Two years ago I ran this as my very first marathon. This year I came back to run it for a third time. My parents live in Minnesota, but spend their winters in Arizona, and the marathon is usually within a couple of days of my Mom's birthday. So it is an excellent opportunity to see family, celebrate my Mom's birthday, and run a marathon, all in the same weekend.
I met my brother and sister-in-law, John and Mary, at the airport because our flights got in at the same time. John's running buddy, Ryan, also came down this year to run the marathon and escape the winter cold. The days before the marathon were spent visiting, playing cards, watching Dad play shuffleboard (we even did the "wave" and earned steely eyed looks from the other competitors), carbo-loading, visiting my aunt in Tuscon, and climbing Camelback Mountain. I didn't make it to the top because I was slower and didn't want to get caught climbing down in the dark, but the views I did see were wonderful.
At the expo I got to see one of my Javelina Jundred pacers and found out that I was a bad enough influence that she is going to run it herself this year! They had some good speakers at the expo this year, I got to hear Josh Cox, Frank Shorter, and Meb Keflezighi who were all very inspirational. I also stopped by the Brooks area and won a pair of earbuds that are the best earbuds ever.
I ran the marathon as a training run for Rocky Raccoon, taking walk breaks and enjoying the bands, cheering sections, and talking briefly with other runners. I knew Mom and Dad would be at their usual spot near the 22 mile marker, so as I got closer I recruited the half dozen or so runners near me to sing "Happy Birthday" to my Mom. She got a kick out of that and then ran a half block with me. The runners who sang with me also got a kick out of the Police guy who started yelling at my mom to get off the course. In fact they gave him a little grief which was appreciated. Mom turned 85 that day, what was he going to do, take away her birthday? (I totally stole that from this blog) Thank you anonymous runners for making my mom's day even better!
Once again a great weekend, I'll be back for #4 next year.