HE DID IT! After months and months of running laps around DC, eating perfectly measured bowlfuls of whole-wheat pasta, testing out every water bottle holder and GU flavor known to man and uploading a gajillion miles to his Nike Plus profile, Matthew James Izzo ran The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer on Feb. 12, 2012 in Jacksonville. His brother, Paul, also ran the marathon with him (Paul’s 4th marathon! Yes I’m serious.) and Amy, Brian, Kyra, Paul Sr. and myself (aka KATHY’S KREW) ran the 5-mile Marathon Relay. As you may know, Matt’s mother, Kathy is a breast cancer survivor, so we were all running for a lot more than personal pride. It was so wonderful to support the cause and see Jacksonville covered in pink!
Matt’s official time: 3 hours and 54 minutes!
Kathy’s Krew official time: ALSO 3 hours and 54 minutes – we finished 20th out of 224 teams!!
*Sidenote: Matthew would like me to add that he was on pace to finish in 3 hours and 30 minutes but his legs completely cramped at mile 20, causing him to run/walk the last six miles. I told him my legs would be doing a lot more than cramping at mile 20. They would be broken in a million pieces because I would have thrown myself in front of oncoming traffic if I had to run 20 miles.
Speaking of the number “20,” I would also like to highlight that it was 20 DEGREES OUTSIDE! We were all frozen solid, and the entire time I was running I just kept thinking, “please don’t let Matthew be as cold as me!” I was also thinking how bad I felt that he didn’t get to showcase his plethora of Nike Dri-Fit tank tops that he modeled for me the night before we left for Florida. “Should I wear this one? What about this? Does this one make my arms look bigger?” I tried to keep a straight face to showcase my wifely devotion, but it was really, really difficult.
We had to be at our posted spots a good 35-40 minutes before it was our time to shine, so I spent the majority of the time jumping up and down like an idiot. I also spent an embarrassing amount of time in the CLEAN, wind-free port-a-potties. I know, I know, gross, but people – I was on a BEACH. At 6 AM. In SPANDEX.
Although it was cold, I actually think it works to your advantage as you really can’t feel the better part of your body for the first 15-20 minutes of running. By the time you defrost, you’re almost done! Since I couldn’t feel my legs, I had much more time to look around and take in the simply breathtaking view on Jacksonville Beach. Even though my hands were also frozen, I managed to snap this picture of my view:
Once my leg was complete and I handed the big red baton to Amy, I made my way back to the meeting point (after a few really nice Jacksonville folk/sideline cheerleaders let me use their phones while they took mine in their house to charge. It’s a semi-long story.) and Brian and I drove back to the main area (after almost getting arrested…another semi-long story!) to wait for Matt, Paul and Mr. Izzo to bring home the gold.
I was so proud of Matt and could not wait to see him cross the finish line! I was waiting for him with a blanket (that I was keeping warm for him by completely swaddling myself into) and all of the free drinks/bananas/muffins I could hold while also being swaddled in a blanket. Special shout-out to Brian and Amy for constantly picking up everything I kept dropping.
After the race we all piled into one car, grabbed some grub and enjoyed each other’s company for the next day and a half! Oh, and ate a ton of Mojo’s barbecue and pistachio-chocolate chip birthday cake that Kathy made for me! :) Because seriously, it is important to replenish your body after running 30.2 miles combined. (Thanks Matt for doing the majority of the “legwork” for us. Get it, legwork?? Ah, I think my brain is still partially frozen.)
Although the marathon was obviously a big deal, one other event completely trumped it:
Meeting baby Emma! This gorgeous little girl was just born on January 31 to very proud parents Stephen and Kim. We were so lucky to be able to meet her so quickly and so blessed to have another beautiful niece in our lives!
Emma was so good each time we visited, even though she was surrounded by new faces and held in many different arms! Although Matt and I have many nieces and nephews, it is funny how quickly you forget just how teeny-tiny they all once were. And how freakin’ adorable they look in polka-dot pants!
It was also so exciting to see Stephen and Kim as parents after a few years of being on Team DINKS (dual-income-no-kids) together. Don’t worry – we’ll hold down the DINK fort for awhile!
We also got to spend time with the “big” kids:
All in all, it was another fantastic weekend in Florida. A successful marathon, an ultimate record for Kathy’s Krew, a house full of family and a little miracle named Emma…it doesn’t get any better than that! However, within five minutes of walking into our apartment, Matt looked at me and said, “I think I want to train for an ultra marathon.”
I immediately rolled my eyes, shook my head and collapsed on the couch, exhausted at the thought of being married to an ultra-marathoner. How many GU packs, Nike chips, Brooks sneakers and Hal Higdon (who was at the race expo, btw! Matt was so starstruck) quotes can a wife take? However, I’m thinking that if they give out full-sized Clif bars, crazy energy drinks, cups of Panera soup and gourmet muffins as big as my face after marathons, I can’t even imagine what kinds of free goods they have at ultra marathons. I told him that as long as I can bring a lawn chair, crafts and a rolly suitcase to fill with the freebies, I’m in.