What. A. Day. I’ve always joked that it’s harder on the side of the road than in the race, but today that might actually have been true! 99 degrees. Heat index of 110. Race at 12 noon. 14 laps on a 5-mile course. Brian will surely post his side of the Master’s National Championships Road Race story, but mine was pretty grueling (and entertaining), too.
We started out the day late, in spite of a nice organized plan of when to leave. Brian let the kids and I go to the pool, and they had a blast, so that set us back at least 15 stressful minutes. When we finally found a parking place, it was just 40 minutes until Brian’s start time. We sent him off, and I haphazardly packed a bag with waterbottles, Gatorade powder, and snacks for the kids. Notably found to be missing later was sunblock and something to sit on. Arg. The kids insisted on taking their backpacks loaded with toys and scooters. We started trekking up the hill, and luckily caught Brian before his race. Analise gave him a pre-race cheer with her homemade sign (photo).
For some reason, we had to trek back down the long hill to our car, before a long walk back up and then down to settle into the feed zone. Are you tired yet? Because Josiah was. And crying. It was a long unhappy walk, and this poor mom/fan was on a mission to get to the feed zone with bottles for Brian ASAP. (At this point, I could tell you where Brain was, that he’d been on the front and attacking, even post pics but I’ll leave that for his race report, which may or may not be longer than this.)
So I settled the kids down in the shade on the grass (well, on Analise’s homemade sign) while I headed down the steep hill to the unshaded side of the road to give Brian a bottle. (Which he didn’t take, much to my dismay. He had talked about only wanting 2 bottles, but given how we were melting in the heat, I had decided I’d be there coaxing him with water/Gatorade on every lap.) Josiah was still unhappy when I left, but when I came back they were both completly unraveled. Their were ants on the sign and crawling on them. (But just a few! Please… don’t think I’m a terrible mom!) So we moved to the golf cart path, and I spent the 12 min between laps trying to make them happy.
I headed down to hand a bottle, which Brian took, but then I had to quickly head back up the hill to the kids to pick up our one waterbottle and Brian’s empty one and go fill them. That was an uphill walk, maybe only 400m or so, but one I did probably 8 times, no kidding. Brian took 9 bottles during the race, and if he hadn’t, there’s no way he would have finished.
Eventually the kids wanted to come down towards the road with me. I’d struck up a camraderie with another wife/fan with a 6-month old who was feeding her husband (aka me 3 years ago, minus one 3-year old). She and I would be on the side of the road waiting for the guys, while Analise was trying to keep her little one from crying. Josiah would give us updates like, “The baby isn’t crying because my sister is giving it a waterbottle.”
So we made it through 13 laps, handed Brian his last, and probably most important bottle, and we headed cross-country up the hill to the finish. The kids found a big rock to watch the exciting finish, and I moved a little ways away so I could see him coming up the hill. (And yell. I yell loud and often at races. Brian even told me today he heard me on the other side of the course, but I think that’s because I’m in his head.) And so we cheered him to his 5th place finish (photo). Believe me, it was a team effort! We are so proud of him!
The fun wasn’t over, though. Brian was exhausted, so he asked me to go get him something to eat/drink. He had checked about the award’s ceremony, and it wasn’t going to be until 7pm. I headed off (down the long hill) to drive to Smoothie King. As I was trekking back up the hill, trying to carry 4 smoothie cups, I vaguely heard the announcer on the loudspeaker say “Brian” (garble-garble) “Kristine” (ears perked up) “podium”. Dang! I got there as quickly as I could to find them waiting for me, and the 4th place finisher (who didn’t end up making it back to the abruptly rescheduled ceremony).
The kids got to be Brian’s podium crew, giving him hugs and kisses after he got called up (photo). So sweet! They, of course, had their time on the podium after the official ceremony (photo). So this #1 fan is exhausted. And sunburned. And dirty. But it was all worth it today!