I snuck into Houston late Thursday night for the weekend of the Houston Marathon! OK, so here's the story:
I left Thursday afternoon cutting out of work early and planning my "fake" illness for Friday but the office was good and was on to me, damn them! Anyway, I hoped a flight to H-twn and landed about 10pm. Rental car and pulled into Liz's house about 11pm. Off to bed.
Friday morning I was up early to take care of some unfinished personal business then off to my former stopping grounds from the boys at Spine and Sports Therapy to get a little fixin` up on that knee problem I have been having. Damn, I was all messed up, left hip rotated and lock, left knee internally rotated, left ankle fixated or stuck if you will so no wonder my damn knee/itb bursa has been hurting. After a good fix up I was on back in business and feeling great! Thanks JD!
Then it was off to the convention center where we were to meet up with Lauren, who I was totally surprising. Once there, Liz and I planned our attack.. Lauren showed up.. and Operation JT went into action as Liz escorted Lauren around towards packet pickup and JT was running up behind some people and WHAM! grabbed her and here I was! It was totally great to see the smile on her and the excitement! (BTW, this is Laurens 1st Marathon) So I had to be there. Once we did packet pick up we all had some other plans to attend and took care of business.
Later that night watched 3 : 10 to Uma, what a good movie and then off to bed.
Saturday I went with Liz to some Team in Training meetings for the upcoming Triathlon season and then we were basically off to the pasty party for TNT. Now this is where it really all begins. You see, if you don't remember I was the assistant coach this year for TNT Marathon program and for 3 1/2 months I was out there training and helping these great people get in shape for there first marathon. When I moved away I kept in contact via many many emails and coaching from afar. Now the TNT group had no clue I was coming in town but by my surprise Friday with Lauren and running into a few of the participants the word was getting out. When time came to start the Pasty Party we have what we call "red carpet roll out" and basically all the coach's, mentors and staff all line the red carpet with the most loud clackers you can find and cheer every single one of our participants as they come off the escalators!!!! It's totally a blast and shows how much me appreciated and love them.
As I was standing on the carpet and my group was coming up they would see me and totally be surprised as you could see there eyes get all big, smiles were bigger and some even cried, yes, JT, has a great inspiring effect. At this time I was totally glad I had come back but didn't know it would get better. As the pasty went on we had speakers, food, decorating party for our jerseys for the run and music to keep the party rocking. Then when the party was over and everyone went back up to there hotel rooms use Coaches, mentors and staff had all these decorations for the participants doors and it was floor by floor taping, sticking and hanging decorations. Finally after a couple of hours we were done and it was pretty much time to go to bed but Liz and I had to watch Talladega Nights, so funny.. Chip, im gonna come at you like a spider monkey!! LOL..
Next morning it was up for race day. Weather was good, a little windy and made it feel colder than it was but once the sun came up it was great. As the race got started I was with several of my peeps and they were all totally excited, nervous and ready to go! Once the gun went off it was about 4 miles before we could really start running and by this time the starting group of peeps had already been split up so JT ran with about 3-5 people, OK, Bigun, yes they were ladies, then it was just Lauren, Taryn, and Sarah. I was really amazed how these ladies who have been training together for 5 months held the pace at 10:20 dead on! It was amazing. Stop for water, then bam! right back to the pace and they did not have a GPS or any gizzmo, just the natural feel to run together. I ran with them till about the 10 mile make keeping them excited, talking and just being the coach then it was time to send them off and make my way back towards the other side of the course. So I left them in good standings and said I would see them at mile 22.
Once leaving the girls I had this freakn God awful pain in my right glut that did not want to ease up. I stopped and stretched it several times but nothing worked. Finally, when I got to the 11/24 mile marker I was able to rest and totally go into a fully lower body stretch on the grass. (oh, 11/24 mile marker is where the full and half marathoners meet back up on the course, so I had ran about 12 miles by this time, with a 1.5 mile sprint to after mile 5 to catch the girls as Lauren forgot to drop off her jacket with her mom, so JT ran back up the course about 300 meters, mom was gone from the spectator point so I crossed under and out of course and ran mom down about block away as she was getting to her car. Then hauled ass back to the course, got back on course and now it was interval time, dodging all the people to catch the girls, which by my calculations were about a mile ahead by now. After a nice gps mile of 8:10 and totally zone 5 breathing, I caught them and slowed back down but I think the damage to the glut was done then.)
As I cheered, walked and ran up and down the sidelines with participants of the half and when the fulls came through I was still having problems with my glut and I knew when the girls got there I was going to be in trouble as I was not really feeling good to run 3 more miles. Then I get word Lauren is close and the two have fallen off the pace a little more. As Lauren approaches I begin to run with her and it's not feeling good at all. I keep to myself and run without complaint as by this point at mile 24.5 its all about her. There are a couple others running with her so she has a good support group. At mile 25ish we catch her mom again who passed me earlier at mile 24 asking for her and I told her mom that she had not passed but mom thought she did and went up ahead looking but no worries as she is there now. As we draw to the last 500 meters the chutes are there and the others have to peel off as they do not have a race number, but not really sure that matters and it's just Lauren and I running in. Everyone is calling her name, Go Lauren, You can Do it! You Did It! It was amazing to hear everyone yelling for her and finally we crossed the finish line (Lauren is on the left, me right. I am wearing purple singlet with black long sleeves shirt). I went to give her a High Five but then she was crying so I grabbed her and gave her a big hug, you did, it I told her. It was the best thing to see her smile and accomplish her first marathon, she was feeling pretty good and I wouldn't have missed it for anything!! After her finishers photo we went and got our finishers gear and then to look for the others. After seeing more the peeps now and hearing how there race went it, was totally the best thing ever. Finally, we all made it back to the TNT Tent there were lots of pictures to be taken and stories to be told. I ended up running 17 miles, whew.
Then it was time to head back to the hotel, eat, get cleaned up and head to the Post TNT party where we all met back up, had some drinks, told more stories, took more pics, had more drinks, danced, had more drinks and then had more DRINKS! It was totally worth it!Some of the best people I have met have come from TNT and I am proud to help them in the fight against blood cancer! rockon`
I am tired as all can be today, my ass still hurts, my legs are sore I almost missed my flight by like 10 mins, I lost 2 of the rental car keys and I caught a cold! Fuk ya! ALL FOR MY TNT TEAM MEMORIAL GROUP!