Wednesday, December 11, 2013

BCS Half Marathon 2013 - Recap

 
On Sunday, I ran my fifth half marathon!  This one, the BCS Marathon/Half Marathon, is special for several reasons:  first, because it's in my hometown and the start line is about 1.5 miles from my house...talk about convenient!  It's also special because this was the goal race for our running club and we've been training for it since late June - 24 members made it to the start line, with this being the first half or full marathon for nine of them.  And finally, the beneficiaries:  along with several local charities, the money also goes to the Mercy Project, which helps to free children from slavery in Ghana.  Last year 24 children were rescued and 23 were reunited with their families; one little boy was an orphan, and the founder of this race (along with his wife) adopted him and brought him home a few months ago.  The little boy's name is Famous, and he's a real cutie...he even said a few encouraging words at the start of this race, although I was so far back in the corral that I didn't hear him.

This was the second year for me to run this race.  Last year, it was 72 degrees and incredibly humid at the start.  This year?  It was 30 degrees.  Oh Texas, your extreme weather keeps us guessing!  While the Dallas Marathon, which was scheduled for the same day, had to be cancelled because of a massive ice storm, all systems were good here (we're about 3.5 hours south) - the race directors even allowed those who couldn't travel because of the storm to defer their registration at the last minute, and opened up those spots to other people who were registered for Dallas but couldn't get there (like Houstonians, who are even further south).  That was very nice; people who, like us, had trained for months and months were able to get their race in.  But then, WE got ice.  It took everyone by surprise - Jeff and I went out for our pre-race dinner around 6:30 Saturday night (we split our usual burger basket) and when we walked back to the car, we felt light icy rain hitting us - eek!  We drove home, and all evening as I sat knitting a hat to wear after the race (last-minute nerve-calming thing) I heard the sirens of emergency vehicles (we're close to the highway).  I finally went online and saw that all the bridges and overpasses had iced up and there were lots of multiple-car pileups.  Not good.  We went to bed hoping that the race would be a go in the morning - remember, we're in south Texas and we don't deal with ice (or snow)...normally we just hunker down and stay home until it melts!

Long story short (I know, too late) - we woke up very early on Sunday and saw that bridges and overpasses had been sanded and the race course was deemed safe, so we were on - woohoo!  We got to the starting area just before 6:00 am and set up our USAFit canopy, and our members started gathering.  There was a fair amount of race nerves going on, but mostly everyone was trying to stay somewhat warm.  My toes were frozen and my hands were pretty cold, even though I doubled up my gloves (I wore a cheapie pair of Target gloves inside of my windstopper gloves, which, I discovered the day before, were not great at keeping my hands warm).  I also wore my 89-cent poncho to help insulate me, but took it off right before we went to the race start.  It made for some funny sparkly pictures, though:
Amy and I; Jeff and I - layered up and ready to run!

The race started at 7:00 am and we were off!  Amy and I ran for a few minutes until the crowd spread out a bit, and then we began our 1:1 intervals - we were pretty consistent with doing the intervals, but when we had a good downhill section, we'd run all the way.  We had fun the entire time, chatting with other runners, thanking the police as they stopped traffic for us, enjoying the cheering from the spectators (who had to have been freezing - they didn't have the benefit of moving to stay warm like we were) - it was an adventure!  Around the 2 mile area, we realized we were on ice - there was a small bridge that hadn't been sanded, and we were slipping, so we very carefully walked across it.  Other than that, the roads, although rough in many areas, were clear.  We saw a lot of people that we knew along the route which made it even more fun; we even came across Santa and Mrs. Claus in Northgate:
I asked Santa why his beard wasn't white and he said he's been using Grecian Formula - LOL!  This was around mile 8 and I think we look pretty good, all things considered!

Then we ran through the campus of A&M University - there were lots of groups cheering for us (most ironic were the smokers who had hauled out an easy chair to sit in while they cheered us on), including one fraternity who formed a human tunnel for us to run through - now that was fun!  I ran into my friend Lezlie after that - she hugged me and then patted the top of my head and said "you're frozen!" and I thought, well yeah, but I'm warm enough.  Another half mile went by and we ran into my friend Joni (and baby Davis), she hugged me and said "your headband has ice on it!" - ooh, that's what Lezlie meant!  Even though it was 30 degrees, I was sweating, and I guess my sweat was freezing on my headband.  Amy's hat was the same - funny that neither of us noticed it!  We saw our friend Andi, and saw Amy's husband and girls twice during the race...it's amazing how energizing it is to be running along and all of a sudden realize that you're seeing someone you know cheering you on!

Around mile 10, my legs started to feel heavy.  We walked through our run intervals on a couple of hills; my hamstring was starting to bother me on them.  No biggie - we were running this race the way we wanted, and if we wanted to walk a hill, we did.  It also felt like it got colder, too...other runners were saying the same thing, so it wasn't just our long-distance delirium feeling that.  We finally got near the finish line, which was downhill this year - what a fantastic way to finish!  We rounded the corner and ran the whole way in - it was awesome!  Jeff was at the finish line and got some great shots:
 
When you cross this mat, it registers your chip so the announcer can call out your name as you cross the finish line!
 
We'd unzipped our jackets so we could hold them open and show our SUPER RUNNER shirts as we crossed the finish line - we did, and got a big laugh...love it!

We finished and my first hug was from Amanda, one of the physical therapists who I worked for years ago - she hugged me at the finish last year, too.  Then the race director hugged me, and then I got my medal.  One of the beneficiaries from this race is the Down Syndrome Association of the Brazos Valley, and they hand out the medals.  A very nice young man placed my medal around my neck and said "Congratulations!" to me, and I thanked him.  Then, I just stood there...at that point, my brain had turned to mush.  That sweet young man looked at me for a few seconds and then said "Merry Christmas!" - and finally someone else pulled me toward the thermal blankets.  I laughed about that later because I thought, that poor guy had a job to do and I was keeping him from handing out more medals!
Medal around neck, Finisher's shirt on arm, thermal blanket around body, ice on headband (click the picture to see it really well) - one happy half marathoner!

Afterward, we went to the food area - thankfully, they had people there handing out bags to hold our stuff (gloves, shirt, water bottle) so we could hold the important stuff:  the food!  I had a pepperoni roll and it was the best thing EVER - warm, salty, doughy...I ate that thing up!  Then I got half a cheeseburger - didn't think I would want it, but guess what?  I ate that thing up, too!  I also had a mini strawberry tart (like last year, and again, so tasty), and then went looking for the chocolate milk that was promised to be at the finish line.  Now, they had craft beer and margaritas there, but I don't drink, so this chocolate milk was really important to me at that point.  I finally found a bunch of ice chests containing half gallon cartons of it, but no cups, and no one around to help.  One man came up looking for it and just snagged a carton - he said his wife wanted chocolate milk and by god, he was going to get it for her.  Love that, completely understand it.  I finally found a race volunteer and asked about cups - she went off to get some, and told me to take a carton, which I did, along with some cups.  I found Jeff and Julia at the finish line and we had a little chocolate milk party there - and it was GOOD!
Remember the movie The Jerk, where Steve Martin carries several random household items, muttering "that's all I need" - that's what I felt like as I walked around the finish area, holding my half gallon of chocolate milk!

We waited for the rest of our runners to come in - it was so, so cool to see our first-time marathoners complete their race!  Then we went home, took hot, hot showers, napped, and then went out for Mexican food because we were starving!  This was the hungriest I've ever been after a half marathon (and it lasted through Monday, too) - I guess running in such cold weather really got my appetite going.  

Two more pictures:
Jeff and I - he had a good race too, finishing in 2:12!  Amy and I finished in 3:23 according to my Garmin; race timing says 3:28, so I don't know why there's such a difference.  Any case, it was a good run and not bad considering I wasn't sure I'd even be able to do it after my hamstring injury!
Tired, happy, half marathon finisher - BOOM!

32 comments:

  1. Shelley, I always enjoy reading about your runs. You rocked it in this half marathon. You make me feel like getting up and moving!

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    1. Thanks, Katrin! And I'm always happy when someone feels like moving after one of my race reports. :)

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  2. BOOM!!!
    I prefer the long stories LONG as I felt as though I were with you the whole way.
    xo

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    1. LOL, it's going to be long when there are that many mile! :)

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  3. WOOHOOO YABBADABBAADOOOOOOOOOO YOU DID IT!

    Love, love, love the report, enjoyed reading it so much and so proud of you that you finished despite all the setbacks you had this year. You rock girlfriend!

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    1. Thanks, Fran - or should I say, Fred Flinstone? ;) Love your enthusiasm!!

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    2. Flintstone. Can't spell today...

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  4. Yay! Congratulations! What a neat medal! How is your hamstring feeling today?

    LOLing at your frozen forehead. I guess that doesn't happen much, down there! It's a common occurrence, up here. Way to get out there in the cold! I am happy the race still went on!

    And what a great cause. How cool that that little boy spoke at the beginning! :)

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    1. Hamstring is back to feeling "there" - which means it's not healed but at least it's not giving me sharp pains, so I'll take it. :)

      Frozen forehead was a first - even in wintertime, we really are warmer normally!

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  5. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! I'm so happy you were able to get this race in the books even after that darn hamstring injury!!! So proud of you!

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  6. I'm sure your appetite was due to running in the cold. When it's cold like that your body burns more calories trying to stay warm. Bonus eating - hurray!

    It's so great that you (and Amy) just enjoyed that race and ran it your way - hamstrings and weather be damned!

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    1. We had our end of season dinner last night, and everyone talked about how STARVING they were after the race, so yeah, this weather really made a calorie-burning difference!

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  7. Way to go! High 5 (get it?) to you. So glad you were able to make this one happen. And to be a part of so many others first half, very, very neat.

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  8. You could make a career out of race reporting! Thoroughly entertaining! Some of my favorite details were the side reports. LOVE the story of the Mercy Project, and the founder of the race actually adopting one of the kids! LOVE the story of the young man (I'm presuming w/Down's Syndrome) handing out your medal, and then you just standing there, so he comes up with Merry Christmas. LOVE it. (My BF's grandson has Down's syndrome, and I have a real soft spot for them.) Loved you enjoying your tasty goodies afterwards, and loved your booty of chocolate milk. Okay, I loved the whole report. I guess I don't need to review it in the comments LOL.

    Okay, so the hat in the chocolate milk picture--you knit that the night before? And is it one with a pony tail split? Very cool! It took me three nights to knit a dishcloth LOL.

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    1. I love your reviews! :)

      Yes, my medal-giver has DS. Very sweet and so polite - I was charmed by him! And I'll have to find you some more info on Famous' story - it's really something, and you would be very interested in it, I know.

      The hat in the chocolate milk picture was the one I knit - I'll have more details on it in Friday's post. It knit up so fast due to chunky yarn, big needles, and nerves, LOL!

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  9. I love your race recaps! Makes me want to sign up for one! Um, not! :D

    Great job - and wow was Jeff's time amazeballs!!

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  10. I'm proud of you. If I lived that close to a starting line, I'd move.

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  11. This post just made me smile start to finish (line)!!! BIG Congrats to you and Jeff!!!!!

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  12. Congratulations on another awesome achievement, Shelley!

    Our local marathon was cancelled due to the ice, but a lot of people ran it anyway even though it was 19 degrees at start time.

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  13. Way to triumph even with some adversity. Proud of you, Shelley.

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  14. Fifth half marathon! That is just crazy and awesome :D

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  15. Understatement of the Year goes to YOU! "...not bad considering I wasn't sure I'd even be able to do it after my hamstring injury!" Not bad? That was GRRRRReat!

    P.S. I thought you were wrapped in Saran Wrap until I read what it actually was :)

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  16. Congrats! That is one HUGE medal! I would love to run on the campus of A and M. My dad went there but I have never been!

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  17. Wow, the weather difference from last year to this year is crazy! I thought weird weather was just isolated to the Chicago area ;)

    Congrats on finishing!!!! So glad you were able to run this race after your injury!!!

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  18. Your 5th half marathon?!?! Damn. You are an impressive woman, sweat-frozen headband and all.:) Enjoy the medal -- you earned it!

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  19. I ran this race too! It was my first half marathon and won't be my last! I am 90% sure that the man you encountered at at the cooler of chocolate milk was my husband. :-) Between the two of us (he also ran the half!) and our 4 kids, we polished that milk off in no time!

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    1. Not to be all stalkerish, but I just checked out your blog and YES, that was your husband!!! What a small world!

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