Monday, February 24, 2014

13.1 highlights from one of the best Half Marathons!

13.1 highlights from one of the best Half Marathons! 

1. Girls Weekend! Tons of laughter and memories made over the three day weekend. I don't know what happens to us when we arrive at the Crowne Plaza Riverfront but the stories flow, the heads turn and the giggles abound in the hallway! 

2. Great Radio Tunes! Oh how we LOVE the satellite radio and the many options that we had to choose from while traveling to and from Jax. Let's face it, I-10 is boring but not with these Badass Babes! 

3. Great Food! So we ate at Fionn MacCool's two days in a row. It is not my fault their scallops are so dang good! p.s. - Y'all might want to warn them we will back in March with a few more fun people, too. 

4. The Donna Expo ~ A fabulous few hours spent exploring and getting lots of awesome freebies. We agreed that attending expo on Friday is a must for the future. It was not as crowded and easy to maneuver between all the booths that we wanted to visit. 

5. Our Donna Deegan meet and greet! We were honored to meet Donna and snap a photo with her at the Expo. This lady is so remarkable, it truly made my weekend to meet her then see her on course Sunday. Inspired me beyond belief! 

6. TEAM 413 - Meeting the family of Team 413 was so awesome! They are such a great organization and always positive. I can't to wear my new head band from them! #team413

7. Shopping… even when the sales clerks can't get my name right! The poor girl at Athleta must have been mortified and ready for us to get out of her dressing room! I'm also certain we left a lasting impression on the sweet lady at Claire's as well. 

8. The Start Line ~ There were HEATERS! Can someone please find Donna and hug her for that! While it was warmer than last year, it was a bit chilly at 6:00am and I loved the heaters! The Start Line also provided some much needed laughter to calm my nerves. I couldn't hang out with the Badass Babes as planned but I was able to hang out with our fearless MRTT leaders, we giggled quite a bit even through the actually start line. 

9. Cheerleaders! We had the best cheerleaders on course… THE BEST! Who else had cheerleaders that got up at 4:30am, dropped them off at the start area then waited for them to finish. They are real gems! 

10. The towns of Ponte Verde Beach and Atlantic Beach ~ These people know how to have a good time! They literally paint the town pink and it's so amazing to receive all their encouragement along the way. They make the race so much more fun!! 

11. The Beach!! Yes, while it slowed my pace quite a bit I consider it a highlight! The beach is one of my favorite places and allowed me time to reflect on the purpose that we were running for yesterday. It allowed me to shed tears of joy and sorrow. I praised God for a healthy body and yelled at my legs to get going! 

12. The Bridge ~ Again, it was a point of struggle and emotional breakdown! I knew two of my best friends were on that bridge and I had to get there. I am very scared of heights and sent them a text at the base of the bridge that I was scared. As I approached them, Allison came running up to remind me that I was (am) stronger and to get moving. Truth be known our friendship is very give and take, she knew exactly how to get me up there. Shannon dropped her sign and came to run WITH me down the other side. I had a side stitch and tired legs, they didn't let me quit. They encouraged me all the way, reminding me that this race wasn't about me but about others. They made sure I didn't let up in the last half mile. 

13. The Finish Line ~ This race is always emotional at the end. It's hard to avoid the tears when you end in the parking lot of the Mayo Clinic, one of the benefactors of the race itself. It's hard not to think of those that I was running for Sharon, Shannon H. and Ms. Carol plus so many others. It was hard not to release the emotion of realizing they had all pushed me. It was hard not to squeeze the life out of Allison and Shannon for getting me up and down that bridge to the finish line! They pushed me to a new PR of 2:16:22! We all accomplished quite a bit during that last 1.1 miles of The Donna, a moment that I will cherish for a lifetime! 

13.1. Celebrating with my friendsIt was so awesome to see my best friend Crystal complete a goal that she held onto for an entire year. Crystal wanted so badly to RUN the race and she did! That won't be her last, she has the heart of a runner, now! It was great to see Stephanie's face as she crossed the finish line of her first half marathon. Stephanie put in tons of time training and the preparation showed in her smile! 

This past weekend was simply amazing! We lived out Hebrews 12:1 before a crowd of strangers. We all showed our endurance and all praised God for allowing us a beautiful path yesterday.  We each woke up today feeling blessed for our experiences this weekend, maybe even already planning for 26.2 with Donna 2015! 

Thanks girls for a memorable weekend!! 

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