Arizona part 2: Josh's first 26.2

And now, the reason we went to Arizona in the first place: Josh's 1st marathon!

It was an adventure! For him, obviously, but for me too... more than I expected.

But let's back up. When we arrived in AZ, the first thing we did was hit up the expo. Expo's are like my second fave thing about races, right behind crossing the finish line. Sometimes they're lame, but you usually come out with at least a few free samples of cool products and a new tech shirt to add to your collection. Of course, this time I didn't get a new shirt or a cool swag bag since I wasn't running, but it was fun nonetheless.

Josh practiced crossing the finish line.

He must have channeled his inner-Ryan Hall in order to finish that marathon in 2:03... in blue jeans.

Plus we saw a dragon.
Then we did a little sightseeing around Phoenix and found the best coffee establishment ever.

Unfortunately we didn't get to get a drink there because it was closed :(

Had dinner that night with Josh's friend Drew who moved to Phoenix a little over a year ago. Good times.

Fast forward to Sunday.


It started off perfect. We woke up on time. Had breakfast. The weather couldn't have been better.

The first thing we noticed upon arriving at the start was this:

Some old couple literally wrapped in a blanket together making out. Seriously?! It was so strange.

After a 30 minute delayed start time, they were off!

The plan was for me to drive along the course and try to see Josh around mile 6, 13, 19, and then the finish.

I was SO NERVOUS about this. I hate maps. I hate driving in places I'm not familiar with. And I especially hate trying to follow maps to drive in places I'm not familiar with.... let alone when half of the streets are closed due to the race.

I made it to the 10K (mile 6ish) easy enough.

mile 6
Josh crossed the 10K with a time of 45:11.

Then I was off to the mile 13 and 19 mark (it was a little out-and-back part, so I could see him there twice... if I made it...)

Josh told me it would be SUPER EASY to just follow the map (which was TINY and didn't have many street names listed) to navigate the course. Well, it's super easy if you're a genius who has an inner sense of direction, not if you're me.

So I figured instead of trying to look at a tiny map while driving, I'd just plug in the street of the 13/19 point into my GPS and let Bertha (the lady who lives in my phone and gives me directions) take me there.

WELLLLL.... Bertha didn't know that streets were closed. She took me on some highway which somehow landed me on the wrong side of the course to where I couldn't get where I wanted to go.

As you can imagine, I started to get really frustrated. My worst nightmare had come true. I was lost in Arizona, missing Josh's race. I felt like a loser.

After almost an hour (and Josh had passed mile 13) I decided to stop trying to get to the 13/19 point and just get to the finish. After all, that's the most important part, right? And at the rate I was going, I'd miss him at 19 too, so I needed to get to the finish.

To make matters worse, I had 5 miles left until my gas tank was on E and had absolutely NO CLUE where I was. I couldn't do anything Bertha said because she kept wanting me to turn down streets that were closed. I stopped and asked a cop who was working the course how to get to the finish. Guess what he told me?

You can't get there from here.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! I wanted to cry. But I also knew there had be some way to get there, even with the road closures. I mean seriously. He also told me he had no idea where the nearest gas station was. Awesome dude, thanks for ALL of your help.

Again, I wanted to cry. But I held myself together. I was kind of proud of how calm I was being given the fact that THIS WAS ONE OF THE BIGGEST DAYS OF JOSH'S LIFE AND I WAS SCREWING IT UP AND MISSING IT!

Periodically, I'd get texts from Twitter -- my friends were keeping me updated on Josh's status (thanks friends!!) via online tracking. I thought it'd be the other way around... me keeping them updated.. who knew they'd be the ones keeping me in the know! Thanks to them, I found out he crossed the half way mark at 1:35. He was KILLING the race! That, at least, made me smile and I knew I'd do whatever the heck I had to do to see him cross the finish line!

Finally, after a mild panic attack and several stops to ask for directions, I put some gas in the car and got pointed in the right direction!

I finally made it to Tempe, where the finish line was. Once I got off the exit and saw some half marathon finishers I knew I had to be close. HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF. I parked in the first lot I saw that said "Event Parking" even though it cost money and I'm sure there were free lots...I didn't care I just wanted to get there ASAP!

I got to the finish line with about 10 minutes to spare before Josh's projected finish time. PHEW.

His goal was 3:12-3:15ish and when 3:15... 3:20... 3:25 came and went I started to get nervous. Of course so many thoughts filled my head... He must be hurt somewhere along the course! Did I miss him finish somehow? or Had I totally ruined his race by not making it to the 19 mile mark... was he worried about me and that caused him to have a bad race?!

Finally he comes around the corner and sprints towards the finish!!

I cheered really loud, but I don't think he heard me.

And just like that, MY B WAS A MARATHONER. 3 hours, 29 minutes, and 38 seconds.

Luckily, it was pretty easy for us to find each other afterwards. I then found out what had held him back from his 3:15 finish: blisters. Horrible 2 inch long blisters on the bottoms of both of his feet. Ouch :(

But still! 3:29 is an incredible time and I was so proud!

He was in pain, but HE DID IT!

And then even more fun!! -- As we were walking back to the car, I realize nothing looks familiar and I have no clue where the car is. Awesome. I spent all morning lost around Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe, and now I lost the car itself.

It's just that I had parked it right in front of the stadium where the finish was, so I didn't think it'd be that hard to find again. Plus I was so frazzled from being lost and making it on time that I didn't really think to pay super close attention to the exact location.

I really rock as an intelligent being.

I left Josh on the side of the road to sit while I went to find the car, because he was in pain and let's be honest, who knew how long it could take me to find the car. Josh updated my Twitter for me during this time.

I keep telling him he needs a twitter of his own!!! ;)

Anyway, I eventually figured out that we had just exited the stadium on the opposite side. Once we walked around it, I immediately found the car. I knew I wasn't totally dumb. I just lack that handy inner sense of direction..

Per post-race tradition, we stopped at Starbucks on the way back to the hotel, and saw this little guy hanging out in front..

Josh said he thought it looked like he had a feather in his cap :)

So overall, it was a pretty crazy day. The marathon wasn't as easy as Josh was hoping, and navigating the course wasn't as easy as I was hoping. But in the end, HE FINISHED THE RACE and I was there to see it!! So we'll chalk that up to a WIN!

Moral of the story: If you're running a marathon, don't wear shoes that you've only run in once or twice. If you're spectating a marathon, bring a friend who can read maps, hire a taxi driver, charter a bus, don't use your GPS.....

Congratulations, B! You're now in the 1% of the population who has run a marathon!!! YOU'RE AMAZING and I love you!