Saturday, December 6, 2014

St. Jude 2014

Marathon weekend! This year did not disappoint. I was ready for a good event weekend, since last year's was cancelled due to an ice storm (!). I was on the pace team at 3:45, so I had a little bit of nervousness leading up to it. 3:45 means that I have to train, and then pray for light winds and a temperature under 65 degrees.

Making some new pace team friends at the expo.
Got into town on Thursday and did pacer booth duty at the expo. Had dinner with my ultrarunning friends at Wiseacre taproom and then Cafe 1912 (when did Memphis get so hip?), and felt so at home. I love this weekend. 

Friday saw an absolute monsoon. It rained all day, hard. And thank goodness, I'll take it. It kept us inside and rested, and got the heck out of town in time for a dry, yet cool and cloudy marathon day. 

My best childhood friend had a 9-year old son who was running his first 5K, and I wanted so bad to see him on the course, but it was too chaotic and crowded around Autozone Park, where the pacers were meeting. We took a quick photo, stripped down to the necessities, put on cheerleader faces, and walked out to the corrals nice and early. It gets real pretty quickly in the corrals, as you realize how much of a target you are. People start to gather around you... most want to talk, want a course preview, what your favorite marathon is, where the toughest hill is, etc. It's tiring to talk so much and be a social facilitator before you even start (in a good way, of course!). Some runners just stand there and look at you, which I find to be even worse. Their eyes are pleading, "no pressure, but I'm scared out of my wits right now and I need your help to do this huge, life-changing thing that is going to hurt so much and we have no idea what is going to happen, but please... just, please." 

The weather was perfect. Low clouds, cooler than expected temperatures, but not cold. Some wind, but the way that the course is laid out meant that it was only in your face about a quarter of the time. Brian, Shannon, and I ran together the whole time. Shannon was an alternate for  a range of times, but somehow everybody turned up healthy, so we had an extra, and we were a great team. Aside from having to briefly stop the runner traffic for a house fire on East Parkway (!), the day was smooth for us. We were a little ahead of pace, but the runners who had settled in with us seemed able to push ahead when we started to slow down to get back to pace. Inspiration can be found in many places, but one sure way to feel the best of life is to watch somebody push outside of themselves to meet a finishing goal. When we finished, I felt a sense of mission accomplishment, and I know that my partners shared that pride. 

Thomas got a great pic around Mile 23. I had a quiet period in the middle of the race, but perked up in the later miles.  

At Wiseacre for the second time in 3 days.

Went back to Wiseacre and Bosco's (again) afterwards and shared stories from the day with my friends. John had BQ'd, so he was happy. Miranda had finished her first marathon, and Scott took 20-something S-caps.  I love this.

My parents were in town, and I saw them for dinner on Saturday. Went to CTK for church with my best friend and her family, and then to their house for her son's birthday party. Said goodbye to my parents and headed back towards midtown, where everyone was at Lafayette's Music Room for what turned out to be an out-of-this-world show from a local brass band. Seriously, Memphis is happening, y'all.  It was one of those weekends that I didn't want to end. So good to see old friends and make new ones. Until next year...