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!