Friday afternoon my roommate Jackie and I headed down to San Diego. Time flew by with lots of interesting conversation and soon enough we arrived at her parents house where we would be staying the night. A little while later our roommate Jordan arrived and we headed out to Olive Garden for dinner. We stuffed ourselves with delicious carbs then hit up Michael's to pick up some supplies for decorating our jerseys. Since I wasn't an official TNT participant, I wasn't allowed to wear a purple jersey so I just decorated a white tank instead. On the back we all puffy painted our sorority letters, and I added "Team in Training" as well. Once we finished ironing and painting we all happily hit the sack.
My jersey! I got crafty : )Saturday afternoon we all made our way to the expo at the San Diego Convention Center downtown. As soon as we got there I rushed through packet pick-up to meet up with fellow blogger and TNTer Hannah, who had come all the way from Kansas and would be running her first marathon in San Diego. It was so weird to finally meet someone I'd "known" for several months already, but she was so sweet and super cute : ) So glad we were able to meet up and again, congrats on your first marathon!
Heading to the expo at the SD Convention Center.
Hannah and I at the expo!We spent the next hour and a half browsing the booths and buying things. I picked up a couple souvenirs, a new box of vanilla Gu, and I finally bought some Nuun to try! Before long we were all ready to get out of the madness and headed to our fabulous hotel, the Hilton Bayfront, to check-in. The hotel was beautiful, with a great view of both downtown and the bay. Even though it was well past the check-in time none of the rooms were ready, so after waiting for 20 minutes Jordan's mom went to complain and a couple minutes later we were on our way to an upgraded room with free Starbuck's vouchers to boot : )
The gorgeous view from our room!
Equally gorgeous at night.Once we were settled in a bit we got ready for the TNT Inspiration Pasta Dinner and headed downstairs. At this point Jackie realized she hadn't been given the 2 extra tickets she bought for her parents, so I had to do a little crisis control but with the help of our staff we found some extras and everything was ok. We finally made our way through the fabulous cheering tunnel of purple and green and found a table inside. With the marathon in mind we loaded up our plates and started chowing down while the speakers began. It was funny to hear John "The Penguin" Bingham give his humorous speech because it happened to be the same one I heard at my pasta dinner in Seattle! A little deja vu but funny nonetheless. I was a little disappointed with the inspirational speaker, however. A young woman spoke about her dad's battle with blood cancer, and while the story was moving, she was just a poor speaker (in my opinion) and I didn't feel the emotion in her words. In Seattle there was not a dry eye in the room! Regardless it was inspiring to hear how much money was raised ($12 million for this event alone!) and to look around the room and imagine the journey each person took to get to this moment. After dinner we met up briefly with our Team and then it was back to the room to set up my stuff and get to sleep asap since 3am would come very early.
Traditional TNT cheer tunnel outside the pasta dinner.
Mmmm carbs : )
Jackie and I at the pasta dinner.
Special speaker John "The Penguin" BinghamWhen the alarm went off I immediately began my routine, getting ready step by step. Jackie's parents had brought us peanut butter and bread but there wasn't much, so my breakfast was basically a plain slice of bread. Luckily I had a Clif bar to bring with and eat before the race. When we were finally ready we headed down to the lobby that was overflowing with runners decked out in purple. We met up with my other girls and some of our other teammates, took a bunch of pictures, and waited til it was our turn for the bus. The day before I'd luckily gotten my hands on a shuttle bracelet so I was able to stick with my girls all the way til the start. We did a final "Go Team!" then split up to head to our different corrals.
All my gear ready to go!
Smiling at 3:30am??
All my Gamma Phi runners : )
Last "Go Team!"
Jordan and I immediately hopped in line for the port-o-potties and after the first time through got right back in line. The second time took much longer and by the time we were done the race had started and corrals were moving toward the start at a pretty quick rate. We ran along til we spotted #27 and squeezed through just in time. In fact we only waited a few minutes in the corral and crossed the start line just 15 minutes after the gun!
Excited and ready to go!The first few miles were great - I made sure we started out slow and took in all the sights and sounds. We passed our first band around mile 2 and also ran into a couple people from our Team. Mile 3 took us through a beautiful area with gorgeous architecture and then around mile 4 we saw Tom and Jordan's mom, Susan, for the first time. Mile 5 took us past Petco Stadium, home of the San Diego Padres. Luckily it was overcast for the first half of the race, making for great running conditions.
Feeling great on the first mile : )
Jordan running past Petco Park at mile 5.Around mile 6ish we passed the Team in Training "mission mile" where there were posters and signs made in honor of those affected by blood cancers and reminding us why we were doing this. Early on we started spotting several runners and spectators dressed as Elvis - a famous part of San Diego Rock 'n' Roll. The next few miles we split from the half marathoners and wound through downtown San Diego, past cheer squads and crowds of spectators. We passed Tom and Susan one more time around mile 8 before heading toward the San Diego Bay. The part by the water was an out and back so I was able to see some of my other girls who weren't too far behind us. They all looked great and in high spirits.
TNT "Mission Mile"
I always feel special for following the marathon signs : )
My girls looking fantastic!Around mile 10, however, things took a turn for the worse. Jordan's IT band problems flared up and forced us to start taking walk breaks that would last the rest of the race. I had promised her that I would stick with her no matter what and make sure she gets to the finish line, so we modified our plan and she ran as much as she could. To make matters worse, around this point the course lead us onto the freeway for several miles. The clouds had started to burn off and there was little shade to be found, plus the road was incredibly slanted which was tough on our legs. We also merged again with the half marathoners who were at mile 5 (in other words, the walkers) which made for a bit of a traffic jam : /
At least the freeway had some downhills...We finally got off the freeway around mile 12 and Jordan was looking pretty bad. I told her we would do whatever we had to do to finish, and urged her to do short intervals of running. We passed Tom and Susan once again at mile 14, grabbed some Nuun (will review soon!) and kept trudging along. Since it was getting pretty warm I made sure we started dumping water on our heads and took a salt packet, too. Jordan finally got in a zone and was feeling a bit better - I think her body had sort of adapted to the pain. Eventually we made it to pretty Mission Bay Park where we ran along the water for several miles. Around this point we ran into a couple of my girls. One of them was feeling pretty bad so I told her we were doing walking intervals and invited her to join us. And so our group grew from 2 to 3! We made it to mile 20 and I reminded them that everything from that point on was new territory - they had never run that far before, and the rest would really be mental. Tom was waiting for us around mile 21 as we headed toward the last stretch of the marathon on Fiesta Island.
Ohhhh we're halfway there!
The lovely Mission Bay Park.
Fiesta Island was kind of a pain in the ass. You had to run the last 6ish miles around the island with no shade cover and very little to look at. At such a late point in the race, it made for a big mental challenge for most runners. It was at this point that I ran into the other group of my girls - all of whom were really struggling at that point. The distance and heat had really gotten to them and their spirits were low. I immediately told them that we would all stick together and finish together. We continued to do walk/run intervals with me telling them to just run to the tent in the distance, etc. I made sure they were fueling enough and keeping cool and we just pushed on. Jordan eventually decided to go ahead of us since walking was too hard at that point, and I decided it was better to stick with the other four girls. Near the end I told them they had to run, that it was just a few minutes of their lives, and we crossed the finish line holding hands, raised in the air : )
There were some pretty views...
All my girls together at last : )
Such a great video! They probably wanted to kill me haha.
Gamma Phi marathoners!After cleaning up (which including my discovery of a horrendous sunburn - I was a lobster!) we headed to Chevy's to eat and celebrate with a margarita. Then later that night Jordan and I met up with some folks form our team for drinks and another snack/meal. It ended up being a great night spent with great people - lots of laughter and the conversation flowed. Despite being exhausted we managed to stay up to watch a movie then literally crashed. Monday morning we were up early and on the road back to Santa Barbara where - lucky us - we got to start studying for our finals that week!
Well-deserved celebratory margaritas : )
Nom nom nomAlthough this marathon was not a new PR it was certainly one of my most memorable. Despite the challenges it was great to experience a marathon on the "other side" and help get newbies through their first. The weekend proved yet again why I LOVE the Team and reminded me of all the fabulous people I met this season. I was nothing short of inspired : ) I'm so so so proud of all my girls for persevering and finishing their first marathon. I'm not so sure they will be doing another, but I'm thankful for getting to be a part of this one : ) Another one in the books!
p.s. Sorry for posting this so late - this past week has been crazy with a little thing called college GRADUATION!! More on that in my next post : )