Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Manhattan: Take One.

Mile 15 was bleak. Bleaker than bleak. As in in the bleak midwinter, a hard rain's gonna fall, mama said there'd be days like this, the woods are snowy, dark and deep, and I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep.

Having studied the course somewhat obsessively beforehand, I knew that mile 15 was up and over the bottom part of the Queensboro Bridge, and was thus uphill, dark(ish) and quiet, without any crowd support.

Before the race, Tommy told me to expect to have several points during the run where I would find myself wondering why in the world I ever decided to do this. I have moments of doubt in the minute and 4o seconds it takes me to run a 400 during speedwork; it stands to reason I'd have them at several points during 26.2 miles. However, all the training, anticipation, fundraising, writing and tapering had me so excited I'd forgotten to consider the likelihood of dark moments.

I was deep in my head at mile 15; the strain from the uphill and the lack of crowd support left the reverberating sound of thousands of footsteps beating the pavement the only noise that made its way down the wormhole into my brain. I kept looking left per Scott B's advice, taking in the Manhattan skyline, reminding myself that I was on my way to 1st Avenue where a thunderous crowd was waiting for me. I put one foot in front of the other and made my way up the hill.

When I finally crested the bridge and headed down the other side, I started to listen for the crush of Manhattan. I listened and listened and listened. And I didn't hear anything.

Don't get me wrong-it was exciting coming onto 1st Avenue, for no other reason than I'd put that bridge behind me and was on borough #4. But further reflection on the lack of noise revealed one key point: I am not Ryan Hall, or Kara Goucher, or Shalane Flannigan. I am not in the lead pack and thus am not the first person that the crowd sees coming off the bridge, so I don't experience the roar of excitement and enthusiasm that the elites receive, and they're the ones who've written about this awesome experience. Alas.

Once I got a little further up 1st, the crowds really were overwhelming. Bands played, people partied, kids gave high fives. I knew, too, that I was going to see my crowd at mile 19. I'm grateful for these photos because truthfully, I don't really remember much about this mile, and these prove that I was actually there. Despite diligently searching for my peeps, I think I kind of checked out after mile 18.

It's strange; whenever I'm running, I rarely think about stopping, or quitting, or really even walking. It's more like I may just disappear, like running somehow keeps me connected to the ground, keeps me around. If it weren't for these photos, I may have thought I'd disappeared.
Aside: I gave up fanny packs back in '84, but had to carry my Gu in something. Thus I look like a complete tool. And let's not even go into the knee-length spandex-my sincere apologies. The shorts stopped working long ago.
I look happy though, don't I? I was so excited to see everyone and knew that it was only four short (hahahahahahaha) miles until I got to see them again.

Another aside: note the red bracelet on my right wrist. It's my One Good Thing bracelet, worn in memory of my dear friend Mandy's daughter Hudson, and in honor of Mandy, who you'll hear more about later. Today is Hudson's birthday, and Mandy's written about it here, beautifully, poignantly, painfully. Do one good thing today in honor of Hudson-you'll be glad you did.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Queens: Highway to Hell.

Yesterday morning Jay and I and the kids, Kathryn and her son James and Aunt Tiz all headed out to Barclay Downs to cheer for the runners in the Turkey Trot. We tried to register but were too late, much to Cameron's chagrin, so decided to have our own "Tot Trot" out to the race.

The runners in this Thanksgiving Day 8k were such a happy bunch and really seemed to appreciate our cheering; many people thanked us, many gave the kids high fives, and many yelled back at us. I love supporting folks during a race, and I specifically remember thinking somewhere around mile 14 in Queens how much I would love to be a spectator in the race that I was currently running. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves on the sidewalk, holding up signs, ringing cowbells, not running. This thought occured to me later as well on 1st Avenue, as bands lined the streets and people poured out of bars and restaurants.

Queens provided a nice, short 2 mile interlude between Brooklyn and Manhattan, and what kept me moving was looking for Brandon, an old friend from my days at Clemson who now lives in Queens. And whereas Brooklyn primarily followed a straight course up 4th Avenue, the course through Queens saw more turns, and though this offered a nice change mentally, it was starting to wear on the legs.

After thankfully seeing Brandon on Vernon, I moved more to the middle of the course to stay on the blue line; the race at this point, mile 14, was still crammed runner to runner, and I was still elbowing people as I passed them. I did this for what seemed like the hundredth time, said sorry-again-and heard someone say "Kelley!"

I had literally run into my neighbor, Carrie. Out of 45,000 other runners, what are the odds? She started explaining who I was to her running partner, and as much as I would have loved to have stayed and talked, I was in the middle of a fierce mind/body conflict. My mind was saying Stay focused. Relax. My body was saying WHAT THE HELL ARE WE DOING HERE? I gave her a thumbs up and moved on.

Shortly thereafter I saw a kid with a sign that read "You're almost there!" I think I yelled at him. Again...right on the edge.

The crowds in Queens, though exuberant, weren't quite as thick as elsewhere, and for this reason the flavor of this burrough was more evident, much like the miles in Brooklyn that went through neighborhoods. The Hassidic Jews here acted as if nothing was happening, as though it were any other day, and the sweaty mass of humanity rolling through their streets was completely normal. Two men tried to cross the street with difficulty right in front of me, nearly getting crushed. Others stood quietly on the sidewalk, chatting with each other, watching idly.

I envied them and their nonchalance as I turned onto Queens Boulevard, crossed over mile 15, and saw the Queensboro Bridge looming in the very, very near future.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Brooklyn:Vision Quest.

Miles 2-13 go through Brooklyn, and until mile 8 where we all merge together, runners are still separated on either side of 4th Avenue. Coming into Brooklyn marked the beginning of the throngs of spectators, and though they were scattered at first, I was touched by the folks standing out in their yards with cowbells and signs saying "Brooklyn welcomes you!"

I've mentioned the beginning of runs before, when you're still working out the kinks, figuring out how you feel, getting accustomed to the weather, regulating your breath, adjusting to the idea that you're going to be running for a long time-and today was no different. Despite months and months of training and knowing that you're physically ready, the mind games start as early as the start line, though for me they started in Brooklyn for no apparent reason, really, except for the fact that this experience, as awe-inspiring and noteworthy as it was, was totally and completely overwhelming physically, mentally, and emotionally. I found myself thinking about mile 26 waaaay to early, and worked hard to reign it in, to enjoy myself, to take in the experience.

A week or so before the race my friend Heather had suggested that she "run" a portion of the race with me, that we find a part of the race where she would be with me since she couldn't actually be there. She considered 5th Avenue, but when she realized that was miles 22-25 and hilly, she thought twice. After some course consideration we ultimately decided on miles 5-8 in Brooklyn because the crowds here are awesome, it's relatively flat, everyone's still fresh, and at this point you're still thinking it was a good idea to run a marathon.

I mentally picked up Heather at mile 5. If this sounds a little crazy, let me say this; one thing I realized while running this race amidst 45,000 other runners and upwards of 2 million spectators is how completely isolated I felt, how totally alone some of those miles became. It was literally body to body the whole time, but somewhere around mile 10 of this Brooklyn stretch I realized that, ironically, nobody but me was running this race, that only I could finish it. Knowing that certain friends were thinking of me during certain miles-I'd assigned a few other portions too-was reassuring. I also knew that Jay, the kids, Jimmy and Dottie, and Tommy and Madeleine were at mile 8, and that kept me going. Dan and Krydo were around mile 8 as well, but on the opposite side of 4th, which was nearly impossible to cross with so many runners, unfortunately.

I kept seeing things Heather would find funny during this portion of the run--one spectator, for example, held up a sign that said "To me, you are all Kenyans!" I passed a Dunkin Donuts, which I know she loves. I passed another spectator with a sign that said "You're cute! Call me!"

Around mile 7 I started to stick to the left side of the street, knowing that's where my crowd was going to be. In this race, you have to know exactly where to look for people; otherwise there's no way you'll see them. I also realized I'd be dropping Heather off mentally and picking up Katie, who would run with me through mile 13.

As I approached mile 8, I kept looking left and I'll be darned if I didn't see Heather standing there on the sidewalk. I thought well, that's a mirage, there she is where I'm going to leave her.
Running long distances puts me just this side of crazy, and when you're out on the road for a while the insanity is always there, lurking around the edges, hovering nearby, not unlike the cloudy edges of an old black and white photograph threatening to take over the image.

Let's just say the crazy took over for a moment.

You can see me realizing I'm not totally nuts below, as the complete and total shock of actually seeing not only Heather- but Shannon too- started to sink in.
I do look a titch insane here, and it's clear I'm not really processing the enormity of this surprise. After Tommy and Madeleine, and Ashley (who may have tipped me off by posting "NYC!" as her facebook status update), and now these two showed up in New York, I started to think post mile 8 that whoah, this thing must be A Really Big Deal. Either that or folks just wanted to come to New York, which is probably the case too.
Seeing Heather and Shannon and the rest of my fan club, pictured above, sustained me through the remainder of Brooklyn. The miles afterwards saw a lovely tree-lined neighborhood chockablock full of brownstones and spectators. After that, truth be told, I don't really remember much except the aforementioned realization of loneliness. I'd stopped looking at my watch at this point, and just kept repeating Reign it in. Stay controlled. Reign it in. Stay controlled. I just kept running, and running, and thinking Am I still in Brooklyn? Really? Am I going to be running for the rest of my life?

I wasn't sure I'd ever make it to Queens.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Staten Island.

Getting 45,000 runners to the start line is no easy feat, which is why I boarded a bus with TNT Virtual and the New York chapter at 6 am sharp, despite my start time of 10:10. The Verrazano-Narrows bridge closes promptly at 7 am, and runners board buses as early as 5 am in order to get there on time.

At one point during the bus ride, I realized that our trip was taking longer than the driver's projected 30 minutes. When we did a wiiiiide U-turn at a stoplight somewhere in New Jersey, I felt the first flickers of panic creeping in, thinking that I'd spent 5 months of my life preparing for this moment only to have it ruined because some guy couldn't find his way-with 500 other buses, mind you-to Staten Island. Apparently I wasn't alone.

Two girls dressed identically in all black with long pigtails and black bandannas on were sitting close to the front. These 2 New Yorkers looked at each other, a look of disgust mingled with incredulity on their faces when one of them stood up and said, "Um, do you need us to like, Mapquest it or something?"

We finally made it there around 7, got off the bus, and started walking towards Fort Wadsworth where we'd spend the next 3 hours waiting. I spent some time in Charity Village in the Team in Training tent, trying to stay out of the wind and the chilly 38 degree weather.

After checking my bag at the UPS truck at 8:45 in my assigned start village, I sat some more on the orange hunting chair I'd brought with me. Then I walked to my corral around 9:15 and sat around some more. All of this sitting around was not in the least bit relaxing; I watched people sprinting to get their bags checked before the cut-off time. I watched people sprinting to their corrals before they closed. I watched people dart out of one of the 1500 port-a-potties and sprint to the start, hoping not to miss their assigned wave.

I tried to choke down the bagel and peanut butter and banana I'd brought with me, coupled with the Gatorade and CarboPro. I could hear a band playing in the distance and was vaguely aware that there were people enjoying themselves somewhere, and as much as I was trying to do the same, the waiting game was starting to wear on me.

When I finally got through the partition and into my corral, I was sandwiched elbow to elbow with the other runners as we slowly, slowly, slowly herded towards the bridge. As we crept forward, I heard the cannon blast and the start of Sinatra's "New York, New York", signaling the beginning of Wave 2 of the three waves of runners. I wanted to cry, scream, and throw up all at once, but considering there were so many people touching me, that seemed ill-advised.

I crossed the start line about 5 minutes later, just as Ryan Adams' "New York, New York" was playing, and began the mile ascent up the Verrazano-Narrows bridge, looking out over the water at the harbor ships and up in the air at the helicopters.
The New York marathon is a point to point, meaning that we start in Staten Island, head through the other four boroughs, and end in Manhattan's Central Park. Mile one was up the bridge, mile two was down and out of Staten Island and into Brooklyn, where the majority of the race is run.
I-and 45,000 people-were ready to get this party started and get on into Brooklyn. You gotta get up to get down, after all.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

On Why: Tarheels.

After the expo, I had planned to meet some girlfriends from college for lunch on the Upper West Side near the Museum of Natural History, where Jay was taking the kids. Not that I was trying to win the darn race or anything, but we thought it might be best for me to rest my legs rather than walk around all afternoon. If dining with a group of the smartest, funniest ladies around and (watching them) drink wine was what I absolutely had to do, then so be it. I could live with that. Laura picked Isabella's, which was the perfect place to catch up with four of my beloved UNC girls.

Laura's lived in New York for the past 12 years and knows the city like the local she's become, and the success of both this weekend and Jay's marathon weekend I owe largely in part to her. She guided my family and me in 2008 and Jay and his small traveling carnival successfully to Brooklyn to mile 8 and back to the other marathon viewing points this year. And though I haven't written about it, it's listed in the sidebar of this blog that I'm running for Davis Taylor and also in memory of Mary Claire, Laura's younger sister.

I never knew MC; we didn't overlap at UNC. But I know Laura and her family, and they are remarkable people. When they lost MC suddenly to leukemia in 2008, the way they reflected on her life with such joy and gratitude spoke volumes about the way they live their lives, about what they value. While hundreds of people sat heart-broken and searching for peace in the sanctuary, these three siblings courageously stood in front of all of us, each in turn and in birth order, rejoicing in the spirit of their youngest sister. And anyone who knows this smart, successful, kind family will know that talking-and talking fast- is certainly counted as one of their many gifts. Even as their hearts were irrevocably broken, they showered us with words of love and reminded us of the joy to be found in the celebration of MC's life.

Soon after they started The Mary Claire Satterly Foundation, which "would provide support for charitable organizations and individuals with a focus on finding a cure for leukemia and improving the quality of life for patients and their families. The Foundation would promote Mary Claire's passion for the arts and scholarship in the field of journalism and advertising. And, most important, the Foundation would continue to share Mary Claire's story, her zest for life, her love for others, and her innate goodness."

The third annual gala and silent auction in New York is coming up this weekend and I'm disappointed I can't be there. I know it's an incredible event where not only does MC's spirit shine, but so does the motto of the foundation-"Spirited living, inspired giving."

MC was a Tarheel both by birth and by right of attending UNC, and though I didn't know her, we share the bond of both being members of this fine community. When I looked around the table at Molly, Sandra, Laura, and Ashley, I felt grateful for them, for my time there, for lasting friendships forged out of four intense years that went by too quickly, much like MC's 27 years.

I ran to honor her, her family, her friends, and my friend, her sister, Laura.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Several of you have asked recently, so there it is--I didn't mean to withhold important information! My finishing time, 8 minutes off my goal of 4 hours, which I never revealed here because quite frankly it's not important.

I realized this truth first at mile six when I had TWENTY MORE MILES to go and it became clear that it was crazy to try to reach this goal when I'd never run a marathon before, much less one with 45,000 other people in New York city.

I realized it again at mile 24 when I saw one of the 4 hour pace groups pass by. I've told several people that the Kelley Barnhardt I know would have chased that guy down without thought or question. But she was nowhere to be found, lost somewhere in the twilight zone.
I was still kind of in the twilight zone when I took this self-portrait during the long shuffle out of Central Park. If my face looks pixelated and grainy that's not only because I took the photo with my phone, but primarily because I'm covered in salt. I was hanging on by a thread at this point, but I can't tell you why because that's for a later post.

So 4:08 it is. A long time to be running, no doubt. Hopefully the next one will be quicker.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Expo(nentially larger than any other expo).

In 2008 when Jay ran the New York marathon, we arrived in the city on Saturday, 5 hours later than expected. Our original flight had been canceled and the airline called and left a message on our home phone while we were in the hospital having Patrick. I'm pretty sure at some point I heard and disregarded this important detail, as all other things paled in comparison to the overwhelming fatigue and surprise I was feeling at the fact that I now had three children under the age of four.

In arriving late, we knew we had to get to the expo at the Javits Center before it closed, or there would be no marathon for Jay. The New York Road Runners are very specific about this detail; if you don't pick up your packet by five on Saturday, no marathon for you.

Let me take a moment and commend my husband here. He was calm, collected, and contained all day, as we waited for a connecting flight to Atlanta(we originally had a direct flight), then waited more for a flight to New York that arrived at 3:30. At no point did he blame me for dismissing the phone call. At no point did he throw a hissy fit. At no point did he break down in complete panic at the fact that we were going to literally be getting there at the last possible moment.

I wish I were more like him. Seriously. I would have done all of these things.

Long story longer, we got there at 4:30 as they were breaking down the expo, in just enough time for Jay to retrieve his packet. He got what he needed and got out of there, just as the whole place was coming down.

This time, we were both looking forward to spending some time at the expo, and so headed over after my TNT run.

The expo is just like any other pre-race packet pickup, except that the Javits Center takes up 5 city blocks, there are 45,000 runners picking up race bags, Ryan Hall, Bart Yasso, Deena Kastor, Matt Long, and Joan Benoit Samuelson are there, among other running celebrities, and nearly every running vendor and/or energy bar/drink and/or technical gear and/or charity team has a booth there.

Like everything else relative to New York and
its marathon (minus the bathrooms and our hotel room), it's epic in scope.

Epic, too, was the surprise I felt when these two materialized out of the crowd at the expo.
There had been a noticeable dearth of texts from Tommy the week prior to the race, and I chalked it up to him having a busy week at work. The night before the expo at dinner, however, Jay was tap tap tapping away on his phone, breaking one of our family rules of no talking on the phone or texting during dinner. I informed him that Tommy could wait until after our meal(and why isn't he texting me, the one who's running??) thank you very much, and you're setting a bad example for the kids, blah blah blah.

Alas. Plans had to be made, schedules coordinated.

After recovering from the shock of seeing Tommy and Madeleine, I headed in to pick up my race number.
Sidenote: If I'd known I was going to be so heavily photographed today, I wouldn't have worn a horizontally striped sweater.
At the Asics booth, they asked us to list why we were running the marathon and then filmed us holding our sign, running back and forth in front of the camera. Later they aired it in Times Square, pictured below. For the record, I did not "beat this guy." So of course I'll run another marathon.
My two best fans, sticking to their word.

Stay tuned for more pre-race coverage.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Go Team.

On Saturday morning, before meeting the Virtual Team in Training (VTNT) team downstairs in the hotel lobby for a quick 20 minute run, I ran across the street to Starbucks for a quick coffee. When I walked inside, I saw that the place was jammed wall to wall with runners, all teched out in snazzy gear and chatting excitedly in every language imaginable over their coffee and pastry.

I got in line and immediately started to panic, thinking "Ohmygosh all these people are so insanely fit and casual about it and totally prepared and they'll all probably run it superfast and do I need to wear pants or shorts and should I also be wearing a neckwarmer and Ohmygosh all of these people are getting ready to run a MARATHON for the love of Pete and here they are just sitting around and they're totally ready..."

Then I imagined smacking myself on the shoulder and thought "Ok, Crazytown. Settle down. You too are dressed head to toe in reflective spandex and you too are ready. Take. It. Easy."

Once I came down off of (one of the many) ledges I've been on lately, I walked back across the street to meet the rest of the team. My TNT experience was different from most in that it was virtual, meaning the Greenville chapter doesn't offer the New York marathon as an event in which to participate. So other than corresponding with Coach Joe English via email and the various emails from the TNT office regarding fundraising and logistics, I knew no one.

There were 18 of us from all over the country, and though I only caught their first names, I immediately felt like a part of the Team. We were all in the same boat-one full of nerves, anticipation, and excitement-and we were all committed to a cause for our own reasons. I ran briefly with a man named Tom who has a niece at St. Jude's and raised over $16,000. I ran with Kim, who'd just qualified for Boston 3 weeks ago and is running the Paris marathon for TNT in the spring. I chatted with Felix, who'd held a charity pub crawl in his hometown to raise money for this event.
VTNT photo by Joe English
I'm going to fast-forward here and tell you that when I crossed the finish line, I thought to myself, "Well. That was that. Done and Done. And never again." If you know me at all, you'll know that was temporary, and that I'm already lining up another race. But what's interesting now is that I'm running just to run, whereas with this race, I was running for something bigger, something much more important than a marathon-a cure. It was a powerful incentive and a ready motivator when the miles got long. (And thankfully Kenya never looked out the window and saw me running, crying, laughing, and crying some more.)

I would run for TNT again in a second, so organized, supportive, and committed to a cure are they that they have people who run again and again and again. And out on the course when people would yell "Go Team!" I knew they were cheering for me to run strong, but in my mind they were applauding all of you who supported me, because you made it happen.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Break It Down.

Right now there really aren't adequate words to describe the enormity of this past weekend, so I'm going to have to write about this thing incrementally, as it comes to me.

I just came across this picture on my phone of these two stowaways, Thomas and his teddy bear, aka Teddybearydough, or TBD for short. Back in July I mentioned that Jay and I were going to take Cameron with us to New York for a special kindergarten trip, but the closer we got to our departure the more we couldn't bare the thought of not having Thomas along too. So some time in October we checked the flights, saw there was availability, and booked it.

The only requirement for Cameron and Thomas to come to New York was that they had to cheer during the race. Their typical race-day demeanor is pouty, grouchy, and lackluster, and to be fair it's typically early, cold, and/or raining. But they were up for it this time and they stuck to their word, waving signs and thwacking their accordion noisemakers out along the course all day...and in the hotel, and on the elevator, and on each other's heads, and on the subway, which, incidentally, was probably their favorite part about the whole trip. That and riding in a cab with no carseats. These boys-and one teddy bear-were living it up big city style!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

"I hope I don't screw this thing up."

A day before her marathon, Madeleine texted the title of this post to Jay. At the time I thought it was really funny.

Now I totally get it.

Though I've obviously invited all of you into the past 5 months of my life, right about now I'm kind of wishing you'd all forget about me, temporarily at least, on Sunday. I've never really been one who's plagued with self-doubt or fear of failure, but whenever I'm on the verge of some great unknown I do tend to panic a little. Think wedding day. The birth of a first child. The first day of college. It's all just out there, and a little crazy, and a little exciting, so you just jump in with two feet and trust that who you are has prepared you enough for who you're about to become. Because let's face it...this experience has changed me, and will continue to do so. And I'll own it. You'll own some of it too.

I've been completely overwhelmed by your support throughout this whole process, and in the last few days in particular. The deluge of donations, posts, emails, handwritten letters, texts, calls, and tokens of good luck and affection have truly made me feel like a superstar, so thank you. Your support means so much.

Though I'll be on a bus to Staten Island by 6 am Sunday morning, I don't actually start until 10:10. So around then, I'll ask you to alternately think about me and forget about me. If you want to continue thinking about me, you know I could use the help. If not, that's fine too. Either way I'll be happy.

I've loved having you all on this journey. Now it's time for the celebration.

Let's do this.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Art Break.

Though I'm desperate to get to New York and run this marathon, there is something here in Greenville that I sadly will be missing this weekend: Open Studios.

This weekend, hosted by the Metropolitan Arts Council, is one of my favorites in Greenville, as area artists open up their studios to the public on Saturday and Sunday. I love seeing the spaces where artists work; visiting their studios in some ways demystifies the whole process and makes creating art seem more approachable. In most ways, however, I am completely and totally impressed with the what and how and why of how these artists work, and typically leave their studios either wanting to buy everything in there or wanting to be their best friend. Or both.

For the third year in a row, my mom will be participating in Open Studios. A talented watercolor and oil artist, mom started painting in the 1970s when she and my dad lived in San Fransisco. Legend tells that they took a nude painting class together, though I've never actually seen any work from that endeavor.

Her studio is a wonderful space where all of her grandkids love to play and visit, paint, draw, and have tea parties (and wrestle...there are 6 grandsons, after all). She keeps telling me that she wants me to come and paint with her, but I can't seem to get my Art I professor's voice out of my head when she said to me in her Argentinian accent in front of the whole class during midterm evaluations, "Keh-lee. Dis blue is like a PUNCH in my face!" and "Dis squash. Where is dee table? Dis squash is hanging in dee middle of dee air!" I think it's safe to say that I didn't really inherit mom's drawing and painting ability, or her knack for color, design, and perspective. Anyone who has seen me try to draw a dog or bear or dinosaur for my kids will realize this sad truth about my skills.

That being said, I am a great appreciator of art and its inherent value to the creator and the public, and I hope you'll come and visit mom's studio this weekend and check out some of her beautiful work. She's a gracious host and a funny lady, and I think you'd enjoy seeing her and her watercolors. Go see Judy Verhoeven too, and Joseph Bradley and Diane Kilgore-Condon and Paul Flint at the Art Bomb. Support our area artists this weekend and get to know them; they bring so much light and life to our community.

And if you do go see mom, be sure to wish her Happy Birthday on Saturday! I'll say it now since I'll be sitting around in a panic on Saturday waiting for the starting gun to go off on Sunday morning...Happy Birthday Mom! I love you and am thankful for you every day. Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Spinx Run Fest 2010.

It was a big weekend here in Greenville, with lots of folks out on Saturday morning running the Spinx. The eight rugrats/cousins pictured above all ran the kids' marathon, a 1.2 mile run downtown.
This one apparently took off out of the gates at breakneck speed and never looked back. Emmy and Elsa came in first and second out of our crew, and though my firstborn swears he came in second "out of the people we know", I just don't have the heart to tell him otherwise.

With regards to the race, there is a distinct discrepancy in enthusiasm between my first and second born, as is evidenced by the following photos:
Is Thomas even running here? I'm not sure. Cameron, on the other hand, after waking up at 6 and bounding into our room full of excitement and energy, is determined, rounding the corner with speed and tenacity.

Thomas did eventually pick it up, however, and ran the last lap with Jay, Evan, and Bennett (who, incidentally, was on his second lap), and then crossed the finish line at a decent clip.
With the kids' run and 5k wrapped up-congratulations to AK for her 5k PR!-it was then time to cheer for the half-marathoners and marathoners, so Heather and I were first stationed at mile 5. Bennett made his dad an awesome "camouflage" sign, and I do think Len's PR of 1:59 can be attributed at least in part to said sign.
Congratulations, Len!
We then headed to the top of McDaniel, mile 10, to give runners a boost after climbing that nasty hill. Patrick finally participated at the urging of either Aunt Lynne or Evan, two of his very favorite people.
We got to see a lot of people pass here-Scott B, who finished 16th overall in the half, Ben A, who's training for an upcoming November marathon in Georgia and who is continually amazed by the ubiquitous Barnhardt fandom, Keith C, who ran a sub-four hour marathon, and Joe, to name a few, who ran his first half with a time of 1:43 and who's pictured below moving so fast Heather couldn't even get him in the frame.
Maddy and Tina looked strong here as well, as is evidenced by Maddy's fancy footin' and shadowboxing.
Meanwhile, back at the stadium, Jon was breezing around the field for yet another victory. I swear when I saw him pass at mile five it was almost like a mirage. He was so quiet, efficient, and (I'm overstating the obvious here), FAST, I almost missed him. Congratulations, Jon!
Photo by Ashley Southern
After seeing Maddy and Tina at mile 10 we headed out to the course to catch them at mile 18 and 19, pictured below, where they both still looked really strong.
Joy picked up Tina at mile 19 and ran her in, and then came back and did the same for Maddy. She is such a supportive, intuitive, generous friend, and I know she made those last miles tolerable and maybe even enjoyable! Madeleine unfortunately had severe knee pain during the last 16 miles, but she gritted it out and finished strong, thus proving that girls DO in fact run marathons.
Congratulations, Madeleine!
This finishing photo of Tina makes me cry every time I see it. It speaks to accomplishment, triumph, training, joy, hard work, and believing in yourself, and I love it. I swear I can hear Queen playing every time I see it. I remember last summer talking to Tina at the pool, suggesting she run a half-marathon. She didn't say "NO WAY" out right, but she hedged a little, probably thinking Joy and I were a titch nuts. And now look at her!
Congratulations, Tina!

All told, it was a great day from start to finish, and I'm already looking forward to next year...

Thanks to Heather P for the majority of these lovely photos, and to Tommy as well!