Beyond the Bra

Today we’re going to talk about a little thing called support.

And I’m not talking about squeezing into your sports bra before a good run or break.

I’m talking about good ol’ fashioned on and off the course support.

This whole trip for the Illinois Marathon was so memorable – not as much about the race, but because of the support I had for it.

Do we look tired? It had been a few long days!

Not only did my fabulous support team make the long and super boring trip down to Champaign with me…but they got up at the crack of dawn at 4:45 so I could have oatmeal and coffee and listen to my “pump me up music”.

Then they sat out in the rain at the start line to see me off.

UFO haven or warm bathroom building - you decide!

Assembly Hall - Champaign, IL

Please note, I was hiding in the warmth of this building.

Yes building, not spaceship.

Eventually when the rain eased up they called me so I would come out to say hi.

As I mentioned before, they were there at the start, miles 5, 8, 10, 15, 16, 21, 22, & the finish.  This took nearly half a tank of gas, mass coordination and apparently a ridiculous amount of patience and humor.

Have I mentioned how I apparently have a group of rock stars in my life?

But every time I needed them they were there – even if it meant they had to speed, back track and sprint to get there.  And lucky for them that with the exception of the last 1.2 my pace only swayed about 5 seconds on either side of 8:10.

In addition to being totally punctual and right there when I needed them, they all will admit they had a BLAST.

I also had a friend from college drive 1.5 hours EACH WAY to see my finish (thanks

My Grandma, her husband...and me after I haven't brushed my hair...yay!

Mandi!).  And my grandmother wins the award for driving 10 hours (each way!) from Atlanta to Champaign to see my little bootay cross the finish line.  Thanks Gram!

On the course, I tried something new….a pace group.  Honestly I knew I was pushing myself to get this done so I decided to give it a shot.  It was the best decision yet.  Since the 3:35 mark is the BQ for 18-34 women there were quite a few of us there hoping to ease in just under that and unsure if we were going to pull it off.

Stacy, me and Jamie running...

I immediately paired off with a girl named Jamie (whom I still can’t track down on Facebook to share the pictures naturally)…and we stuck it together from start to finish.  We even sped up for 1.5 miles to get ahead of the pace group to pee then took a good mile to catch back up slowly.   When she got tired, I encouraged her on.  When I wanted to quit and told her to go ahead, she reached for my wrist and wouldn’t let me slip back.

We were also joined by another woman around mile 14 (Stacy).

Towel on my head head...don't mind if I do?

Without the on and off the course support from everyone who played a role, there’s no way I would have been able to sport this rockin’ shirt I found at TJ Maxx a few days before the race.

(Yes I secretly bought it hoping I’d BQ just so I could wear it post-race.  If not, it was going straight back….)

So…how about you…

What is your critical race support? 
On the course? 
Of the course?
Do you have a good sideline support story?
You ever run with a pace group?

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