Race To Robie Creek 2009

I ran a half marathon.  I still can't believe it.  Well...I'm using the word "ran" rather loosely here.  It was more of a run/walk.  I'm guessing I ran about 2/3 of the way up to the summit, and then I ran the last 5 miles down to the finish.  My official time was 2 hours and 53 minutes. 

Here's our little running gang the morning of the race.  That's me in the pink, with my hubby in his good ol' Otter Pops T-shirt next to me.  And the gorgeous woman next to me?  That's my sister, Tiffany.  And then that's her hubby next to her.  

They call this race "the toughest half marathon in the northwest".  I'd challenge anyone to find a tougher half marathon...anywhere.  It was incredible!  I ran the first mile or so, then I walked a bit, and then I did a run/walk ratio of about 8 to 3.  I'd run for 8 minutes, then walk for 3.  I had to fight the temptation to really push myself right from the start... adrenaline and pride are pretty powerful motivators.  But I knew I had a long road ahead of me, so I stuck to my ratio.

It was fascinating to be in that big crowd of people - I love to watch people.  One of the most hilarious things I heard the whole day, I heard in the first mile or two.  We were just starting to get to a little incline.  One of the runners turned to the guy she was running with and said, "You didn't tell me there were hills in this run!"  

Oh, GIRL.  Not hills...a big fat mountain!  Was my mental response.  Tiff and I just looked at each other and started laughing.  I wonder if that girl will ever talk to that guy again.

It was a beautiful trail most of the way with a little bubbling brook next to the road.  "Is it me Lord, or is that water singing your praises?"  I was hot... hallucinating a little maybe?  All I knew is that it felt great.  I read a little of my Bible while I ate breakfast that morning, and I came across a verse that refers to the Lord as my Strong Tower.  That song...you know the one...stuck in my head the entire run.

After a while, it was so steep that I couldn't run.  I wore a heart rate monitor (invaluable, by the way), and it was my heart rate that was my guide toward the summit.  I was basically walking (walking/shuffling/crawling), but it was so steep that my heart rate was through the roof and my legs were on fire.  

It's a twisting and turning mountain road, so I couldn't see very far ahead.  Every time I came around a bend I expected to see signs for the summit, but it just kept getting steeper.  One of my fellow runners/crawlers was reading my mind when we came up on the last stretch of the uphill.  We came around a bend, looked up hoping for a view of the summit, but all we saw was even more impossibly steep road.  The girl to my left and slightly ahead of me stopped, threw her arms in the air, and hollered, "C'MON, YOU GOTTA BE S****ING ME!"  I couldn't have said it better myself.  I was totally and completely flabbergasted by how steep it was.

I stopped for the first time when I reached the summit.  I stretched and had some water, then headed down the hill.

"Praise God for gravity!" was about all I could think.  Lots of people hate the downhill because it's so steep and hard on your knees, but I LOVED it.  It felt wonderful, I was in the shade, and I felt like I was flying.  Before this race, a 5 mile run was a LONG run for me.  But those last five mile really zipped by (well, the last mile was hard).

One of the most incredible moments for me was when I saw the sign for the 10 mile mark.  I knew I was solidly in the territory of "never done this before", and it felt like such an adventure!  

The last mile was tough.  It leveled out again, and was in the full sun.  I was absolutely whipped by then.  I kept coming around the corner hoping to see the finish, but it just wasn't there.  I was starting to lose heart, when I heard a man hollering to me from the sideline.  "If you keep running, you only have ONE more minute to go.  Literally ONE minute.  Keep going!"  If I wasn't so exhausted and determined to get to the finish, I might have stopped and kissed that guy right on the mouth.  

Sure enough - around the next bend...there it was...the finish.  My thoughts went something like,

I did it.
I did it.
I can't believe it.
I did it.
Thank God it's over.
I did it. 

One thing I didn't expect was just how much my arms and hands would hurt.  My hands?  Really?  But they swelled up to the point where I was getting concerned about losing circulation in my ring finger, and they just ached all the way up to my elbows.  Strange.  Look at my big fat man hands:

Oh!  Hey!  Here comes Tiff coming across the finish line!

After some gatorade, water, food, and even some beer for the guys (I don't know how they stomached it), we headed back down the hill in the yellow busses.  

Here's an interesting tidbit of info about me...I have a recurring nightmare about being on a yellow school bus that's going up a steep hill.  It gets so steep that the bus actually tips backward and I go flying through the bus.  Then I wake up sweating and screaming.  

So....getting on a yellow school bus to drive down a mountain wasn't exactly on my "can't wait to do it" list.  But we lived.

I saw the greatest thing on that bus:

Tell me this...why oh WHY do they not send new parents home with one of these "body fluid cleanup" kits?  Seriously...

Anonymous –   – (4/20/2009 10:47:00 AM)  

Way to go Tiff, Terrence, Daq, and Luke...Very inspirational...I know that Liz and I are looking at doing a Triathlon together...Knowing you all made it through this makes me feel like we CAN DO IT!!

Hugs from WI. Melissa

Beth in NC  – (4/20/2009 09:06:00 PM)  

That is awesome! The pictures are great -- even the swollen man-hand (ha).

Ewwww, bodily fluid clean up kit?

I would be excited too if I were you!

Craig and Bethany  – (4/21/2009 12:00:00 AM)  

What a great run down of the day! Thrilled to pieces for you. Think you'd ever be crazy enough to do another one? You're super inspiring. (Well, you and God!) :)

Anonymous –   – (4/24/2009 10:05:00 PM)  

So awesome! I didn't have a chance to talk to much about the race so I was glad to read this post. You rock! :)


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