We planned for an early meeting time the next morning--6:00 in the hotel lobby. Stephen and Russ and Megan drove in to downtown Memphis to join us at our hotel. We enjoyed our morning coffee, and Lynn and I ate our pre-race breakfast of M&Ms!
The three of us plus two of our other friends who ran the half spent much time over the last week discussing our running wardrobe. We wanted to be warm, but not wear so many layers that we couldn't move! The temperature at the race start was 26 degrees! We wore 4 layers on top, and 2 layers on bottom, plus gloves and our new fashionable, color-coordinated headwarmers! This reminded me of a quote in a running book....."Women who run in full make-up are not fast. Women who run in full make-up (and in our case color coordinating running attire too) do not care that they are not fast!
Megan was the official race day photographer. She did not run and neither did Emily's husband Mark. They were our cheering squad and support group. We are all so grateful to both of them! Megan made the cutest t-shirt to show her support. You can see the front of it in the above picture. It says, Run Johnsons, Run! And on the back it has Russ's, Jimmy's and my name....very cute. Too bad no one else saw it! It was so cold that she had to keep bundled up in fleece pullovers and a heavy coat!
Jimmy brought us disposable cath lab gowns to wrap up in for our 1 mile walk to the starting line. We kept them on until minutes before we began to run.
Julie and Yonea joined us at the hotel before the race too. They had new, cute headbands also! They both had witty sayings on them, but I can't remember what they were!!
This was my fourth half-marathon, and the race itself was the worst one I have experienced. I felt so sad when I told Julie, Yonea, Lynn, and Emily good-bye at the race start---I had set a goal of trying to beat my previous half-marathon time of 2 hours, 1 minute.....I wanted to try to finish in under 2 hours.....so I started in a corral ahead of my friends. For some reason (I can't remember why now!) I didn't bring my iPod. So there I was, lined up with thousands of people, all alone. It seemed to me that everyone else either had a friend to talk to or was enjoying their music. I had neither, and before the race even began, I was discouraged. So I ran the entire 13.1 miles wishing I had run with my friends. I ran hard, but I fell short of my goal. In fact, my legs just were giving out after mile 11, and I walked probably 4 times those last 2 miles....finally, I finished with a time of 2 hours, 4 minutes. I decided that I will not do a long run again without friends or music.....and I would rather run with friends!
Can you see me in the turquoise, approaching the finish line?! Megan said I was the only one she actually saw cross! I spotted both her and Stephen as I finished. Stephen and Russ finished ahead of me.
When all of us half-marathoners finished our race, we enjoyed some post-race refreshments and then positioned ourselves to cheer Jimmy across the marathon finish line. Stephen was our spotter--he stood near the entrance of the stadium. When he saw Jimmy approaching he texted Megan who was behind the finisher's side dugout, and he signalled to me---sitting in the grass on the field. Then I waved my silver blanket in the air to notify the rest of the group who were sitting in the stands. We all cheered loudly and happily, and I tried to run with him the last little bit....but I couldn't keep up! I was so very proud of Jimmy! His finishing time was super--3 hours, 46 minutes!