So, the halfers just broke off from the marathon course and were headed back downtown.
Here there were far fewer spectators, and no bands at all. Too bad! About the only sound was that of runners thanking the police officers who were keeping the roads clear for us.
But then again, who needs cheering when it's downhill all the way back to the city?
I never thought I'd wish for level ground instead of a downhill slope to run on, but my knees were killing me by the end of the hill on Gilbert.
About this time, I struck up a conversation with a girl who I'd been matching pace with for like a half mile. Jess, who had come down from Bowling Green for the race, became my new running buddy, and we ran the rest of the way together. I forgot to get a picture of her, but she's in some of my finish-line photos.
I should've taken this photo at mile 10, because at that point, any further would be the longest distance I'd ever run. But I forgot and had to settle for this "officially farther than I'd ever gone before" shot.
So we turned onto Reading, and who was waiting there for me but my mom! I introduced her to my new friend Jess, and she ran alongside us for a couple of blocks. She cried a little. (I teased her for this, but the truth is, I choked up myself a little bit later, after the race.) Soon, she broke off from us to go meet up with my dad.
So when we made the turn onto Eggleston, there they were, yelling like crazy and taking pictures like I was Britney Spears or something. Then, after we had passed them by, I heard, "KELLY! I don't know how to save these photos!" A few seconds later, they both zipped past me on the sidewalk, sprinting like crazy to get ahead of me so they could take more pictures. (They saved them this time.)
The finish line? Crazy. There were so many people there! I wonder if it was as loud as I remember; in my head the cheers were deafening.
I didn't expect to see anyone I knew except possibly Mr. W, so when I heard a girl's voice screaming for me, I was confused. I was almost past the guy and girl cheering when my running-addled brain finally IDed them as my co-worker Amber and her boyfriend Mike. Amber was there to cheer on our Pig bloggers, whom she coordinated, but such is the excitement of the Flying Pig that she is now talking about running the half next year. If you go to watch the Flying Pig, be aware that this is a very real danger.
(A side note: Mr. W was in fact at the finish line, but I didn't see him. When I told him that, he said, "Really? You looked right at me and waved." We eventually figured out that he must have been right behind Amber and Mike. Wish I had a Penseive so I could go back and see him there.)
I can't really describe how I felt as I finished - it all sounds so cliched. I was soaring, I guess? Afterward came medals and the mylar blanket (which I was surprised to find I needed) and a big lane of booths giving out bananas and Sun Chips and things. At the end of this lane, Mr. W met up with me.
That's when I choked up a bit.
Josh and Chele had great times and waited forever for my slow butt. (My official time was 2:51:20, which was under my goal of three hours! Yay!) After I finally joined them, we all went to Daybreak and got eggs, and then I spent six hours playing video games.
The end! Other pics I took from the race are here.