Monday, March 19, 2012

Cheerleading at the DC Rock'N'Roll Marathon - GO RANDY!

Hello my Lovelies and Gents,

Wow, it feels weird to have gone three days without blogging, but I will tell you that three days without getting online was completely refreshing. Sure I checked scores and put statuses on Facebook on my phone.  Sure I downloaded pictures of the DC Rock'N'Roll Marathon for my cousin, but I was not strapped to my laptop.  Ahhh...you should try it.  Very liberating.

So naturally I have three days worth of things to talk about.  Not sure how this is going to go.  I'm either going to be very awesome or completely random.  Let's see what happens.

Before I talk about me, I want to give a Giant Shout Out to my cousin Randy.  He finished his first Half-Marathon on Saturday and I could not be more excited.  He was doubtful that he would finish, but I'll let you in on a little secret.  I never doubted him for a minute!  I knew he had it :-)

I took Friday off for a travel day.  I  started the morning at the gym.  Still can't believe I was at the gym by 7:15 on my day off.  I was a tired pup and really wanted to sleep in, but I made plans to meet gym buddy Lisa and I also knew that there was a very good chance of things "coming up" if I opted to wait until after the ride to Virginia. 

After the gym I packed up and headed out.  I picked up Grandma and headed down.  She's always a good travel companion.  She packs me grapes, apples, and bananas for the ride.  :-)

My Aunt was hosting a dinner Friday night for Randy and his fellow runners.  And we all know what that means. CARBS!  Well, if I must then I must.  On the menu: baked ziti, baked macaroni'n'cheese, spaghetti and sauce (recipe came from an honest to goodness mobster!), grilled veggies, salad, Pecan pie, lemon meringue pie, and a coconut custard dish. Um...I seriously thought I was going to spontaneously combust.  I was on sensory overload.  Did I mention that there was homemade hummus, pita chips, guacamole, and chips too?

I had a little hummus then filled my plate.  Half of my plate was filled with salad and grilled veggies.  The other half had ziti and mac'n'cheese (my total weakness).  It felt like my belly was heavy, but the reality is that I had a lot of veggies.  I was finished for a full 5 seconds before I started wondering when I could hit up the pecan pie.  Pecan Pie.  Pecan Pie.  Pecan Pie!!!  I couldn't wait so I ran in and got a piece....and some of the coconut custard.  Did you hear me screaming? Chocolate Chips in the Pecan Pie!  I'm still salivating over it.

After dinner I needed to go to bed early.  I was getting picked up at 6:30 am. And let me tell you something, it came quick!  I had a protein bar, grabbed a bottle of water and off we went.  The metro was packed full of runners.  I was so excited for them.  By the time we got in to DC there was hardly any room on the train.  And then it turns out that the train before us broke down.  So ironically, Randy and his fellow runners were on our train (even though they left a half hour before us).  It was a mad house and there were thousands of runners who were just getting off the metro at 8am.  The race starts at 8.  I was stressing out for them.  Of course they were fine because it was going to take 45 minutes to get everyone to cross the start line, but I get anxious.

Auntie and I walked towards the start line passing corral after corral of the best outfits.  It was St. Patrick's Day after all.  I should also mention that I was decked out in my "Kiss Me I'm Irish" t-shirt, fuzzy green hat (muppet-like), and shamrock necklace.  One of the girls we passed said we should get our picture taken together because she had a similiar shirt.  Of course. 

Auntie was worried that we missed Randy and his group, but I knew we hadn't.  They had to check their bags and there was no way we missed that group passing us.  Two of the guys are so tall they are at least a head above everyone else.  Good news!  We saw them at the very end of the line.  They crossed the start line 45 minutes after the first runners.  That's a lot of people!

So we started walking back towards the finish line.  We were going to get a t-shirt and walk around for a bit, but we were told they were clearing the streets.  The first 1/2 marathoners were 10 minutes away.  WHAT?  Holy crap.  So we found ourselves at the finish line in a prime spot. Luckily for me there was a lamppost there.  Being the shorty that I am, I climbed up and held my spot. I had a great view.  And there I stood for the next two and a half hours.  Oh dear Lord, I could take anyone on Survivor or The Biggest Loser in a challenge like that. I was balancing.  I was hurting.  But, I was not giving up my spot.  My fuzzy hat could be seen on TV the whole time haha.

True enough the first finisher came around the corner after 1:06.  DANG!  He was flying.  Shortly after him a few more runners trickled in and then soon enough it was a steady stream.  Cheerleader that I was, I yelled and screamed for every one of them.  They deserved it.

The announcers were giving us updated on the Full Marathon leaders.  We were getting reports on their mile markers and paces.  For a little while there were two guys neck and neck. And then right around mile 17 one just took off.  He finished in 2:25.  It was his 6th win.  He didn't just win.  He was a full 15 minutes ahead of the second guy. Mad Props Sir!

I saw some pretty amazing people.  There were three different gentlemen who ran with one leg (tears in my eyes as I screamed and screamed for them). Two of them ran with prosthetics.  One ran with two canes.  The crowed errupted for him.

I loved seeing people running and holding hands.  They started it together and finished it together :-)  I saw young and old. I saw all shapes and sizes.  I saw men in kilts and more women in tutus than the ballet.  I cheered and cheered and cheered.  I pretty much lost my voice for a few hours.  When they smiled I smiled. When they danced across the finish line I danced for them.  When they cried, OH MAN did I cry.  Some were tears of joy and some were tears of pain.  I felt their pain as they were limping across the finish line in pain.  OH and I also saw lots of bleeding nipples.  You go guys!

So there were a lot of people and I knew Randy's pace was for 2:45.  Adding that to 45 minutes I knew when to start looking for them.  Good thing I was paying attention, because they were early!  YEAH!  I caught them just as they were approaching me and started screaming my head off.  After they crossed we headed over to go find them. 

And let me say that by this point I was starving.  I had brought a second protein bar and was guzzling my water.  Eating did not go as planned.  When we found them we went over to the shade and let them sit.  They were all holding bananas and protein bars.  OH I wanted one, but that wouldn't be right.  They earned them.

After some celebrating Auntie and I left to go get him a shirt and then head home.  The walk to the souvenir tent my heart was breaking.  We passed the medical tent.  There were so many people icing their knees and feet.  I would have been right there with them.  And then we saw the medical cart carrying someone away.  I don't know if they picked him up before or after the finish line, but the look on his face made me cry.

We got to the tent and got him a Finisher Shirt and a shot glass.  I found a shirt that I loved and really wanted. I made sure it didn't say finisher since I didn't run, but I cheered like heck for three hours and this was a nice shirt and good for running.  I had to do it.  I asked to see a large and it was immediately obvious that it was too big.  Medium it is.

We decided to wait until after we got back to the car to try and grab lunch.  We would hit up Chick Fil-A.  The drive thru.  I hated breaking my rule, but I would have eaten a small child by then.  Besides, I was getting the grilled chicken sandwich so it wasn't all bad.  

The day was great.  I was so glad I could be there for Randy and his friends.  I'm so glad I could be there for the inaugural DC Race.  I only wish that I could have stayed on that lamp post cheering for every last finisher.  They deserved it.  My back never would have forgiven me though.  The metro ride home was the most uncomfortable ever.  I could not sit without feeling like someone was shoving a spear against my lower back.  Argh. That balancing on one foot was rough.

Anyway, I will say this: go cheer participants in a marathon or a 5k.  They will love it and it may be the motivation you need.

I'm NOT missing the cut off for the Philly Rock'N'Roll in September.  Feel free to come cheer me on :-)

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