Monday, October 22, 2012

Thinner thighs in thirteen miles

(Edited to add WHY I was excited to see the Des Moines skyline).

Well, actually 13.1, but it flows better to say thirteen. Thank you, Jeanie, for the title of today's post!

We drove over to Des Moines on Saturday and were met at the hotel by Emily. She has run three half-marathons, the country's biggest 20K, and it was the eve of her first marathon. Having done these races before, she knew how to pack a goodie bag:

The caplets are Imodium for one of my biggest fears. See the race poster quotes below
In the little raffia-tied box was this necklace, made by one of Emily's friends. She makes wonderful stamped jewelry - marathon-related and not. 

This necklace is such an inspiration. I, of course, put it on immediately, and thought of it several times during the race. I have it on now, so I can remember that I did it. (And it is way classier than my finisher's medal, which I will be wearing to work tomorrow anyway).

[Here's a plug for Cindi Douglass, Emmy's friend who makes the jewelry. Her work is beautiful and affordable. If you need anything for yourself or a gift, check out her etsy shop at]

It was a day of necklaces. Jeanie brought me this cross, and she was wearing the same herself. She said she couldn't NOT buy it when she saw it was called the Walk Cross. I have never trained with jewelry on, but I wore both necklaces on race day.

Good swag was to be found at check-in at the expo:

You'd think maybe there would be Gatorade, but no, we got Red Bull - beverage of choice for athletes everywhere?
Jeanie and Tom and Dwight and I had an early dinner at a local restaurant. We had tried to get into Spaghetti Works, but it was booked solid from 4-8 p.m. Emily suggested we would have better luck at a local pub that the out-of-towners wouldn't know about, and she was right. I had a chicken/avocado panini that was absolutely delicious. And french fries - carbs, right? Jeanie got her carbs in a glass of wine. She said the next day that our time would have been faster had we allowed her to have a second glass that night!

Emily and Tony came over to the hotel, and after spending the evening visiting, we went to bed pretty early. I had my alarm set for 5:00, even though the race didn't begin until 8:00. I wanted to get my breakfast eaten (PBJ, banana, and a cup of coffee) and everything taken care of before we headed over at 7:00.

It was pretty chilly at the start, but I didn't wear a pull-over because I didn't want to deal with it later. I knew I'd be plenty warm before the first mile was over. And I was right.

We met Emily and had a pre-race picture taken:

And took care of of some pre-race business:

I was so anxious for the race to start. I was literally jumping up and down waiting for it to begin. I felt like Tigger - boing, boing, boing! Just a few minutes before 8:00 the national anthem was sung (got some tears in my eyes then) and the race began. It took us slow folk about ten minutes to get to the start line, and then we were off.

When we saw Tom, Dwight, and Erin at about mile 2.5, I was so happy that I ran over to give them hugs and kisses:

This smile did not leave my face all day!
And of course we had to pose for another photo:

We ran a little, walked a lot, and talked non-stop. The best part of this race was having uninterrupted time with my sister without having to share her with anybody! The weather was gorgeous - a beautiful sunny fall day. And we got to see a good part of Des Moines by foot! This was a welcome sight at about mile 8:

Where the finish line is!
An even more welcome sight was the Mile 12 marker, which I thought I took a picture of but which turned out to be a video. So unless you want to watch 1 second of the Mile 12 marker and 6 minutes of the inside of my SpiBelt, I'm not posting it.

The crowds were wonderful! We got high (or rather, low) fives by little kids, a dance team was performing by the State Capitol, there was a drum line in Water Works Park, any number of musicians playing along the route, and wonderful signs. I saw some and Emmy saw others (since she had 13.1 miles more than I did), and here are a few of our favorites:

"Don't poop your pants"

"You are pretty and you run fast"

"This seemed like a good idea - 4 months ago"

"Hey. Getting up early and making this sign was hard work too"

"26.2 miles because 26.3 would just be crazy"

"Worst parade ever"

And Emily's personal fave, "These 26.2 miles are for every girl who was ever chosen last in gym class"

My favorite sign, though, was when we turned the corner and saw the finish line. (Again, tears.) We still had at least half a mile to go, but we knew it was there. My feet were feeling it by then, and I knew exactly where the blisters were.

We want a bagel and we want it now.
It was a good day for the Bollinger girls!  Emily ran the full marathon - her medal is much bigger than mine.
I know I've been talking about this race for what seems like forever, so I'll stop now, although it may seep into conversation here and there, kind of like "One time? At band camp?", only it will be "One time? When I did a half-marathon?" Hey! I did a half-marathon!

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