I ran a half marathon this past weekend. It was amazing and such a great race for me – the best and fastest 20K/half I’ve ever run (this last race was #4). Hitting a personal best, feeling as great as I did throughout the race and at the finish, and kicking off racing season with a bang was all great – but it doesn’t hold a candle to the highlight of my experience.
My boys came out to support me – in the pouring rain.
As they dropped me off close to the starting line, I blew them each a kiss and said I’d see them along the way. Because of the rain, I wasn’t sure that I would see them. It’s a pretty tall order to get two little kids out of the car multiple times to stand in the rain and wait for their mom to run by. As I waited in the rain for the gun to go off, I felt emotional and even teared-up thinking about them standing along the race route waiting for me in the rain. I knew they may not be able to make it work, but I was hoping they could.
And they did!
I gave Hottie a course map the night before the race with three general areas circled that would be nice points for the boys. He said that they would do their best but that the weather could be an issue. I agreed. I honestly hoped I’d see them once.
They came to the first point circled on the course map, but I was running faster than anticipated and they missed me. Shoot! I had no idea until after the race that they were there, but my heart melted when Hottie told me. I saw them around mile 6/7 as I came down a straight stretch, but they didn’t see me. I shouted out for Matthew and they got so excited and had a hard time grabbing their little signs (in all fairness, they were also eating donuts)! I really wasn’t concerned about my pace so ran up to give them each a kiss and it was just wonderful – I ran faster after that!
My phone/headphones started to fail at about mile 10.5 and I kept hoping I’d see the boys again so I could give them my electronics. We had JUST bought the new phone the night before (not recommended) and here I was in the rain with it. I was terrified I was killing it with the rain and just then… there they were again calling for me! I ran over to kiss them (again) and hand off my phone when the boys said, “Mom! We brought you oranges!” Cut orange wedges are my favorite race food – I learned that 6 years ago when running Grandma’s Half in Minnesota. Of course, Hottie remembered that and brought them for me. How wonderful! I sucked on one of them as Hottie fished my phone out of my running belt (my fingers were frozen and could not function) and then they sent me on my way after another orange wedge. As I ran off (with no music), I heard, “Go Mom Go! Go Mom Go! Go Mom…” Seriously – there is nothing more motivating! I heard them in my head until the finish line… where they were NOT!
Once again, I was running faster than anticipated and I crossed the finish line without my support crew. HA! It was a very anti-climactic finish given the awful, cold weather with very few spectators there. I wasn’t sure what to do! I couldn’t get my fingers to work they were so cold and couldn’t even zip my coat or open my water bottle. I walked back to the finish just to make sure I hadn’t missed them and I hadn’t – they weren’t there. I went to the relief tent and asked for a blanket from the EMS table so I could warm up and then asked a gal if I could borrow her phone to call Hottie. Her phone had taken it as well and my fingers weren’t working, so it took forever to get the call made. Turns out, they had just gotten to the finish line, so I headed their way.
Matthew’s little face lit up when he saw me and he and Bryson kept saying, “great job, Mom! You won the race!” They were so excited! I got a kiss from everyone and we headed QUICKLY to the car! As I held Matthew’s hand, headed for shelter from the never-ending rain, he looked up at me and said, “I heard them say on the radio, ‘Courtney Donaldson from Urbandale.” I was so happy – they were there for my finish (just not at the finish line, but getting out of the car), and my little boy heard them announce my victory!
Hottie, God love him, took me straight to his downtown office to take a shower to warm up since we had two bags full of dry clothes and shoes, and because I now had a “towel” in the form of the flannel EMS blanket I walked off with. My boys continued to support me as they waited in Dad’s office (eating even more donuts) while I took the longest, hottest shower ever! And as I was showering, Hottie came to the door and said, “2:04 was your finish time, I thought you’d want to know right away!” He knows me so well, and loves me so much! Because I’d given him my phone, I had no idea what my time was until he told me. It was so fun hearing it from HIM, of all people!
It was the most perfect race… and it truly rained the entire time! HA!