I can’t believe it. Sunday was racing day. The day that I had been waiting for and training for was finally here! I had some major ankle issues a couple weeks before the race and even consulted a doctor because the swelling and pain would not leave. He thought I had a stress fracture and told me not to run until the day of the race. I looked at him with skepticism on my face but he assured me that he was speaking not only as a doctor but as a fellow runner. He has run 2 marathons himself so I tried to believe him. It was hard to not run but the pain in my ankle let me know that I definitely wasn’t going anywhere. Everyone kept asking if I was going to risk it. Would I run on racing day? I told them I was running. I didn’t know how far I was getting but I was running.
I couldn’t run the week before the race but I could carb load! I researched different menu ideas and made my week long schedule of food to consume. Trying to stay away from high fat foods but high in carbs. I planned refried bean burritos with some beef in there, white chicken chili, pastas, lasagna and home made chicken noodle soup. Taking an extra potato at dinner and just a small piece of meat… it was the strangest sensation. I don’t try to stay away from carbs but I try to eat more protein daily than carbs and it was bizzaro to intentionally be eating mostly starches. I can safely say I have never had that many carbs before in a week’s time. By Saturday, I was daydreaming of a big fat Whopper. Meat! I want meat!
The morning of the race, I awoke at 5am. I was fuzzy brained from sleep but pulled the legs of my pants up quickly to see my ankles. They were the same size!!! For the first time in 2.5 weeks, my ankle wasn’t swollen! I took it as a sign from God. “You’re running today, Chris” I thought to myself with a big smile on my face. I had plans to chug a cup of coffee or 2 before 6am. I had read that you should take your last bite of food 12hours before race time to make sure everything had passed and you didn’t have problems during. My last bite of soup was 7:59 and I wasn’t going to eat anything this morning. Drinks until 2 hours before the race would put me at my last chug at 6am. I took a shower and got ready as normal. I’m sure it seemed weird to other folks that I would put makeup on and do my hair as normal just to run a long time but I wanted to feel my best and it was a welcome distraction to me before leaving to meet Cheri, Amy & Megan.
My father in law was picking me up at 6:20 to drop me at the parking lot I was meeting the girls. I felt excited but not overly stressed as we drove. We arrived 5min later and I jumped into Amy’s car. Amy had some serious knee problems during the same time as my ankle issues. Her and I hadn’t run in about 2 weeks and she had decided on Wednesday that she wasn’t going to run the race. That is until Megan picked up her packet. After Megan told her she had gotten it, Amy changed her mind the night before the race. She was going to give it a try and see where her knee could take her. Her & I planned on running as gimpy partners. I think I understood better than Cheri & Megan of why she had to try. This is what we had been waiting for and if she didn’t at least try and do it, she would always be wondering what would have happened. She said she felt good. Her & I were down but now out. Our injuries wouldn’t stop us yet.
Cheri & Megan arrived and we drove downtown to find a parking spot. There were 3000 runners registered and we were sure it was going to be crazy down there, even if it was only 6:30 on a Sunday morning. Sure enough, there were lines of cars already filling parking lots. We parked and I noticed people were already running around the parking lot! The race didn’t start for an hour, why were they warming up already?
We pinned on our numbers and put our race chips together on our shoes. I packed my ‘security belt'(no it’s not a fanny pack!) with caffeine jelly beans and shot bloks. I also put my phone in there just in case Amy or I couldn’t make it and needed to call for help. Plus, I needed to take some pre-race pictures LOL.
We got out and started making our way to the starting line. We saw the port a potties lined up and I decided to go real quick before we made it all the way to the racing area. While standing in line, I realized just how cold it was this morning. It was only about 42 degrees. Brrrrrr! We made it to the starting line and saw some tents set up. One of them had a heater in it so we stood next to it while we waited. I don’t think anybody had seen it because we were one of the only people in there. While we waited, I felt giddy! It was racing day!!! The Backyardigans song Racing Day was in my head so I started singing it. Megan asked me how my ankle was feeling and I told her GREAT! I jumped up and down to prove it to her until she yelled at me to stop or I’d hurt myself.
We talked with some other people and I went pee a couple more times to avoid another Bridge Run nightmare of having to go in the middle of the race. There were so many people there and they were so friendly. Everyone told us how much fun this race was and what a great course it was. I stretched my muscles and we got in position behind the starting line. We couldn’t even see the beginning of it through all the people! But we stood there and waited for the starting buzzer.
For a minute, I worried that my ankle wouldn’t hold. I’d literally not run on it for 2 weeks and I was worried that as soon as I stepped across the starting line and began running, it would give out. I just had to do it. It just had to hold. I said a prayer in my head and then it was time to start.
The people started walking in front of us and we followed behind them. Butterflies jumped in my belly as we moved and it was the moment of truth. Ten weeks of training and running had come down to this moment. All the injuries, all the friction burns and all the sore muscles had been for right now. Would I be able to do it?
The starting/finish line at 7am. It was still dark that early in the morning
Amy, Megan & Cheri waiting in the heat tent.
Pre-race Team Hottie (L to R) Cheri, Amy, Megan & Chris
Our shirts we had made up. On the front it said Team Hottie and on the back ‘I run like a girl’
Megan at the starting line. I’m irritating her by taking pictures 😀
Cheri at the starting line. Always ready to take a gorgeous picture
Amy at the starting line. She’s smiling really big because the last picture I took she closed her eyes
A horrible picture of me! Remind me not to have taller people ever photograph me again