Monday, December 5, 2011

St. Jude Marathon 2011

I Did It!
I finished the marathon in under 5 hours!
My official time was 4 hours, 39 minutes!!

We had so much fun during the St. Jude Marathon weekend!  Our entire family left for Memphis around 1:00 Friday afternoon.  We met lots and lots of our friends and fellow runners at the Expo.  That was fun as usual!  This was Leah's and Sam's first time to attend the Expo.  I am not sure that it was as exciting for them as it was for us, but they did seem to have fun.  They both enjoyed samples of chocolate milk, Gu Chomps, and various pens and magnets.  Fun stuff for little children!

After picking up our race numbers and milling around the Expo visiting with everyone, we joined several friends for dinner at the Spaghetti Warehouse.  This has become a pre-race tradition for us.  

 The young people's table
Olivia, Leah, Parker, Julie, Sam, Carson, and Clay

A little while later we were joined by more friends (Yonea, Mary, Margaret, and Martha; Julie, Kirsten, and Alec; and Scott, Amy, Anna Beth, Ben, Claire, John and Catherine).  Then my girls moved to an all girls table.

Our full of fun table!
Scott, John, Me, Barbara, Louis, Kelly, and Lynn

We carb loaded with lots of pasta and delicious bread, all the while laughing, laughing, and laughing even more!

Jimmy and Me

After supper, we all went to our hotel in downtown Memphis.  Uncle Russ and Aunt Megan arrived to pick up Leah and Sam.  They spent the night with them, and then the next morning, Megan took them to Aunt Amanda's and Uncle Rhett's house to stay for the day.  Leah and Sam had so much fun with their aunts, uncles, and cousins.  I am very grateful that my family was able to help me out this way!  Thank you!

Leah and Sam leaving with Russ and Megan

Next, the Mims and Doles family hung out with us in the hotel lobby.  Jimmy took everyone's Starbucks order, and he and Clay walked to the nearest Starbucks and brought coffee to all of us.  Yummy!  We spent the next hour or so visiting and laughing some more. The night before the St. Jude race is always so much fun for us!  Jimmy also walked with Lynn's boys and Clay to see the Christmas decorations at the Peabody.  

Parker, Carson, and Clay playing cards in the hotel lobby

Lynn and Kelly, enjoying their Starbucks

The next morning we arose bright and early and met a huge group of people in the hotel lobby at 7:00 AM.  Everyone was excited and nervous.  This was the first half-marathon for some of the younger runners in our party, and this was also Heather's first full marathon!  Heather has been training some with Jimmy and Esther, and they all ran the marathon together.

Ok, now the race!  I had a fantastic race experience!  Much, much better than my first terrible marathon back in April!  Lynn, Kelly, and I all started out together, and we did just as we planned....nice and slow.  Our corral began the race 18 minutes after the official starting time (we were in corral 10).  We just ran and chatted, and thankfully, the miles just passed fairly quickly.  I was a little nervous that the bad part was coming, but it never did!  

After a few miles we noticed that the 4:40 finish time pace group was just in front of us.  At that point we decided that 4:40 would be our goal!  We were keeping up with the pacer just fine.  In fact, we would get ahead of the pace group between each water stop (water/gatorade at every mile), because we were walking for 30 seconds or so at each water stop, and they were running straight through.  So, we would pull ahead, and then they would catch us when we walked.  This continued through mile 19.  We were still feeling good!  We were surprised that we were still feeling good!  My legs were aching, but I never felt like I was going to throw up or die, and I did not fall down!

Sometime during mile 19, the 4:40 pace group pulled further and further ahead.  I did not want to lose them, but Lynn was getting a little bit tireder than me.....she agreed that I should go on ahead.  I did!  It took me .6 miles of running around a 9 minute pace or less, but I finally caught them at the 20 mile marker.  I settled in running with the pace group, chatting with them and getting to know them.  (Talking while running distracts me!)  They were still not walking at the water stops, so I would walk a tiny bit while drinking and then catch right up to them.  At mile 24, I didn't walk at all---I tried to drink while running, but it was a mess!  I was still chatting away with all the runners in my pace group, when the pace leader told me that since I felt so good, (and was so chatty!), that I should just go on ahead.  I did!  I never stopped again.  Just after mile 24, Jimmy found me!  I think he was surprised to find me so soon, but I was so happy to see him.  We ran the last 2 miles together!  It is a very big comfort and encouragement to me for him to come finish every race with me.  (So he ended up running about 30 miles in all after coming back for me!).

I was thrilled with my finish time of 4:39!  I never hit the wall!  I only walked at the water stations, and I did not even walk at every one of them.  Lynn finished just 3-4 minutes behind me, and she felt strong for the duration of the run too.  All of those many, many miles of training finally paid off!  

Mission accomplished!

All of my family members who ran this race did FANTASTIC!
Jimmy set a personal record (PR) of 3 hours, 36 minutes!  I was so proud of him!  Heather, the running machine, ran her very first marathon in 3 hours, 34 minutes.  I am honored that I ran some training miles with those two fast runners!  Esther finished not far behind them, and I think she set a PR too!

Clay, Julie, and Olivia finished strong, and our friend Scott took pictures for us!  Clay ran a PR as well:  1 hour, 52 minutes!

Clay is to the left of the umbrella, right beside a yellow cone.  He has on a gray shirt.  This is as he approached the finish line.

Clay, right after his finish

Julie after her finish
1 hour, 54 minutes

Olivia, catching her breath after finishing
1 hour, 57 minutes

Julie, Olivia, and many friends--all waiting for us to finish the marathon.

When we all had finished the race, some of us met at Huey's for a big juicy hamburger!  It was delicious.  We were stiff and sore, and I am sure we looked odd, hobbling around the restaurant!

Jimmy and Me at Huey's after the race
Do we look tired?

After finishing our meal, we picked up Leah and Sam and headed home!  

An exhausting two days, but so, so worth it!!


  1. Way to go, Johnsons and friends!!! :)

  2. CONGRATS!!! So happy you accomplished your goal!

  3. Congratulations! What an awesome accomplishment.

  4. Congratulations! I am happy for you! :)

  5. CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am SO happy for you! Sunshine

  6. Wow! Great job!! Can't believe that you beat your goal time by 20 minutes! Way to go!!! :-)

  7. Wow!! Congratulations! By the way, thanks for the cleaning advice a few weeks ago. It really helped get going organizing the cleaning tasks for our crew :).