March 20th was the three year anniversary of the death of Sam and Kevin’s son, Kevin Arthur Lent. Our sweet little neighbor. The little boy who taught us so much in his little amount of time in this world. I still don’t understand why he was taken from us. It’s not fair. I remember every detail of that night in painstaking detail, as I’m sure everyone else does. And I remember having to tell my children, which was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do so far in my life. But I also remember all the good times we had with him. How contagious his laugh was. How much he loved the beads in our play basket. How much my kids (and all the neighborhood kids) LOVED him. Gabby always had to be touching him…her hand was always resting on his arms or hands or back. Natalee and Makayla used to listen to a song with the lyrics “My best friend’s brother is the one for me”. Only they would change it to sing as if they were Bubbies singing “My sister’s best friend is the one for me”. I will never forget these special memories.
We all raced this weekend for Bubbies. Sam and Steven ran their first marathon. Kevin ran his first half marathon. I was supposed to run my 2nd marathon (I had said I would never do one again, but when we realized the date it fell on, I knew I wanted to run it with Sam). Unfortunately, my hip injury got in the way, so I had to run the half marathon instead. I truly believe Bubbies was with us every step of the way.
The weather this weekend was not cooperating at all. After Saturday’s 8k, we were all freezing so we didn’t really hang out afterwards for long. We all went out to a breakfast buffet and then later in the day my mom, Steven, the kids, and I ended up going back to the race expo to buy some long pants for Steven and some gloves & a headband to cover my ears for me.
The weather conditions only got worse as the night wore on!!
I woke up Sunday morning and immediately checked the temps! According to my phone, it was 39 degrees out, raining, and very windy (20 mph with gusts up to 30mph)!! I decided NOT to step out on our balcony and it’s probably a good thing that I didn’t because I may have crawled back in bed. Steven’s race started an hour and a half after mine, so I let them all sleep in while I got ready for my race, although I think my mom was awake for most of the morning. My race started at 7:00. My hotel was on 21st street and I had planned to walk to 36th street to meet Kevin at his hotel at 6:30. I had found some ponchos in my van the night before and decided to take a couple with me. I whispered “good luck” to Steven and off I went around 6:15. As soon as I stepped outside, I realized just how bad the weather was. OMG!!! Thank goodness I had the poncho. I put it on to keep my clothes somewhat dry, but my feet were soaked in the matter of minutes. I was miserable. I had to remind myself WHY I was doing this a few times. I was going to head down the boardwalk but it was kind of creepy out there that early in the morning by myself so I headed over to the street side, where I saw a bunch of other runners headed in the same direction. The crowds started getting thicker, which was slightly annoying because I tend to walk really fast. Especially when I am freezing cold. I definitely thought about turning around and walking back to my hotel a few times on the walk. I also prayed to Bubbies to make the rain stop. I finally made it to Kevin’s hotel at 6:36. We had picked up a long sleeve shirt for him at the expo and I also gave him my other poncho. I’m sure we looked cute in our Mickey Mouse ponchos! I wish I would have gotten at least one picture! We headed out to find the race start together. I had to check my coat, which was difficult because 1) I had so many layers on and 2) I was even MORE cold after having to check my coat. It did give me the opportunity to grab one of my Gu’s that was in my hydration vest before putting my poncho back on. We headed over to find corral 6. There weren’t really corrals at this point and it had to be almost 7:00. Everyone was crowded up against buildings, trying to get some relief from the wind. We decided just to stay put in the middle of the street. We were already soaked…what’s the point in expending the energy to move, just to move back in 5 minutes?? We talked briefly about our plans. We decided not to stick together because I knew he was going to be faster than me. We couldn’t find the pace groups…they must have been taking cover too. Although I can’t really say I looked too hard. Most of my time at the race start was spent looking down so that the rain wasn’t hitting me in the face. It had been an absolute miserable 45 minutes so far. The announcer came on the mic and told us he had good news…the worst of the rain was passing and it would be clearing up soon. Unfortunately he said he couldn’t do anything about the brutal winds. I was too cold and under too many layers to get my earbuds out and turn on my music. I couldn’t even muster the strength to turn map my run on. My phone was in a plastic baggy and I had (soaking wet) gloves on so I just didn’t think it was worth it. I had seen a couple of texts come through wishing me luck, but it was too difficult to respond. I appreciated the encouraging messages though. Before I knew it, it was finally time to start running.
Miles 1-3: My legs/feet have never felt this heavy at the beginning of a race. I think it was mostly because they were so wet, but I think running the 8k the day before may have added to it. My legs felt like they were each 100 pounds. Wow…this was going to be a tough race.
I ran for a couple of miles and then took a walk break at the Mile 2 marker. I never walk that early, but I just had to. At this point, I seriously considered cutting my losses and turning around and heading back to the hotel. It was still raining pretty hard and the wind felt like it was pushing me backwards. I figured I had already been out in the elements for over an hour and the walk/run back to the hotel would be kind of a hike, so I just decided to suck it up. This was the last time I considered quitting. I remembered my “why” and I picked it back up to a run after .10 walk. Right before the Mile 3 marker, there was a bunch of crowd support, which also helped pump me up. Right around mile 3, the rain let up a lot. It continued to rain lightly, but the heavy stuff was over!! Thank goodness.
Miles 4-6: Although I was feeling better mentally, it was still tough. The heavy rain had stopped, but it still wasn’t pleasant by any stretch of the imagination. I walked again at mile 4 for .10. I still had my poncho on and knew I wouldn’t be able to easily get to my Gu or phone yet. I hoped that by my next walk stop (6 miles), I would be able to. Luckily, around mile 5.5, they had a Gu station set up. I was able to grab a chocolate one and slowly started eating it over the next several miles. We entered Fort Story just before mile 6.
Miles 7-9: Right after passing the Mile 6 marker, the rain had pretty much stopped. I decided it was time to come out of the poncho. I decided to do this during a walk break. I didn’t want to ditch it because 1) There wasn’t really anywhere good to ditch it at that point 2) I was worried that I would need it later in the day while waiting for Steven and Sam to finish their marathon. So I tucked it under my arm. I continued walking while I got my earbuds out and got my music connected. I hit play and “Eye of the Tiger came on”. I put it back in my pocket and started to run. I was a little upset when I looked down at my watch and realized it took me almost a half a mile of walking to get everything done! The crowd support is not very great while running on base, but that’s understandable. What’s not understandable is how I accidentally hit “repeat” on my music while turning it on. I had to listen to “Eye of the Tiger” on repeat at least 5 times. I could have taken out my phone but with my poncho and half a Gu in one hand, wet gloves, and a phone in a zip lock bag, I just figured I would wait until my next walk break. At mile 8.5, I took another walk break. I got my music situated and sent my mom a text to let her know where I was and that I was struggling.
Miles 10-13.1: I was ready to be done. I finally decided to trash my poncho and wet gloves at mile 10. I walked at mile 10.5. I opened my jelly beans and started eating them. I was toying with the idea of walking the rest of the way. I knew this wasn’t going to be a PR and I knew I wasn’t doing that great, so I seriously considered it. But I had no idea what time it was and I was so worried that I would miss Steven and Sam passing my hotel that I pressed on. I ran until mile 12 and then I took my final walk break. I knew I had to finish strong! I love finishing along the boardwalk with the crowd cheering us on!
I finished in 2:24:22 / 11.02 pace. 16 minutes slower than my PR, but not my worst time ever. It was really tough. I got choked up a few times during the race thinking about Bubbies, but I know he pushed me through. What a race! I saw Kevin almost immediately after getting my medal. We congratulated each other (Kevin SMASHED his first half marathon!! He finished in just over 2 hours) and got a photo together.
We were going to head to the tent, but I was really worried about missing Sam & Steven! He also had to check out of his hotel so he headed there to grab his stuff and decided he would meet me at my hotel in a little bit to see them.
I headed back to my hotel and stopped to pick up Natalee and Lilee at their hotel on the way (only 4 blocks away from mine). It was at this point that I was FREEZING! It wasn’t so bad while I was running once the rain had stopped, but after I stopped running, the cold set in. My hands were so cold that they hurt. I got the girls and we hurried to my hotel as fast as we could. I ran up to get some dry gloves and noticed that my mom and the girls had decorated some signs for me!! So sweet! They were hanging on walls.
We headed out to the boardwalk to cheer the marathon runners on. My mom, Makayla, Gabby, Natalee, Lilee, and myself each held a sign and cheered the runners on. It was so much fun! I was cold, but it was so worth it. I LOVED seeing runners smiling as they read our signs and listened to us cheer them on. The runners names were printed on their bibs so it was a nice touch to be able to call out their names. I hope it was a little helpful for some of the runners. We realized we were early when the 4:00 pace group passed. We knew they would be closer to the 4:30 pace group. We thought about going inside to warm up and coming back out 20 minutes or so later, but it was just too much fun!
We finally saw Steven approaching and we yelled our little hearts out! We were about 1/4 mile from the 12 mile marker. He told us that he and Sam separated around mile 11 and that we really needed to give her some motivation. He was looking so strong!! I was too busy yelling and cheering to snap a picture. About 5 minutes later or so, we saw Sam headed towards us! I gave her a gigantic hug and we told her how great she was looking. I hope it helped. I know she later said she didn’t even realize it was us at first. Part of me wanted to stay out there supporting the crowd all day, but I was very cold and wanted to take a warm shower so I could head down to the finish line. Kevin ended up seeing them right around 30th street while he was on his way to our hotel.
After cleaning up and getting myself together, we all decided to head down to the finish line to wait for them. I was getting updates from Steven during his walk breaks which helped me to keep track of him. We were at the finish line early so we decided to head into a random hotel that had its doors unlocked and chilled in the game room for a while. Anywhere that was warm was fine with me! At 12:32, I got a text from him that said “Working on mile 23”, followed by one that simply said “WALL”. Lol!! Shortly after, I got an update from Sam that she was on 21!! When we thought Steven had about 1.5 miles left, we headed back out to brave the elements and root him on. We found a spot along the boardwalk and waited. Kevin had sent him a picture of Bubbies when he hit mile 25. Steven said it choked him up and pushed him to finish STRONG!! We saw him coming and yelled and screamed just as loud as we could!! I was so proud of him!! What an amazing man!! He finished with a time of 4:31:30.
I headed to the finish line to meet him while everyone else held our spot! I couldn’t believe how strong he looked after running 4.5 hours in high winds and freezing cold temps!! We headed back to the boardwalk to cheer Sam in.
Less than 30 minutes later, we saw Sam tearfully heading down the boardwalk. I was so happy and proud to be her crowd support.
What an amazing accomplishment! She smashed her goal and finished in under 5 hours. What a rock star!! We met her at the finish line. Natalee and Lilee each gave her a bear hugs. It was a very emotional reunion.
We all headed to the tent on the beach to finish our congratulations and tell our race stories. We stopped at the PR bell for Steven, Sam, and Kevin to each give it a ring!!
We grabbed some soup and beer and we hung out for a bit.
I think the cold was starting to settle in for Steven. His hands were very cold and he was ready to warm up a bit. We ran back to the hotel for him to shower (matter of fact, he told us to go ahead to the restaurant without him because he was NEVER coming out of the hot shower – lol). After he finally got out and a bit of a struggle to get his shoes on, we met the Lents at the kids favorite restaurant (Pizza Planet). Not our first choice, but I suppose the kids deserved a treat after standing out in the cold to cheer us crazies on.
After dinner, Kevin and the girls headed home. After a quick break at the hotel, we headed back out to pick up Sam and grab some ice cream. We found an Its Sugar store as well and loaded up on some candy to take home with us. We dropped Sam back off and then headed back to our hotel to get a good night’s sleep (finally)!
Here are my splits according to my Garmin watch (unofficial):
Mile 1 – 10:41
Mile 2 – 10:31
Mile 3 – 10:52
Mile 4 – 10:11
Mile 5 – 10:55
Mile 6 – 10:26
Mile 7 – 12:26
Mile 8 – 10:42
Mile 9 – 11:45
Mile 10 – 10:33
Mile 11 –12:00
Mile 12 – 11:10
Mile 13 – 10:50
Mile .14 – 1:20
I hope Bubbies could feel all of our love for him this weekend. I know he was with us every step of the way!