I finished that darn Mini before I ever set foot on the course. However, my time just wasn’t good enough to allow me to physically finish the race.
I was picked up by the course volunteers almost at the 7-mile marker, which was on the Indy 500 Track between turns 2 and 3. I was keeping a very steady pace. I even checked my time when they picked me up – even with a bathroom break, terrible humidity, and the sun coming out just before we entered the naturally hot track, I had kept right at 19 minute miles. (My time at the 15K was 18:45 minute miles.)
But the course rules say that you have to keep an 18 minute pace, so I had to go.
I asked to be able to finish the race without my timing chip. I was tricked into getting on the golf cart with a “yes” to that. I was told I would be taken to the entrance of the track, they would take my chip, then I could get back on the course. It didn’t happen that way.
And even though I knew I was doing GREAT and that I had NOTHING to be sad about, I couldn’t help but be really sad in a very pissed-off sort of way when I was made to board the bus. I knew I had to keep quiet or I would turn into “crazy lady making an unreasonable scene.” So, I went to the back of the bus and cried.
I wanted to go in the back and just sob hard for five minutes, get over it and move on. Instead, I tried NOT to be THAT person and sat there attempting to hold back the tears. Of course, that meant I weeped (little tears trickling down my face) and couldn’t have spoken if I were spoken to during the 25 minutes they tortured me by sitting on the unmoving bus, watching walkers going past. It was embarrassing. I hope I never see any of the people on that bus ever again! (Yes, that’s not very “let’s go to the beer garden” of me. Cut me some slack. I’ve come a long way. Old Rosie would still be crying about it.)
My husband, by phone, tried to cheer me up by telling me he had spoken with a volunteer who said that everyone would get to cross the finish line and get a medal. This was good to hear. I wanted that medal. I deserved it! If the streets would have stayed closed just an extra 15 minutes, I never would have been picked up. I would have finished. I may have been the last one to cross, but I would have done it. I did all of the training. I deserved the dang medal and I wanted it.
Apparently, our bus driver didn’t get that memo because she dumped us in the middle of West Street, which was outside of the finish line. At that point in the course, the track is lined with fencing, to keep out pedestrian traffic. I walked about 2/10 of a mile up the course looking for volunteers, who apparently had deserted the area (even though there were thousands of people crossing the finish line). I finally accosted two security people, explained the situation and asked if I could get on the course. They said no, but found a volunteer with a fancy headset and a radio (that means he was important) for me to talk to. At first, fancy volunteer guy said no. Then, he realized I didn’t have a timing chip on. (In your “walk of shame” to the bus, they take away your timing chip.) He said, “Oh, yeah, then get in here!”
So, I got to cross the finish line and get a medal!! Woo hoo! Thanks fancy volunteer guy!
My friends Christine and Lesley, who walked with me, finished the race, too, without a bus ride! I’m very proud of them. It is a serious accomplishment and not to be taken lightly!
My husband, too, was an awesome support. He was on the course, around four miles (perhaps), with a sign that said, “ROSIE ROCKS” in giant block letters.
Walking the Mini was fun. If I could get the monkey of the 18 minute mile off my back, then I think I would look forward to doing it again. As it was, Saturday was a really enjoyable day, even with my bus breakdown. The number of people doing the race is phenomenal. Here are some random thoughts from the day:
* I was so surprised at the number of people I bumped into that I knew and/or recognized from training events. Troy, who had a better vantage point than me, saw even more people. (Here’s a video Troy took of me passing him in front of the Haughville Library. Lesley is in blue next to me. You can see Christine to my left after I pass the camera.)
* I was amazed at the number of walkers who wore costumes (Mr. Incredible, sumo wrestlers, lots of hats and funny wigs). I was trying hard just to stay cool and keep my heart rate steady! They must need the extra challenge!
* The course took us through some very interesting West Side neighborhoods. I was floored at a series of neighborhood bars and taverns in an area I didn’t even know existed! I’ll definitely need to check those out some time … ok, maybe not!
* I was totally impressed and thankful for the 138 bands that performed along the route! It was awesome!!! Every style of band played – high school marching bands, drum lines, rock, heavy metal, bluegrass, country, some dude with a aborigine drum, folk music … I could go on. It was like a walking tour of a “battle of the bands” festival! It was amazing and fun. They really helped keep me motivated! If you do music, think about signing up to perform along the route next year. The runners & walkers appreciate it!
* Just before we reached the second mile marker, the front runners (“the Kenyans” as Mini participants call them – they are two natives of Kenya) passed us at a point where the return course lined up with our route. It was amazing to see them steadily trucking along, with just a mile for them left to go, and with us still 11 miles out! They made it look so effortless, too!
* My husband is so awesome. On Sunday, he told me that I was much more amazing then the Kenyans because nine months ago, their time was probably the same as it was Saturday (they are professional athletes), but I improved my abilities from not being able to walk at all, to being able to walk a 19 minute pace! He is SO right! I ROCK! I love him. I think I will keep him.