So, I get up gawdawful early on Thursday and drive to the new Panama City Beach airport. Once I’m there, I start to notice that the signs have a different name from my google directions. I instantly being having a near-panic attack. Luckily, the airport has two names?!? So, I was in the right place. There were no parking places in long term, so I had to park in the grass in short term, only after receiving special permission from airport security (a.k.a wasting lots of valuable minutes). Needless to say, my seat was between two obese people. Yeah, so I consider myself patient, but really only patient with children. I started having mean thoughts on the plane. See, this woman’s ginormous arm was basically on top of me, and she was so large that her armrest wouldn’t even go down! Then the air was blowing and she had these ruffles on her blouse (LOL “blouse”-Mandy) that were flapping against my arm. And, to add fuel to the fire, she hadn’t washed her hair. See, in the south, we ladies was our hair EVERY day, maybe even twice a day b/c of the blazing temps. If you don’t, you will likely have a Stinky McStinkerson situation on hand. And, boy did she! Then she proceeded to eat 2 large cookies and 2 glasses of sugar-laden cranberry juice. My word, I was glad to get off that plane. Fast forward to actual Seattle.
It was beautiful there! I stayed with Marian and her family was super cute and nice. The first night, I was still on AL time, so I crashed pretty early, getting up early to enjoy the Seattle mist. We did a warm-up together (1.5 miles) and she waited while I did 0.6 @ 5:31 pace (per Aussie workout directions). We then did another 1.5 back to the house.
After some expo action, I met up with Adrienne and we enjoyed the Duck Tour of Seattle. While on the bus, we saw lots of cool Seattle sights, as well as part of the course. We also saw and got to talk to Brian Sell!!!!! Following the tour, Marian, her daughter, and I met Erica for some lunch. We then shopped at the Pikes Place Market, where I bought a necklace just like Carrie Bradshaw, but mine says “Becca”. We had fun walking around, enjoying the Seattle sights. That night was calm and relaxing, and we went to bed early.
I got two stand-out texts before the race from friends. One was short and sweet, “Start SMART, finish STRONG! You’ll do great!” The other was a bit more personal, but the main point was to follow my dream for that day, whatever that dream may be, and to believe that I deserved it. I thought of both of these messages throughout the race. Marian and I got to the race early and soon met up with EatDrinkRun. It was fun to put a face with a name, and I liked hearing about her Meb experience. Marian and I then dropped off the bag, and I met up with Seth. He and I hung out in the corral and in the bathroom line before the race. We had a good time laughing and carrying on. It was a nice break from my nervousness. It was then that I realized I had lost my lipgloss/chapstick and I wondered if this was a bad luck sign. He thought it would be a nice idea to jump the fence into the corral, and I was going to follow suite. As soon as he did, the Corral Police came and began to chastise him for the jump, so I just bailed ship and walked around. We waited shivering until the led us to start WITH the elites!!!!! This was totally cool to be up front with the fast people. I was majorly in awe. I ate a pack of Sports Beans 10 minutes before the start.
My garmin was totally dead, so I had borrowed a friend’s. Little did I know, she did not have it set on auto/mile lap. So, about 2 miles into the race, I realized that it wasn’t doing mile splits. I was on my own for the pacing- UH OH! I used clocks the whole way. Luckily, I teach 3rd grade, so I was able to add 7 to each mile. (My goal was a 7:00 mile every mile.)
Miles 1-5: Pretty hilly here and crowded, so it was easy to keep the pace under control. I had worn a charm necklace my dad gave me and it actually fell OFF right here. I stopped, picked it up, and kept on trucking.
Miles 6-10: My favorite miles here. People were holding American flags, and the scenery was gorgeous along the water. This part ran through a beautiful park. I overheard a group of guys saying something about 6:32 pace and I immediately slowed WAY down.
Miles 11-13: Bridge and tunnel. This was beautiful, but tough b/c of the wind. I got to see the lead females going back toward me. At this point, I was in 7th place, I think. I was running near a Marathon Maniac (200 lb male), and he soon got behind me to draft! I was sitting here thinking it should be the other way around, but whatever…Then I was sandwiched b/w two men and they BOTH blew snot rockets and the same time! Really? My goodness, take some Sudafed or afrin. EWWWW. My stomach was really, really bothering me, and I looked longingly at every porta in the 2nd half of the race. I would.not.stop.
Miles 14-16: Were small rollers. Nothing too bad, just regular running. I did enjoy the bands during these miles.
Miles 17-19: WOWZERS hills, but the worst was yet to come. Mile 19ish had a U-turn ON the steepest part of the hill. WTH? There were lots of cheerleaders here, and I did enjoy that. So many, “Go, girl! Looking good!”
Mile 20: was going BACK up the other side of the hill and I really started to doubt my ability to hold the pace. Luckily, the next two miles were pretty much downhill, giving the leggies a nice break.
Mile 22-24: pretty rough b/c stomach felt miserable, but I forced myself into auto-pilot. At this point, I began thinking angry stuff (as planned) to try to give myself a push. My own anger sometimes makes me laugh b/c it’s lame stuff like, “Trailer Park Trash Smoker” and “Booty-licious Tramp.”
Mile 25: I must not have been as angry as I thought b/c after 2 miles, I sort of forgot where I was going with the anger thing, and starting thinking about random stuff. “How is Ivy doing?” “Did the cat sitter remember to water the plants?” We had a long, ridiculous overpass with wind here, along with a BLARING heavy metal band. I passed a man from the shuttle, and he shouted, “Go, Alabama!” I thought that was a pretty remarkable memory.
Mile 26- finish: I wanted to channel energy and think about my dad, but I got to emotional. He’s always been my biggest supporter, and this was the first time he wasn’t tracking me. He wasn’t “there” enough mentally to know he wanted to do that. Mom wasn’t tracking me either, as she was home getting him settled after his 5 week hospital stay. So, the final mile was about… ME! I went into a complete quiet zone, pretty much mindless. And, I finished. I really wish I would’ve soaked in the crowd more here, as the 4th place female DOES draw some excitement in a race this size. I remember hearing John Bingham say something about Alabama on the intercom.
When I finished, I did get quite emotional, mostly from feeling so relieved. The race had been my proof that no matter what, I was going to be okay. I had not, in fact, lost myself as much as I thought. My stomach was in complete disarray. It was so bad that I did not eat a meal for the entire day, until dinner that evening. Seriously a bad scene. I met up with Marian and she was soooo sweet. She helped me get all of my things in order and just kept telling me over and over how awesome I did. We soon met up with Seth and his wife. He ran awesome, btw! We talked to them for awhile, rehashing the hills and gory of the race. Marian and I, and another Brooks Friend went to a little Brooks reception thingie for a bit. It was nice and relaxing, even got to see some Hansons there.
The three of us went to a little deli, then headed back to Marian’s for a little BBQ action. A bunch of RnR Seattle runners came out there and we had a really nice time. I was FINALLY able to eat a full meal, and it was a lot of fun to mingle with runners from a different part of the country. It was a real, real pleasure to meet Marian and Adrienne this weekend. I also enjoyed meeting soooo many other people. You two ladies are so special in many ways, and I am thankful to have both of you in my life now!
Many are going to say that this is proof lower mileage is better, and I could not disagree more. I think I’ve had 3:04 in me for quite awhile. It was my own lack of confidence and emotional stress that prevented me from succeeding. My solid splits and negative half are proof that I likely have even lower in me now. To me, this race symbolizes new beginnings. My circumstances have toughened, yet humbled me. I have many blessings in my life that I plan to enjoy. I have friends and family that believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. God gave me strength when I had lost faith. For all of these things, I am grateful.
Chip Time 3:04:02
Overall Place 44 / 4080
Gender Place 4 / 2019
Division Place 1 / 386
5 Km 21:48 (7:01)
10 Km 43:34 (7:00)
9 Mi 1:03:11 (7:01)
Half Way 1:32:29 (7:03)
Overall Pace: 7:02