We woke up at 4:30 am (early, alarm wasn’t going off for another 30 min) ugggh!! We got up and dressed. Went down to get coffee and breakfast (hotel started breakfast at 4 am because of the race). They loved my outfit and took pics.
Then the girls started bringing stuff to our room (since they were checking out of theirs that morning). So a few had something to say . . .
We went downstairs around 5:30 to gather, take pics, finish eating and what not.
Georgia MRTT girls
I love my friend totally photo bombing the picture. lol
Ok so we loaded up all of the Georgia MRTT girls in my van and headed off to the start. Well we didn’t’ get very far, got stuck in traffic and it took us 1.5 hours to go 4 miles. We left in plenty of time to get there over an hour before the start, it was just too many people trying to get to one place. They moved the start this year. We saw on our phones that the race was being delayed so they relaxed a little. I ended up dumping them at the start and I went and parked. I then carried their bags to be checked with me on my bike and took care of that for them.
Wasn’t sure if I would find them again before the start but as I came around after the bag check – look who I found. 🙂 I heard the national anthem, a prayer and the send off for the start. I was so happy they got there in time.
Yep all of them. 🙂 So here I am all ready to go!!
So I gave them all a goodbye but I will see you at mile 3 shout out and headed off. I started my garmin so I could know the time and I really wanted to know how far, fast and where I went once this adventure was done. Here is the start line.
I shot up A1A actually on the wrong side of the road since they had the entire highway shut down for the race. Then I had to cross over and get on the sidewalks to keep following the route. My first pink fireman I found on the route. yes there was more than one. 🙂
I also saw Elvis! He is alive!
My first stopping point.
I moved over right by the sign since I got a text message from one of my girls telling me to get on the right side of the road.
I also followed these guys most of the route. Yes he ran the entire race barefoot. I would yell they were awesome and I would get it right back. Great attitude.
The first one to come through, I almost missed him. He is the hubby of one of my girls. 🙂 yes I’m now calling them my girls.
Had to run ahead to get a good shot of her. you can see my shadow in the bottom of the pic.
Seriously one of my favorite shots I took that day. I think they were happy to see me. 🙂
Girls ready to throw clothes off at me.
I almost missed them, they were lightening fast 🙂
I then hopped back on my bike and hurried to get ahead of all of them again. This stretch was the hardest because there were not sidewalks and the shoulder was sandy. I needed a mountain bike during this part. I got some good advice on how to scoot ahead and I was able to get a great spot at mile 5.
Didn’t find all of them but most 🙂 but didn’t get good pics of all of the ones that passed me.
I shot back across the race route and found a road that paralleled the course and took that. Ended up being the race course after a couple miles. So I found another spot to watch for them. I could see all of the racers come in from the right and go down to run on the beach. Then I was after mile 8 of the 1/2 marathon course so all of my people that were running the half would run right back by me.
I also saw a banana running (one of two)
Then I followed the 1/2 runners toward the finish. I caught up with our fastest girl and talked to her for a little bit. Got a great picture of her coming past me. I stayed in that spot to catch everyone else before going to track down my marathon girls.
So after I take this picture, she asked me if I had any gatoraid or electrolyte tablets that her feet were cramping up. She still had 3 miles to go. I was going to have her drink some of my Nuun water in my water bottle when I remembered I had my tube of tablets. When I was as a local running store last fall buying new flavors of nuun tablets, the guy told me if you are cramping you can chew one of these. I gave her one and told her to chew it. She told me later that other than being weird (they fizz when you add them to water) it fixed the cramping and she will carry them with her for now on. She is call me her course angel on wheels. 🙂 I am so glad I was there when she needed me. Best feeling in the world.
Last group of 1/2 girls to come by.
I talked to them for a few mins before setting off to find my marathon girls. I had a time limit to try and find my fastest runner and I knew I could get there (mile 17) but I was worrying a little. My two Florida MRTT Girls found me as I was back tracking on the course. They were very happy to see me too.
Here are the three Georgia girls that ran the 1/2 marathon after they were done
Well no worries, I found her. She told me later that she came past the 17 mile marker and didn’t find me. She started to get sad that I wasn’t there. She came around about 1/2 mile later and there I was. Right after she saw me, she started stripping off her extra layer that she didn’t want anymore. Then she was off. She was sick with a sinus infection but still finished in 4:23 (I think) and was a beast.
Here I am!!
You can see a police officer behind me. Here she is!!
Next came these two. The one on the right was already getting emotional since this was her first marathon. They stopped for a quick minute and gave me hugs and a few tears. They told me that the last of my girls was not far behind them.
So I’m standing there waiting for my last rockstar friend to get here when my phone goes off. She is texting me. All it says is “Biofreeze” – I thought “uh oh”. Then I’m getting texts with her location and I tell here where I was. I was about a little over a 1/4 of a mile ahead of her. I had the camera in my hand but when I saw her face, I knew that I just needed to put that away and run over to help her out. The race route has the racers run on the beach. The 1/2 marathon people ran just over a mile on the sand while the full marathon people ran almost 2.5 miles. The beach run really put a strain on her knee and IT band. So that was what was bothering her. I helped her biofreeze her knee and foot and then went over and grabbed my stuff. I said bye to my friendly police officer and started riding next to my friend. I could tell she was breaking down and as runners say “she had hit her wall” and I needed to help her get past this. I can’t tell you what we talked about but if you know me, you know I can talk about anything. So my best guess is that I started talking about completely random crap to get her mind off of the pain and being miserable. I also inadvertently got a whole big group of people to cheer her on. I got a smile on her face. She tried to tell me that she was going to be so slow that if we didn’t want to wait at the finish then she would just take a taxi back to the hotel. I yelled back at her as I was pedaling off to catch everyone one more time “WE ARE NOT LEAVING YOU!!!!!” I could tell I shifted her mood a little. I now was racing ahead trying to catch my fastest runner. I got fussed at by a police officer to get off the race route (I only was yelled at by about 3 or 4 different officers through out the entire time. I was good and did what they told me and shortly after did what they told me NOT to do). So I turned off the race route and found a road that paralleled the route and continued on. A few blocks over I was back on the main race route with a smile on my face for every police officer I found and had no other issues. I never found my fastest runner, I think she was just a few steps ahead of me.
I found one more good spot to catch the last three girls. The first of them came up and I talked with them for a minute and told them that our friend would meet them at mile 22 (as we had discussed earlier but after she ran the 1/2 she knew she wasn’t going to get that far back up the course and ended up meeting them at the top of the big bridge overpass that they had to go over) and that I was going to wait on my friend and ride in with her.
Finally I see my friends pink capri’s coming up the road. Best sight in the world. I grabbed my bike and started walking next to her. She was doing run intervals until her knee wouldn’t let her anymore and then would walk. I hopped on my bike and just rode right next to her. Talking about whatever came to mind. We also met Jeff Galloway – here is a picture I found of him.
He was right in front of us running the marathon with his wife and a few others. We thought it was him and I scooted ahead to see if his name was on his race bib. Well it was and it said Jeff. So my friend just asked him. We chatted for a quick minute and carried on. As we are going along the freeway, I kept wondering where our friend that ran the 1/2 was going to be? Well we were coming up to the top of the largest bridge we had to go over and there she was.
By the time we got down to the bottom of the hill, there were two more of our friends waiting to run the last 1.2 miles in with our friend.
Talk about the best friends ever!!! We don’t leave anyone behind and when one is struggling then we rally behind her. 🙂 The two on the right both called me to find out how she was doing. She did it!! Finished her first marathon and we are all proud of her and everyone in our group.
I came up just short of the finish line and found our group.
Here is the finish line (well what they all thought was the finish) 🙂
Now the real finish 🙂
Here is what the 1/2 marathon medal looks like
A few more random tidbits and some course pictures I found on the race website.
In case you were really interested here are the two guys that battled it out to win the actual marathon race. They finished in just over 2 hours. They came past me while I was waiting for my last two 1/2 girls to get to me. They had a 4 motorcycle and 2 or 3 police car escort.
These two are Coast Guard Service man (it was on their shirts) and they carried this American flag the entire marathon distance. I asked them at one point if they served and I got a “yes ma’am” and I told them “THANK YOU!”
So I had a bad shot of Elvis running, well I found this good one of him on the beach. He ran the entire marathon distance in character and carried a microphone too.
Second pink fireman 🙂
The girls at various parts of the race
One of the girls snapped this picture. I laughed when I found him on the course too.
So now everyone is done and we make the long trek back to the van. I was a LONG walk to the shuttle buses and then it would have been even longer to my van but I told them I would go get it. I actually didn’t have my bike with me at this point and it would have been nice. One of the girls’ boyfriend had his truck at the finish. He took my bike back to the hotel for me. Here he is!! He was a good sport the entire weekend. Notice his shirt!
So I left them all at the huge line of porta potties and I hoofed it back to my van. Then I drove back to pick them up. They all commented on how far away I must have parked. I showed them as we were leaving the general direction farther down and around the big lot I was. We headed to Chilli’s to eat “lunch” even though it was 2 or 3 pm by this point.
We had lots of food and adult beverages (not me I was driving) to rest and relax now that the race was over. We had 3 first time marathoner’s in the group and everyone did great. Doesn’t matter if you met your goal or not, they are all rockstars in my book and I love all of them.
We came back to the hotel and two of the girls had to go back that night so they took showers. Then we chilled out in the lobby of our hotel for a while enjoying wine, champagne, cookie cake and whatever else we had.
So finally the rest of us were tired and wanted out of our race clothes. We said good night and headed back up to our room. Now 4 of us were in this one room to save on cost. We all got cleaned up and settled down. Though the munchies kept on coming for a while but don’t worry we had plenty of snacks. lol
We all crashed but in seriously weirdness we were all awake at 4:30 am (again). So after laying around for 20 min we started moving and packing up our stuff. We had the van loaded and ready to go before breakfast opened at the hotel (6 am). See here I am again. 🙂
We ate and then loaded up and headed home (a bit earlier than we thought). I got everyone dropped off and back to my house at 12:35 pm. Yes we made good time but didn’t break any land speed records either.
My final thoughts – I was so honored to go on this trip. I loved taking care of my girls and taking some of the stress off their shoulders. I loved being needed and I seriously felt the love from them. My friend who I rode the last 5 miles with told me that she wasn’t sure she would have finished if I hadn’t done that. ❤ that made me cry 🙂 I loved every minute of it and loved keeping all of my MRTT friends up to date via text message and facebook. My MRTT ladies had me in tears a few times with their responses to a post I made. For them I made it like they were all there and knew how each of the runners were doing in the good and bad. They are all trying to convince me to run the 1/2 next year. Yeah still not sure about that one, but I did agree that if I wasn’t running I would gladly do a repeat of this year and ride along with all of them again. Everyone that came this year is already planning on next year with new and wonderful goals.