My knees hurt a lot yesterday but are fine today, my hips are a bit sore today. Not too bad. I started the morning with my "breakfast of champions" a yogurt, Carl Buddig turkey and a fruit punch G2. We loaded up into the car with the Rabes and Jon, and we were off to the starting line. It was a really great race- the running was running as normal but the periphery (both literal and figurative) is what really enhanced the experience. What was really neat about the whole thing is that we ran through several diverse parts of Houston, and in each spot, there were tons of people cheering, bands on the side of the road, high school drumlines, you name it. They also had our names really big on our bibs, so total strangers would cheer for you by personally. It was such a charge to have people you don't even know say "Way to go, Allison! You're looking good!" Whether we were in a poorer part of town with people on their porches waving Mexican flags and homeless people "air boxing" and cheering us on from the curb, or in "nicer" parts of town with families and little kids cheering with signs and cowbells, it made me really proud of Houston, and proud that the people from 25 countries and 50 states were all seeing our city in this way. The marathon route is even cooler- it just goes through some great/scenic parts of town. The infrastructure of the race itself was great- plenty of mile markers, gatorade/water stations, port-o-potties, whatever you need. It was very well organized and runner-friendly. Cason did a great job of finding me along the way, being there for the start and finish, etc, and shuttling Liz (my sweet sister who surprised me) and Rett (Cindy's husband- Cindy ran it too!) and Jon around. I'm hooked and I hope to do the full next year, but it's a LONG way. My only regret was forgetting to take an advil before we started- even in my new shoes, my knees hurt quite a bit from running so long on concrete. Nothing excruciating though- just annoying. It was hard, on Allen Parkway, coming back into downtown, and seeing Marathon runners on the other side of the road practically sprinting! They ran twice as far and they were going so fast! It also was a little bit deceptive coming into downtown...almost there, almost there...but the convention center was on the complete OTHER side of downtown, so that was tough. I was really able to speed up for the last 3/4 of a mile, because I knew some of those extra boosts of speed would help me pass a lot of people since it also got a bit crowded again towards the finish line.
This has been a great journey. I had no idea when I started running last March (when I couldn't even run a mile) that I would do this 9 months later. It was all fairly accidental and coincedental, but I'm so thankful. If you are reading this right now and you want to give it a shot, I want to encourage you- if I can do it, ANYONE can! It was a great return on investment- I trained, but it didn't take over my life, and the race was challenging but certainly not impossible/painfully difficult. The song that I played twice (since ipods were actually allowed- yay, I got to bring my crutch!) as I was finishing up the race in the downtown stretch was "Treasure" by Tree63. It is so upbeat and encouraging, and the meaning really got me through the end. It reminded me that this race was important but not the sum of who I was, and I was able to do it because the Lord blessed my diligence and helped me though it.
"Draw me after You, let me run with You, show me all Your kingdom come.
My heart is where my treasure lies, my great reward is in your eyes,
My every breath belongs to You, You are my treasure."
Cindy and I at the starting line, in the dark, amused by our bibs/nametags!My #1 fan. :)And we're off...we're blurry 'cause we're running so fast. Ha. Cason caught me at mile 9- see you at the finish line!Just a little bit further until the finish line!Me, Nate and Cindy- FINISHERS!
Sweet supporters. :)