Monday, November 28, 2011

The Big Day!

Well it is 4am on a Sunday.  It is dark and I hate getting out of bed.  But today is the day I have worked so hard for and nothing will make me miss it.  I dress in my running clothes that I had laid out the night before and force myself to eat something.  I walk out to the car and I am pleasantly surprised to see it is not as cold as I had imagined it would be.  Yay!
I drive to the hotel to pick up Barb, who is waiting for me in the lobby.  We are both excited and can't get there fast enough.
Parking is no problem and it is right near the finish line.  Yay again!  We get out of the car, and head to the bus that will take us back to Jamestown to the start of the race.  It is going to be 4.2 miles back to Newport and 2 of those miles are over the Newport Bridge with a crazy hill.  Barb is a seasoned runner and has just completed her fourth marathon two weeks before this.  I only started running in August and only did one little 5k.  She is fast and likes it.  I am slow and, well, I like that too.
The bus ride is fun.  We snap a few pictures and talk to people all around us.  The excitement is awesome.  There are people who love to run and even first timers.  This race may be a once in a lifetime and it brought out all kinds of people.
As we approach the start line, I see the very long line to the port-a-potty's.  Panic sets in as I am sure I won't make it and the race will start without me.  We get in line and immediately make friends.  The music is great and the line moves quicker than I thought it would.  We get in and out with 4 minutes to spare, but unfortunately some are still in line when the gun goes off.
We are towards the back and it takes a minute to cross the start.  We are off!  It is a beautiful morning and we are running into the rising sun.  I am dressed too warm and after only a few minutes have to take off my sweat jacket.
I think Barb is a little surprised at how slow I am but she is doing her best not to get to far from me.  She never stops smiling.  Once we get through the tolls, the hill starts.  Barb yells back to me, "you are doing great" and gives me a thumbs up.  Thanks Barb!
I am now realizing that I am not ready for the hill.  I am sure I will never be ready for this hill and I am getting very angry at myself.  All this work, and I can't even run.  At this moment, when I am saying not so nice words to myself, Barb turns around and yells to me, "It is so beautiful!"
Wow! That was like a giant wake up call.  Yes, silly, it is beautiful and you are missing it.  So what that you can't run up the hill, just walk and take it all in.  You may never get to do this again.  With that, I realize people are walking, running, and stopping to take pictures.  Time is not really an issue, at least not for the people around me and this is great.  I take in the beautiful sun, rising in front of me.  The Narragansett Bay that we are running over, the lighthouses and Newport off in the distance.  At the top of the hill and helicopter flies over us taking pictures and Barb is still smiling and telling me how great I am doing.  I love her!
Once I make it to the top, I start to run.  It is glorious!  I am still behind Barb, but I don't care, I am not last. I am surprised when I see the finish ahead and Barb turns around to run in with me.  Crossing the finish line with her is the best part of the morning and I hope we get a chance to run together again.
I finish in 50 minutes.  It is not record breaking but I don't care.  I ran with one of my best friends on one of the most beautiful mornings I have ever seen and I will never forget it!

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