So, exactly one year ago, my friend Wendy that is pictured below in the middle, decided that she wanted to run a half marathon........ she decided on Donna Half Marathon that takes place in Jacksonville each year.
At the EXPO, there was a station that was set up with all kinds of dress up items from hats, to wigs, to boas, to wings, and much more! And, best thing?!!! It was FREEeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!! So, of course, my friends and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to dress up and take a pic!!! (Pictured below: Myself, Wendy, and Brandy)
Below are pictures of the Expo..... I placed in a gallery that should switch between pictures every few seconds...... you might be thinking..... man, the expo doesn't look crowded..... was it a small race? Well, let me explain...... My friends and I probably didn't prepare ahead for the weekend..... NONE of us, and I mean, Not one of us read any of the emails that preceded race weekend.........anddddd, consequently, we all assumed that the expo was at the conference area at the host hotel. WRONG!!!!!! The expo was literally 30 minutes from the hotel!!!! ANDddddd, we didn't head for the expo until 3pm.... so, we had to jump in the car in a hurry because the expo ended at 5pm.
I felt like a "get away driver"..... see, as we were waiting for an elevator in the hotel, we were informed where the expo was being held. My friends Wendy and Brandy decided to go up in the elevator to inquire about directions to the Expo while I ran back to room to get my car. Then, the plan was for me to drive to the front of the hotel and pick them up. However, they had started to walk toward to street.... so, I stopped the car and let them in..... and, I was on a mission to get us to the expo..... so much so that my friend brandy still had one leg hanging out of the car with the door opened when I took off..... oops!!! This let me know that I should never get in trouble while with Brandy because there would be no fast get a-way..... I mean, really? The girl can smoke a 5K but can't jump into a car fast?!!!!! Gonna have to work on that with her!!!! LOL! :D
The expo had many different type of vendors present........ from merchandise, to cosmetic surgeons, to physical therapist, to sunscreen, etc. It was pretty neat. Only wish we would have had more time to spend there..... the expo went until 5pm, and we arrived at 4pm.....an hour would have been fine, but most of the vendors started to pack up at 4:30pm. Oh well. I did get business cards so I could look up the different vendors on-line.
At the Expo, we spotted Jeff Galloway!!!!!!! And, he was kind enough to take a picture with us!!!!
Then, who would have thought, when we boarded our bus at 6am on Sunday morning, that Jeff Galloway would be boarding on our bus too!!! YEP!!!!! He was right there sitting amongst us women!!!! Wendy wanted me to snap a pic of her with Galloway in the back ground on the bus, but, I just couldn't. I really felt like it would creep him out.... HA! HA! But, when we got of the bus, Wendy and I ran him down and requested for him to take a picture..... so, yeah, not sure that was much better...... just call us stalkers! LOL! :D
When we lined up in the corrals, I was not expecting the emotions that I began to feel. See, let me explain...... this was Wendy's first half marathon. It was really ALL about Wendy...... Brandy and I were going to hang with Wendy and be her personal pacers!!!!! There was no stress like I usually have prior to a half where I am trying to PR. Literally, the run ahead was going to be like a Sunday long run! But... then, as we were lining up at the start into our corrals, I started to see thousands of people decked out in PINK! There were men as well as women. The men were rockin' PINK and even some with tutus!!! It was great!!!! And, then there were many that had bibs attached to there backs or had words written on the back of their shirts that explained who they were running for...... a family member, friend, mother, aunt, grandmother, etc that had been diagnosed or passed away from breast cancer. I could feel my eyes watering up and the emotion overwhelming me..... the run, at that point, became much more than just helping a friend achieve a personal goal. Yes, I was running for those that couldn't!!!!
Below, you can tell how excited Wendy was..... this was around mile 5 and she was giving the thumbs up on how she was feeling!!!
In one of the neighborhoods that we ran through, someone had this sign that they were letting people stop and take pictures...... there was a small line for this!
Not sure what mile the picture below was taken at, but I know is was in the first half of the half marathon...... I have been known to take selfies during races..... not all the time, but hey... I write a blog... I need pics!!!!! Maybe, if my blog ever takes off, then I can pay someone to be along the course to take pics.... until then, I have to depend on my selfies!! LOL! :D
Along the course, there were several motivating signs!!!! Below, I believe, was the best sign on the course..... however, there were many signs that I didn't get a chance to read because there were so many!!! It was awesome!!!! There were spectators all along the course!!!! The community was AWESOME!!!!!
Andddddddd, this little guy held a sign that if you touched it, it gave you power...... and, let me tell you, it really worked!!!!! I felt like super woman after touching it!!! LOL!!!!! But seriously, there was no way to pass up this cutie without touching the sign.... and, there were many other children along the way giving High-fives!!! IT WAS TOTALLY COOL!
You never knew what you might see along the course........ never a dull moment.....
Elvis was even on the course!!!! This guy had a belt holding a radio that was playing Elvis music.... he was doing the Galloway method of the walk/run technique and belting out Elvis songs!! It was GREAT! Oh, and of course, she was decked out in PINK too!!!! I wondered.... when he made it to the end of the course, when the runners cross the mat that allows the announcers know who is crossing.... did the announcer say, "ELVIS HAS LEFT THE COURSE!!!" ........ just wondering.
Below, was a guy that I saw.... wanted to snap a pic, but then again, I didn't want to seem creepy..... well, I was able to get a pic anyway when I saw this picture on Instagram!!!! :)
Below are pictures from he course..... these are only a few.... literally, all the neighborhoods decorated for the half marathon!!! I am telling you.... this event had crazy community support!!! It was truly AWESOME!!!!! Cars in driveways were decorated.... streamers hanging..... balloons everywhere.....
To read the recap on the event's web page, follow the LINK HERE!!!
Well, I need to run..... I have a 7 year old wanting to go outside before it gets too dark....... sorry for any typos or grammar errors..... no proof reading on this post......... UNTIL LATER!!!!!!
P.S. THIS HAS TO BE ONE OF MY MOST FUN HALF MARATHONS!!!! WILL DEFINITELY CONSIDER IN THE FUTURE!!!!
Ever have a race cause emotions you weren't expecting?
Were you at the Donna Marathon weekend? Do tell? Share pics if you like...... you can email them to me
Best race sign you have ever read?