I finished the race. Read on if you really want to hear about it!
Thursday night was met with no sleep. We arrived in Nashville around midnight, and I was exhausted, but I was also anxious. No sleep. I got up at 7 a.m. and went for a jog (like 10 minutes) with Margi. I love downtown Nashville, and the suite we ended up with at the DoubleTree was AWESOME. Apparently, they had given our room to someone else, and we ended up with a super huge room, on the same floor as the pool. So, Friday was spent at the Expo, getting the registration stuff, buying tshirts, going to a Team in Training pasta party, swimming, and trying to relax. I went to bed at 9:15, and I was OUT. I woke up at 4 a.m. Saturday morning…
I can’t really say I was nervous, but deep down, I kind of was. I got to the starting line area around 5 a.m. and at 6:50 a.m., I happened to look over and there was Becky – one of the girls I had trained with. She spotted me first, and let me say that God totally set this one up. She didn’t stay with the rest of the TNT crew, she was supposed to be in a different corral, and I haven’t spoken to her in about three weeks, but there she was. We got together, moved her to my corral (15) and then agreed we would run together the entire way. If we got separated, we’d just yell for each other!
Around 7:30, we finally started. We ran each mile, and walked 60 seconds at the start of every mile. Saving our legs, and stuff. I had a small bottle of Gatorade that I carried with me, and I was sure I wouldn’t get dehydrated. I choked down Accelarade at every chance we had – that stuff was gross, but so helped in the end.
We felt awesome. There were times that we had to slow ourselves down, but we cheered each other on, cheered for other TNT runners, danced as we ran by different stages, and had the BEST TIME. At mile 11, the half marathoners went on there way, while the other 7000 of us continued on. I saw Adrienne (who has helped me with the fundraising, and planning stuff) and Alice (my coach during the race.) Alice ran along with us for about a half mile, and talked about how great we looked. Becky and I wanted to look *hot* for the finish line – we were getting our pictures taken together, you know. So, on we went. Mile 15 was boring. We were within this “park” that was some industrial/natural gas park, and there were no supporters. That sucked. By mile 17, people were starting to fall down. We jogged by one guy, asked him if he was okay, and then he vomitted. Gross. We immediately turned to a volunteer and yelled at her to get the medical team over there.
The medical tables were so great. They helped Becky with a foot injury that appeared around mile 5, and they helped me with blisters. We probably spent a total thirty minutes with the med tables along the way. But, who cared? We were going to finish.
Mile 18, we saw Alice again – and again, it was awesome. The entire time, there was someone cheering us on – especially Team in Training people. They were SO GREAT. So helpful. I needed to hear my name!
Mile 20 hit, and we were in new territory. We had never run more than 20 miles. Mile 21 was good. We met a guy from Orlando, Florida who talked to us for a while. Mile 22, we were searching for Accelerade. We were definitely slowing down. We then talked to a runner from Irmo, South Carolina. Irmo was having some trouble, and I offered him some of my drink. He was apprehensive – not sure if I REALLY wanted him to take it, but I told him I wouldn’t offer it, if I didn’t want him to have it! All of us out there at that point were like old friends. It was tough. So, Irmo came around, and we moved on. Mile 23 was a little harder and then by mile 24, we started getting a second wind. Alice caught up with us at mile 25. She said we looked great – again, very important. We needed to look hot for the cameras. At about mile 25.3 or so, we could see the top of the stadium, and we could hear the crowd. I had to tell Becky to slow down – there was no way we were going to finish and then throw up. We needed to finish strong, WITHOUT throwing up.
At mile 25, I looked at Becky and said “we’re actually doing this!!” I couldn’t believe it. With about two tenths of a mile remaining, there were a TON of people cheering us on, and I ditched the water bottle. I heard my name – I heard Kenny, but couldn’t see him – and Becky and I finished together. Literally, held our hands in the air and finished at the exact same time – 5 hours and 32 minutes.
I found Margi and Kenny, we called my mom (who couldn’t track me online because she had the wrong bib number) and then headed back to the hotel. My camera batteries were dead – Kenny thought I would finish much earlier and wanted to take pictures, but the camera died. I relaxed in the pool and then we headed out to eat after our showers. We ended up in the bar area of the hotel, where I ate chicken fingers, french fries, chips and spinach and artichoke dip. It was awesome. But, then I started shaking. I thought I was just cold. Oh, did I mention I forgot my sunscreen? Yep. I’m severely burned.
Anyway, Margi had headed back to the room to nap – she wasn’t feeling well – and we went back after eating. I tried to lay down, but I kept shaking. Around 5:15, Adrienne called me about something, and I mentioned to her that I was a little shaky. She had me go to her room, to meet Alice, and assess the situation. A doctor was called, which in turn lead to an ambulance at the hotel and two paramedics at my hotel room by 5:45. I declined the ride in the ambulance, and was driven (by Adrienne) to the Emergency Room at Baptist Hospital.
They determined that my blood sodium levels were a little low, and proceeded to hook me up to an IV for fluids – but not before three veins were blown in the process. By 8:30 p.m., I was heading out of the ER, on my way to the TNT victory party. It cost me $150, a lot of bruising and four bandages, but I was on my way…and the doctors were cool enough to let me take some photos. Thanks Robert and Trey!
The experience was AMAZING. And, I can’t wait to do it again…just not this year. Maybe a half marathon in September, but today my legs are like lead. And, it doesn’t help that I’m sunburned. But, I’ll definitely do it again!