My cheerleaders at mile-two included my mother-in-law, Steve, Abby, Angelique and Bella. They had whistles and a school bell and made lots of noise. Steve took this picture and I'm in the blue/white jacket with a polar-fleece headband. Steve told me next time I should wear something more distinctive because it was hard to pick me out in the sea of runners. Next time? Not sure there will be a next time! There were so many creative outfits and t-shirts that I saw. A few T's really stuck out for me... A grandma with "I'm running for Dave, he was always my biggest supporter." made me choke up. Another guy had, "What? You still trying to catch me?" on the back of his T... funny. Also, a woman with a baby bump with a T saying "Baby's First Race" and an arrow pointing down... now that is impressive!
There were all kinds of different people in this race... men, women, young, old, tall, short, physically challenged, friends, siblings, experts, & first-timers.
Here are some things that stand out in my mind about the race:
- The horrible traffic trying to get to the Fargo Dome before the race started. I don't know what I would have done without my dear friend, Heather, helping me to stay calm in the car as we waited and waited on I29 to take the 19th Avenue exit. Although we left Fergus Falls in time to be at the Dome an hour early, we ended up with only 20 minutes to spare and the 2nd call to the start line being announced.
- The nervous anticipation as I made my way to the start line and how grateful that I wasn't there all alone... Thanks so much, Heather!
- The beautifully sang National Anthem and the meaningful Invocation. I stood in the sea of runners waiting for the race to start and let the tears just stream down my face. It was so powerful that I get choked up now just thinking about it.
- All of the supporters along the race route. Shout-outs, banners, bands playing, bells, music... you name it! There were some very creative fans and it made me smile. When I was feeling drained, I would run along the edge and high-five random people. Talk about a boost! I saw a big sign up on a tree that said, "GO RENAE!" And even though it was not specifically for me, I kind of imagined it was and felt a lift.
- The mile 11 marker, realizing that every step beyond that point was going to be the furthest I had ever run before.
- Crossing that finish-line... EXHILARATION! And, Kathy, I followed your advise and crossed that finish-line with a big '0l smile and arms pumping in the air! Don't have any photos of that, but my family and friends in the Dome who were watching can vouch for it. Heather, thank you for the bottle of water at the finish-line and directing me through the sea of runners.
1. I should not have tried the "GU gel" that was offered at mile 7. I had never, ever tried it before and it was "ish". I ended up getting very nauseous.
2. It was so very, very cold. Temps hovered around 37 degrees the whole morning. I over-dressed and had to take off layers and tie them around my waist. Funny thing was that my FEET were burning up from about mile 5 on. I think I had too many layers on my legs, but I couldn't take them off because my race number was pinned to them. I was preoccupied with thinking about my feet and the blisters I was getting for the whole 2nd half of the race.
3. I drank too much water along the way. I felt slosh-y and full and that mixed with the GU gel, I almost lost my lunch around mile 10.
Steve took this photo just as I was entering the dome (in blue with more blue tied around my waist). I have my serious-game-face on worrying that I would have to do another lap inside the dome and not wanting to start my sprint too early 'cause I was OUT OF GAS at this point.
My dad made the decision the night before the race to drive all the way to Fargo to watch me. THANKS, DAD!!! It really meant a lot to know that I had family and friends (Thank you, Ness family and Hubert family) pulling for me. Salena put together a this fun post about the race. You rock, Salena!