04 October, 2012
We headed out in plenty of time for the race...so we thought! Traffic was backed up for a couple of miles getting on the road where the race started. We passed the first parking lot and it was packed. We knew that we had 30 minutes left before the race would start. By time we made it down to the second lot, we had less than 25 minutes. There wasn't enough time to walk/jog to the starting line at the church(over a mile away), so we opted to wait for the shuttle bus. We made it to the starting line with 10 minutes to spare, but we needed to check our bags and jackets and use the bathroom. The lines for the port-a-potties were really long so we decided to wear our jackets and carry our bag until we found Mike and his parents somewhere around the 6 mile mark...it was either that or have to stop along the route to use the bathroom. We actually were in the bathroom when the race started, but since the race was chipped that didn't matter.
The race started out good, Erica and I settled into a good pace (around a 10 minute mile) and enjoyed the cool dry weather. Around mile 5 we were running along the lakeshore by Lake Macatawa when we heard thunder. Clouds were rolling in, but it wasn't raining. We passed Mike and his parents just past mile 6 and they cheered us on. Since we were coming up on the halfway point, Erica and I both took a Gu and then a drink from the water/Gatorade stand.
I was just entering the park when I started hearing people say that the race was called because the lightning was getting too close. It wasn't raining and I had only seen a few bolts of lightning so I kept on running. I got confirmation from a race volunteer that we would be able to continue running if we desired but the race was cancelled and we would not receive an official time. Since I was past the 8 mile mark by this time I decided that I would keep on going. Then the rain decided to come down and the wind picked up. I found another lady to keep pace with so we chatted for a bit and we both decided we were going to finish the race (there were volunteers and police officers offering rides back to the finish line if we wanted). I kept on going and the rain kept on coming, harder and harder. My phone stopped playing music, so I was left in silence except for the thunder and rain and wind. I had put a plastic bag in my pocket in case of rain so I stuck my phone in there, thinking I had probably already ruined it with the water. I kept running and running...it felt like forever.
After the 10 mile mark (the furthest I'd run thus far), the mile markers were packed up so I had no idea where I was. I was freezing and completely soaked. My shoes felt like they weighed 50 pounds a piece because I was running through puddles 2 inches deep. As I would catch up to other runners (or as they would catch up to me), we'd offer words of encouragement. I guessed that I had about 2 miles to go at this point, but by time I finished it felt like I had run 5. I turned the corner to the street I knew the church was on and I picked up a bit. I left the lady I had been talking to and saw Erica coming back for me. (Thanks again!) She asked if I had it in me and we sprinted toward the finished line.