The race shirt...along with someone who felt the need to not only be in the picture, but get white fur all over the maroon shirt - thanks, Paco.
This race is the first in the BCS Marathon 2013 Distance Series - there are three races total, the 10K, a 10 miler, and the half/full marathon. When you complete all three, you will receive a race jacket, which is a pretty cool bonus for this non-athletic person...I'm kind of looking at it as the Letterman jacket that I never was eligible for back in high school.
I went into this race with my hamstring not feeling great, but not feeling as bad as it did on Monday. Since it wasn't any worse, I figured that I might as well run...when in doubt, go for it, right? Well, that may not have been the best decision, as it turns out. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The race started and ended in front of the George Bush Presidential Library (the elder Bush, from the 90s), which is on the campus of Texas A&M University. We arrived early in order to set up our USAFit canopy so our runners could have a meeting place. The race didn't begin until 8:00 am, which felt really late; normally by that time on a Saturday morning, we've finished our long run and are ready for coffee! Naturally, it was excessively hot and humid - it feels like we can't catch a break with the weather for races. We did get to see a pretty pink sunrise, though:
Andi and Cary standing; Shannon sitting down because she'd just finished running 10 miles.
Spirits were high as we waited for the race to begin; the marathon group had just finished running 10 miles (they had 16 miles on their training schedule for the day) and pretty charged up. Amy and I attempted to get our picture taken, but ended up with the most awesome photobomb ever:
Coach Phillip, still full of energy after running 10 miles, leaping behind unsuspecting us. He was carrying around a gallon of water, and if you look closely, you can see the water spilling out of the top of the jug. Phillip takes rehydrating seriously!
This was take two...and Karen snuck in for her photobomb. Everyone's a comedian, I swear!
We took a few group shots - I could show you the normal one, but why be normal? Here's our "let's pose like we're racing" picture...apparently racing equates making a fist for most of us:
We know how to have a good time, that's for sure!
Eagle eyes might notice that several regulars are missing from this picture - namely Jeff and Julia, along with a few others from our group. Time was running out and we had to get the group picture before the race started, so we couldn't wait for them. Here's Jeff's shot of where they were:
Waiting in line at the porta potties. Glad I went before the line got crazy!
We had a little last-minute prep with pinning on race bibs:
Becky pinning on her daughter's bib - this would be their first 10K race!
Amy put on her race belt and said she felt fat, but I thought she looked cute - the belt made her shirt into a peplum. Plus, she's lost 10 pounds already in a Biggest Loser challenge at work, and she's looking fanstatic - I had to take a picture to prove it to her.
The race had corrals but with just over 500 people participating overall, it wasn't crowded. Most of our group lined up in the last corral and everyone seemed to be pretty jovial about the whole thing - maybe the heat was already making us silly, I don't know, but the race nerves weren't there, which was a very good thing for me.
I went into the race with my hamstring feeling a little better than it had at the beginning of the week, but within the first mile, it started hurting more and more with each step. Amy and I tried to start out slow but our first mile was fast (for us) - that's just a byproduct of starting a race next to other runners...you tend to RUN instead of run. We eventually settled into our groove of a 2:1 pace (run for two minutes, walk for one minute), and Amy, who is an Aggie (what anyone who went to Texas A&M is called) gave me a lovely tour of the campus as we ran, which not only was interesting to this non-Aggie, but also a great distraction for quite a while. Plus I guess I gave her a good laugh when we passed by a statue - I asked who he was and she said "that's a roughneck" - I replied "oh, like a firefighter?" and she busted out laughing and said "I forgot you aren't from Texas - it's an oilfield thing!" Yep, I've lived here for over 20 years, but parts of Texas culture still escape me!
Anyway, it was hot and we ran. The route took us all over, including some steep slopes that really made my hamstring hurt. We followed the gymboss beeps, and I swear, that stupid thing had us walking every downhill and running every uphill. Afterward, I told Amy that we should have done our own thing when it came to those hills, but in the heat, runner's brain was taking over and we weren't thinking very clearly. While the route was interesting, it was not a very exciting race. Toward the end we were SO READY to be done. There was a winding hilly drive that we had to go up and we walked that to the top, then ran the rest of the way to the finish line.
Woohoo, we are DONE!
Jeff coming in for his finish - he ran fast, but said the hills and heat got to him, too.
Those two shots were swiped from the official photographer's page (explains the funky color of our shirts - they are teal, not blue); Jeff managed to get pictures of most of our group finishing, but accidentally hit the video button when Amy and I finished.
They aren't doing a post-race survey, but here's my take on the race:
- the 8:00 am start was late on such a hot day; luckily cloud cover kept us from being fried by the sun
- no spectators/crowd support
- many of the volunteers were pretty low-energy
- only two water stations; the second one was too long after the first (which was about mile 1.5?) - considering the heat, another water station would have been great (I not only wanted to drink, but also pour some on my head to cool down)
- warm water and Gatorade at the finish was not refreshing.
- fresh fruit was all gone by the time we finished - and the food table was hard to find; when we asked a volunteer where it was, he said "over there, if there's anything left" - not that we needed anything afterward, but when a race organizer brags about the post-race food, then there should be enough for all of the runners (pet peeve of mine).