I have no idea how to even write this entry, which is why it is coming 2 1/2 weeks after the race. On a negative note, I've experienced some side effect emotions since then that I will try my best not to document as I explain the events of the day that was the Broad Street Run. I'll split the weekend up into 2 separate blog posts.
The weekend actually began with a different event. The 4th Annual Get Your Head in the Game Brain Tumor Awareness Walk was on Saturday, sponsored by the Kelly Heinz-Grundner Brain Tumor Foundation. A family friend, Elizabeth Crossan, passed away in 2007 of a brain tumor. She was 27 and had 2 young sons. I knew her in high school as a best friend of my sister. However, it was the last few years of her life that I remember most. Her faith in God grew and she became such an amazing example of what true faith is. I've walked in this event for at least 3 years (maybe 4), and never ever thought to pass it up this year even though my training schedule said "Rest" for the day pre-race. It was uplifting and I was able to spend the day with my family, outside and enjoying the sunshine in honor of Elizabeth.
After the Walk, my mother drove me up to Philadelphia to meet Jess and Megan. In true Bethany fashion, I started crying about halfway up I95. Now I'm emotional about most things - marriage proposals, funerals, confrontations, puppies, American Idol, most season finales, fat days, bad hair days, mean comments, comments that weren't supposed to be mean but I took them as mean, pretty much everything else. But this was definitely a fear cry. I didn't want my mom to leave me because I knew once she turned that car around, I had zero way of getting home and I would have to complete the race no matter what.
This seriously was the first big step for me. Getting out of that car with my stuff and saying goodbye to my mom actually made me proud. Stupid, right? Such insignificant things that meant so much. Anyway, got my stuff and I headed to the room.
HILARIOUS! is the only way I can describe the rest of the evening. Jess and Megan were truly gifts from God in this whole thing, but I never knew how funny and crude they were. They also seemed almost as nervous as I was feeling. We stayed in our grubby clothes (me, still quite sweaty from the Walk) and sauntered down to the bar for some dinner. What, might you ask, was our dinner of choice? A nice grilled chicken breast with steamed vegetables? Maybe a plate of wheat pasta with red sauce? Nope. I had a greasy roast beef sandwich with a huge pile of onion rings, also greasy. Megan ate a 2 foot long chicken cheesesteak (not really 2 feet but it was large) with french fries. And Jess ate a big ol' greasy cheeseburger, also with french fries.
Oh man, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.
Anyway, we scarfed down dinner and were pounding down the waters as we took in the scenery. The Flyers were in the playoffs at the time, so there was still a pretty good crew out watching the games in the hotel bar. (We were at the Holiday Inn right next to Citizen's Bank Park.) One gentleman in particular seemed to have drank his weight in alcohol and we sat watching him stumble around the bar, almost fall off chairs, talk to complete strangers, and somehow pop a lollipop out of a cigarette pack. As we sat and talked and watched, it became apparent that once we left the restaurant, the only thing left to do was to go back upstairs and face the reality that the sooner we went to bed, the sooner we would have to get up and run. So we ordered dessert - a piece of cheesecake for me and red velvet cupcakes for the other two.
I'm sure that all of the training guides and advice columns for running long races do not include this method of preparation. However, since this is my blog and I'm writing for my own posterity and for anyone else out there who may be considering running, here is my advice: Eat your heart out. Aw man, it was fantastic. You almost have to keep a healthy diet during the training because running sucks even more if you don't. But that night before was the best meal ever. I ate with reckless abandon, not thinking about my thighs or my butt or my waistline or my digestion or whether I would have to poop. Nope, I ate it because I was allowed to; and because I had earned a greasy meal topped off with dessert.
The rest of the evening was very relaxing. We laughed, we cried, we burped, we farted, we drank water, we pooped...and then we went to bed.
It's hard to describe the feeling I had when I took off my glasses and put my head on my pillow that Saturday night. It was nothing that I would have anticipated. I felt....tired. And at peace. I honestly don't even remember feeling any sense of nervousness as I drifted off. There have been so many nights that I've stayed awake until 12, 1, or even 2am, wondering and worrying about the next day. But God shielded me that night. As I closed my eyes, it was like I entered into a black hole of rest.
Or maybe it was that crazy noise machine that Jess needs to sleep with that sounded like we were in the middle of a monsoon.....