April 2011

Ben and Kelly Run a Marathon

by Meghann on April 30, 2011

They did it! They did it!

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Kelly and Ben officially kicked that marathon’s booty!

And from the looks of it – the Country Music Marathon was NOT easy. LOTS of hills, LOTS of sun, and LOTS of heat! I was working up a sweat just spectating!

But, they did an INCREDIBLE job; coming in at 4:31:29! Wowza! Not bad for a first marathon. Heck, not bad for any marathon!

I’m about as proud as a big sis can be. CONGRATS guys!

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While they were having the time of their life running the race, I was having just as much fun spectating! Ashley and I were able to catch the twosome FIVE times along the course and I cheered my little heart out for every runner who passed.

What a day! What a day!

It all began at 4:30am with four different phone alarms and two very nervous runners.

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Last night, Heather helped us develop a navigation plan around Nashville that worked out perfectly. We had everything pre-mapped on where to park, where to meet, and how to avoid traffic. The plan guided our day and without it we would have been lost.

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We left the hotel on the early side and dropped Kelly and Ben off right next to the start line with minimal traffic and zero delays.

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After we said our good byes, Ashley and I headed downtown to find parking for our first stakeout spot. We wanted a spot that was both close to the interstate and the course, yet away from closed roads and unnecessary race day traffic.

Our first attempt was a no go, but our second led us to a quiet parking garage within walking distance of where we wanted to be. Score!

With over an hour to go before race start, we found a McDonalds to use the restroom at and kill some time.

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I used the free time to piece together a quick breakfast.

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Iced Coffee for energy

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Oatmeal for fuel

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The Rokit Fuel was a freebie the company had sent me a while back. I had been saving it for a special occasion – like today – that required a quick breakfast fix. All I had to do was add a cup of hot water and breakfast was served.

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Not only was the oatmeal full of fun mix-ins, like dried cherries and almond slivers, it also came in the perfect little cup that made it perfect for on the go meal.

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We took our time finishing our morning meals, used the clean restroom one last time, and headed to the course to scream and yell our little hearts out.

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Ready to go!

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By the way… our signs were a hit! We had several people run by the thesis one yelling “So True!” and had a few guys lift their shirts for us with the shirtless one. It felt good to put a smile on several runners faces. I know how important signs are during a race, reading them is always the best part!

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We positioned ourselves just past mile one for our first spotting. It wasn’t long after the race began that we saw the first runners pass us by.

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I can’t even imagine how it feels to run that fast!

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Let the race begin!

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We got our first text alert that Kelly and Ben had passed the start line at 7:05. They weren’t far now!

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Then….

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Do you see them?

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Go Andersons, Go!

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And just like that, they were gone!

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Down the hill to downtown.

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As soon as they were out of sight, Ashley and I picked up camp and headed a couple of blocks down the road to catch them next just before the 5k mark.

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The hills! My lord, the hills!

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Well…

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…that didn’t take long.

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At least he was living up to his name. Go Shirtless Ben!

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Mile 3 was the beginning of Music Row and the crowds were pumping! Since we had some time to kill we decided to stick around and show some support.

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We only had to walk across the street for our next spotting at the 15k mark.

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One of my FAVORITE race treats is an orange slice. I’ll take an orange slice over a goo any day of the week. We declared mile 9 an orange mile for Kelly and Ben.

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Don’t worry, we shared!

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It felt good to share. Next time I want to hand out chocolate too. I <3 mini chocolate bars during races as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

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I spy pink!

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A couple of orange slices, a kiss for luck, and they were off!

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Our next goal was to meet them at mile 15. We booked it to the car, hopped on the interstate, and managed to drive right passed our exit. Unfortunately barricades and runners foiled out perfect plan. Crap.

On to plan B.

A quick consult with the map detoured us to mile 17, which actually worked out better. The way the course looped itself allowed us to park near mile 17, catch them there and at 20, then meet them at the finish line without moving the car. Not bad for thinking on our feet.

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Mile 17 was smack dab in the middle of a long, steep hill. Not cool mile 17, not cool.

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Ashley and I made it our duty to encourage as many runners as possible to push through it.

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At least we got a few smiles. ๐Ÿ™‚ One guy walking up the hill told us the hill had already him it’s bitch. Ha!

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Oh, and we made a friend.

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Hi Katie! Katie started in the same corral as Ben and Kelly and was sweet as can be. She was struggling with the hills, but still pushing through it. Katie rocks! ๐Ÿ™‚

Not long after Katie left we saw Ben and Kelly chugging along.

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After missing us at mile 15 they were more than happy to see us at 17.

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They were also happy to see fresh water bottles and orange slices.

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Ben and Kelly were doing great. They were on pace for a 4:30 finish time and still in great spirits.

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Miles 17 – 19 created a big loop that led to the final out and back stretch to the finish. We were able to cut a corner and wait for one final sighting at mile 20 before hightailing it to the finish.

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I handed off the last of the orange slices.

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And ran a quarter mile with Kelly and Ben

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Not only were they still able to talk, but they were able to joke and laugh too. They were having FUN and I started secretly wishing I could finish the race with them. I love running with my siblings. They are the best. ๐Ÿ™‚

We sent Kelly and Ben on their way, then the real fun began for Ashley and I.

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The fighting-our-way-to-the-finish-line fun.

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Holy crowds!

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It took some patience (and a little elbowing), but we found a great spot right by finish line.

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We had 45 minutes until Kelly and Ben were due to arrive. Plenty of time to enjoy an apple

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and people watch.

I was so anxious waiting for them to cross, that the time flew by! I was on edge thinking ‘any minute! any minute!’ There was also plenty of action at the finish line to keep me entertained. I witnessed several people fainting, a couple of collapses, some throwing up, and a whole bunch of happy tears. It was so inspiring and terrifying at the same time.

I soooo want to run another one! ๐Ÿ˜‰

My favorite part was watching the fathers and mothers cross with their little ones.

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The little girl’s shirt read ‘My Daddy Runs This Town‘ Too. Cute.

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Once the clock hit 4:30 Ashley and I were on pins and needles waiting for them to appear in the distance.

‘Where are they?’

‘Is that them?’

‘I see pink!’

‘Wrong pink.’

‘A shirtless guy!’

‘Oh, he’s wearing a heart rate monitor. Not Ben.’

‘Wait…. I SEE THEM!!!!!’

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‘Where?’

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‘THERE!!!!’

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‘HOLY CRAP! HERE THEY COME!!!!’

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‘BEN’S FINISHING HIS FIRST MARATHON! HE’S FINISHING!!!!! OMG HE’S FINISHING!!!!’

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Emotion Overload!!!

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‘How do you feel Ben?’

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‘Don’t touch me’

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Fair enough. Fair enough. ๐Ÿ™‚

We found them a few minutes later exiting the post-race area covered in ice and stuffing their mouths with food.

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Way to go guys!

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Proudest. Sister. Ever.

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Seriously. That was a tough course and Kelly and Ben really stuck with it. They raced strong and finished strong, I couldn’t be more proud. ๐Ÿ™‚

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We headed back to the hotel to shower up before heading out to lunch. I was following the #CMM twitter stream and saw a tweet go through from someone raving about their post-marathon burger at Burger Up. A quick google search later I knew where we had to have lunch.

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Unfortunately it was already after 2:00 when we arrived at Burger Up and the 40 minute wait for a table wasn’t going to cut it. The food did look too good to pass up, so we decided to order Take Out from the bar instead.

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We skipped the crowds, placed our order, and Kelly and Ben enjoyed their post-marathon beer.

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Then we enjoyed our burgers the best way we knew how, on our butts in the ally next door. Yes, we’re classy like that.

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100% Worth it.

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I ordered the Marathon Burger, which was a quiona/black patty with a cilantro creme fraise sauce, tomato, and lettuce.

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The burger was amazing. It was chewy, flavorful, and very filling. Just what I needed after a morning on my feet.

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The sweet potatoes that came on the side were thick, soft, and melt in your mouth delicious. I could of had a whole meal of these sweet potato fries and have been a happy camper.

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We finished our meals then headed next door for the highly recommended popsicles at Las Paleta.

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Creamy or Fruity? Such a tough decision.

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Of course, you know I couldn’t pass up any dessert that contains peanut butter. ๐Ÿ™‚

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The popsicle was basically peanut butter ice cream on a stick. Love. Love. Love. ๐Ÿ™‚

After two full days of somehow escaping the driver’s seat, it was finally my turn to drive back to east Tennessee. I can now officially add a third state to the list of states I’ve driven a car in. Woop! Woop! ๐Ÿ™‚

We made it to cabin just before 8:00 and met a couple of locals for dinner at Ruby Tuesday for dinner.

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I met Ashlee and Lew (from Ash and Lew Plus 2 ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) at Foodbuzz Festival last November (you may recallr a certain cupcake incident๐Ÿ˜‰ )and was really excited to learn we were only staying a few miles from their hometown.

I was even more excited when I discovered they would be bringing their two angels along for the ride.

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Daisy and LB are Ashlee and Lew’s ADORABLE twins and Daisy and I had a lot to bond over. She has a twin brother (I have a twin brother), she likes drinking from a straw (I love drinking from straws), and she get’s cranky and tired when she’s hungry (umm… hello?!)

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It was really great to play catch up with Ashlee and Lew. They are such a great couple and amazing parents. I <3 them. ๐Ÿ™‚

Dinner was an easy choice – salad bar all the way.

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I loaded a plate with as many vegetables as I could manage and finished about 3/4 of it before feeling stuffed. (I think I was still full from lunch)

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So. Exhausted.

Been up since 4:30am.

No nap.

Must. Sleep. Now.

Good Night!

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