Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Houston Marathon!

Sorry I have not kept up with the blog of late but it has been busy the last two weeks. I have been working hard at the gym where I work since everyone has gotten on the kick to get fit again. This will last until about March and then everyone falls off the wagon around Spring Break. Then, I had to have the last group run with my Team In Training group and we did an Honored Teammate breakfast for our Honored Teammate Jonathan who is now in remission from leukemia. Yea Jonathan!!! He is an amazing kid. He was diagnosed at age 14 and suffered with kidney failure in his first round of chemotherapy. He is at our practices each week and last June he ran the San Diego Rock n' Roll Marathon. He is now 18 years old. Such an inspiration!!!

Then it was on to planning my secret covert operation to surprise the TEAM and get Johnny Tri into town with out anyone knowing and surprise them at the TEAM pasta party. IT WORKED!!! JT had been my assistant coach from August through October until he had to move to Las Vegas and he has kept in touch with the TEAM through our Yahoo Group and sent them all e-mails and helped them with their questions about aches and pains. He's the guy to ask since he is a sports doc. Well, we had people crying when they got off of the escalator by the ballroom of the Hyatt when they saw "Coach John". He was a huge part of our group and he wanted to make sure they all crossed the finish line.

The marathon was great. The weather could not have been better. Start time temps were 45 degrees and it was bright and sunny all day long. I was in the first wave start and I ran out with my fast guys who were gunning for a 3:30 to 3:40 finish time. I kept up with them for the first three miles and then I told them that I would see them at mile 16 and let them go. I waited along the side of the route for more TNT purple singlets and jumped in with Jeff and ran to mile 5 with him. Jeff also has a membership at the gym that I work at so even though he is in a different training area than mine, I have been keeping up with him and how his training is going. I sent him on and cheered with other TNT supporters and waited for more purple singlets. Then I hopped in the fray and ran with my gals Lauren, Sarah, Taryn, and Johnny Tri to mile 7.

From there, I cut off the course and while all the other people continued up to the Museum District, I booked it up Allen Parkway, through River Oaks, down San Felipe, and over to Post Oak to catch my fast guys. I was hauling ass too because I did not want to miss them. I had not been on Post Oak but 2-3 minutes when I saw the first purple shirt coming through. I was going to be working miles 16 to 18 back and forth to check on all of our people so I had come prepared. I had on a pair of Race Ready shorts with all the pockets filled with essentials.

I had Vitamin I or Ibuprofen, Nunn tablets, Body Glide, 3 packages of Shot Bloks, Bio-freeze, hand sanitizer, and $20 stuffed in all those pockets. Then I had on my race number belt with a small Fuel Belt pocket that contained S-caps electrolyte capsules. My Fuel Belt had flasks for water and Gatorade and two big pockets that I had stuffed 10 Power Gels into one, and a small first aid kit and a blister kit in the other. I had my cell phone in it's holster and I was set for any need or emergency! I knew other runners would be looking at me like I was a complete dork for carrying everything but the kitchen sink but I had to have it for my peeps. I was just concerned that the Ibuprofen would be pulverized from being shaken around so much like a maraca.

I worked Post Oak back and forth at least 7 to 8 times on a quarter mile stretch so that probably gave me a good 2.5 to 3 miles. Then I worked San Felipe back and forth through the 17 mile mark a good 8 to 9 times on a quarter mile stretch. I then headed into the Tanglewood subdivision and worked that back and forth a good 8 to 10 times before I found my last four people. From mile 18 to mile 19 I ran with Tory who was apologizing to me for not coming out to all the trainings and now she was paying for it. I told her that she was doing great and we just needed to stay ahead of the sweep vans. I then ran up and hooked up with Earline and reassured her that there were Port-o-cans ahead and that she was doing great. When we got into Memorial Park we found that the 22 mile aid station was still handing out Shot Bloks but they had dumped out all the water!!! We were in trouble since we were all empty on our Fuel Belt flasks or were not carrying fluids. I told Tory that I was going to run up ahead and catch Doug and we worked the park until Earline gave me a desperate call that she was out of water and Gatorade and still in the park. I told Doug that I was going to go find Earline and I told him where the water fountains were in the park just in case. I caught Earline at the next water station and I asked the volunteers who were starting to clean up and dump water not to do so since the other aid station had closed up and there were still lots of people behind us and they needed fluids. At this point, the temps were nice and in the 60's so it was starting to get warm. We filled our flasks and off we went with Doug and Tory close behind. At the corner of Shepherd and Allen Parkway we caught Lisa who was walking in and getting some support from her husband. I kept on motivating my little crew that they did not have far to go and we were right on schedule to make it to the finish before they ended the event.
Earline was concerned that she was not going to get a finisher's medal and I reassured her that she was going to get one even if I had to beat someone up to get it. Tory had picked up some family on the route and they were helping her and One of the other area coaches found Doug and was working with him. I told Earline that I would get her into downtown and that she would have no problem with the last mile to half mile and that I was going to go back and get Tory. I saw Lisa and she was picking it up to make it to the finish line and then I waited for Tory to make the last corner and take the last half mile to the finish line. I told her friends that volunteers might ask them to get off the course as we came into the finish and that I would take good care of her. As we came to the finish line one of Tory's nieces jumped in and ran across the finish line with her.
I had Doug not far behind. As soon as Doug crossed the line, they turned off the time clock. He was the last official FINISHER of the marathon! Way to go Doug.

What a spectacular event. The payoff as a coach is seeing the smiles and tears of your people as they come across the finish line and reach that goal that they thought would be impossible. I am not sure who was happiest, Jane who ran a 3:07 or Tory who ran a 6:14 for their first marathon. All I can say is that they are heroes to our Honored Patients because they took the time to train and fund raise a whole lot of money to find a cure for blood related cancers. Our 162 person TEAM raised over $450,000.00 to make sure that there is a cure by 2015. I am so proud of them.

I'm still excited!!!

Coach Liz

1 comment:

Steve Stenzel said...

Wow, you're a flippin' pack mule! Do women mind being referred to as mules? I mean it in the most flattering way possible!

Anyway, now that I've dug myself a nice hole, nice job out there!