Monday, November 17, 2008

Long Overdue

As you'll see in my next post, Chasen and I had the opportunity to visit the Smoky Mountains over the weekend (long weekend, actually, aaaaaah). The trip was on one day, off the next, in the planning stages, so I did not mention it here. When it was ON for sure, I was sure to tell Coach Terry, who lives about an hour away. After all, I have only had the chance to meet him face to face ONCE about 17 months ago, for about five minutes. And this is the man who has created at least five training schedules for me and provided me with endless support -- so a visit was in order.

Well I got quite a surprise! He was running a MARATHON over the weekend, and what's better was that it was about an hour away from where we were staying (which was in a cabin on a lake... see next post). So I jumped at the chance to go and be his course support.

Terry was to run the Rutledge Marathon as part 1 of becoming a Marathon Maniac. We arranged to meet up before 7 AM at the race. It rained the night before (lucky us) and was wet, windy and cold. Lucky him! Ha.

At the sign-up area we met up. It was so nice to actually see my friend! The race's home base was Ritter Farms in Rutledge, TN. The start, halfway point and finish were all in one spot.

After getting his bib we headed back to his car for my official course support supplies and instructions. He had prepared a bag with extra fluids and just-in-case extra clothes. He lent me his umbrella, as mine has had a structural failure. Next stop: my car. I dumped by broken umbrella and showed him the 4 signs I made for him (which I forgot to photograph - darn it).
1) Run Coach Terry!
2) Go P3!
3) Looking Good Runners! (with eyeglasses drawn above the text)
4) Today A Marathoner, Next Week a Maniac!

We walked down to the starting area. This was a mighty small race, but it was very well "policed" on the course, as apparently the town sheriff is a runner.

Here is the hero of the story with his game face on.

After he took off, I went back to my dry, warm car. I had originally pondered being all over the course, but then thought I'd just stay put and see him at the half and at the end. Chasen called and was quite surprised that I'd be doing only that. So I put the car in drive and thought I'd go explore the course. I found a way to perch at mile 11 or so. I held up the "Looking Good Runners" sign and my presence was much appreciated by everyone that got there before him (like a bunch of the half marathon folks who were nearing the end and in fifth gear).

After he ran by, surprised to see me, I headed back to the start/half/finish line. It was there that I did my official duty and swapped water bottles with him and took his jacket. Just before this point his wife, Jen, called. She and their boys were headed that way. I was really, really excited to meet them!

Next stop: mile 15 or so. I found a really good spot to park here. I listened to Car Talk as I waited for him to run by.

Terry and his second half friend, whom I referred to as "the red girl."

Next I went to mile 17 or so. It was so windy that the official water stop tent was literally blowing over. The volunteer had to hold it down! (If you're wondering why I didn't help, it's because I am pregnant and don't want to risk getting pneumonia!) It was here that Jen and the boys showed up. Cool! What's more is that they had made signs AND were wearing ASD Athletes shirts (just like Terry). Needless to say, this was an extended stop for Terry, who had LOTS of hugging and picture-posing to do!

After this, Jen went back to the start/finish area to wait it out. I went to one more stop, which turned into two. That's because the turn-around of this out-and-back double loop course was actually a loop. So I saw him coming (from where I was parked) AND going, which was cool. As he was going back, at about mile 21, he said he felt good. One day in my life I hope to say I am feeling good at mile 21!

I would have liked to have gone to one more stop for some final cheering, but I didn't want to miss the chance to hang with Jen, so I went back to Ritter Farms. The boys were playing in the open parking field having the time of their lives. Then the rain came again. Blech!

Once we saw "Team Red" from way down the road, we all hurried to the finish line area. Terry and "the red girl" came storming in!

There they are! And Jen is poised to photograph it all.

What a race! He never once looked as if he was about to croak (like I always seem to). It was just awesome. He ran it in about 4:50 since it was super-windy. I am sure he'll do a detailed post about that on his blog. After he got his medal and some food, we all said our goodbyes. I, though, got a "medal" of my own:

His oldest boy donated some of his books and a backpack to Baby Isaac! How wonderful!

I can not extend enough thanks to Coach Terry for letting me be there for him. It was both an honor and a pleasure! If I could be in the Nashville area this weekend at the Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon to see him officially become a Marathon Maniac, I'd be there in a heartbeat.


Road Warrior said...

That's awesome, Susan. I love watching marathons and there's nothing better than meeting a personal hero. I know because I met Shirley a couple months ago.

Very cool you could do that!

ShirleyPerly said...

How fun to meet Planet3rry in person and see the action hero in action!

And very cool that you got some schwag too at the race :-)

PLANET3RRY said...

Thanks so much for taking a "break" from your vacation to brave the WONDERFUL weather conditions! I think that you need to be my Support Crew at ALL of my Marathons!

Petraruns said...

WHat a great report - how great that you got to meet Coach Terry and support him with Jen and the boys - what lovely kids to give you all that stuff!

Cheryl said...

How nice Susan, that's great you got to be on the course for him, it sounds like you had a blast!