They sounded the air horn and the 450-some racers began running - including myself. The first mile was fine. Paul and I ran together and I was feeling really great. What I wasn't noticing was the fact that we were running downhill. A lot. There was a guy blaring Queen on a boom box and cute little kids at all of the drink stations. If you have ever tried to drink anything while running you know it is near impossible - so I took a little sip then dumped it on myself. Much better. I was told that I had ran my first mile in 9 minutes - my best EVER. Soon after that I realized it may have been a little too fast. I was cramping and had to walk for a bit, telling Paul to keep going.
I started running again once I felt better, maybe after a minute and now I was all alone. I kept thinking about Mason, all of the kids in the hospital that might never get the chance to run and I kept pushing myself. We were now running through a cemetery (creepy) and there were HILLS. WHAT? Tiff doesn't run up steep hills. I walked some of the hills, but the longest I ever let myself walk was 3 minutes - I am no marathon runner.
Finally, once I made it back up the huge hill and across the bridge, I knew I was close. Once I saw the finish line and all the people I got a HUGE smile on my face (the announcer even commented on it as I ran by). I did it. I finished somewhere around 35 minutes (the results aren't up yet). That means I was running (on average) an 11.3 minute mile. Pretty damn good for "training" for 3 weeks. Imagine what I could do if I really focused! The best part for me was seeing how proud Paul and my mom were. Mason also clapped for me, but he might have been clapping at the fact that he was eating cheese puffs. I couldn't have done it without any of them. I am going to keep running. Keep racing. I know I didn't run a marathon or anything and who knows when or if I ever will, but I feel like I did. I am proud.