Sorry this race report is so late! I have had a busy week traveling for work, then this weekend was the Kiddo's birthday party, plus DH & I celebrated our 11th anniversary. Never a dull minute, I tell ya!
Friday, November 14
I managed to sneak out of work a bit early, but somehow we didn’t manage to get on the road until after 4 pm. We headed to the in-laws where we spent the night. I went to bed early, because I was up until 1am the night before working on my revised budget for work.
Saturday, November 15 – The Expo
That’s what time the Munchkin woke up.
He must have noticed that he was in the pack and play rather than his crib, not to mention that he wasn’t in his room. He did not want to go back to sleep and as a result, he also woke up his sister who also refused to go back to sleep. Sigh.
Around noon I headed to San Antonio to meet the Woodlands Fit peeps. I was the 1st to arrive at our hotel, which was an old house that was converted into a condo-ish type of hotel. It was in an older neighborhood with lots of restored, historic homes – very cute with a Spanish-tiled roof and hard-wood floors! Once everyone arrived, we decided to take care of our stomachs first and headed to the tea room around the corner. Yum-my! Of course, the 1st thing on the menu to catch my eye was the "fishbowl" mimosas…if only!
After lunch, we took the 1-mile trek to the Alamodome. The expo was extremely crowded and the lines were long, but it was well organized and the lines moved quickly. Compared to other marathons of this size, I wasn’t all that impressed with the vendors there. However, I did buy some sunglasses which proved to be a very, very good idea. After the expo, we headed back to our hotel to look through our swag. Again, compared to other marathons, not that impressive – gloves (which did come in handy), an utter butter sample, a cold medicine sample, a $10 PF Changs gift card and what appeared to be information about every upcoming race that had a booth at the expo. We decided to head back to the same tea room for some dinner, then headed back to the hotel where we all talked until about 10 pm.
Here we are at the Expo!
Sunday, November 16 – Race Day
Brrrr, it was in the 30’s when we woke up! We decided to head to the shuttle lines no later than 5:30 am, since we had a 1-mile trek to get there. It’s a good thing, because a bus was just leaving and the line was not too long. However, 10 minutes later, the line was all the way down the block! Unlike NYC, where a half-dozen buses are waiting at any given minute to shuttle people to the start, we had to wait for awhile before more buses came. I forgot my Garmin in the hotel, so I had no idea what time we finally headed to the start. We chatted with some fellow runners and even sang "Happy Birthday" to a guy we met who was from Florida. We saw tons of traffic on the interstate, so it was pretty obvious that there were going to be some people who were not going to make it to the start in time.
<- On the warm and toasty bus!
Once we arrived, several of us needed a porta-potty stop. By the time we were done it was time to head to our corrals. We were all in corral 17…there were a total of 30 corrals. Honestly, the entire weekend, I was stressing out about whether I could run the race, get back to the hotel, get back to the family in time to get back to Houston in time to meet up with my friend for dinner before the Madonna concert. We were in our corral about 15 minutes before the race was scheduled to start and people were still arriving and sprinting to their corrals. The race actually began about 15 minutes late, probably to allow those stuck on the shuttle buses in traffic. Once the gun went off, it took exactly 30 minutes for our corral to cross the finish line….I felt sorry for those people in corral 30!
Here we are before the race....do we look cold? And another pic of 30,000 of our closest friends....
We were off! It seemed to take me forever to loosen up...I think my entire body was tense from
all the shivering I had done while standing around in the cold. Early on, 2 of our 9 folks went on ahead of us. Then, another two. I was in the group of the remaining 4 and somewhere around mile 3 or 4 (I think), we had to head to the porta-potty. Fortunately, there was only one person in line at the 2 porta-potties. We probably lost 5 minutes there, but the relief was soooo worth it. I usually don’t have to make a stop on our long runs, but I think a combination of the cold and waiting for so long to start did me in. The bands were at every mile and sometimes more frequent, which was a nice distraction. Early on, we passed the Alamo and took a quick picture.
I don't know if it was the weather or just the adrenaline from the race and crowds, but I felt great. It was really hard to remember that this was a training run and to not speed up. Plus, I knew if I sped up too much, I would lose steam at the end. I kept reminding myself to just take it easy. A majority of the route was in downtown and we faced the sun quite a bit - that's where those sunglasses were a Godsend! The mile markers seemed to pass quickly, which was a great feeling. Eventually somewhere around mile 8 or 9, our group of four became two groups of two. Katie and I stuck together for the remained of the race. We passed the mile 10 and 11 markers and knew we were in the home stretch! Finally, we passed the mile 12 marker and began to see the Alamodome. We hear the crowds tell us that the finish is just around the corner...about that time we can see the mile 13 marker - placed very cruelly at the top of a steep ramp near the Alamodome. Yes, someone very evil planned the final stretch of the route! Bastards! :-) Katie and I said we were going to run the rest in, but I was a wuss and stopped running about 1/2 way up the hill and walked. But, once we were up the hill, the finish was in sight and there was no stopping again. We were done!
All in all, I'd say this was my best 1/2 in that I felt great the entire way. It was also my slowest 1/2, but not bad to a training run. I hope I feel 1/2 as great in Houston in January...with a flatter course, I am sure I can better my time quite a bit.
We made our way through all the crowds to get out medals. We were even interviewed by a TV crew! We grabbed some bagels, bananas, etc and made our way to our friends, where we had a bit of celebratory champagne.
After that, I pretty much speed-walked the mile back to the hotel. I was off to San Marcos to meet the family and then off to see Madonna....more on that later!