On Saturday morning, we went to the race expo to pick up our bibs and right away I noticed that our names weren't printed on them - big disappointment, as that was one of the things that they said would happen. Then we went to get our long-sleeved cotton t-shirts. There were tear tags on the bib with the sizes we'd requested - mine said L for the shirt, and women's L for the finisher's shirt. Huh...I had a feeling that the large cotton shirt would be too big (it was) and I usually get an XL for technical shirts when they are women's cut, because I don't like them to be too tight. I walked around the expo a little deflated, knowing that I was going to end up with two shirts that didn't fit. I'm usually more on top of sizing - guess I wasn't thinking when I registered us?
After we came home, I attached my bib to the new Spi belt I'd bought - wasn't sure I'd wear it for this race, but I wanted to try it out. Then I realized that my birthdate was wrong and that it had me 5 1/2 years younger. Criminy! There go my chances for placing in my age group for sure (yes, I'm joking). Then I double-checked the number from what I'd written down (and handed to the packet pickup volunteer) - it was the wrong number. So, we went back to the expo and got the correct bib - and what do you know? The shirt sizes were medium for the cotton and XL for the technical! I hadn't lost my mind after all! I left the expo with a long-sleeved shirt that fits; got home and used the printer to get our names on our bibs, and felt 100% better about the whole thing.
Here's some of the goodies that came with our packet:
This was before I noticed that the number was wrong...
Luckily for us, the expo was only a couple miles from our house, so going to it twice wasn't a big inconvenience. I spent an hour changing my mind about 10 times as to what I was going to wear for the race (I was having a fat day and everything looked awful on me), finally laid out all my stuff, and then rested up for the big day. Oh, and we had French toast for dinner, which is my new favorite way to carb up before a race.
Can I just say how nice it was to do a race in town? We got to sleep in our own bed (I still did my normal tossing and turning before a race, but was much more comfortable), the drive to the race start took us all of five minutes, and we didn't have to rush afterward to check out of a hotel. Plus, this race - the BCS Marathon and Half Marathon - was very, very well done...great course (mostly flat with a few downhills and one short mean hill at mile 12.5), great support, fun finish area...and this is only the second year of the race!
On to the race recap. We met up with our USAFit peeps beforehand and hung out for a while. Then we moseyed to the start area - there were no corrals, so we tried to get close toward the back. I was sweating and clammy right before we started - it was just plain STUPIDHOT for December 9th. I think the temperature was 72 degrees and the humidity was nasty - like 94%. Soupy. The race started right on time, and we set off running. Our goal was to run the first two miles without stopping, then take a short water break. We managed that just fine, then ran to mile 3 where we had a GU. I think there was a water stop shortly after mile 3 and we refilled our bottles - yes, they were getting close to empty because it was so hot. We continued running until mile 5 - that was my goal. Then we took a pretty long walking break to eat our Honey Stinger Waffles (I had a hard time getting mine down; nerves or heat, who knows why). After that we would run some, and then walk some, and of course, we got water at every aid station, plus I usually had a couple sips of Gatorade as well.
Around mile 7, we ran through Northgate, which is a bar and restaurant area across from campus. That was fun because Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with a couple of reindeer, were there! I wish we would have stopped to take a picture with them, but we were running pretty good at that point so we didn't. Then we ran through Texas A&M University campus, which was nice because usually I'm driving somewhere there and have to pay attention to where I'm going, so being on foot, I got to see things that I usually miss. Unfortunately, around that time was when I realized I was getting a really painful blister on the ball of my left foot. We came up to a medical aid station, and I stupidly decided not to stop. It got worse and worse, and I ended up walking more than I would have liked. There was another medical aid station around mile 10, so I did stop there and ask for a bandaid. When I pulled off my sock, the blister was huge - about the size of a half dollar coin. Plus, I had another big one on the toe that was next to my taped toes! I got it bandaged up and the medic handed me two Tylenol to take, which was nice.
Along with all of the spectator support along the course, it was wonderful to see people we knew - my running buddy Jenny couldn't race due to some pretty major foot issues, but we saw her at two different places. We also got a nice surprise when we saw our old running coach, Joni, her husband Rand and baby Davis! I gave her a sweaty hug which I'm sure was pretty disgusting on her end, but it was very comforting to me. Coach Dale was driving the course in a Gator and came alongside of us while we were on campus - I thought he was going to offer us a ride, but sadly, no. Still, his was another friendly face that was good to see.
We spent the next 3 miles walking and running, but probably more walking than running. Thankfully, the last part of the course was downhill, so we booked it to the finish line. I was surprised to see two of the physical therapists that I used to work for (Scott & White, the medical clinic, was a big race sponsor) there, and they both came over to hug me. We got our medals and our finisher's shirts, and then headed down to the food area.
Good things about the race:
- My ankle didn't bother me at all until we stopped running. I'll take that!
- We had a good time even with the unseasonably warm temps.
- Super cool medal and finisher's shirt
- Since we weren't pressed for time to check out of a hotel or get on the road, we got to hang around for several hours afterward to wait for and cheer our marathon runners in.
- Blisters, ouch. And my toe hurt from about mile 4 through 7, but either the pain went away, or the blister pain eclipsed it.
- While I didn't let it depress me, my overall attitude about running 13 miles still wasn't great - honestly, I lost my motivation/excitement around mile 8, and I just didn't want to be running anymore.
Even though our names weren't printed on our bibs, I took care of that issue by printing them out, then taping them on with clear packing tape. Totally worth the effort, as we got lots of spectators calling out "great job, Shelley" (or Jeff) (although the first time it happened, Jeff asked "how do you know my name?) (LOL). I ended up wearing the Spibelt for the race (hedged my bets by packing a set of safety pins in it, just in case it bugged me) and I really liked it.
Coach Will had this shirt made at the expo - "suck it up cupcake" was a major theme of running club this season. And the "Hammer of Thor" pose just made me laugh...
Not the greatest time in the world, but considering the weather, the blisters and the amount of walking, not the worst, either.
Food! We got everything they offered, but all I was hungry for was the mini strawberry tart, the banana, and a couple bites of the breakfast taco...oh, and I got the pickle chips thinking they'd help replenish all the salt I sweated out, but they were REALLY sour.
Jeff and Will waiting to cheer more runners in; I was sitting on the bleachers hollering from above!
The medal! The shoe spins. So very cool.
Showered and proudly wearing our finisher's shirts!