Last Sunday I ran the San Antonio Rock N Roll Half Marathon. It was a fantastic experience, although my training this go 'round left much to be desired. I vowed to do my best in spite of only completing about 70% of my training. Justin wavered on actually running the race, but his last minute decision to run with me had me pumped and motivated to get through all 13.1 miles.
After hearing about the insane crowds and logistical nightmares with parking and shuttle, Justin and I set out to arrive super early in order to avoid too much stress on race morning. It was a great idea, until the alarm didn't go off and we were an hour behind schedule. So much for avoiding stress on race morning. It was just nuts from there.
We ran late, sat in traffic, stood in line for the shuttle, ate on the shuttle, walked a mile to get Griffin set up at the finish line tent, walked another mile to get back to the start line, stood in line for the port a potty FOREVER, and jumped straight into a corral to begin the race.
Mile 1- The crowds were crazy! We were running easy and I was taking in the crowds and the atmosphere of the race.
Mile 2- Justin timed our pace. Remember, there was no goal of a glamorous finish time, just to get through the miles and cross the finish line.
Mile 3- We were at a 10:00 minute pace. Faster than I would have liked for the beginning. Justin was chomping at the bits to move a little faster.
Mile 4- Justin started easing out it front of me, but would turn back and shoot me an encouraging and motivating smile and thumbs up ever now and then.
Mile 5- I spied Team Determination Coaches! One of them jumped out and ran with me for bit. She offered up all kinds of supplies, but the only thing I took was a wet wipe. Who knew that thing would be so amazing on a run?!?! It was so humid and the sweat and salt was beginning to feel cruddy on my face. Being able to wipe it off was refreshing.
Mile 6- I lost Justin by this point, but was so thankful he was feeling good enough to take off and run a little faster. We entered a historic district and one of the homes had a table set up with free beer. At the beer table I spotted a runner that was nothing but pure entertainment for the next several miles. Dressed in neon, 80's workout attire, he downed a beer and pulled off a few dance moves.
At the 10K point I was at 10:16/mile pace
Mile 7- 80's dude had been entertaining the crowds with his dance moves and even replicated the Flash Dance water scene, when he grabbed a spectators water, assumed a somewhat sultry position, and poured the water over his head. He then headed over to another crowd watcher for a little smoke time because filling your lungs up with toxins always helps when your running. Good entertainment,guys!
Mile 8- DONUTS! The sweetest girl was standing in the crowds holding a box of the most amazing, fresh, glazed donuts. Guess who headed straight in her direction? It was so sad to lose sight of 80's guy shortly after this point. The sadness was short lived because in the most perfect timing, my love showed up! My legs were feeling a little achy at this point, but otherwise I was feeling great! Justin's calf was acting up and he was really having to push through some pain.
Mile 9- Justin had to stop due to the pain, but he encouraged me to keep going. The roads got narrow and the crowds started to get a bit thicker here. The encouragement of the cheering crowd was great.
Mile 10-12- The Alamo! Bands!, Cheering crowds! But, of the lactic acid build up in calves was intense. It was so painful, but I never started cramping up and my breathing was under control and not labored at all. I kept thinking I should be moving faster, but I was only slowing down.
Mile 13- I was hurting and knew there was one last hill coming right before the finish. But, the crowds were incredible. I spotted ahead of me a lady in a pink shirt that said " I run because______!" My mental chant from here to the finish was every reason why I was running. Which is actually a good thought for another post, another day. But, to give you a hint, because I CAN is on the top of my list. We rounded the last corner and faced the hill. It was a moment where I was actually thankful for all of the hills I have encountered since moving to San Antonio. About 1/3 of the way up the hill my pink shirt stopped and doubled over to grab her leg. "Oh no you don't," I said as I grabbed her arm and forced her up. "Your shirt has gotten me through the last mile and I need you to keep going to the top of this hill." She quickly got on board and resumed her run across the finish line.
My legs were burning as I shuffled through the finishers maze. I made it back to the Team Determination tent and was immediately hit with the leg cramps. During my stretching, as soon as one muscle would stop another would start. It became quite comical for a moment.
Just as I got my legs back in order, Justin appeared with a finishers medal in hand. It was a terrific moment to know that we finished. He would probably beg to differ with you- the idea that I finished ahead of him was enough for him to commit to another half marathon in the spring. The idea of hanging up the towel on long distance running has been in the forefront of his mind pre-race day.
Here we are Race #1 in 2010 on the left and the most recent on the right. I'm 10 pounds heavier than I was the first go around, and definitely less trained than before, but even with the leg pain, I felt stronger and better post-race than my first time. I do attribute some of that to the northern terrain of San Antonio- THANK YOU neighborhood hills!
For this race, I joined Team Determination of the American Cancer Society with a group of co-workers. The experience of getting to know some new faces in the office and fundraising for a good cause gave me a different focus at this race. I wasn't just running for what I could accomplish, but for a multitude of other reasons. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to run with such a great organization and group of people!
And you, my lovely readers, still have the opportunity to support my fund raising efforts. Although race day has come and gone, Cancer has not! We have left our fundraising open a little longer for those of you who would like to make a contribution. Please click here to make a donation! Help me meet my fundraising goal!
Off and Running,