Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon - Part I: Pre-race

It's here!  The day is finally here!  It's time for the Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon

Yesterday, I had an unsually busy day at work, so I didn't have much time to think about it.  That was probably good too.  I didn't need anything making me nervous or overthinking the situation.  I tried to take it easy as much as I could this week. I had two easy runs of about three miles each.  On Wednesday, my run averaged about 9:15 per mile.  That felt very comfortable--I like that pace.  That was my final training run. 

Last night, Shane and I ate our normal pre-race meal: whole wheat pasta, turkey meat sauce with extra chopped veggies (onions, garlic, green peppers and spinach) and garlic bread.  I've had this same meal before every race I've run and it seemed to work very well for me so far.  We got everything prepared to take Jocelyn to my mom's and a car seat to Shane's dad so they could pick her up in the morning from my mom's.  Since the race starts at 7:30 a.m., we didn't want to deal with getting her up early or taking her somewhere before the race.  We were already getting up and leaving earlier than normal.  I might add, we are not morning people.  Last weekend's long run starting at 9:00 a.m. felt incredibly foreign to our afternoon/evening legs.

I was lying in bed, already awake, before my alarm went off at 6:00 a.m.  I decided I was going to take a shower to wake myself up a bit.  I had set out my clothes the night before, and I hoped the weatherman was right.  I flipped on the TV to the Weather Channel and it was currently in the low 30's.  The high for the day was supposed to get to 59 degrees.  Wind was blowing 10 to 20 mph.  Not bad, about what we expected for the day.  I didn't care much as long as it wasn't raining.  Not a cloud in the sky!

We both decided no cereal for breakfast.  Last weekend, the milk did a number on both of our stomachs!  We grabbed fruit, granola bars, caffiene of choice, a bottle of Gatorade and headed out the door.  I was still mulling over my clothing.  I had a long sleeved shirt, capri running pants and a fleece.  Should I ditch the fleece or not?  I decided that I would keep it.  I would rather be comfortable and have to eventually wear the fleece tied around my waist than to be freezing before and during the first part of the race.

As we got closer to downtown, we began seeing cars with racing decals.  One said 13.1.  Another said 70.3 (half an Ironman triathalon).  We knew they were headed to the same place we were.  As we approached the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum, we could see the crowds of people gathering.  You could already feel the energy in the air. 

We parked the car and walked over to the starting line area.  Of course, I have to go to the bathroom.  Of course, there's only porta-potties.  Of course, they are all the WAY over there.  Is it a real feeling, or just nerves showing up?  I'll take a gamble and wait to see what happens.  We go to the designated meeting aera and find Jeremy Martin, a friend of Shane's.  We also run into Rick Snow and Doug Cormeny from our church.  Dave Anderson of Perfect Concept Photography, was also there to take some photographs.  Thanks again, Dave!!

As we look around, we see the usual array of participants.  The ones you know are SERIOUS, and the ones who are in it for fun (the girls in tutus, probably just having fun...just a guess).  There are some serious athletes here, and I'm proud to be among them. I don't feel like an outsider today.  I am more confident in my abilities this morning than I have ever felt before.  I am one of "them". 

As 7:30 approaches, we move toward the street with the other 1,100+ people running and walking today.  I kiss and hug Shane good luck.  I know we will not be seeing each other for the next two hours.  There are a couple of announcements from Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, then gunfire, and the sea of people begins to flow down Sixth Street to the soundtrack of Van Halen's "Right Now." 

Starting Line Video

It is very surreal feeling.  I am feeling very much part of something bigger than me.  The energy was amazing!  I moved forward with the surging crowd and soaked it all in.

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