Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pre-Race, Crawlin' Crab

If you have ever been in a long distance race, anything from a 5K to an ultra-marathon, you know what a nervous yet exciting time the pre-race period  is.  This is especially true for your first race for a particular distance, but even semi-veterans like myself get some butterflies.  So when we gathered early Sunday morning, October 6, to step out and do 13.1 miles together, there was definite excitement and camaraderie in the air.  I thought I would share some photos of this time before the Crawlin' Crab Half Marathon - a time to reflect on what brought us here, to wish each other a good race, and to mentally prepare a bit, all while trying to get a little rest.

As races go, this had an easy start.  We did not have to gather until 6AM (I've been to races when we staged at 4AM, so 6AM was downright civilized.)  We had a short 10 minute drive to the start.  It was relatively cool and still dark for a while.  The LLS crew set up a little purple tent so we would know where to check in after the race, and even got a coffee pot going over a camp stove!

I was joking with Coach Tim before the race.  "I hope this is the last time I see you today, Tim, before the end of the race!"  Why, you ask?  Well, Tim was our "sweep." His one and only job was to stick with the very last purple clad cancer warrior until they crossed the finish line.  He carried a big blue whale balloon so he would be obvious.  "Fear the whale!" I said.  Someone has to be last, and they get a ton of support out there.  Because one of the really cool things about Team in Training is that all the coaches at the very end will escort the last TNT participant over the finish line.  Then, their tiring and difficult job is done.
Here are our five coaches for the race, from left: Cheryl, Bob, Chuck, Michelle, and Tim.  What a great group, and they would magically appear all morning out of nowhere to check in with us and to walk or run with us for a while.
Our whole team lined up for a group photo before the race:

Here is the "Sister's Stone," in purple, along with Susan, my "Triple Crown Friend."  The "Sister's Stone" formed a team in honor of Ed Stone, their husband (to Leslie) and brother (to Meg and Lorri).  This amazing trio of women raised over $15,000 for this cause to run this race.  I think Ed must be so proud!  From left: Meg (who did 13.1 miles with a broken toe), Susan (who drove all the way down from Richmond that morning to cheer for us), Leslie, and Lorri.
And here I am, just before the race starts, with the "Sister's Stone," on Ed's birthday.  We are all in purple, but I think you can tell which one is me.
On the back of her shirt, Leslie has written "Happy Birthday, Ed."  Nasty, terrible, cruel cancer cost this loving couple decades of happiness together.
My teammate and cancer survivor Nancy.  During training when I walked, Nancy and I walked together a lot.  She is a great gal!
Mother and daughter in their first half marathon!  How cool is that? Ashley is on the left, and Bev - who celebrated her big 6-0 last week - is on the right.
My fabulous mentors, Kristina and Bryan, stopped by to help out for the day, and snapped this photo of me minutes before my start.  My hair was not purple, because I had not hit my fundraising goal (I since have done so), but I did wear my purple headband!

I was in the fifth and last gate.  Here we are, a moment from the start of the race.  All of us could not wait to get moving, even though the race was only about six minutes old at this point.  The small number of participants moved fast.
"Coach Bob," known to every TNT person in Virginia and a great guy, was the announcer in the race.  He wore a crab suit the whole time on this very hot day!  A few years ago, he won the Team in Training Service Award!
At this point, we were moving to the start of the race, just seconds from racing 13.1 for a cure!

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