Houston to be exact.
We don't have cold winters here. (At least we're not supposed to.) And by cold, I mean lows in the 20s and 30s. I know you Northern folks are giggling right now and calling me a pansy, but seriously folks - this is NOT normal!
It's bad enough that Mother Nature has to kick us in the ass every summer with 100+ temps and 100% humidity, but does she have to do it in the winter too? Our "winters" are not what people in other parts of the country consider winter...Texas winters are just a series of cold fronts with warmer temps in between. Every summer, I long for the "winters" here...and when it's finally in the 30s, I usually savor every second. Why? Because I know that it's just a matter of time before my car temperature gauge will read 116 again and it will be 87 degrees at 6 am. When it's cold, I feel like I can run forever. I also love that I don't return home from a run as a sloppy, drenched, stinky mess. I hate to say this - but I've had enough!
So where am I going with this? The Run Away With My Heart race was Saturday and it was a whopping 36 degrees. Honestly not that bad for a normal Saturday run...but when you're dragging your 2 kids and hubby out to a race (and you have to stand around for an hour), it's cold!
We arrived at the race later than I would have liked. I forgot the camera, so we had to go back home. Fortunately, we live about 6 minutes from the start line, so it was all good. When we arrived, we had just enough time to get everyone out of the car, get the stroller out, get everyone bundled and pin on the Kiddo's race number. Both the kiddos had multiple layers on - kinda like the kid from Christmas Story who can't put down his arms. :-) The Kiddo was running the kid's 1-miler. We heard the announcer (Jon) telling all the kids to get to the start. The Kiddo looked a teeny bit nervous, but was excited. What I didn't realize is that even the kid's race was a trail run...and we just bought the Kiddo new Nikes! :-) Not a big deal if it hadn't rained all day on Thursday. I had planned to run with the Kiddo, but the Munchkin had other plans for me - he was cold and clingy - luckily, the hubby shunned his photographer duties and ran with her. In his Vans. With multiple layers of clothing. Did I mention that he is NOT a runner? The kiddo did great. From what I could tell, she was one of the younger participants. And she even beat a couple of boys who appeared to be a couple of years older. She was very proud of her finisher's medal (and her muddy shoes)!
And they're off! These are the youngest of the kiddos heading out on their run.
Daddy got a quick pic before taking off with the Kiddo. It was cold and the Kiddo didn't want to take her hands out of her pockets, lol!
A few minutes later, it was time for the 5-miler to begin. We took off and within minutes, I saw the mud. There was a lot of mud dodging going on in the 1st mile, so it was slow going. I was being overly cautious....heck, I've never run in mud before, so the last thing I wanted to do was slip and fall or tweak an ankle. For some reason, about a 1/2 mile in, I noticed that my left sock was coming off my heel and slipping down into my shoe. I stopped and pulled it up, then went on my way again. Before I hit the 1-mile mark, both socks were doing the same thing! I had to stop, untie my double tied shoes, pull up my socks and then re-tie my shoes (but much tighter!). Not sure why this happened...I did wear my oldest pair of shoes and from what I remember, I may not have worn this type of sock with them in the past. The shoes felt loose and everything was fine after I tightened my shoes. Then of course my shoes felt too tight and I was worried I'd start to lose circulation, lol! My 1st mile was craptastic - 11:33 pace! Doh!
At some point, in the 2nd mile I saw a sign that said "mud hazard". Sure enough, it was really muddy! Next, I saw a sign that said "water hazard". They weren't kidding! There was a dip, with a huge puddle of water at the bottom. Someone had placed a wooden pallet there to make a bridge, but when you stepped on it, it sunk. Then, when you stepped off of it, the only place to go was into ankle deep water! There was a volunteer there and he did warn us that the water was ankle deep. So the shoes were a little squishy after that, but it was all fun! I thought for sure that I'd lose the long sleeve shirt, or at least the gloves, but I never got that warm. It was nasty and overcast, plus the wet feet...maybe that's why I never warmed up.
A little later, I noticed that we were out of the muddiest area and we were running either on packed dirt or rocky gravel...it was an out and back course, so I made a little mental note that I should pick up the pace here on the way back, especially since that last mile would be a slow, muddy one. And that's exactly what I did - I ran the drier areas at a sub-10 pace. When we did get back to the mud, I said screw it and did my best to just run right through it. Screw caution. :-) I was getting brave. The only problem, is that after those fast(er) couple of miles, I was struggling. I was breathing hard and going as fast as I could (around 10:20 - 10:30). But, I think I managed to pick it up a little at the very end and managed to finish in 53:32 - the Garmin said I ran 5:07 at a 10:34 pace. Must have been all that mud dodging, lol! Official results - 53:32, 10:42 pace. As I suspected, not the fastest 5-miler.
Crappy picture. Almost at the finish...about to check the Garmin, of course!
With the kiddos after the race....brrr, so cold! We didn't stick around too long.
Ahhh mud! Actually, the shoes looked much better than I thought the would after all that mud.
Overall, this was an excellent race. It was well-organized and you could tell there was a lot of thought put into all the extras - the great swag (a Bondi Band, flashlight, water bottle, energy bar, t-shirt, etc.), carnations at the finish, breakfast tacos at the finish, donuts (which the kiddos seemed to enjoy while I was running), even the chance to renew your vows (maybe next year, it was too cold this year) and much more! I'm looking forward to next year - mud and all!