I realized yesterday that when I wrote on Sunday I was so tired that I never mentioned anything about my feelings and emotions about the half marathon. As I still feeling some of those emotions yesterday thought I would blog about it. So hopefully, you won't be bored by the time I'm finished.
I realized that this race was bigger than the one I walked in June, but I did not realize how big until I arrived at the start area. As we followed the crowd toward the race I was truly amazed at all the people! I am not one to be part of large crowds so it was a bit overwhelming. As I mentioned on Sunday there were over 30,000 people participating in the race. There were over tons of volunteers and police keeping us organized and moving toward the correct corrals as we waited for the start. As I watched the dawn approaching over the skyline I was awestruck. Diane and I asked the man behind us to take a picture of us with the skyline behind us (I posted this on Facebook). More and more people kept coming so we huddles to stay warm. People were talking, stretching, hugging, as they gathered. I was a bit nervous I must admit although I tried not to show it.
I believe my nervousness came for two reasons. 1. I wanted to finish faster than the last time and just the overall competition makes me a bit nervous. 2. I did NOT want to faint at the end and go to the ER as I did in June. I think those are good reasons to be nervous.
I could not always understand the announcements as I had ear covers on, but when the Star Spangled Banner started I was immediately at attention as were most people. I was almost in tears as the singer was phenomenal, I feel bad that I never did hear his name, but what a voice. There were people in the race from every state in the U.S. as well as every territory in Canada. I did hear them say there were people from several foreign countries as well. All of these people were gathered to participate in the same event, some were parts of teams for charities and some were working toward becoming part of larger races.
Once the race started it took our corral almost 40 minutes to get to the start line - the walkers are always in the back and they start each corral out a few minutes apart. We started off trotting for a little bit and then developed a good rhythm. My only goal is to finish the race - I know I will not be first, but I am determined not to be last. Between mile 2 and 3 we took a pit stop and the line was long (men are very lucky that's all I'll say). These people that we had been sort of pacing (they did not know it) ended up getting way ahead of us. Although Diane and I never said a word, it turns out our goal was the same - catch up to these people and hopefully pass them. We finally did catch up around mile 8 or 9 and I must say internally I was cheering! When we passed them I was ecstatic!
Around mile 10 came the HILL! This truly was the only big hill in the race, but boy could it not have come a little sooner? (LOL!!!!) It was a twisty, uphill portion that I was determined to get over. I have to tell you I was heavy breathing, but once we crested I could have done the happy dance. I also thought I got this and I'm going to finish! I don't think Diane was winded at all, she appeared to keep going and going like the energizer bunny. We both just kept trying to pass others, but not meanly. We also encouraged many people and thanked the volunteers and police that were helping.
We did meet a woman around mile 11 that inspired me in many ways. She was completing I think her 13th Philly half marathon. She has walked several others including New York and this would be her last long distance walk. She has several health issues including emphysema, feet and knee issues. She said from now on she would not be walking more than 5K races. She never slowed her pace and just kept going - passing us although I thought we had a good pace. She was amazing and I wish I had caught her name.
With the end in sight, I was amazed at all the crowds cheering everyone on. The music was blaring and the crowds were yelling. The crowds are what picks up the spirit to keep going. When you come through the finish line there are people handing you cellophane type blankets as many people start shivering as they cool down. Then they hand you the medal and I know I hugged that young lady. They also provided a goodie (swag) bag with snacks and such. There are food stations set up to grab something as you walk by. I looked at Diane and said; "can we keep walking toward the hotel because if I stop I may not move again?" We both laughed. We were very lucky that our hotel was only a short distance away and we were walking in that direction. We both grabbed snacks and kept going.
For those of you that know me, please note I ate a banana before the race and drank Gatorade. At every drink station I drank Gatorade and water. I then ate a banana after the race and ate yogurt to get some protein. (Also ate bananas on Monday.) I think the chillier weather helped me tremendously this time. We both used our sticks on our muscles and took hot showers before getting in the car to head home. We stopped to visit Diane's daughter and family and had a quick lunch. Great ride home with hardly any traffic. I was using the stick a little bit in the car as we drove 95 south.
It was a whirlwind 24 hour trip to Philly. Enjoyed two half cheesesteak sandwiches (YUMMY)! Finished a race and got to spend time with my friend Diane and over 30,000 race loving people. I felt tired when I got home, but also introspective.
I must admit Monday morning I thought for a second of canceling my workout, but I can't do that so I got up and went. Frank appreciated my walk on Sunday, but worked my legs. Part of me wanted to whine and be grouchy, but I thought about that woman I met at the race and just kept on working out. Frank also stretched me out thank goodness as I'm not sure I would have been able to walk the rest of the day. Have to love a trainer that understands what you need even when you don't.
As I approach Thanksgiving, I want to wish all of you that follow the blog a very Happy Thanksgiving. I am grateful for my health, family and friends. I am very blessed. I hope you can express your thankfulness to those in your life. Blessings to you!