Monday, May 6, 2013

The Finish Line - Literally


Yeah, those are words I never thought I'd say.

It was a perfect day for distance walking - slightly overcast, slightly cool, slightly breezy. But not hot, not humid. The predicted rain held off until it was over.

I was super nervous heading into the weekend. My bum left knee had destabilized so that walking downhill was becoming bothersome. I torqued it kind of badly last Monday, and that REALLY made me doubt whether I'd be able to do this weekend's event.

But the weekend arrived. And passed. And I did it. 

So many thoughts jumble together in my head, so let me just ramble for a moment:

Sandi was with me. Without her, I would've finished, but it would've been a much tougher job doing so. If nothing else, my frustration at how EASY it all seemed for her helped keep me energized so I could put the next foot forward. (Dancing at Mile 11? REALLY?!?!?!)

Jim was with me, calming my nerves beforehand and taking care of me afterward...just as he has all along.

The encouragement groups along the route were fantastic! My favorites, though, were the Wizard of Oz group and the Star Wars group. They had a poster with Yoda's face and it said, "Keep running you must." I loved it!

My other favorite sign along the route was the one that said, "Go, Complete Stranger!"

It really is an experience to be able to say you've walked the track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. What a wonderful, unique feature to have as part of the course. I would've enjoyed it more if I hadn't just tweaked my knee again running in the tunnel to get into the infield and if I wasn't having to scurry to keep up with Sandi, but I suspect it's one of those things that I will appreciate more as time goes on and I forget the pain of the moment.

It was fun listening to the bands and music groups along the route - although we'd hear each for such a short time that it reminded me of station-surfing with the radio. I hate station-surfers.

I loved some of the shirts I saw people wearing...although right now I can't remember any in particular. There were several in support of Boston, and several that supported various charities. I saw a few that said, "If you can read this, I'm not last."

There was a lady who linked up with us for quite awhile because she realized Sandi was pacing extremely well. But since I was at the back of our trio, I never did see her bib to figure out her name or number, so I have no way of finding her again or knowing how she finally did.

On the other hand, I made a new friend standing in our corral waiting to start the race - only to find out that she lives less than 5 minutes from me in Bloomington, and when she goes bike riding, she has ridden right past my & Sandi's houses. 

Sandi could have finished in less than 3 hours, but wouldn't leave me to go ahead at her own pace. In fact, she doubled back for me toward the end. (That's when we separated from the lady who was letting Sandi pace her.) I wanted to both kiss & kick Sandi for doing that. I still haven't decided which would win out.

Volunteers passing out water and Gatorade are angels. End of story.

Also, wax-coated water cups get slick when you throw a bunch of them on the road and then they get wet.

I started crying about 2/10 mile out from the finish line. I cried like crazy when I crossed the finish line. I was still crying when we got through the food'n'water area and I found Jim again. The whole thing was more than a bit overwhelming.

There's a lot to be said for the weight of a finisher's medal hanging around your neck when you walk away from something like this. There's also a lot of be said for having a friendly face to walk toward when you finally get to meet up with your friends and family again. Seeing Jim standing at the front of the crowd waiting for us to enter the meet'n'greet area was such a welcome sight.

And I'm very grateful that hotels have a limitless supply of hot water for showers.

Will I do it again?

Give me a week to let the knee settle down and the blister on the bottom of my foot to heal. Then ask me.

But the answer will probably be "yes."

1 comment:

  1. AWESOME!!!! So proud of you! It is such an emotional experience. Now admire that bling and know you DID IT!