Tuesday, January 17, 2012

13.1m Princess Parking

Wow, what an AMAZING weekend! I don't even know where to start. If I had to sum it up with two words I'd have to say "Princess Parking."  Or the phrase of the weekend was "of course it is." Those of you who know me know that I have great luck and an uncanny ability to create good things through positive thinking. Let me give you an example:

I always have to set my race gear out the night before to ensure I have everything I need.
Anywhere I go I am able to find a prime parking space (Princess Parking), whether it be at the crowded mall, a busy restaurant, or at a race with 40,000+ participants who are also trying to park close to the finish line so we don't have to waddle too far to get back to our cars after the race. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when we accidentally discovered a virtually empty parking garage with free parking. Now, fast forward to the end of the race. We are tired, just finished a half-marathon and have no idea where we are in an unfamiliar city. We ask someone which direction we should start walking to find a parking garage located on the corner of Rural and 5th, to which the reply was, "turn around, that is it right behind you." And what did we have to say in response? "Of course it is."

Pre-race photo with the sign my son made for me.

Race day weather for the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half-Marathon was perfect in the 50's and slightly overcast. My race goal was to run the whole 13.1 miles instead of the run/walk combination that I have always done. Mission accomplished! I can now officially say that I have "run" a half-marathon! The funny part was that my time was exactly the same as if I'd done my walk/run combo.

My finisher medal.
I could not have accomplished the run without the support of my cousin who paced me and acted as my cheerleader, coach, friend, and number one fan. My aunt and uncle flew in from Portland and brought second cousins I'd never met who helped cheer me on from the sideline at about mile 7.5 and then again at the finish. There were DetermiNation cheerleaders at a number of places throughout the race who would cheer and ring cow bells when they saw me coming. It was the best (and most) race support I've ever had. My race belt was covered with ribbons dedicated either "In Memory of" or "In Honor of" people who have been affected by cancer. I had no excuses not to run the whole distance.

My race belt to honor my friends and family.
A few short highlights:
  • Be GOOD
  • "Stop the bus, I have to get off!"  I advise you not to leave your purse in the rental car you just returned.
  • The Arizona State Trooper who looked at me and first words were "I already know what the problem is."  Who makes cars that don't come with automatic headlights?  Apparently Ford Fusion...(I didn't get a ticket).
  • "Oh, I'm going to win that one!" (And I did win the raffle!)
  • "Thank God the flight is delayed."  Because if it hadn't, we would have missed our flight.
  • Puppy parade announcing our arrival...and departure...and any body movement...breathing....
  • Shall we all share some antioxidants?  We did enjoy my raffle prize of wine and chocolate.
  • "Before I got on him."  Don't ask.  You don't want to know.
  • MIM-  I highly recommend going to this museum if you are ever in the Phoenix area.
  • "These are the best potatoes I've ever had in my whole life and I've had a lot of life."
  • "Nobody gets a shirt that says I just ran 11.8 miles."  A quote from one of my coaches who was running beside me, giving me a rundown of the elevation for the final distance while ringing a cow bell the whole time.
  • "It's all down hill from here."  We discovered that must have been in reference to the miles we had left to run instead of the elevation of the terrain.
While in Arizona, I was able to see an old high school friend and meet his wife and kids. His wife will be one who I will get to join us on one of these crazy trips. You know who you are and you know you are always welcome to be a Sole Sister with us. Don't be afraid. You will LOVE it!

My cousin and I stayed in a friend's beautiful guest house. We really did have royal treatment and it was so wonderful to see them again. I forgot just how much I missed having them around. I connected with another friend who took us to an incredible museum of musical instruments and to eat at phenomenal places.

When I arrived home I was welcomed by my family and a brand new, beautiful wood floors in the kitchen and dining room. I am spoiled and know it. It's nice to be treated like a Princess.

This was only possible thanks to so many people who supported me along this journey.  I truly cannot thank you all enough. 

I hope to have more of you join me in future journeys.  I did just sign up for the San Antonio Rock 'n' Roll half-marathon in November.  Who's coming with me?