Oh, I can’t say enough about this race and how much my family and I enjoyed the weekend in Memphis! I ran this Half in 2014, 2015, and 2017. I had to miss it last year due to heart problems (my MVP was giving me a lot of trouble) and overwhelming anxiety. So I registered as a Silver Hero in May with a commitment to raise $1500. I also joined a team here in my community. I had a major setback over the summer because of my abdominal partial hysterectomy on August 18. I was in so much pain for the full 6 weeks of recovery. After the 6 weeks, I slowly started running again. I only had about 8 weeks to get ready for this Half Marathon but I was determined to go this year and run for the kids. My husband took me the two years I ran so this time the whole family came! I was so excited my children would get to see what this race was all about. All loaded up Friday, Dec. 1 headed to Memphis!!
It took us close to 6 hours to get to the expo. My girls took pictures of St. Jude Children’s Hospital. I love how we get to see it from the highway on the way to the Convention Center. We got to the expo a little after 4 o’clock. I got a new hat and jacket for being a Silver St. Jude Hero. I raised $1600 dollars for the hospital! Wearing my new jacket at packet pick up! My son was rocking the runner pose! The countdown! My girls didn’t mind the crowd but my son said “I do NOT like the shop!” I bought some GU and two 73 Thread shirts. I also had an ornament made like I did in 2015 and we headed out to check in the Madison Hotel downtown. We ate at Texas de Brazil and the kids loved it! I don’t know about you, but I can eat anything before a race. I even ate salad and drank one glass of Pinot Noir. That was a first for me! Texas de Brazil!
We took the kids over to the Peabody to look around. My husband and I stayed there in 2015. The Christmas tree was so beautiful! We stayed for a few minutes then headed back to the room. My son had to sleep with us so not much sleep for me, but I don’t sleep that well the night before a race anyway! I enjoyed snuggling with him.
Race morning!! I didn’t have to get up until 6:30 and agreed to meet with my team for a group picture at the Peabody by 7:15 then needed to be at the Flying Saucer to meet my friend Debi @girlsrunthe901 with Team Run 365! Team Pace by Pace We Run 4 a Cure from Lucedale, MS. Carleigh Herrington second from left is a Leukemia Survivor! I was so happy I got to see Debi for a few minutes, meet her daughter Sierra, and Mitch! We chatted for a little bit, took a group picture then it was time to head to the starting line! Check out all the runners! 26,000!! 50 seconds let’s go!!! I was excited, I was pumped up, I was ready to run for the kids!! The first few miles went by quickly. Mile one I ran at 10:23 and figured I better slow down just a bit with all the hills I knew I would be climbing. I took a lot of SnapChat videos and tried to Insta Story so I could document as much as possible. We ran on Beale Street for mile two and here is my picture: I was so excited and happy to be running there again! Mile 3, we get to run along the Mississippi River and see the huge pyramid Bass Pro Shop. There were kids playing band music to get us pumped up. Once you run along the river you take a right and start climbing hills for mile 4. That is always pretty tough, but I made and didn’t have to walk. I was ready to run through St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital which is around mile 5 or so. I took a lot of videos running through there and high fived as many people as I could. Running through the St. Jude Children’s Hospital campus. And a selfie there too!! Splits so far for miles 1-6 were 10:23, 10:41, 10:56, 10:49 (hills!), 11:02, and 11:30. I took my time running through the campus. After I turned out of the hospital, this is where I was hoping to pick up the pace a little. Mile 7, I finished in 10:54 and mile 8 in 11:03. I am going to assume I was climbing hills, but my legs just would not go any faster as I was fine with that. I was feeling good, I took half a GU around mile 7. No tummy issues, no aches or pains. I felt great! The crowd was amazing and one thing I noticed was the crowd passed out more food and alcoholic beverages than they had in the past. I saw beer of course, but also fireball shots and mimosas being handed to runners. I don’t know about you, but I can’t drink booze while I’m running. It would most likely come right back up. After mile 8 I saw this sweet little girl with her hand out. I took her hand in both of mine.. and then I lost it. Precious girl, you are the reason I ran this day. I ran as hard as I could the rest of the race for this child. I completely broke down and cried. It took me a minute to pull it together. God bless this little girl and I pray healing over her and all of the children who are patients at St. Jude. Miles 9, 10, and 11 were 10:50, 10:43, and 10:45. I was able to pick up the pace for the last two miles and text my husband to let him know I was coming. Miles 12 and 13 I finished in 10:34 and 10:24 with the last stretch at 9:24! My official time was 2:23:11!! Not a course record or PR, but not my worst time on this course! I was so happy! I didn’t have a time goal and I was really proud of a strong race full of hills and feeling good the whole time! Coming to the finish line! Photo taken by my hubby! I was so very happy! Three of us were asked to take pictures crossing the finish line so I crossed the line about 4 times total. I hope to see my picture in the brochure next year! Pretty cool! I did it!! Isaiah 40:31 for the kids! Half Marathon number 17, first half since May and post surgery! It took awhile to get out of Autozone Park, but I got some pictures with my family! My son was ready to go see the ducks at the Peabody and we had just missed them coming out of the elevator. The kids still got to see them swimming in the fountain so they were happy. There were so many people, we headed on back to the room for coffee and a shower! We ate lunch at burger place and it was so good! Don’t ask me the name of it. I can’t spell or pronounce it. It took us awhile to get seated and eat. We watched part of the Auburn and Georgia game at the restaurant then headed to show the kids Beale Street. My daughter took this picture of me with my medal. “Walking in Memphis.. Walking with my feet 10 feet off of Beale..”
We headed back to the hotel to eat cheesecake and finish watching the game. Auburn lost.. boo 😦 but then we left and rode the horse and carriage. It was fun to see the kids having such a great time in Memphis! Horse and Carriage ride that cost a whole lot of $$ but these sweet faces made it all worth it!
We stopped by Graceland and the new Elvis museum Sunday before heading home. That was a lot of fun too!!
It was time to head black to Mississippi. We had such a great trip and race and made so many wonderful memories. I hope we can all go back again next year! I was once again reminded that this is hands down my favorite half marathon. I love raising money and running for children battling cancer. Addy made me a sign to wear for the race but it was a little too big but here is who I ran for: There are so many children who have lost their battle with a rare brain tumor called DIPG and kids currently fighting for their lives. I hope our community can raise more awareness and get more funding for research on why so many kids have been diagnosed with such a rare and aggressive tumor. There is currently only a 10% survival rate. I think about Jaxon Schoenberger all the time. He was the first little boy we ran for in 2014 as a team. He lost his battle October 31, 2014 just before his 7th birthday. I knew his parents and see his mother from time to time. My heart still aches for his loss and his family. I will continue to fundraise for St. Jude because of kids like Jaxon and Sophia who lost their battle with cancer. I can’t do much but I can raise money, I can run, and I can pray for these sweet kids and their families.
“Why sit around and wait for a miracle to come when you can be one.” Natalie Grant
For I am not the hero, the kids are the true heroes.
What is your favorite race? Do you run for a cause? I can’t wait to go back and do it again!!