Thursday, December 15, 2011

13.1 #teamfmf

Despite the fact that our TN trip was almost two weeks ago, I am going to try my hardest to document it to its fullest, because that's what it deserves!

Oh, boy. The trip, the people, the marathon. I really can't express the amazingness, you had to be there.

Ryan and I arrived in Nashville on Wednesday night.  I had woken that morning with a suspicious sore throat and it had gotten worse throughout the day.  By the time we got to Nashville I was like the living dead.  Seriously, I was SO SICK.  I was so delirious walking through the airport, yet was with it enough to observe how gorgeous the Nashville airport was- the nicest I've ever been in.

We stayed at a super cool hotel in Franklin, and I felt so bad that I was so sick and didn't appreciate it the way I wanted to.  Honestly, on Thursday and Friday I was sure that I was not going to be able to run the race on Saturday and was truly just hoping I would not literally die.  I don't get sick often, so when I do I get weird(er).

Thursday morning, we headed back to the Nashville airport (me drugged up with cold meds, ibuprofen, and throat numbing spray) to pick up Ashley, aka A-dubs.  I knew I was gonna like this girl, but I didn't realize what an understatement that would be.  She's a friend for life, HILARIOUS, and we've been texting nonstop since the race.  LOVE her!

We nervously made the drive back to Franklin (come on, we were about to meet Raechel Myers!) and made a pitstop at Starbucks to bring peace offerings of caffeine.  After a Ryan Myers and David Ferriss celebrity sighting, we headed to the Myers' house to spend the afternoon playing with sweet, sweet Hazel (Mac's future wife... she loved seeing pictures and videos of "Mac Mac" on my phone), making some Nourish potions (Ashley and I equally sucked at pouring lip balm... good thing we had Ryan to police us) and getting some behind the scenes action, being fed delicious food, and getting to know Raechel.  I was feeling better, but between the sickness and being nervous I was a mess inside.  Such an emotional rollercoaster this trip was!

After the Dukes' showed up, the guys got to work on some guy car stuff and the girls headed to Franklin to do some walking around and browsing in the cute, cute shops downtown.  We met up with beautiful Olivia and did our thing.  Then, we met up with the guys at a pub and ate so much delicious food (sensing a theme here?  You think we were there to run?!  Think again).

Note: these pictures were either taken with my phone, swiped from other people's phones, or taken by Ryan Myers. Quite the conglomeration!

Self portrait with Hazel
Olivia, Keight, me, and Ashley downtown
my baby's name carved on the table right in front of my seat at the pub, it made me smile
Raechel and me (wow, love that girl.  She is more amazing in real life than I expected.  She also handled the organization of this whole weekend with such grace and made sure we all felt so welcome.  She's so inspiring to me.)

Friday was a day of nerves and fun.  We picked up Ashley's (and now MY) friend Jenn at the airport around 9 and headed to Memphis.  We ate some BBQ for lunch and headed to the expo to pick up our race bibs and such.  We met the rest of our teammates and checked into our hotels.  Dinner was pasta and fun times with our team.  Bedtime was early but I tossed and turned for hours.  I was such a bundle of nerves.  I felt better when I was pumped up on medicine, but otherwise I was a sick mess.  Plus, I was still so worried about my shin and hoping it would make it through the race.

We got up super early on Saturday morning (was it 5? 6?  I don't even remember) and met up with everyone, all protein bar-ed, Gatorade-d and ibuprofen-ed up.  We nervously made our way downtown and shivered in the cold.  We (well, I) tried not to look petrified as Ryan (Myers) snapped photos of us as we got situated, pinned our bibs on, and stretched.  I was feeling good, sickness-wise, and was gonna kill this race.  No enlarged tonsils were going to stop me.

Team Kirnan and Team Ashley - both unstoppable

Eager and nervous- ignorance is bliss, right?  Each of these people are so wonderful- I'm so privileged to call them my friends.

We parted ways and headed to our corrals- #13, baby!  11:30-13/min mile pace!  Stop being judgy.

And we were off!  Just like that.

me - Ashley - Katie - Kerry feelin good at mile .5- don't worry, that pep was short lived!

Katie Vick and I paired up and ended up running the entire race together.  Let me tell you, that girl is awesome.  Her knee was bothering her but she pushed through.  Honestly, I would not have been able to keep going if it wasn't for her.  We encouraged each other, took walking breaks together, and made wisecracks to each other all 13.1 miles.  Love her!  And, the best part is- she loves my kids (and she hasn't even met them yet)... live-in nanny, anyone?! ;)

Oh, Elvis guys.  I know we were in Memphis, but sheesh.

We ran through the St. Jude campus at mile 4.  This race was so emotional for me for many reasons.

First off, I was actually doing it: bum shin, sickness, and all.  I never thought I would ever become a runner.  I used to die running the mile in school.  A 5k was a laughable fantasy.  Here I was, in real running clothes, with real runners, running in a real HALF MARATHON with people constantly cheering and holding up signs on the sidelines.  It was breathtaking.

Second, for the real reason we were running: for the patients and families of St. Jude.  Those kids and families are so brave and go through so much pain on a daily basis.  I think a little discomfort/sickness on my part is quite low on the totem pole of importance.  The signs, the "in memory of" shirts (of children who lived very short lives, some losing their battles very recently), the high fives.  It was almost too much to handle.  I was choked up running through the campus, but the sign that got me and made me ugly cry was the one a girl, probably my age, held up at the campus' exit: "Because you run, I'm a survivor."  Oh, those kids and those families.  I definitely left a piece of my heart on those streets of Memphis.

Note: It is impossible to ugly cry and run at the same time, because you need to be able to breathe to run. 
True story.

Third, the magnitude of what we were doing (running and raising money to support the treatment of the patients and research) really hit me when, as a mother, I thought about my own kids and what it must be like for the parents of those patients to see thousands of people running and raising money for their children.  13.1 miles is far, but how far would I run to find a cure for cancer if one of MY children were sick?  I don't think I need to answer that in specifics, but I can say it would be FAR.  With every step, I thanked God for my husband, my children, our health.  Life is such a gift, and I must live as though I truly believe that.

The entrance to the St. Jude campus

Katie and I pushed through, stopping every few miles to walk and grab water and energy Chomp things.  My shin ached and Katie's knee bothered her, and at about mile 9.5 my muscles felt like they had turned to jelly.  I really struggled those last few miles, but we kept encouraging each other and putting one foot in front of the other.  Pretty soon, the end was in sight, and the last little stretch was downhill into a stadium, which housed the finish line.  We both got a burst of energy, sprinted down that hill, rounded the corner into the stadium (and heard our names being read over the loudspeaker, so cool!) and grabbed hands as we crossed the finish line.  WE DID IT!  2:52, baby!!!

 Jenn, Ashley, me and Katie at the FINISH - Me and Katie with our medals- not sure why:
1) my teeth look so huge,
2) my hat is poking Katie in the eye, and
3) Katie looks like a supermodel after running a half marathon.  Grrr.

Exhausted and happy!

After the race, we went back to the hotel and napped, showered, and got ready for dinner.  We went to a great BBQ (duh) place and ate and ate.  I was lucky enough to snag a seat next to Keight, who is so stinkin beautiful and probably the funniest person I've ever met.  Not to mention her kids and my kids are the exact same ages (just reversed genders) and she's a talented seamstress and fabulous wife.  Hello, intimidation! 

Don't miss my nub of an arm.

After dinner, we found another restaurant to just relax and hang out for a bit.  The guys played around with the fat/bald/geek/whatever booth apps on Ryan's phone and we just enjoyed each other's company on our last night in Memphis.  Aren't these girls so beautiful?!  Let me tell you, each of them were even more beautiful on the inside, and I'm honored to call them my friends.

Sunday was filled with goodbyes and traveling.  I was so sad to go, but so glad to get home to our babies.  I had never left them for that long (almost 5 days) or been that far away from them (1,300 miles!) before.  My mom did a great job keeping them happy and healthy but I was so glad to snuggle them again.

So that's it.  We did it.  And now I'm crazy enough to consider doing another 1/2 marathon in April.  Who AM I?!  Thanks again for the amazing experience, #teamfmf.  Through your support, encouragement, and strength you all (ya'll?!) made me able to do something that I never dreamed I could do!

For a more thorough account of the race weekend, check out Raechel's post, or for a more hilarious one check out Keight's post!


  1. AWESOMENESS!!! What a great accomplishment and job well done Ashley!!

  2. This had me in tears. Awesome job!

  3. So proud of you!! I am so inspired by you.

  4. SO GREAT! I'm hoping to do the same thing soon!!

  5. SO amazing!!! We NEEEED to have a tram for the Rochester one in September =)

  6. Loved reading this!!! Come back soon!!! I wish April would hurry up and get here - then again, that means I'd have to lace up my shoes again soon... ugh!