I left my house at 2pm (race started at 3) because I knew that it would take at least 30 minutes to get there. I live only 15 minutes away, but they had shut down one of our major roads for construction all weekend so the back way I had to take was sure to be jammed full of not-so-happy rerouted people.
Anthony's aunt texted me while I was still waiting in a line of traffic on said back road, asking if I were there yet. I said no, but probably would be off this particular street within 5 minutes and it should be a short 5 minute drive from there. She said they were 1 stoplight down from the zoo waiting in line to turn in (they were coming the opposite way from me).
It took exactly 5 minutes for me to turn onto the next street (points for me knowing my Nashville traffic!), and not even 5 to get to where I could see the entrance to the zoo. That's where the real fun began.
(don't you love this overpass with the animals painted on? on the other side there's a cheetah stretching up to a bird. very fun.)
I only got pictures from my side of the line, because thankfully it moved really quickly. However, once I got around this corner:
This is what awaited me!
Once I was in, I texted them to see if they had parked. They were STILL IN LINE to turn into the zoo! My side of town for the win!
More waiting ensued...at least it's a pretty little drive up the zoo property to the parking lot...
(this sign always cracks me up a little bit)
I finally parked. There was a MASSIVE amount of people milling around the parking lot (including Gnash, the Nashville Predator's mascot). So I decided to just hang around the top of the lot and wait for Anthony's mom and aunt...because I figured there was NO WAY I would find them in that crowd.
(which I found out later was at least 3000 people strong--and that was just the participants)
I only ran into one other person I knew--a former coworker from when I was teaching. Since we taught together she has had a precious little girl who is now 2, and found out that she had cancer when Olivia was 3 weeks old. She thankfully was declared cancer free last October, and is doing these 5Ks and half-marathons just to show that she's kicked cancer's ass. I love it.
They delayed the start of the race until 3:15 because of the traffic, but eventually we were off!
The route was pretty cool--lots of little trails not open to the public and quite the backyard tour of the zoo! We're members there so I thought I had seen all the animals the zoo houses, but there are several that live off exhibit. I was lucky enough to walk by these tapirs. If I hadn't watched Rachael Ray earlier in the week I wouldn't have known that they were so special, but apparently they're a pretty rare sight.The path was paved at times, rocky at times, and muddy often. Several hills and twists and turns. I can't imagine having run those portions of it!
We got to see the Bengal tigers (who were quite interested in all of us too!) and the other big cats (Lynx and cougars were out) but most of the other animals were either indifferent or holed away somewhere. I didn't stop to take any pictures. Got a couple of drive-by shots, but they definitely show motion:
(lynx)We wanted to beat our last 5K time which was somewhere in the 55-60 minute range. Of course, we all were walking slower that race so we thought it shouldn't be a problem. We decided that somewhere between 45 minutes and 50 minutes would be great. Of course, we decided this when my iPhone app that we were using to time ourselves (we weren't officially timed, so we started about 5 minutes after the timed runners/walkers) turned to 40 minutes. So we were hoping we were within 10 minutes of ending the race!
Mess, Anthony's aunt, got a little burst of energy right at the end and started speedwalking. Anthony's mom and I looked at each other, shrugged, and kept walking at the same pace. She finished 10 seconds ahead of us...we ended the walk at 48:36. Not too shabby for walking the ENTIRE way...and definitely not to shabby for me considering that less than a month before it literally hurt to walk from one place to the next. My back did fine for the entire time, and I even began contemplating running some in the next 5K we do...which will be in 2 weeks!
finished! Anthony's mom on the left, aunt on the right
Mess and me
And then Sunday came.
And in true Lora fashion:
I completely wiped out in the back of our sanctuary after church.
Twisted my ankle.
Not TOO badly, but enough that I'm now wearing an ankle brace for support so that I'll be able to do the next 5K...
but I guess I'll be walking that one too!
(Next 5K: Nashville Predators Fangtastic 5K...February 6...12 days and counting!)