First up was the Happy Joe's Mini Marathon for the kids on Saturday. My girls absolutely love running this race. They literally talk about it all year long. With bouncy houses, trampolines, mascots, and loud dance music, the entire atmosphere is just fun. Both my girls ran the 1/4 mile race and Big Girl went one more in the 1/2 mile race. (There is also a 1 mile race.) Kids can run one or all. The announcer does a nice job beforehand teaching the kids about race etiquette and proper attention during the National Anthem.
Little Girl is my fiesty competitor... she's only 4 years old and ran a great 1/4 mile race!
I'm giving her the thumbs up here as she heads to the finish line.
Big Girl always runs with a smile, but takes her own sweet time.
That evening we met up for dinner with some friends... the pre-race pasta feed. It felt weird to be amongst this crowd (all clearly excited for the upcoming race) and I wasn't running. I couldn't shake this feeling of being a third wheel, like I didn't belong all of sudden. So I drank beer...
Sunday morning, we awoke early and watched from our hotel room as the starting line came to life. We had thee best view from the Radisson's 6th floor of the courtyard below, the Mississippi River and the starting area. My hubby was running the 5k that morning, so in another twist of events, I was in charge of the kiddos while he prepped for this run.
We met up with the Sole Sisters for a group photo before the race began. They were all so excited... so many "firsts" happening that day. Lots of hugs, high fives and photos.
|There were many more Sisters that ran, but didn't make it to the pre-race photo.|
|My cheer crew!|
After hubby finished his 5k, I adored his medal
Then we hopped in the car. I was hoping to make it out to the 8 mile mark before the Half and Full split, so I could catch everyone at least one more time. I didn't think ahead very well, realizing I didn't even have a course map when we got in the car. After running the full last year, I was pretty confident I knew every turn in the course. Sure enough, we managed along just fine off my memory.
As we drove along the course, hubby and I rang the cowbell out the car window like mad. Runners waved and waved at us. We must have looked crazy to those drivers who had no clue there was a race in progress. We found a parking lot near mile 8, jumped out and set up "shop". My girls lined up to for the High-5 station, hubby on cowbell duty, and me holding the Sole Sister sign, handing out Kleenex (cold mornings = snot!). While we were cheering there, I was thrilled to see and catch up with Amanda (my Ragnar buddy!). She had run the 5k (took 2nd in her age group!) and was also on the run trying to cheer on friends in the longer distances.
On the go, we bounced back over the bridge (ringing more cowbell as we drove), and caught my friends Emily and Patty at mile 12 of the full marathon course. I wished them well and promised to catch them again when they came off Arsensal Island (no spectators are allowed on the military arsenal). We were so busy cheering for runners that I didn't snap one picture. Bad cheerleader.
|More Cowbell Please!|
|My family cheering at mile 20|
I stood there feeling really bad for Patty, wanting to help my running partner. I knew how hard that out/back stretch was. I turned to hubby and asked, "Can we shoot down the road to give a cheer at the turnaround?" He didn't want to move the car again (great parking spot), but reminded me that my bike was in the back. We unloaded Her Majesty and down the road I went. This was perhaps the most emotional part of the day for me. I saw runners excited to finish and those in despair, trying to put one foot in front of another. I could totally relate to every facial expression and weak stride I saw out there. This final stretch is truly the battleground for marathoners. There are few spectators and feels like forever before the turnaround. I tried to offer motivational words to everyone as I went in search of my friends. I bounced around from friend to friend, trying to offer a momentary distraction or friendly face.
As each one of my marathon friends came down the final stretch, I was so utterly happy for them. 26.2 miles is such an awesome achievement! My girls even jumped out there to run with Patty in the final mile...
While I was really sad to chalk up my first DNS, by the end of the day, I was just as exhausted as if I would have run the QCM myself. This cheerleading thing is a lot of work! I have a new respect for my hubby, kids and parents who always come to my marathons and cheer for me. Thank You!
Congratulations to all the Quad Cities finishers!
See you there next year, when I will be running!