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Finally, a half marathon race! If you are following this blog, the last half marathon was in February 2018…too long ago FOR SURE! I am working on a big project at work and didn’t have the time to make the arrangements, so Brian stepped up and did it for me. I just signed up for that race and my sister, Peggy included herself in it as well. Friday the 17th we boarded the plane at about 9am at O’Hare. There are no direct flights to Manchester, New Hampshire, so we had a brief lay-over at Dulles, near Washington DC, where Peggy was waiting at the gate. She was sitting facing away from me and I grabbed her from behind and scared the crap out of her! That is fun for me. As I mentioned, Brian did the flight planning for us and that was fine except he used Cheap-o-Air and they don’t allow you to pick a seat, so he got stuck eating his knees on both flights…we won’t do that again. Brian is 6’10”, that really doesn’t work. We arrived in the early afternoon to Manchester and Brian and Peggy collected the bags and I retrieved the rental car. We upgraded to a Range Rover, because of the leg room issue! It was nice! Rental cars in New Hampshire are soooo cheap! It was lunch time for sure and anyone who reads this blog knows how important eating before a race is to me, well…eating in general is important to me. If I didn’t run, I think I might weight 400 pounds, seriously?! We found a Red Robin and had our favorite prerace meal, Bonzai Burger (no cheese, no mayo), steamed broccoli and a shit ton of water…so good. We were then off to the hotel, about 90 minutes away in Gilford, NH, which is north and west of Alton and up the coast of Lake Winnepesaukee. We quickly unpacked all our stuff and did an inventory to see if we needed anything else. I always do that, the morning of a race is not the time to figure out that you have a critical hole in your packing, you know? We only needed race morning food, which for me and Peggy equals a banana and a Lara Bar. We drove to the start of the race as is our tradition to figure out where we are going the next morning. We found it easily and drove around a bit checking out this little tiny town of Alton. Cute place, lots of ice cream shops on every corner, too bad I can’t eat ice cream. We headed back to the hotel by way of the grocery store where we were able to find Lara bars and bananas and sparking something yummy for later and in a round about way we also found a liquor store for a little Bourbon treat for my sweet hubby for always being the best crew that a running challenge could ever ask for. Brian had spotted a place called the Lyon’s Den, that was off the beaten track a little and he took us back there where it seemed like we might need a reservation, but after one drink at the bar they fit us in and we had a really fun waitress that took great care of us. Peggy and I had this chicken breast dish with squash and a baked potato and Brian and swordfish and we all raved about the food. Thoroughly full and pretty tired we decided to call it and go back to the hotel for some much needed pre-race sleep. I didn’t sleep much, Brian was coughing a little with some sinus issues and I could hear Peggy rolling around in her bed so the three of us were ridiculous and before long up and getting ready for our day. Some race mornings the body cooperates, this was not one of them. Peggy and I both struggled to get the bathroom part of race day completely handled. That is polite code for “did you poop out everything in your body before the race”? We headed to the start to pick up our race packets: T-shirt, bib with timing chip and safety pins. We had a lot of time to kill so off and on Peggy and I would get in the porta potty line and take care of business. Finally, after 3 trips to the porto, it was race time and we were off. The weather was cool and windy, but that is a lot better than hot and still so we were happy. The course was advertised as a pretty flat course, but we had driven a good bit of it the day before and to our dismay, Peggy and I both observed that New Englanders don’t really know the meaning of the word flat. To them it is relative. I live in Illinois, I know from flat! There were a lot of hills and there was a lot of wind. I had to turn my hat around to keep it from blowing off. Other than the hills, the race was going a long super well, Peggy and I were checking in with each other on pacing often, I have a tendency to run faster the longer I am running, so I needed her to check in with me on that and she did. We were in a little neighborhood and Peggy and I both had to pee, so we headed off into the woods to take care of that business and back on the road to continue the race. From there on I feel like I lost my momentum and I know that Peggy felt the same, that was about mile 8. We walked a little bit in the next 2 miles and Peggy kept telling me to go on without her. Finally, she convinced me to continue on without her at mile 10. We had managed nutrition with gels at 3 and gels at 6.5 but she was having a low energy portion of the race despite our best efforts. I took off without her feeling just awful for being the sister to abandon her, but…SHE MADE ME!!! A half mile down the road an ambulance passed me, I thought to myself, if that is for my sister, I’m going to be so pissed at her! Rational thinking while running isn’t always possible, those of you who are runners no exactly what I am talking about. The real recipient of the ambulance was the woman in front of us at about 8.5 miles that came to a halt grabbing her right calf and screaming at the top of her lungs. I stopped to help but she never looked up or took out her earbuds so we just kept going. I can’t help you if you don’t want help. We could hear her screaming as we continued down the road, but wasn’t taking any help…weird. I crossed the finish line looking at Brian’s face which told the same story that mine did…where the hell is Peggy? I said, “Can you believe this shit? She made me go on without her at 10!” I quick used the porta potty and we positioned ourselves so that we could see the finish line. Peggy and I wore matching bright orange T-shirts (she's the shorter one in the picture), so she was pretty easy to spot and she came across the finish line about 10 minutes behind me with no trouble and the ambulance wasn’t for her! We had some pizza and more water and Peggy had ice cream (in front of me and everything) and I picked up a coffee to ward off the headache that always follows a race if I don’t have caffeine. We took off back to the hotel. There were people still running as we left Alton. A quick shower by both of us and headed off for a look around. We found a trail to hike on and we had a lot of energy to burn and found a hiking trail up the mountain to check out. Holy Cow, New Hampshire has such beautiful hiking trails, we walked for a few miles and turned back to contemplate dinner. We found an Italian place and had a light mid-day meal. We had kind of filled up on crap (pizza) after the race. Yes, we ate dinner later too and I think we were all asleep before our heads hit the pillows. The next day we had another really nice day, at least for the beginning and we had breakfast at the hotel and headed out to see if we could find something to do. We weren’t loaded with time because our flight had to be moved up as the later flight that we originally booked got cancelled. We had to return to the airport about noon so we found another beautiful outdoor trail to hike and hiked for another couple of miles, while on the hike, Brian got a call on his phone, our flight had some issues. Oh boy, after being on the line with the agent for 30 minutes, she told us our flight to Dulles was fine, but the one to Chicago was going to be late, we had a 5 hour layover in Dulles now. Well, whatever, we got to race and see New Hampshire, who cares!!! We returned our rental car and were off to check in, our flight was slightly delayed but nothing horrible, we made it to Dulles without incident and actually the ticket agent had upgraded our seats to give Brian more leg room so we were lucky. Peggy carried on luggage so I said a sad farewell to my Sis and she headed out to catch her ride. We got comfy and found something to eat and drink. Our flight was delayed and delayed and delayed…then, I bright moment and we boarded superfast at 11:45pm. Again, we were upgraded by the ticket agent to seats with more leg room. Something was up when we noticed two things: one, a flight attendant come back and grabbed her bag out of the overhead bin and left in a huff and, two, there were no pilots…this isn’t going to end well. Two minutes after we ALL got sitting down, they announced that our flight had been canceled for mechanical issues and we would go out tomorrow at 8am. It was midnight. Off we go, Brian gets a hotel on the line to give us somewhere to stay, 25 minutes away with no shuttle, well that won’t work. I had already been standing in the United Customer Service line for 30 minutes at this point and this line wasn’t moving, at all. Then I found out that our hotel wouldn’t be paid for because it was weather issues that grounded us, uhhhh…you said mechanical. United, make up your mind! Next I found out I was waiting in line for $20 worth of food voucher tickets…NOT ANY MORE!!! Brian and I found a place to hunker down and he caught some winks, I can’t really sleep with light in my eyes so I caught a few minutes of sleep here and there, but nothing restorative. I gave up sleeping at about 5:30am and walked around at 6. It was then that I went to the United Customer Service counter, there was no longer a line, and got our $20 vouchers for food, went directly to Starbucks and got us each a hot strong beverage and breakfast. I walked back to where I had left Brian and he was just up looking around sleepily. Best wife ever, huh?!? Our flight went off without a problem at 8am, I had already contacted my office manager and she had canceled all our morning patients and shuffled them into the schedule later in the week and I got home, showered, ate and went off to work the afternoon on maybe 20 minutes of sleep. Brian did the same, but we made it and ONE MORE STATE IS DONE!!! Next, Montana, July 4th weekend…stay tuned…

Stats: Me – 441 of 517, 371 of 424 women, 23 of 35 women in our age group 55-59, 2:37:55 that 12:04 min/mile.

Peggy – 471 of 517, 390 of 424 women, 25 of 35 women in our age group 55-59, 2:47:27 that’s 12:47 min/mile.

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