Tuesday, December 9, 2008

St. Jude 1/2 Marathon Trip

Many of you are aware we traveled to Memphis this past weekend where Donnie and 2 of his friends, Mark and Carol, ran in the St. Jude Marathon. Donnie and Carol ran the 1/2 marathon and Mark ran the full 26.2 miles! Many of you are also aware that childhood cancer is near and dear to my heart, thus my involvement with Camp Hope for the past 13 years. I don't even recall how I came across a family that has touched my heart that has a little boy Jake that spent much of his life at St. Jude. After following his journey and getting inspired by his family, Donnie and I decided that since he loves to run that he would run in the St. Jude Marathon. As he talked about it, Mark and Carol decided to join him. Donnie joined TEAM JAKE a couple weeks before the run and we started his fundraising efforts a little late. Several of you sponsored him and for that we say thank you! For those of you who didn't get to sponsor him and wanted to, it's not too late! You can still sponsor him for the next 4 weeks and it will count towards his amount raised. Email me if you aren't sure how to sponsor him!

Anyhow.....on to the trip! We left bright and early Friday morning! We picked Mark up at 4:45 AM and then picked up Carol. Mark's daughter Julie came along for the trip and Carol's daughter Tarren also joined us. Tarren also happens to be Zachy's babysitter! Carol has two children who live just outside of Memphis, so they joined us for the festivities too! Her son Tyler worked at Mile 19 water station while Kirsten helped us in our cheering efforts!

After checking in and getting their race packets, we went to the hotel and then out to eat. We of course went out for pasta so they could Carb Up! Donnie and I took some time to go out and drive the course so he could prepare himself for how many hills there would be and so I could find good cheering spots and figure out parking! My map reading skills caused some problems in the beginning, but eventually we drove the entire 1/2 marathon course. In my defense....there are A LOT of one way streets in downtown Memphis! And....it was starting to get a little dark! And....not all the streets were on the race course map so I got a little confused! :) We drove past St. Jude Hospital as well as the 3 housing options for the families.....the Ronald McDonald House, Grizzly House and Target House. I'm kicking myself for not getting a picture of any of them to put on here. Next trip I will have to do so as they are so meaningful to the families and the whole reason Donnie was there running!

Since Donnie signed up as a hero (meaning he was on a team).....he got a running singlet to wear. Needless to say his was a bit too snug to go running around amongst others in! :) I thought you looked cute honey! Thanks for being a sport and letting me take your picture in it! :)

Here is Mark, Donnie and Carol just before the start of the race. Look awfully eager don't they. Actually, they were freezing! Good luck guys and see you at the finish.....

Everyone stopped to take care of some business before the run started. Had to photograph the pitstop as I wanted you to get the whole experience of the race! :)

Donnie post-duty......

Carol exiting......

And Mark exiting.......I only photographed 1 of Mark's portapotty stops.....I would have like 5 more pictures if I would've photographed ALL his pitstops! :) I guess if I were running 26.2 miles then I wouldn't want to have to worry about going to the bathroom either!

Here's the starting line........

After we left our crew at the starting line, we went to find an appropriate spot to cheer! We had the PERFERCT spot! We were on Beale Street just before the mile 3 water station. There was a cement wall and everything for us to sit on while we cheered! While it was cold, we had a great time watching everyone. The atmosphere really is amazing. There were soooo many runners.....14,000 of them between all the runs that day!

Mark came across first. He was in one of the early running groups cuz he's superfast! So he was easy to spot for the picture! He's the one in the middle with the green shirt and black hat on.

Donnie and Carol came through with a mob of people. I got Donnie's picture and we didn't see Carol with him. We thought they had separated so stayed in our cheering spot watching for her. Well she didn't come and didn't come so we figured we missed her. Well we did. As I was looking back through my pics from the day. We found her in this picture I took of Donnie! She is the blond with the black head band on the opposite side of the street from me. There is a man in a green coat watching everyone from the curb just beside her. Donnie is behind her in the blue shirt and he's wearing a ball cap. He's also across the street from me. They certainly didn't make picture taking very easy on me! Geez guys that's the least you could've done don't ya think!

Carol at mile 10.2. You can hardly see her cuz I snapped the picture too early and I haven't figured out how to zoom in on pics when I post them yet! So you get to see her from a distance. She is the tiny black stick figure next to the person in the white long sleeve shirt with black tights. We didn't even see her coming and she yelled at us to get our attention! She's been told that next time she has to wear a bright colored shirt as lots of people wore black! When we got to this cheering spot, we had just missed Mark running by. Maybe had we not stopped at that gas station to go to the bathroom and get a hot cappacino then maybe we would've gotten his picture too! Sorry Mark! And you can't tell from the photo, but I was standing there with my bag of homemade chex mix....I did end up just holding it cuz I felt bad about eating while people who had been running for over 10 miles came running past! PLUS, I was so busy cheering I didn't have time to eat my snack!

Donnie at around 10.2 miles. He's sooo close to being finished, yet has so far left to go! :) Just behind me is a bit of an incline that I was sooo glad I didn't have to run up! :)

I didn't get back to the finish line in time to get a picture of Carol and Donnie finishing. As we got there, I saw Donnie from behind running down the ramp entrance to the stadium where the finish line was. Donnie's goal was to finish in 2 hours 10 minutes. He did so good.....he finished in 2 hours, 10 minutes and 12 seconds!!!!! Way to go Donnie!!!!!! This is his 3rd or 4th half marathon (he's gonna kill me for not knowing that!) and this was his best time out of all the half marathon's he has run! I'm so proud of him for all the hours he put in to training for this run! Carol finished the run in 2 hours 1 minute and some odd seconds! She cracks me up cuz she was all worried about not being able to run past 8 miles!
Here's Mark as he's rounding the corner to the finish line......can you believe that he just ran 26.2 miles! That's incredible! He finished in 3 hours 4 minutes and some odd seconds! Absolutely incredible! He finished like 11th in his age bracket! And he was all worried he wouldn't finish! You did great Mark!
Here's Donnie and Carol just after they finished. It took us FOREVER to find them. We did not plan well the meeting spot after the race was finished! Now we know for next year that we need to pick a spot to meet! Not immediately after the race, but like the next day all 3 of them said they would come back and run again next year! I'm hoping Donnie and I make this an annual trip! I of course will be cheering and he will be doing the running! :)

Close up of Donnie just after the running.....got enough snacks honey???? :)

Of course one CAN'T go all the way to Memphis and not make an appearance at Graceland!!! :) Carol's son lives outside of Memphis and we were on our way there when we passed this.......we HAD to stop for a photo opportunity! I tried to get pics of his house as it was all lit up for Christmas but they didn't turn out cuz we could only get as close as the wall along the street!

My one regret from the weekend was not running into Jake's family. I was hoping we would be able to find them in the sea of people so I could say hello! I proudly wore my Jake Owen Raborn Foundation shirt while we were in Memphis. For those of you who are looking for a great cause to donate to you....you should go check out his website for more info on him and his family! You can find them at www.jakesfoundation.org.
Well I can't end a post without an adorable picture of my boy! Poor Zach.....I think he looks adorable. Our big boys made fun of him in his matching sweater and hat! I don't care what they say I think he looks adorable!

For those of you who have been keeping up with our adoption journey of Zach. Please keep praying! We signed our intent to adopt paperwork on December 1st and are waiting on our court date to make him legally ours! We were hopeful this would happen before Christmas and the New Year's.....but I am being told it would take a miracle for that to happen! So please keep us in your prayers while we anxiously await our finalization of his adoption! Hugs to you.....Dannon

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