Monday, February 18, 2013

What a weekend!!

I just finished working my 12th Mercedes Marathon Weekend, so allow me to just say, WHEEEW!!!! I'm still a little hazy as it normally takes me a day or 15 to recover, but I wanted to blog a little about what an amazing weekend we had. I obviously have the unique perspective of working for the race director, running with a lot of local participants, answering phone calls and emails from out of town participants AND running in the event, and every year I am impressed at how it can exceed expectations!

Not since 2004 have I heard and felt such a buzz surrounding this event! It seemed all with who I spoke were running the 5K, had a kid in the Kid's Marathon, knew someone participating on Sunday or were in fact running the half or full marathon! I credit first Valerie, my boss and race director, her assistant race directors, Kim and Jill, the staff at Birmingham Events, and the FOV's (inside joke) for their dedication to producing a PREMIER event weekend! Second, the Service Guild and Bell Center for Early Intervention, for supporting such a worthy cause! Last, and most certainly not least, Birmingham's running community for showing their support for a local event through volunteering and participating! TO ALL, THANK YOU!!

Now, on to the running! The weekend started the same. Wednesday night, load pretty much the entire store on to a truck. Thursday, put everything in it's place at Boutwell. Friday, let's get this show started! The doors opened to the expo at noon, and my intentions of running on Sunday started at a definitely. Then, 21 cases of beer were delivered added to 7 hours of standing in front of a register and a visit to the new pub at the Westin, the intentions dwindled to a definitely maybe. By Saturday night, after 10 hours of standing in front of a register, breaking down equipment, a visit to the shop, and some of the same shenanigans as on Friday, intentions were at a "we'll see".

Two thoughts made me head to the start line on Sunday. One, I told our Mizuno rep I'd run with him. Most importantly though, I told Max I'd get him another finisher's medal!! As I told some one on the phone today, there is no good advice to give someone who's been standing literally dehydrating themselves for three days. What I'm getting at, there was no race plan! I just wanted to make it to the finish! At the start, conditions were absolutely perfect! The gun went off and we headed out. The pace started nice and easy and we gradually picked it up, respecting the hills of course. I won't bore you with the details of a nice, easy long run, but the highlights were at miles 4 and 9.5 when I thought the left hammy was going to take me out, but she held on for a 1:34! Oh, and Max got his medal!!

 I'll leave you with a photo! Something I think everyone should see! Below is your race director, taking care of the last marathon finisher! You'll notice in the background, few people around, so it'll give you an idea of when he finished. His name is Ray and he's been a great customer of ours for years! He came strolling around the last bend when the folks working the finish line noticed him and escorted him into Boutwell. Val put a finisher's medal around his neck, sat him down and chatted with him for about a half an hour to make sure he was OK! One of my favorite moments of the 2013 Mercedes Benz Marathon Weekend and something I won't soon forget!


Al D. said...

You drank 21 cases of beer Friday? Just kidding. You and all the TS staff did an amazing job. It is unbelievable how this comes together and it's all because of taking their duties with pride, from Val down to volunteers who stuff the bags. Thanks Jeff for all you and the gang do. It's an honor and pleasure to be associated with Mercedes. Congrats on your 1:34

Jeff said...

You da man Al!!!! Thanks for being involved!

Anne Lawrence said...

great blog, as always! It is such an incredible feeling seeing personal friends, such as you, finish that line at amazing times! I crack up at you guys in the TS tent on your feet, dehydrating, and never letting them see you sweat! Congrats on your race time! Hard to think about explaining to Max why you didn't have him a finishers medal eh? THAT is motivation enough my friend!

Anne Lawrence said...

oh, that was me, Kat, signed in under Lindley!

John said...

Wow! That picture of Val and Ray touches my heart! What a wonderful moment!