by MrsFatass on December 9, 2010

I spent most of the weekend in a bit of a time warp, caught halfway between time zones and never quite sure whether I should be tired or spunky. But by Sunday morning I was quite sure I was tired. And all of the high heel shoes and decadent meals, lack of workouts and extreme lack of sleep had me talking myself out of 13.1 pretty much by Saturday afternoon.

And there is that little matter of my crazy.

All my homies were runners. I was planning to walk the race. So, I’d pretty much be doing it myself. And that meant hopping the train, finding my corral, getting to the right place, finding the bathrooms, making small talk, mustering enthusiasm, battling my brain . . . well, all that was up to me.

So what did I do? Well, I made sure my Blackberry had a full charge, and that my Tweeps were on alert. I was going to need them.

@MrsFatass: On my way to the start line!

 Thanks to the ‘dress rehearsal’ the day before, I knew exactly what to do when I got off the train, and even if I didn’t, there was quite a crowd to follow. Lots of people bending and stretching and eating Power Bars and drinking water and basically looking excited and nervous and ready. I am growing in to a dislike of crowds, so I put my earphones in and switched my phone to vibrate and busied myself listening to my Christmas music playlist and taking lots of pictures.

@Runeatrepeat: Is it cold out there? @MrsFatass: Chilly. Maybe 50?

 At the time, it felt like perfect race weather. I sweat when I’m nervous – like, head to toe flopsweat, not a pretty little glow sweat – and I was really nervous. But there was a perfect chill in the air, and I was dressed in lots of layers, and was totally prepared for the weather. And I love being out in the morning when it’s still dark. Being the first one up. Watching everything else wake. I was starting to feel some swagger.

@TidbitsofTara: Love you. Be safe. Finish strong. Party while you're moving!

 After a pit stop at a gas station for a sports drink and a power bar for later, I found my way to Mandalay Bay where the race would eventually start. And I was battling some what-ifs. I mean, in my HEAD I knew I was prepared. I’d trained. Walked all those miles. Done all the work. And I had all the things I needed; water, music, snacks, good shoes (thanks Brooks!), good socks (thanks NewBalance!),and good balm (thanks BodyGlide!). But I generally start big things like this by looking for my exit strategy. I’d found on the map the 2 mile markers that were in front of my hotel, one on the way up and one on the way back, and was justifying jumping off the course and heading home when I was there.

And I also start these things what-iffing all the things that can go wrong. What-if I tweak the knee? What-if I didn’t hydrate or fuel properly and I get light-headed, faint, and give myself a concussion on the street?

What-if I’m last? What-if I’m so slow that they are waiting on ME so they can reopen the street and tens of thousands of people see me be the very last person to finish?

@MrsFatass: I already have to go to the bathroom. @MizFitOnline: GOGIRL! 😉 @MrsFatass: DANG! Forgot to bring one!

 But the funny thing about my lifeline my Blackberry is that for every what-if? Was a person with the perfect thing to say or text or tweet to help me escape my head and remember just why I was there. That I could do it.

@MrsFatass: Yay! I made it to the corral. I'm the one surrounded by people wondering why my shirt says 'fatass'.

 So, up came the sun and out came the people and I found my corral and I even asked a complete stranger to take my picture.

@FoodieMcBody: So close to @MrsFatass but we're packed in like sardines! Can't see her!

 FoodieMcBody and I were assigned the same corral number, but I got there a good half hour before she did, and so we ended up separated by about a gazillion people. We were like those people who text people sitting next to each other. We agreed that we’d just stay put and find each other once the crowd started to move.

@MrsFatass: Watching the official START on the Jumbotron!

 And right at 7 we heard the gun, and I looked up just in time to see the race start.

@MrsFatass: It's go time. #butterflieslikecrazy

 It was a wave start, so for about 35 minutes after the initial gun, we heard groups getting up to the start and being announced as they took off. We were led like cattle down one side of the street and around the bend, being greeted by The Blues Brothers who were sending everybody on their way.

I generally don’t do adrenaline very well. Part of what I’m learning about my anxiety is that I have a hard time distinguishing between the kind of excitement that comes from being, well, excited and the kind of excitement that comes from being terrified, because physically those ‘symptoms’ are pretty similar. So, I spent a lot of time on the gentle walk around to the start line just noticing my racing heart and butterflies and sweat as a normal reaction to all of the energy and anticipation of starting this thing.

@MrsFatass: We're off! @NoMoreBacon: Yay! #SoProudOfYou!

 And off we went. The first thing I noticed was that I felt like the sole walker in a sea of runners. I was at the very front of the corral, but immediately people were flying by me, one after another after another. And it made me both self conscious AND want to take off running myself.

But in all my training, I started off slow. Warmed up at a 20 minute mile pace for at least 1o minutes. All of my training told me to warm up first, then speed up. It was sooooo hard not to bolt out of there, but I didn’t.

Until . . .

I started noticing walkers, too. And they were ALSO flying past me. And I could NOT get the worry out of my head that I was going to be last, and I had only just started.

And I started to feel like it was going to be a very long day.

@Pubsgal: Got to do the first 5K with @MrsFatass! You go, girl!

 But then out of the blue, to my left I notice someone walking toward me, and lo and behold, it was Julianne! I was so psyched to get to meet her in person. And whether she knows it or not, she saved me from my brain. I tend to find that the toughest miles to walk in one of these dealies are the first one and the last one. They are the ones where I am the hardest on myself, where I struggle to find my breath and my pace, and where I feel just plain old self conscious. So the appearance of somebody I was excited to meet was a total gift. We walked to mile 3 together, and it was so cool. Thanks Julianne! 

@MrsFatass: 3 miles down! @UnlikelyTonyne: AWESOME!

 So she took off to do some running, and I tweeted out that I’d finished the first 3 miles. And @TidbitsofTara reminded me that now I was in the single digits! And holy crapballs, she was right. I had already accomplished a lot. And I felt pretty good. I felt nourished. Hydrated. My knee was holding up great. I always get some weird ache under the toes of my right foot – always have – but today it was really manageable. My playlist had me going strong. I felt like I was going to be able to do this thing.

And really, there is no better way to see Las Vegas than to walk up and down the middle of the strip.

I went about my way, chatting up my friends on Twitter, assuming my loved ones were getting the race updates I’d signed them up for, listening to music, and stepping away. But somewhere around mile 5 I felt something going on in my left shoe, on the ball of my foot right under my big toe. At mile 7, I had to stop and survey the damage.

@MrsFatass: Damn. Blister. Ouch. @SkinnySushi: Beat that blister into submission!

 The bad news was that it was indeed a blister. The good news was that at that point it was small, smaller than a dime. I re-Body Glided my feet and did a little stretching and did my best to keep my head in the game. I got back on the road and back on my Blackberry. I needed my people.

@FitMamaTraining: You got this! @MrsFatass: I hope so. I'd hate to get trampled by a bunch of running Elvis impersonators.

 And just at the right time, I laughed. And I began doing this dance in my head between feeling like I could do this, and wishing I could stop. Between feeling like I had trained well and that I was being taken down my the pain in my foot. By enjoying the time alone and being crushed by the solitude.

And I started preparing to get off the course when I got back to the Flamingo.

@MrsFatass: 10. I wanna go home. @Tidbits of Tara: Okay everyone let's give @MrsFatass a collective SLAP ON THE ASS and a YOU CAN DOOOOO EEEEEET! @NoMoreBacon: I'm always game to slap @MrsFatass on the ass. You got this girl!!!

 But there wasn’t anyone out there who would say “Well, hotass, you gave it your best shot. It’s okay to throw in the towel.” Instead, everyone rallied. And left it up to me.

So I kept putting one foot in front of the other. I switched it up to my high energy playlist. I stopped looking around at the sights, put my head down, and started counting. Counting my breaths, counting my steps, counting whatever took my mind off both my foot and the distance. My responses to texts got short. My tweets did too. I counted and looked for signs. And tried to tune out the world AND the voices in my head who were tired and angry and hurting.

@MizFitOnline: You are almost there!!!

 HOLY SHITBALLS. Not only could I hear the vocal stylings of Mr. Rock of Love in the distance, I was at mile 13! It was almost over! Had I really done it? Had I really walked all this way?

@MrsFatass: 13.1

I finished. I crossed the line and was afraid to stop moving. I had walked longer distances in the past. I had trained longer and harder for something. But something about this finish had me really emotional. My body was ready for the walk, but my head tried to beat me the whole way.
I finished. And then I cried a little.

@Quixotique: woooot woot! Time for a martini and the blackjack table to celebrate! 🙂 @MrsFatass: I see a white cowboy hat I'm pretty sure belongs to Mr. Rock of Love himself!

I didn’t hang out in the secure area too long. I grabbed a sports drink and a banana and tried to snake my way out of there. I knew I had a couple of miles ahead of me to get back to the monorail, and I didn’t want to stop for too long, because I thought it would be too hard to get going again. I did a quick stretch and had my snack and hobbled my way back home, spent, in pain, and really effing happy. Take THAT, tortured brain!

@MrsFatass: I totally want to cry, both because I'm proud of myself and because I am the proud owner of the gnarliest blister ever.

So, to all of you who tweeted me before, during and after that race? You have no idea how meaningful that was. I wish I could have put each and every one of those messages in this post. It’s choking me up right now just to say thank you. But you know what?


* All of my Vegas pictures are posted on Facebook if you’d like to check them out!

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Skinny Sushi December 9, 2010 at 7:59 am

This post made me a little emotional! I am SO proud of you, you’re a total rockstar.


Marisa @ Loser for Life December 9, 2010 at 8:00 am

So amazing, Sue!!!! You should be so proud!


Laurie December 9, 2010 at 8:16 am

Amazing recap. It is really comforting, not sure that is the right word, to see that other’s minds are as disturbed as mine. To see that so many of us struggle with the fear in the beginning, the desire to go home and then that effing Glee that we did it. You and your blister rocked that!


Coco December 9, 2010 at 8:28 am

Ouch! That is a serious blister!
Thank you for sharing all your worries and doubts — we all struggle and it helps to remember that we are not alone.


Drazil December 9, 2010 at 8:43 am

Oh God – I wish I could have been there to see you finish. We’d have been a crying mess. That you did this alone (sort of) – and knowing your crazy is like mine….I can’t tell you how impressed and proud and inspired I am. Wow. Just freaking wow.


Denise December 9, 2010 at 9:11 am

Long time reader, possibly first time commenter?

I totally enjoyed reading your about your walk! It is my dream to be able to walk that far, let alone run it! Thank you for the inspiration you give me with each post!


Charlie H. December 9, 2010 at 9:45 am

My heart is swelling with pride bigger than your gnarly blister. GUSHING WITH LOVE. <3 You did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You going to run the 5K with me at Fitbloggin? I won't go fast, and I know after this, a teeny tiny slowpoke 5K is going to be a breeze. 😀


Kerri O December 9, 2010 at 10:05 am

I’m so proud of you! My 5k last spring was all about beating that annoying voice in my head telling me I can’t….feels great, huh?


Kelly @Happy Texans December 9, 2010 at 10:07 am

Love the recap. I feel like I was there with you. So proud of you. You did it! Congratulations. What an experience.


Big Clyde December 9, 2010 at 10:08 am

That is so awesome! I am so glad you documented that internal battle you had going and you were smart to reach out to your people. I wouldn’t have thought of that, but it is brilliant. Well done!


Jack Sh*t December 9, 2010 at 10:39 am

What a great recap! I actually felt like I was at my desk reading about it.



Tonyne @ Unlikely Success Story December 9, 2010 at 10:51 am

That is AWESOME! I am so incredibly proud of you!


Elena December 9, 2010 at 12:02 pm

I love all the pics, you had some fun there……..


Brittany December 9, 2010 at 1:31 pm

This is so awesome! Proud of you! Just the motivation I need for my training for the half-marathon I’m walking in February 🙂 Ahhhhhhh!


angela December 9, 2010 at 2:19 pm

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a blister quite like that.

Congrats to you for beating your mind and not giving in! You did an amazing job!


Betsy December 9, 2010 at 2:48 pm

WOO HOO! You battled yourself and crossed the finish line. Way to go girl!


Tara December 9, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Don’t take this wrong but I want to kneel at your feet and kiss that blister away for you.



Gules December 9, 2010 at 3:55 pm

WOOHOO!! What a great race recap! Photos were awesome and I feel like I walked the 13.1 with ya. So proud of you 🙂 I have my first 10k run this Sunday so keep your fingers crossed 🙂 I now realize that I SO need to go to Las Vegas…Elvis and all…WAY TO GO!!!!


Miz December 9, 2010 at 4:54 pm

WHOA. starting backwards that IS INDEED the worst!blister!ever!!!
you should have gotten a medal just for that.



Julianne (@Pubsgal) December 9, 2010 at 4:57 pm

(((hug))) CONGRATS, Mrs. 13.1!!! And aw, man, you made me cry! And wince, what a whopper you got there!

It was an honor and pleasure to meet you and walk part of the race together! I thought Foodie said you were in corral 31, so I was wandering all around in there, looking for you & your t-shirt. (Which, with all the covert chest-glancing, means I probably creeped out every woman with wavy brown hair…er, sorry ’bout that, gals!)

It *was* a tough race; I’m so happy for you that you did it!!!


Cole December 9, 2010 at 6:30 pm

You are freakin’ amazing!! 13 MILES!? That’s 69,168 feet!? DAAaaammmmmnnnnnnn!


merri December 9, 2010 at 6:51 pm

congrats!! and its so great that you have all those people there for you that care about you!


Sarah December 9, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Dang! That is well hell of a blister! BUT YOU DID IT! Woohoo!!!!


Steve December 9, 2010 at 7:57 pm

So very, very, awesome 🙂

You rock! 😀


JourneyBeyondSurvival December 9, 2010 at 9:19 pm

So. MrsFatass. This anxiety thing being mixed up with excitement. How does that work when mixed in with ‘Business Time’ 😛 Yeah. I went there. You have such an awesome ‘Business Time’ life after hours. Interesting the kinds of exceptions our brains make.

I am so proud of you! Nurse that blister well…


Genevieve December 10, 2010 at 1:13 am

Congratulations! Not only did you conquer 13.1 miles, but you conquered your brain for an entire half-marathon. I definitely would have been out there battling against myself the whole time to just veer off and go back to my comfy bed. But you didn’t and that’s awesome! Can’t wait to do my first half-marathon. Guess I’ll have to start training first!


Mary (A Merry Life) December 10, 2010 at 5:02 am

Great job!!


Joanna Sutter (Fitness & Spice) December 10, 2010 at 7:11 am

Best. Race. Recap. Evah!

Wicked proud of you!


Ryan @NoMoreBacon December 10, 2010 at 7:59 am

Being all too familiar with the voice that you talk about, beating them is a ridiculously amazing accomplishment. Oh, and that whole physical feat you accomplished too? That really kicked ass as well.

So so proud of you Sue!


TJ December 10, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Okay, this post has sort of blown my mind, because it never occurred to me that you can WALK a half-marathon. I guess I thought the runner police would stop you. ha.

Anyway, so not only hooray for you for finishing, but you may have inspired me to try this!! Do you (or anyone else reading) have any suggestions of other blogs written by people who walk races? I read a few fitness/health blogs by runners, but I am totally adding you for walking inspiration.


Kristin@ Bringing Pretty Back December 10, 2010 at 10:36 pm

I am so happy for you and proud of you I can not take it! AWESOME!!!!!!!
Have a pretty day!


natalie @ http://healthybalancingact.blogspot.com/ December 11, 2010 at 4:18 am

congrats! what a fantastic effort! and what a blister!


Greta December 13, 2010 at 9:17 am

“But there wasn’t anyone out there who would say “Well, hotass, you gave it your best shot. It’s okay to throw in the towel.” Instead, everyone rallied. And left it up to me.”

You got that right! Wish I had been around to help rally you and also give you a butt slap! I’m so impressed and proud of you for pushing past the feeling of wanting to quit. The fact that you finished is cool, but the fact that you finished in spite of every part of your being wanting to stop is AMAZING. You are strong as hell mentally.

You nearly had me crying reading this. You’re just wonderful. That is all.


GeminiJulia January 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Ah–thank you for posting this! I did a 1/2 marathon in Pittsburgh last year and many of your thoughts and reactions are very familiar. The elations and the frustrations all mixed up into one 13.1 mile race. Congratulations for finishing. And you have a great bunch of Tweet friends who kept you going 🙂 I look forward to reading more!


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