Sara puts another half marathon under her belt

One of Sara’s college roommates had the brilliant idea of all meeting up again back at the old stomping grounds, and doing a race together. It was a lot of fun getting the four of them (and all the associated spouses and children) together for the first time in 10 years. Actually, come to think of it, Gregory was the only non-Purdue-ex-student among us (though I think he could be an honorary grad if Alexis would have just bought that “Purdue Boyfriend” shirt for him). We had quite a herd of children, and the lot of us together were more of a force of nature than a group of friends, but it was a lot of fun to cruise around and relive old times.

Only Sara, Phil, and Amy’s sister Mary opted for the half-marathon, though in Amy’s defense she is what can only be described as shockingly pregnant. This should not necessarily be considered a handicap though, since she and Alexis crossed the 5k finish line at the same time, but since her timing chip was pinned to her tummy, she ended up winning by a nose baby.

Sara usually runs in Chicago, which is the flattest of the flat, so she was a little nervous about running on all the hills. However, she was quite pleased with her time of 2:39:59, which was only 3 minutes longer than last time, even with the hills and the 5 extra minutes in the bathroom line (and that’s not even mentioning the freezing rain!)

Once again the kids and I tried to meet up with her as often as possible along the route. We did a pretty good job, but this was super-stressful, because it was very difficult to navigate through all the one ways, dead-ends, road closures, and tricky traffic situations along the route. We actually did a pretty good job of meeting up with her, but I was pretty tired at the end of it from getting both kids in and out of the car so many times, finding parking, and somehow dredging my brain for directions on streets I hadn’t used in 10 years.

The kids made signs to hold, and they both did a really good job. Sara came up with the idea of offering high fives to the racers and it was a HUGE hit.

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I don’t think any of us were prepared for the amount of high fives; it was somewhat staggering. It really did seem to give a little boost to the runners, and even when we didn’t get the signs out of the car people would say, “There’s the high five kids!” One lady even risked life and limb crossing traffic to give us an extra high five.

In fact, the kids made the cover of The Exponent, the school newspaper (more pictures available in their gallery here).

Photo via The Exponent

All in all, it was really a lot of fun being at Purdue. Mostly if we go back there we just go to campus, but this time we were all over town, which brought back a lot more memories (“Oh, remember when you lived here?” “Wait, I remember this place, so and so used to live here!” “Didn’t this used to be…” etc.)

In fact, I guess it really was a throwback because as soon as we got back Sunday night, I had a nightmare that I was late for a physics lecture in EE 129 and when I got there I found out they were having a test I hadn’t studied for. I asked the professor if I could retake it and he started quizzing me with questions about how to draw different molecules. “Oh no!” I thought, “I totally don’t remember this being in the lecture!”

Yes, I guess we’re never too old for the old “test I didn’t study for” nightmare.

Good times with good friends, and I was very proud of Sara. Overall, I give the weekend a high five.

Half-Marathoner

Over the weekend, Sara completed her first half marathon.

In the past six weeks, Sara completed three increasingly hard races, going from a 5k, to a 10 mile, and now to a half marathon. Even though a 10 mile is basically just as impressive, I think there is something especially psychologically satisfying about a half marathon.

One difference about this race, however, was that it was coooooold. It was about 26 degrees at the start of the race, and it felt like it, even with wool socks and long underwear. I saw a guy with literal icicles hanging off the bill of his hat, where the sweat had dripped down and frozen. At one point Ollie was staring at his gloves and said to me, “Why are my hands so cold??”

The good news is that we didn’t have to stand around in one place too long. The course was such that we were able to leapfrog Sara and meet her at about seven different locations (not counting the time I hollered “Let’s go Sara!” out the window as we drove by in the car). We would cheer for her as she passed, then hop in the car and drive to another location further along. This worked out perfectly, because it gave us something to do, and we were able to warm up in the car in between stops. And we ended up making it to more places than we planned on, so I think we were able to surprise her a few times.

Do you notice that she’s always smiling in every running picture? Like she’s out for a nice afternoon jog, rather than finishing 13.1 miles?

It ended up being a great day despite the cold, and everybody kept up their good mood (more or less). Sara finished in 2:36, and was only a little sore the next day.

I’m very proud of her. She started running as a hobby, but half marathons are serious business. I think Sara would be the first to tell you that she never would have imagined she’d be crossing the finish line in a big race. And certainly running a half marathon is something I could never do (or a quarter marathon, or even an eighth of a marathon).

So congratulations Sara! Your cheering section is ready for your next race!