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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My Music City half marathon

I did it! I survived, crossed the finish line, and was not one of the hundreds of people passed out on the sidelines! YES!!!!! Nashville had record high heat on Saturday, so it was hot, but no hotter than it might have been here. So I didn't die. Pure success! What an amazing race!
This was so fun and I will never ever ever go back to a small-town race again.
Let me give you the highs and lows of my half marathon in Nashville!

Hands-down, highest high was running this race with my brother Brian. It was such a cool experience to have with him and we had a blast! There are TONS of people there to cheer someone on and hold up signs for them. No matter whose name was on them or who they were shouting for, we decided early in the race it was for us. So we were very interactive with the crowd. Nearing the finish line, a guy held up a sign that said "I think you're HOT!" I thanked him as I rounded the corner in mile 12, but he told me it was for the guy behind me (my brother.) That was a high!

An amazing high was that I didn't feel my knees while I ran. They literally did not hurt and they'd been hurting like crazy for weeks. My run the week before had been so painful! Everything had been so painful, but they felt great! God was so good to me and I am so thankful! Why do I stress and become anxious about things? He always proves Himself faithful! I had spent the last week so anxious about this race because my knees were in such bad shape, but God even cares about the little things for us and He has made my knees better purely out of His kindness. He's such a good God!

The music was a high-with my favorite songs played being "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Livin' on a prayer". There was also a worship band out there and I loved that!

Another favorite moment would be when my brother grabbed what looked like a tongue depressor with a glob of something at the end of it at a water station where it was being handed out. He gave it to me and I asked him "what is this?" He said "It's the power goo" (if you don't know about the power goo, you will hear more about it in my lows. But you swallow this stuff and it gives you supernatural energy to keep on going!)
I said "Are you sure?" So when he went back to get himself one he asked the woman what it was. She said "Vaseline."
Can you imagine if we had tried to eat that stuff!!! That was a hilarious moment, only because we did NOT eat Vaseline! That would have ruined our race. (If you are wondering why they hand out Vaseline, it's because some people have chafing issues when they run long distances and runners use Vaseline to prevent that.)

It was just fun! It's an enormous race with lots of energy. When we started, there were runners in front of us as far as we could see, and runners behind us as far as we could see. That's pretty crazy! More than 30,000 racers participated.
It was a cool way to see the sights of Nashville. The course winds through downtown, and while it is somewhat hilly, it was a great course.

No one warned me. I've been asking experienced racers for tips for months now and not one person warned me about the port-o-potty situation.
Okay, no one likes port-o-potties. I'm no exception. I wasn't excited about it. But we left Brian's house at 5:30am and the race didn't start until 7am-and our corral, because it was a stagger start, didn't take off until 7:30, so OBVIOUSLY we're going to need to pee before we run 13.1 miles!
We waited in line at the first group of potties forever just to find that they were...well...defiled by nervous runner racer poo. Brian and I decided that we were the only two people out of 30,000 who didn't poop in the port-o-potties. And not ONE of them had toilet paper left. NOT ONE.
We abandoned those potties and went ahead and took our shuttle bus from the stadium parking to the starting line. We hoped for better potties there. From the stench, we knew we hoped in vain. We got in the more than 30 minute line to wait to pee (which wasn't optional for me! I had coffee on the drive in) and I was panicking on the inside. I could squat and touch nothing like any respectable woman knows how to do but NO TOILET PAPER. I couldn't do it.
And then I spotted a group of women a few lines over with their own handy dandy roll of toilet paper! They were passing it out among themselves! I immediately ran over to them and begged for some- and they so graciously gifted me with my own toilet paper! I so wanted to hug them! And then I wished I had gotten their addresses! I would have sent them a heartfelt thank you card...and maybe a gift card.
So I got to pee beforehand and told my body in my most firm voice that I would not be needing to use the bathroom again until we left the race and went to kinder bathroom facilities. That didn't end up being until 2 or 3 in the afternoon because Yeneneh, my nephew, had double header soccer games right after the race, but I made it.
Next year: BRINGING MY OWN TOILET PAPER. And probably building time into our morning schedule to stop somewhere decent just before we park at the stadium. I never want to potty where 30,000 nervous racers potty at once again.

Parking. Parking was a nightmare. Not only do you have that many racers, but you also have all the supportive friends and family members who come to cheer them on. Like my sister-in-law Amy and her six kids!!! They came at the end and poor Amy had to park her enormous van where everyone one, including us, had to park illegally so that we didn't miss the race. Somehow Amy did it and somehow she found us after the race which was purely miraculous! The crowds were unbelievable. The foot traffic after crossing the finish line took us about 35 minutes to get through before we could even find the parking lot. And there was Amy and six kiddos! With posters! She deserves the medal if you ask me. (But I didn't give her mine. It's mine!)

Power goo. I've heard about this stuff for a long time now and had never encountered it before. I've heard it's gross and I've heard it works. I had read on the website that it would be available at mile 10 so we had decided we would partake of the goo to keep us going. However, I almost threw it up. It was so nasty, it's like swallowing giant globs of snot. I started gagging and couldn't finish it. So I will not be partaking of the goo again. I will be finding it in another form and taking it with me next time. It must have worked though because endurance wise, I was great! I honestly wanted to keep going at the end! I was wishing there was a finish line somewhere between the half and the full. I would take on that race if I could next time!
I think that's in part due to the slower pace and running method we used. My brother uses a run walk combo, and I think it just preserved my energy in a way that made this race easier to finish. I think I'm a believer in this method now!

That's my summary. I honestly want to register to do the Music City race in San Antonio in November! I loved it and I think I might be hooked on races now. It's good to have a goal. It's good to work toward something huge and accomplish it. And it was super doing it with my brother!
So-November...who's with me?


Elizabeth Seay said...

congrats to both of you!
good think you didn't eat vaseline and ate snot instead:)

robbie wants to do it it november.
he told me.
what is the run/walk combo?
that sounds doable....

The Roberts' said...

yay! we want to see you if you come to san antonio!

congrats on your run!!

Jenn said...

way to go Jenn! I'm so thankful your knees held up. That picture looks like chaotic craziness! haha but so fun.

I'm proud of you!

Anonymous said...

Yea!! So proud of you and your HUGE accomplishment! Way to complete your goal - such a fantastic feeling :) And I am so glad your knees cooperated!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Jenn!!! I'm so incredibly proud of you and all that you taught your children by doing that!!! You are such a beautiful example of a "P31!" I love you, Jenn!


Kellie said...

Jenifer....that is great! I really want to do something like that! Tell me more about the walk/run method you guys used. I was running there a bit but I think my son is going to start running with me....

emily said...

YAY Jenn! I am so PROUD! I loved learning abut every minute of your race and wish I could have been there to cheer you on. I would have totally made you a sign that said "I think your hott!".:)

Love you!

See you SOON:)


Jen said...

Hi Jen,
I don't know you well, but have been so inspired by your blog- your love of the Lord and of His children comes through so clearly.

After gagging down my share of Gu on long runs, I found an awesome substitute. Sometimes I'll just run with a packet of my kid's fruit snacks which have a high carb content and will replace your lost glycogen. But the thing I love the most are Jelly Belly SportsBeans. They'e awesome and are much more palletable than the Gu. They even have some with caffeine to give you a boost when you're about to hit the wall.

I'd really love to hear more about the logistics of your Run for Compassion. Steve held clinics out of a Compassion project in Haiti this Spring and I've been praying ever since about how we, as a family, could get more involved. I'm so intimidated by the task, but have considered planning a similar event here in Colorado Springs. Wouldn't it be awesome if it caught on and people started planning races for Compassion all over...What amazing things God could do with that!

Jen Whitmarsh

aggierudy3 said...

A younger woman has just asked me to mentor her. I know this is something you have done for several years and wondered if you had any advise for having a God-honoring, mutually beneficial mentor/mentee relationship. If you have time, could you email me aggierudy3 at gmail dot com?

Elaine (we knew each other at Community)

Jamee said...


YES on the jelly beans - so good. I like the cherry ones with caffiene. I think we are thinking about doing the San Antonio one, too. If you do both of them in one year you get a nifty special medal!!

Yea for you!