Monday, February 13, 2012

2 7 24 39 41 26.2 5:44:49

No, it's not a football play count--it's the numbers from Sunday's "26.2 With Donna, Marathon to End Breast Cancer."
Wendy, Lori, and me on the beach
preparation

2: The number of friends I traveled with for the event.
7: The number of hours it took us to drive to Jacksonville Florida.

24: The low temperature on race day. TWENTY FOUR. in FLORIDA.
39: The temperature when I finished the marathon. THIRTY NINE. in FLORIDA. at NOON.
41: The temperature when I met up with my friends and we headed to the hotel for warm showers before returning to Atlanta.

26.2 The RUN.
Sunrise
The 26.2 with Donna showcases Jacksonville at its best. Every street, every neighborhood, and every shopping center along the route was fully decorated with pink streamers and balloons and signs. The more impressive thing was the PEOPLE. Despite the cold, the streets were lined with people cheering, clapping, handing out water, orange slices, banana...and the occasional mimosa to runners. They held signs, played music, shook maracas (really), high-fived, and any thing else they could do to encourage us along the way.
pink firetruck, covered with signatures and messages of hope



The course itself is beautiful. One bridge, 3 miles of beach, and then the quirky beach neighborhoods kept things interesting. Along the way there were pirates and bands, tutus and tiaras, and even a pink firetruck. The sun rose as we crossed the bridge over the marshes, and it warmed our spirits, if not our frozen bodies. A few people had forgotten to turn off their sprinklers and the resulting ice sculptures sparkled in the cold.

I left out one set of numbers. What I wore: 1 pair of running shoes, 1 pair of compression socks, 1 pair of cushioned socks, tights, running skort, sports bra, sports tank, long sleeved tech shirt, fleece vest, two pair of gloves, one pair of hand warmers, bandanna, ear warmer, visor, and sunglasses. At the start I picked up a discarded trash bag and wrapped my arms. Normally I would start shedding layers by mile 5, but this time I only ditched the bag--not because I was warm ,but because the wind kept blowing it into my face. It was mile 19 before I gave one pair of gloves to someone at a water station, and mile 20 before I relinquished the hand warmers to one of the police officers on the route. I felt fairly thawed by the end, but as soon as I stopped moving, the shivers started again. I was grateful for the space blanket one volunteer tied around me at the finish.
Ice sculpture--unintentional, I'm sure

5:44:49 My Official Time
A best for me. I was hoping for 5:30, but that will wait for another event. Any personal record is to be celebrated--and I am celebrating! (The winners both finished in under 2 hours, 15 minutes; they didn't get their money's worth!)





These marked the route







Will I do this race again? Absolutely. There were a few glitches (buses running late, pacers out of position) but those are to be expected. This event IS special. Add to that the fact that ALL of the proceeds go to breast cancer research via the Mayo Clinic, and it becomes such an inspiration. There are stories everywhere--survivors, those left behind, those still battling, and those who just want to be part of something bigger than themselves. It is an event that every marathoner should do at least once. (There's a half-marathon as well.)




Post race friends

Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics before the start



one of the many humorous signs along the way
yep



On leave from Afghanistan. Each ribbon had a name on it.

gorgeous finisher's medal
Finishing chute
My race bib



Until there is a cure.




(Thanks to my shutterbug friend, Wendy Mitchell, for most of the photos)

2 comments:

Elaine said...

WOW to the cold in Florida and WOW to you for running the marathon. I love the story and the photos that go with it.

See Jamie blog said...

Still so seriously impressed you did this!!!