I have been arguing with myself for the last 3 days about this race report. This was a tough race, not so much physically (although it was a beatdown on my body for sure) but mentally. I am starting over, and much like the 5k we ran the day before, this was going to give me a marker for exactly where I am right now. There has been a lot of emotion tied up in this for me - it's just hard to start over. And I knew this race was going to bring up a LOT of issues in my brain, much less in my body, which is why it was so crucial to me to have my friend Marci with me at my side. We were really glad to have Fiona along with us, too - I figured she would go on ahead since she is training so much stronger than I am right now (beastly, actually) - but it was awesome to have her optimism and cheerful attitude along for the whole ride, too. Kris and Mel were there to support me as well, but Kris is on a semi-hiatus from racing and Mel was gunning for a PR, so they were going to stick with the 10k.
We knew we were not going to "race" it per se, but rather make it a supported long run, and stick to our slower training paces, per McMillan. We knew we would have to slow down even further if it got too hot. We knew we were going to stop and take pictures and enjoy the day and our friends out there as much as we could. And we knew we were going to have breakfast afterward. Everything else? Just a means to an end, which was a few emotional dragons slayed along the course, with nifty hardware as a bonus.
My race reports are usually done in the Good, the Bad & the Ugly format, but honestly, so much of this race would have ended up in the Ugly category that I'm going to instead hijack this week's Thursday 13 and give you 13 Things I Don't Want to Forget about The Hottest Half!
- Yay for early arrivals and prime parking spots! We got there right past 6ish on Sunday, which meant I got a great spot along the street right where the course came out under the overpass. Convenient to get to before & after the race and made me so happy to turn the corner and see my EBV and know that the end was in sight!
- Bonus #2 for early arrivals - I got one of the cool coral-colored shirts instead of the standard red (and there were some blue, too). It's closer to orange than red, and it's way pretty. I am very happy with it and I'm sure I'll wear it a lot! Kinda bummed I forgot to go back and get an extra shirt as I could have since I'm a Mellew Incentives member, but by the time the race was over, I was ready to boogie from there (and never, ever, ever come back).
- I never noticed how many stupid bridges there are on this course. Never mind that we've run loops at White Rock since forever, and I've run that section twice in the last month. All I could think of in the first three miles was "How many freaking bridges are there?!"
- The Mike Moore Bridge is a freaking rubber band when a bajillion people are on it at the same time! Again, as much as we run this lake route (enough that we have nicknames of our own for all the places along the course: the Mockingbird Bridge is where we ran into Mike Moore on a training run last summer, Kris' Crying Tree is where she had a breakdown at Mile 16 of her first 18-miler, the Port-o-Potties near the bathhouse are where the BEST conversation ever on a run took place, etc., etc.), I never noticed the bouncing. But this time, oh, the bouncing! took a good quarter mile to get your legs back under you after getting off that thing. It was a little better on the back end because it wasn't so loaded with people by then.
- Gummy bears in ice water? Genius! Ice down my shirt, front and back? Glorious! Having my NTX Runner peeps at Mile 11 to look forward to since about, oh, mile 7? Greatness. Thanks, Libby, Shannon & Greg (plus the girls!) for making the back stretch so cool!! By the time we got to them, the sun was pretty merciless and we were actively seeking out shade spots, so the ice to cool us down was just the ticket!
- I love, love, love seeing all my frunners out on race morning!! Ran into too many people to name, but especially loved having pics with my Beer & Bagels crew Michelle K, Erik "DBS" K and Derek. I found the elusive Coco Washington, as well as the inimitable Brian B pre-race too, and of course, we had a mini-OKC reunion when we found Kris and Mel right before the gun went off. I love my frunners!!
- Also, so wonderful to see the whole Barraza clan out to help Lupe support daddy Bal on his first half marathon!! WOOT!! Great performance on a very hard day. If you can run a half in August in Texas, you can pretty much do anything!!
- Even better than seeing frunners pre-race is seeing them mid-course. Got to see Lesley and Elaine out on the run, looking strong and happy to be out in mid 90s and blazing sun. Freaks!!
- Big deal last year was that the race organizers ran out of water. Very glad to report that was not a problem this year. We had our own fluids with us, but saved them in case we needed them later on if the situation repeated itself. But they had everything under control, with more than enough water, properly diluted powerade and even someone with a water hose spraying us down at mile 7ish. Really happy we didn't have that to fight through again this year. I had half a 20 oz bottle of water when I was done and a nearly full bottle of gatorade/water mix when we were done.
- Despite drinking water and powerade at EVERY stop, taking e-caps 3-4 times during the race and not having an ill effects of the heat DURING the race, I have not felt that dehydrated after a race in a very long time. Took 2 tall glasses of water and three 32-oz bottles of diluted gatorade mix to get me feeling normal again Sunday night. I could tell it was a swelterfest when I took my shoes off at the car before breakfast and they were as wet as they had been after running through puddles on Saturday morning. eeeewwww.
- Primal scream on the Mike Moore Bridge. Glad to report that it freaked some folks out behind me who had no idea what was going on. Marci just looked at them and very matter-of-factly said, "primal scream." Um, DUH!
- I have the BEST friends ever. Marci literally held my hand when I hit a few tough spots between mile 9 and 12, and she told me what I know, but needed to hear again. She and Fiona let me get ahead when I was feeling good physically and needed to put on the jets and run out some of the emotions going through my psyche. They understood enough about what I was going through that they were right next to me when I needed them and gave me space when I needed that. Without us saying a word about it. They just knew. And we crossed the finish line hand in hand, with Mel joining us when she saw us coming down the stretch. And when the announcer said "welcome back" to us, he couldn't have chosen better words. I'm back. I'm not The Runner I Used To Be. And that's OK. Because while The Runner I Am Now has a lot of work to do, I'm not doing it alone, just like I didn't cross the finish line alone.
- I crashed HARD when I got home, taking an unintentional 2-hour nap, and I may or may not have slept with my medal on. I'm going to enjoy this medal for a while. Because I'm not EVER doing this damn race again!
|Pre-Race with NTX Runners & the WRL Girls|
|Lupe & Bal along with their friends joining us for pics.|
|I ever have to go to war, I want these two women by my side!|
|Coco Washington!! 'nuf said!|
|We apparently missed the coin toss?? what *is* going on here??|
|Gummy Bear goodness!! Thanks NTX Runers crew!!|
|Lesley & Elaine post-race!!|
|Done. And beyond blessed. Thank you Marci & Fi!|