Monday, September 20, 2010

13.1

My children are the Devil's spawn. Well - of course I don't really believe that. They're just kids - but sometimes it seems like they are all out to drive us batty, each in their own special way. This weekend was my half-marathon, and I thought this would be a nice weekend away for the family. Because the race started so early, we needed a hotel for the night & I figured we'd drive over there, walk around a bit, have dinner, and then take off after the race.
Were any one of them particularly bad? No - Sarah and Jason behave like the 3 and 4 year olds that they are. The problem comes when you add in William's goofiness and Evie's pestering - we become a wandering spectacle of idiocy and bad parenting for all around us to observe.
Yes - I AM going to talk about the race - but first imagine if you will the 6 of us descending on this lovely shopping and dining resort on the water in Maryland - lots of nice restaurants and upscale stores and hotels - and here are my kids, using the sidewalk hand rails as gym bars, balancing on curb edging, and squabbling over who gets to push the button on the elevator or swipe the room key and open the door. Silly me, I thought it would be good to escape the room so they weren't all spinning around in the desk chair or ripping down the curtain rods, only to be tortured by them in public. Gah. One of the major disadvantages to living far from family is that there really isn't anyone to dump your kids with for the weekend so you can escape and regroup.
The Peep Store. A perfect place to torture a parent.

Ok! I'm done complaining :) Life is what you make it, right? How bad could it be with a view like this from your room?

The Woodrow Wilson Bridge is in the background, the centerpiece of the half-marathon.

On to the race! After a crappy night's sleep of looking at the clock and being kicked by Jason (the hotel was sold out & didn't have any adjoining rooms so Matt and I split up with the kids) my friend Michelle and I met at 5:30 am (o-dark early!) to catch the bus to the starting line at Mount Vernon!
I don't have any pictures of Mount Vernon, as all I had with me was my phone & I never bothered to walk over to the entrance gate, having been there before - but what a beautiful place to start the race! We waited in line with 4000 of the closest people we'd never met...
...and this nice lady let me take a picture of her tank! A group of them had these specially made - I LOVE THEM!!!
Promptly at 7:30, we were off, running from Mount Vernon down the George Washington Parkway, over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, to Oxon Hill Maryland - 13.1 miles of peace and quiet.
It was a beautiful, cool morning at the start - I made a rest stop around mile 4 and while waiting with a few other runners noticed we all had steam coming off of us, although it didn't feel chilly at all.
This guy ran the whole way carrying our flag. There are lots of interesting things at races - I'm particularly impressed at the runners pushing strollers because I know just how hard that is, I tried it once or twice & gave up. There were a couple of blind runners racing with partners at their side, people you swear are about to keel over from all the noise they're making, and those who may not appear all that fit on the outside but streak by you and finish long before you do. One grandmotherly type had on red lipstick at the start to match her red sun visor - LOVED that.

This is from about mile 7 or 8, the Wilson Bridge in the distance looking very far away.

I stopped near the top of the bridge to snap this one

Looking back at where I'd just come from

Mile 11 came shortly after crossing the bridge, and at that point the battery on my phone died - no more pictures and pace tracking - and my right knee started complaining. I really would have been happy to be finished at that point, but one must go on, right? The last 2 miles were pretty sucky - there was one final hill to get up - this one seemed even worse than the bridge - and it seems like the race organizers were struggling to make this 13.1 miles because the last mile was down a dirt path around the back of the resort before we came back down the street to the finish line.

Matt snapped this pic as I came around the corner of the building - I was so happy to see him standing there on the corner with the kids! It gave me that last little bit that I needed to get to the end.
And here we are, post-race, wearing our medals - everyone who finished got one, but my kids were impressed anyway :)
Me and Michelle - photo courtesy of her dad

So I'm pooped! And ready for a few days off. And hoping my knee doesn't give me too much trouble in the coming days. Will I ever do one again? Who knows - right now I don't feel the need to, but signing up for races is a good incentive to keep running. 13 is a long way to go though, and I overheard more than one person today saying they were feeling their age. Time will tell. It did make me feel like I'd earned the right to indulge a little bit though:

My dear sweet hubby went out of his way this evening to get me some coffee and chocolate cake, merely because I'd mentioned wanting it. He's a keeper :)

18 comments:

  1. That is so awesome! And your family is so proud of you. What a gorgeous morning. Love that shirt too!

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  2. Congratulations! Woo hoo! You rock!

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  3. Congratulations!

    You should be very proud of yourself!

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  4. Congrats!!!! What a huge accomplishment, and what about the final time??

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  5. WOW! That is super dedicated and I am officially impressed. I will have a piece of chocolate cake and a Venti coffee in your honour... ;)

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  6. I am loving a lot here.
    Loving that you set a goal for yourself. And went for it.
    Loving that you took your CAMERA with you.
    Loving that your family supported you.

    I hope you look at these pictures and remember just that; the love and support and the goal you reached.
    Because you know that I know all too well...4 kids is tough. And they ruin just about anything you plan.
    But not really.
    In the moment? yes.
    But when you look back at it...
    you rarely remember the elevator buttons and balancing on curbs.
    what you see is a beautiful bridge, that you crossed over, into the arms of family that loves you.

    well done.

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  7. I am SOOOOOOOOO PROUD OF YOU!!!!!!!

    What an awesome goal...I have NEVER wanted to run a half marathon but after reading this post, there is a small inkling inside....yikes!!!!

    ~Becca

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  8. Congratulations! And I LOVE National Harbor. Maybe a great place to run my first 13.1 miles of peace and quiet :)

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  9. Yay, look at you! Congratulations! I love that you took photos during your run. I want to run again if only to get a shirt like your fellow runner.

    I bet that chocolate cake tasted pretty good!

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  10. Congrats!! I knew you'd kill this thing! What an awesome shirt, that is the BEST. LOL
    And, I'm thinking maybe I should do half marathons if I get views like that....NOT. LOL

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  11. Congratulations! I hope you're infinitely proud of yourself!

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  12. Oh, he's definitely a keeper!! :)

    CONGRATULATIONS on finishing the race...and you looked great doing it!! Love the pics along the way!

    I'm sure the kiddos weren't as bad as you think they were. Sometimes it seems like that as parents, because we worry about what others are thinking...and it puts on added stress.

    Hope you enjoyed that chocolate cake and Starbucks! You totally deserved it!

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  13. Great job! I'm always so amazed at people that can run that far! WOW!!

    You totally deserve that cake...and what a beautiful place!

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  14. Congratulations! What an awesome accomplishment!! I love the way you describe your kids... isn't that so the case. Kids can be such stinkers! A few times it may or may not have crossed my mind that it would be nice to lock them in a closet just for a minute of peace. JK.

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  15. Wow, Jen, I'm impressed. Congratulations on running a half marathon! I used to run and I enjoyed it but I never wanted to run a half marathon or God forbid a full marathon.

    Your view in your hotel and during your run was beautiful!

    And does Matt have a single brother? :)

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  16. I'm so proud of you!!!! Any man who brings me chocolate cake is a keeper whether I know him or not, LOL!!!!

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  17. That is so amazing! I'm in awe.

    Great job and I hope your knee has quieted down. (And the kids too.)
    :)

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