Thursday, I was exhausted from an 8 day stretch with a huge sale over the weekend followed by helping assist a show house gala that our company was sponsoring. I schlepped stuff all over a mansion and then got to be the pretty door greeter girl:
When I was done playing in the frosting, Megan went to work:
Eventually, we headed to bed.
Alarm clock soooooooo did not go off. Adam was awoken by my screeches of OH MY GAWD!!! After the quickest get-dressed-to-race ever, we were flying out the door with a bag of bagels, and apologizing profusely to our companions--RP, JJ, and RunninBrotha.
Ironically, we stood around for the next hour and 15 minutes waiting for the 10K to start. The only cool part about getting down there that early was that we literally walked right into Ryan Hall's warm up. He was just jogging down the street (albeit probably at 6 minute miles) getting ready to race. Whatever you think about the guy, it still was cool that he was going to be running the same "little" race as I was.
Except we weren't racing. Or something. RP and I do not claim to be great pacers after the epic fail in Shamrock. But Dave somehow still agreed to run with us. We found ourselves in the A corral...and very, very alone. Dave's son Connor, RunninBrotha, and SomeKraigGuy were up there with us, but it was pretty quiet. I kept thinking, um, I think we are in the wrong spot...
But then it was go time. SomeKraigGuy stayed with us for about the same time Dave did--Kraig dropped back and Dave surged forward. Then it was just RP and I running around Cincy like we weren't running a marathon tomorrow. At mile 5, we caught back up to Dave and while I made idle threats of tickling him or goosing him, we just smiled as we pulled up next to him.
He didn't appear to be happy to see us.
#TeamEZ aka JJ, RP, and RunninBrotha met up to ride to Bangle's brother-in-law's house, but we had to take a stop at Party Town first. I would go back to Kentucky for Party Town. If you didn't go, you missed out.
Anyway, I digress. Bangle and Mrs. Bangle hooked up an amazing spread of pizza, pasta, and salad to feed the masses on a low-key evening. It was perfectly relaxed. N2RunningBad (Dean) made a surprise appearance which was a fun way to end the night.
Back at the hotel, I laid out my flat girl and actually got a little bit of sleep. 4:30 did come too early though and I had to force myself to eat a bagel. I was still groggy and somehow forgot to drink coffee??! Geez... can't take me anywhere.
Getting to the start/finish was easy again and we managed to take a few pictures before getting started:
5,4,3,2,1.... and we're off!!
The first few miles I was kind of concerned about losing the ladies because there were a ton of runners. But wearing pig ears and a tutu has its' advantages in a crowd. The bridges were no surprise to me as I had just run them yesterday. Besides I felt a little better after I got my heart rate up.
We saw Mrs. Bangle just past the 3 mile mark--just as promised and she was the only one I spotted first out of the crowd:
My favorite part of the course was going through downtown with tall buildings on either side and a long stretch of spectators yelling and screaming for nearly a mile. It was something to grasp mentally as we climbed the hills through mile 9. They weren't actually that bad... I just was expecting this:
But really, I kind of liked the uphills. I finally felt awake. Nothing like a couple hundred feet of elevation gain to get your eyes open. Besides, the view from the top was gorgeous. It wasn't quite Florence, Italy, but it was definitely purdy in a different way.
We split from the halfers and then I finally decided I could look for a Porta Potty that didn't have a line. I had been getting water at every stop since the weather was warmer. I finally spotted one without a line and sprinted ahead of JJ and KEK to buy myself some catch up time. It felt good to sprint a bit and I looked forward to chasing them back down.
Coming out of the Porta Potty, who pulls on the door at the same time??! KEK's friend Marie!!
I sprinted up to my piglets to tell KEK that Marie was right behind us. Woot!
Finally, I was feeling comfortable again and ready to rock out as pacer:
Back to hanging out with my piggies, getting the crowd pumped, and eating/drinking everything I could find. Had a shot of beer. Ate oranges. Ate watermelon. High-fived kids, adults, and the "Power Up" posters.
I mean, who couldn't appreciate this at mile 20:
KEK had to walk a few times and we kept pushing her to move. I *might* have given her a gentle push on the shoulder to keep her moving forward. And she'd keep going. I knew we were getting dangerously close to being just at 4 hours--eek!
I don't know if they saw it or not, but there was a guy holding a poster in the final miles that said "run for those that can't." It made me remember how lucky I am that I get to do this--to feel those exuberant emotions with each finish! Not everyone is so lucky...
The 3 little piggies finally came into mile 25 and soon we smelled the finish line. As soon as the finish chute was clearly marked, KEK found a new gear. She was booking! I was like, whoa, I'm going to have to keep up. We kept hooping and hollering for the crowd all the way to the finish line.
JJ scared us for a bit when she felt woozy after the race, but soon she was up and moving again. Whew! We ran into northernlass at the bag drop and compared race notes.
The rest of the day was great. Napping, dinner and drinks at Bar Louie, and a late-night pizza/beer party in the hotel lobby. I made lots of great new friends and was super sad when my little eyelids wouldn't stay open any longer.
I know I left out a ton of stuff... and met lots of cool Loopsters for the first time that I didn't shout out on my bloop. Y'all know who you are!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
'Til the next one Loopsters...y'all are always in my heart!