I can’t believe our Peninsula Team in Training season is over. It feels like just yesterday we were meeting our team at the Oracle Bay Trail for the 3-mile kick off training. Now, months later, we’re in mid-June watching them take on Rock n Roll Seattle with one TNT Flex participant in Anchorage for the Mayor’s Marathon.
Seattle is a Saturday race with no Remix, so we go the quick weekend route and take a 2-hour nap on the early Friday flight. We weren’t pressed for time so we took advantage of the $3 one-way pass on the Link to downtown or the stadium. We were staying at the TNT hotel (Sheraton on 6th) and had time to drop off bags before heading for breakfast at Jimmy’s on 1st. Kamika brought us some hand-made leis from his backyard that smelled amazing!
The expo opened at 11 AM. I had just time to grab bibs, pick up luggage tags and pins and say hi to Darlene, Jennifer, Ryan and Mindy. TourPass 2017 isn’t available yet, so we skip registering for Seattle 2017. We’ll be back for sure, but our pre-reg total is already about as much as last year’s pass!
I left Susan to shop as I went back to the 1 PM TNT Coach’s meeting. We got our zone assignments, but since I registered for the race before I knew I was coaching, I was going to be winging it. I was one of a half-dozen coaches who would be doing the half, doing a quick wardrobe change, then heading out to support participants. The course was new for 2016, but the local TNT chapter had a solid coverage plan in place. The participants were in good hands.
Susan and I caught a 3D showing of Finding Dory at the theater just a block from the hotel. The afternoon movie/stay off your feet routine is starting to become a tradition, especially with all the great movies coming out this year. I hear it started pouring when we were inside, so that was a bonus.
The movie let out just in time for me to get to the set up for the TNT Inspiration Dinner. I only had a few things to drop off, so I was able to watch the slide show and see the names of the honorees from all the chapters. This is why we started. And this is why we keep coming back.
Much as I would have liked to spend time with our Team, I wanted to spend our 21st anniversary with my wife and some close friends. Originally we were going to just have a quiet dinner, but Al got a ping from David. He was back at Jimmy’s with Sherry, Jim, and Beth (who made the trip from Atlanta and hadn’t slept all day). Words simply cannot express how much I’ve come to appreciate the bond that has formed with our little group of RNR Gypsies.
We got to bed a little later than we usually do, especially for the kind of mileage I was thinking of doing – 13.1 for my race and another 9 to get to my 22 mile pre-marathon peak. The alarms were going off to meet the Team at 5:20 AM.
Saturday June 18th. Race Day
The 7 AM race start and the conservative TNT mindset put our wake up call at 4:30 AM, planning to meet the Team and leave the hotel at 5:45 AM.
About half the group was going to walk the 1.2 miles to the start with the rest taking the monorail ride. The walk up to the starting line at the Space Needle was a good warm up and it looked like once again, we might luck out and miss the rain.
I was telling our team that we’ve done so many Rock n Roll races that we’ve become friends with a lot of the staff. This can be a mixed blessing. We got a wonderful message while at breakfast Friday that we were put on the VIP list as a gift for our anniversary. We were excited to take advantage of this given the weather and the quick change I’d need to make at gear check before going back out to support. VIP is also a good place to check in before the race with anyone we didn’t see at the expo.
At the start line, announcer Ann Wessling spotted Al in corral 7 and asked where Susan and I were since we were always together. Ann said we were probably somewhere making out since it was our anniversary. We were in corral 10 and made a point to stop in front of the stage for a good long kiss before crossing the starting line. I wish I had given my phone to someone to take the picture. Heh.
I stole the series of pictures below from Kamika. Someday I’m going to try standing on the other side of the starting line to watch everyone start.
I kept my phone off for the half since I wasn’t sure how much power I’d need for the rest of the day. Seattle tends to be a recovery race for us after San Diego, but both Susan and I had great times. I walked in just over 2:29 and Susan finished just 6 minutes behind me. She hung out at the VIP area with Beth, Jim and Joe while I did the quick wardrobe change into TNT Coach green.
I admit, it was a real thrill to go back out there just to cheer people along. Following the course back out to the bridge let me catch a decent number of the half marathoners.
And a handful of the marathoners. I actually turned to run with a few of them to give them the preview of the last two miles. I don’t know that much of what I said registered with them, but I know that in those last few miles, anything you can get to focus on is a good thing.
I was able to catch everyone on our Peninsula team, too! The hardest part about that day was limiting my mileage. I only wanted to get 9 more miles in after the half, but by the time I got to the bridge, I was already at 9 miles. I had to pace Carroll up the hill and let her go to wait for Hal and bring him to the finish line. Fortunately, Coaches Rudy and Tim were there to make sure we swept everyone home, TNT or not. Including the half, support miles and incidental miles going to and from the start and finish, I ended up with just over 33 miles that day. I think my peak mileage is taken care of.
The dozen or so TNT Coaches escorted the last marathon finisher in to wrap up the event.
Our manager, Guy, made the trip up on his own dime and was waiting for us at the finish. Thanks go to CGI and especially Thao for making this an awesome day for our hard-working fundraisers.
For the season, the Spring/Summer Peninsula team raised $43,708. is the total for spring/summer Peninsula (RNR Seattle, TNT Your Way and Tinkerbell). Pen raised $27,432 for RNR Seattle alone. The total for all TNT chapters for Seattle was over $350,000 for the 135 participants. The Silicon Valley chapter (South Bay and Peninsula) had four of the top five fundraisers nationwide for the event.
Carroll dedicated her race to Colleen, our honoree who passed away last month. When I met Carroll at mile 22, she said that the light rain was Colleen’s tears of joy. Carroll was an absolute inspiration on the course, breaking her PR by 16 minutes.
Congratulations to first timers. Lauren finished her first half marathon and is already looking for her next race. She joined TNT because her mother finished her first race with Team. Flex participants Star and Mike also finished their first race. Star ran RNR Seattle Half and Mike is extending an Alaskan vacation after finishing the Mayors Marathon in Anchorage, one of our sentimental favorites. Big kilted kudos go out to our friend De Moe, finishing his 100th half and 50th state for half marathons, hitting these milestones in Anchorage as well.
This was the end of the season and the end of the road for TNT Spring 2016, but until we find the cure for cancer, the job isn’t done. I wish I hadn’t turned off my phone during the half because a few miles into the race I saw a shirt that had the following quote on the back.
“The end of one road is usually just the beginning of the next one”.
I guess it’s time to find another road.