Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Race Weekend Recap

WARNING: This post is going to be LONG!! Well, this weekend was very busy. I hope to get most of the details from the weekend in this blog entry. Friday After getting to sleep at around 12:45 a.m, I had my alarm set for 6:00, which seemed too damn early. I was able to get the last of my stuff packed within the 30 minutes I had to get ready before my ride arrived. I also was able to sneak in a bagel and cream cheese as I waited. The temp were around 9 degrees when I woke up that morning. TOO darn cold! Once my ride arrived, I moved quickly to get into the warm car. It only took us about 30 minutes to get to the airport, park the car, and the walk into the terminal. Once in the terminal, I received my boarding pass and checked in my luggage before going through damn security and walking to the gate. The time seemed to move very quickly by the time I reached the gate. I even saw my buddy and fellow alumni, Frank, who's now a mentor. Our plane then took off at 9:00 a.m. to Phoenix. It was only a 3 hr 10 minute flight to Phoenix. There was some turbulence, but not too bad of a flight. When we arrived in Phoenix, they said that it was only 50 degrees outside, which I was shocked about. I thought it would be warmer than that. WRONG! After getting our checked baggage, my TNT group took a nice bus to the hotel. We ended up sitting on the bus for at least 20 minutes extra while we were waiting to receive notice on our rooms. Since our rooms were not ready, we checked them in with the concierge desk so we could walk to the expo. I ended up spending about 1 1/2 hours at the expo before walking back the hotel to see if my room was ready. It was not ready yet so I walked to over the Quizno's for a late lunch. After getting my lunch, I walked back to the hotel and sat down in the lounge to watch TV as I ate. After taking a few bites out of my sandwich, the bartender explained that I could not eat in the lounge. EXCUSE ME! I am waiting for my room and just relaxing as I ate....and I am a PAYING customer. GEEZ! Give me a damn break! Well, after I found another spot and finished eating, I went back to the check-in desk to see if my room was ready. It was finally ready and was able to get my bags into my room. I was starting finally relax at 4 PM - two hours before the RFB gathering. After relaxing for about 2 hours, I made my way downstairs on the elevator and towards the bar. As I almost made the bar, I heard someone say, "Denise!". I turn around and it was Pat and his wife. After saying "Hi!", I explained to him that I was heading to the bar to get our tables ready. We ended up walking together. It was a small pub...and I was SO glad to get the table reserved for that night. THANK GOD! After sitting down for a little bit, Jenn arrived as well so we talked a little waiting to see anyone else would show. Well, no one else showed, which was okay. We ended up chatting about the race and other stuff. It was a fun. I made to meet Jenn outside of my hotel so she can head to the expo herself and then make a fun trip to GCU. We ended up calling it a night around 8:30. I headed to walking back to my hotel room, where I vegged out and talked on the phone until I went to bed early - under a certain person's orders - around 10:30 pm MST. Saturday I had planned on sleeping until 9 am, but my body clock had other ideas and woke up 7 am instead. UGH! I started my day eating a bag of pretzels and starting up the fluids again with Powerade while talking on the phone again...and enjoying as much cable TV as I can. (I do not have it at home!) Then I took a nice shower - using the awesome Aveda soap bars (**sigh**I was HEAVEN!!) and then made my way downstairs to the Starbucks connected to the hotel. Breakfast at the Starbucks was CHEAPER than the hotel food. Example: The continental breakfast was $12.50. A bagel and cream cheese was $3 and the juice was a separate $3.50. Yes...they were making a KILLING off of us poor runners who were there for the marathon....and HAD to EAT! After eating my breakfast, I met Jenn outside of the Starbucks where we walked to the Expo. We ended up spending about 1 1/2 hours at the expo, which I did not mind. More free stuff - more stuff to take home and stuff in my suitcase. Then we walked to where Jenn had parked her rental car and drove to GCU. It was a short drive on the freeway. Once we got there, we were met by the security guards at the gate. I showed them my school ID (Thank GOD I brought it with me!) and we drove in. We parked the car near the Administration offices and just started wandering the campus. My main goals while I was there was 1) see if the bookstore was open and 2) find the computer lab to check my e-mail. After some wandering around the campus, taking in the sights, and asking a few people, I finally found the computer lab. The Internet connection was a very, very slow - and very, very frustrating, but I was able to check some e-mail - not much. When I was finally finished, we walked back to the car and then drove around to find a place for lunch since both of us were very hungry. We made our way to the same Quizno's that I had lunch on Friday since it was across from the hotel. After we ate lunch and chatted some more, we went our separate ways before I left for the TNT pasta party. I spent the time relaxing in the hotel room watching more TV and prepping my stuff for the race as well. I left to go downstairs again with my TNT group for the pasta party. It was a fun event of eating pasta, listening to "The Penguin" talk and hear more inspirational story to get us psyched up for the race the next morning. After the pasta party, we headed back to the hotel for a team meeting to discuss pre-race details. Then I headed back to the hotel room where I tried to relax before heading to bed. It was hard to relax because the nerves were kicking even someone was trying to calm me down. I was more worried about how the cold air would affect my lung than anything else. I did not want to fail during this race even though I would take precautions to prevent it from happening. I finally went to bed at 10:30 and made plans to be up by 4:45 a.m. Sunday (RACE DAY!) 4:45 seemed to be SO early, but it was an important day for me. I was up, dressed and ready to go by 5:15 so I could meet the MN Chapter in the lobby by 5:30. Once I was down in the lobby, I got my bagel and peanut butter to sit and eat while waiting for everyone else to arrive. There were people in my group who had shorts and tank tops on. They were NUTS! The temps that morning was at only 29 degrees. TOO damn COLD for standing around for over 2 hours before the half-marathon. I already had my windbreaker pants, capris (and had my race number on it!), sport bra, short sleeve cool max shirt on, tank-top, and then my breakaway jacket on with a pair of gloves AND socks TOP OF THAT, but they were NOT keeping me warm. We were out at the starting area by 6:15, which was TOO damn early. My feet after about 30 minutes were getting COLD. I had to keep moving in order to stay warm. I was desperate! When the marathoner left to go to their corrals, we went to the 1st corral to watch them take off. As they were heading out, one of the marathoner from Georgia ditched their LONG SLEEVED shirt, which was PERFECT. I grabbed that and another souvenir shirt to cover my mouth during the first mile of the race. When everyone was turning in their stuff at the UPS gear check, I was quickly getting the shirt on and staying warm (and very happy too!) After spending 10 minutes in the line for the port-a-potty (ewwww!), we walked to our corrals. I ended up in the 19th corral. The officials were late starting the race. On top of that, it took 30 DAMN long minutes to reach the starting line. They would let one corral go and then STOP before letting the next one go. It was very frustrating and time consuming. I also did the stupid act of forgetting to start my stopwatch to keep track of my time progress. UGH!
The first few miles were easy until the urge to use the port-a-potty came again. I was able to hold it until mile 5 where I found short lines and quick return on them. I only lost about 5 minutes from my time, which I was okay to lose instead of time at the end of the race because I decided to hold it in that long. At around mile 6, I was able to take off the breakaway jacket and tie it around my waist.
I felt pretty good most of the run 'cept I really looked forward the Accelerade stops every 2 to 3 miles. I also used two packets of Sport Beans. I received a Clif Shot, but could not open the damn thing at all. UGH! The Sport Beans got me there at the finish. I found that the road was going uphill slightly and then a hill at mile 10.5. I was not happy with the hills. The course was supposed to FLAT.
Well, I saw the road leading up the ASU stadium coming up around my mile 11.5, which got my 2nd wind kicking in. But my legs and body starting slow a bit and had the urge to just walk, which I allowed my legs to do. Then I picked it up again and ran. When I reached the mile 12 marker, I started to allow my legs to walk more and then running. As I approached the finish line, I picked it up and ran. I wanted to run through the finish line and look good for the photographers. When I saw the clock at 2:58:15, I really wanted to finish before 3:00 and have a good time.
After I crossed the finish line, I cried SO hard. It was truly a very emotional time for me. I finished a half-marathon after dealing two injuries, frustrations of TNT fundraising, and then dealing with the realities of an impending divorce. I have been through SO much!! When I received my metal, I cried some more. When I received my Mylar blanket, I asked for the guy who gave it to me to give me TWO hugs because I needed them very badly. There were a few people that I wished where there to give me a hug, but not there so I looked for the first available person.
Then I found the place where they were taking photographs with the logo. I did not want to stand in line for the pros so I looked for an open one to take a picture with my camera phone. I found a couple and asked them to take my picture. In exchange, I took their picture as well. Then I was off to the yummy carbs - bananas, oranges, and BAGELS - and the AWESOME FREE SANDALS, which my feet were crying out for desperately. It hurt MORE to stand in line than to keep moving.
After I received my FREE sandals, I headed to the TNT tent to check in, get my free PB&J, pretzels, chips and other yummy treats - and then get my gear at the UPS gear pick-up. Once I picked up my stuff at the gear pick-up, I was OFF on a mission - to find FREE beer. Yes, FREE beer. I missed out on that last year and I was NO way going to miss it again this year. It also gave me the incentive to keep moving and loosen up my poor leg muscles. Once I found my oasis - ok, the FREE beer, I found a good place and drank both of them. It tasted SO good. Then I walked back to the TNT tent to catch the shuttle back to the hotel.
I felt the two beers kick as I was riding the bus. WHooohooo! It was a good feeling. Once I got back to my hotel room, I got the stinky clothes off and some comfy temp clothes so I could just sit, watch the rest of the Bears-Seahawks game and talk on the phone with a few people about my finish. After I made my phone calls, I took a very nice warm shower and the rubbed some of the stuff that I bought at the expo on my muscles. It felt SO good.
After I get myself freshened up, I headed back downstairs to get something to eat the hotel restaurant. I ended up having a medium-sized side salad that had chopped eggs, bacon, croutons, spinach, and ranch dressing, which costed me $6. Ouch, but I was hungry and did not feel up to walking anywhere outside of the hotel room. The Starbucks was closed as well, which sucked. It tasted very good and left me satisfied until dinner.
After a late lunch, I went back upstairs to take small nap. I was woken up by someone with about 15 minutes of my nap left, but glad to talk to him. I was then out the door to go back downstairs for the Victory Party.
I walked with a few people to go to the Victory Party. It was a fun time at the Victory Party. They served Mexican food - fajitas, fruit salad, pinto beans, rice, and cookies at the end. They also had a cash bar. Once I got my food, I sat down with my teammates. One of the spouses bought me my first beer (actually third if you count the first two from after the race). By the end of the night, I ended up having a total of three more beers. I was having a good time.
They had us on the dance floor starting the Electric Slide (which is VERY interesting after a couple of beers and wearing the free sandals) and other popular dances. It helped to keep the legs moving and made the evening very interesting. They even made the evening more crazy when they brought out FIVE rolls of toilet paper and had several people pull them out into the audience. It became very crazy and zanny. We ended the party at around 9:30 and walked back to the hotel room. I ended up sobering up in my hotel room with a bottle of water and some pretzels before going to sleep at 12 midnight.
I woke up at 7 am even though I wanted to sleep in MUCH more that morning. I sat on my bed and continued to relax while watching TV. I knew that I would need to be out of the room by 12 noon so I was soaking it up as much as I could. I had a little bit of issue during that time, but I had one more trip to Starbucks for some goodies.
Our group ended up leaving for the airport at 1:30 for our originally scheduled 3:35 flight, which ended up being 30 minutes LATE to leave. Rule #1 - DO NOT leave very bored guys near the PAC (Personal Address Center) at Sky Harbor Airport. They will play around and goof off. Geez!! I ended up getting home around 8, waited 15 minutes to get OFF the plane, and then another 30 minutes to find my baggage. Once home, I relaxed, worked on homework, and caught up on e-mails before heading to bed at 1:30 a.m.
That's the whole weekend. If you want to see MORE pictures (70 pictures...and COUNTING...still growing!), PLEASE click on this link to see ALL of them.
I plan to rest the remainder of this week. My right heel and the right side of my right knee are painful still so I need to rest them for a little bit longer. I plan to get on the eliptical on Monday and work slowly back up to running again.
Stay warm, everyone, and stay dry!


Full Metal Lunchbox said...

Congratulations again on a wonderful race!  You have a lot to be proud of.

One thing you left out of your post was your official finish time:  2:30:03.  You did awesome!

Wes said...

Very nicely done, Denise! Sounds like you had a great time. I checked on your times on the website. You ROCKED! Very cold. Very strenuous, and you kicked ass! Stay warm!!

Pat said...

Great race and report. You know we were in the same corral to start. But, by your fast time, we weren't together for long.

Now I know why they were out of beers by the time I got there.

Arizona, USA

Taryn said...

What a fun time you had - and a fun wrap-up for us all to read! Congrats on your awesome time and huge hugs for all your work with TNT!!!!!

toughcookie7 said...

Congrats! There's nothing quite like crossing the finish line of a race you've trained your heart out for. I can't wait to check out the pictures!

jkrunning--Just Keep Running said...

awww, congrats to you. Thanks for the recap.

Jess said...

You had a great race! I wish there would have been beer at the end of Disney -- I would have slurped that down in a jiffy!

Steve S. said...

Hey, you can't complain for a 10 mintue wait at a porta-john. It can be MUCH worse!

Congrats on the run and breaking your 3 hr goal!

(I'm not sure about that photo of Pat with the TP)

Laurie said...

Sounds like you had a fun weekend. Congrats on a great race, especially after all you have gone through recently. Tack care of yourself!

Angie said...

woo hoo!!!

i couldn't make it friday night :( i'm glad you guys had fun!!!

Tara said...

Great race report Denise!! Awesome time too!!!

Michele said...

Great race report.
Sounds like a great weekend.
You did awesome!!!

Anne said...

Sounds like someone stole a play from Blue Man Group with the toilet paper rolls.

Thanks for such a thorough report. I'm amazed everyone had the energy to party like that afterward. And you had every right to cry at the finish. It was a long time in coming. Congratulations, Denise.

Running by.... said...

Great Race report! Congrats and a big hug to you!

Jess said...

Whooo hooo you did awesome! It sounds like the entire weekend was a blast! Thanks for the great report!

21st Century Mom said...

Congratulations on your excellent weekend! You met your goal and that's what counts.

ps- the header only cost $20. Live large!

L*I*S*A said...

WOW, Denise, you really did a great job. I can only imagine a marathon time that good. Will you come to MI and train me? ;)

Congrats once should be very proud.

Irene said...

Congratulations! I loved reading your recap! 2:30:03! Wooohooo!!!!

Danielle said...

Sounds like it was a fun time, even if the weather wasn't the greatest. I still kind of want to do that one sometime.

spearsbr said...

Great job! It sounds like you had a lot of fun in Phoenix!!!

Rae said...

Sorry that was me! I hate blogger!

jeanne said...

(I tried to leave a comment days ago, but blogger ate it!)

anyway, GREAT JOB and GREAT WEEKEND!!! and a terrific race report! we were all there giving you virtual hugs: didn't you feel it? :)

WannaBe5Ker said...

This is so exciting AND inspiring! Congratulations, wow, you did it after all you've been through!!!!

Congrats, congtats, congrats!!!!! Bravo!

Kevin said...

Congrats from a new running buddy of Josh's (after R2R) - I was at *almost* the same race - did the full marathon that day - finished in 3:17 and agree it was COLD!

P.S. - You guys make a cute couple! *grin*