I was concerned that there were so few people actually there, but I wasn’t taking into account that everyone actually COULD show up at nearly the same time… and that is exactly what they did… DS was a bit overwhelmed that almost all of the 9000 half marathoners showed up at about 6… or a bit after.
I managed to easily walk into the port-a-potty at 6. I was going to try again at 6:30… but the lines for the bathrooms were ALL the way across the street… each potty had a line, each line crossed Congress avenue the whole way (FOUR lanes).. it was ridiculous!
There was a nice lady who took this picture as I was standing in the spot I would “take off” from. It was 37 degrees (which according to the TV stations is the perfect running weather in Austin) by 6.
This street was absolutely packed with runners… 4 lanes wide… and 5 blocks deep. 15,000 people… 9000 in the half marathon.
It was a little depressing standing around all alone in the middle of all of these bodies, all of these people who came to watch… but it meant that I didn’t “need” to have to find a way to make small talk while I talked myself into being ready for this… I guess this was pretty much why I took up walking like this, because it is a way to be alone with my thoughts and to loose myself in my thoughts. It is my “me” time most of the time… it evolved into time to spend with DH on Sunday walks.
7 am the gun went off.
I didn’t hear it. 5 blocks back… you couldn’t really participate in the excitement that was happening at the starting line. That is too bad. They really should put speakers further back the corral. It would have helped a lot to get into the whole morning. I guess only the elite runners really matter and really need to be a part of the excitement, but it would have been nice.
By 7:10 am I made it to the starting line (so, I can actually subtract 10 min from my ending time). It was more of a mosey down through town towards the starting line. Passing piles of clothes all along the way. Hoodies… blankets… gloves… these would be picked up and sent to charity.
The mosey turned into a run (jog) as people hit the starting line.
Not me. I walked every step of the way…. Pissed people off in places because I wouldn’t get out of the way… but it was a FOUR lane street and we had all four lanes and there were HUGE spaces for them to get passed me and there were walkers spread out all across the road, so I don’t feel too horrible about being on their road. I paid as much as they did for my 3 foot square that moves.
SO we were off (all 15000 of us loonies)
I figured out that Austin has some very interesting companies… like Lucy In Disguise… the building is really neat.
I’m not sure what “other people” do when they are doing these things… but I took the opportunity to look at things that I’ve never seen before… some of the things were things I never passed before, others were things that I never passed this slowly before.
It was great.
I had 3 hours and 30 min to reflect on a lot of things. There wasn’t a lot of “being still” but there was a lot of reflecting…
Water Stops are wonderful things. I’m not sure why they only put about 1/4 cup of water in each glass… but I made ample use of at least 2 glasses at each stop. I also had MAJOR problems just dropping the glasses on the ground… I always made sure that I dropped the glasses in the boxes put there for that purpose.
Oh… and… no, it wasn’t raining. That was from the water making it onto the ground.
I’m still not really sure what the petroleum jelly on a tongue depressor was for. I didn’t take any at any of the stops. Now, I keep thinking I don’t know what I was supposed to do with it if I had taken it.
At water stop 10 they gave out bottles of Power Ade.
At water stop 12 they gave out water and power ade.
once in a while there were random people/groups giving out candies or cookies.
It is amazing how much it helps to just have the smile and friendly hand out even if they “have to”…
This is the obligatory tree picture. One always seems to find its way into pictures I take. This one, along Lady Bird Lake was just there when I needed th see something great… something peaceful and lasting…. and by mile 7 finding my center was all I was after.
DS caught up to me at about mile 11.5.
By this time, I was seriously starting to have my doubts about being able to finish. By this time, I had stretched out several times and my hips and toes were really hurting.
Backwards through the course he comes. He yells “HI” and falls into step beside me.
He said that lots and lots of people were really happy to see him walking the “wrong way” in his LOVE TEAM t-shirt smiling…
I still don’t think he quite understands exactly what it means when you are out there to see a smiling face… to see someone who even seems to be cheering you on. I know that none of the people I passed were out there for me personally, but they were out there, and that mattered so much…
from the back side of the finish line looking at those coming behind.
I wasn’t the first one to cross by a LONG shot, but I wasn’t the last one to cross either.
The miracle wasn’t that I finished… it was that I had the courage to start.
I did it in about 3 hours and 30 min real time. Not quite as quickly as I figured, but I hadn’t planned on the mile 11 hill, either… and I did finish and I made a lot of people proud of me. More importantly… I made ME proud of me.
There were times when I doubted that I would EVER do it.
Now… I’m thinking I can do it again.
today… I hurt.
my knees ache like RA ache
my hips hurt like I wasn’t ready for the mile 11.5 hill
I don’t have my medal yet… they ran out before I made the finish line.
I don’t have the T-shirt that fits… the one I got is a small and that is SO not going to fit
both of those last 2 will be remedied…
oh.. and here
Is me… Picture taken at about mile 12 by DS who promised to take pictures. He did. He’s a good kid.
Anyone interested in all the pictures… they are on my facebook… friend me… and have a look