The starting line- about 3100 lined up for the full and the half marathons and then a couple thousand for the 5K. Due to my projected finish time I was in the back of the pack and that was just fine with me. Here I am before the 7:30 start time.
My nerves were going big time- Kim told me not to confuse nerves with adrenaline. We headed out in waves and I ended up crossing the start line about 2 minutes after the gun went off. I got settled into a bit of a groove and just kept plugging away, step by step. I hit the 3 mile mark and I felt good- knee was doing well and I was making sure I didn't tense my foot and made full movement (I think I tend not to do so which leads to some cramping). We headed up to Kingston Pike which would be a pretty steady incline leading to Cherokee Blvd and Noelton Hill (which is where I have been running lately). Right before we turned the corner were the first signs. One was an older gentlemen standing there with a lady holding a sign (poster size) of Ryan Gosling and it said- Hey girl, I'm waiting for you at the finish line! I was around quite a few women and heard several chuckles and then watched as others picked up the pace (to which the man replied- made you run faster didn't it? LOL) Did I walk- yes I did but surprisingly I ran more than I thought I would.
Lots of water stops- the best was on the greenway right before mile 10 and Tyson Park. Not only was it a great stop- I was running through there and grabbed the water and heard, "Good Job Tami!" I looked over and it was a girl I went to college with (and I'm not friends with her on FB so she would not have known to look for me). That gave me such a boost! (and for the record- when I hit mile 10 I clapped because that meant only a 5K was left)
Then right around mile 11 I saw my friend Rae Ann- she was taking pictures and took this one- another boost and yes, I really was still smiling at mile 11.
Then the finish- when I saw that finish line I kicked it up a notch and crossed! My official chip time- 2:46:35. My number one goal was to finish- check. My number two goal was to hit 3 hours- check- by almost 15 minutes. So now, the competitive side of me wants to see if I can beat my time (see why I said I should never say never and laugh). The feeling to have that medal placed around your neck (by a TN Vols football player) and to know that I accomplished something that I NEVER thought would be possible was AMAZING!!! As I said- lots of lessons learned and I am working on that post in my head and should be posted this week.