Leading up to the race, I was feeling a bit nervous about the weather - massive rain and flooding had been predicted from about Thursday on. So I did what any normal person would do - I went shopping. Bought myself a pity bribe hat to wear. I was excited to wear the hat and mostly focused on that instead of the crazy weather that we'd be running in. I was a little perplexed as to what to wear, beyond bathing in 2Toms Sports Shield, that is...everything chafes in a rain run. The start time temperature was predicted to be 61 degrees, which, according to the Runner's World What to Wear site, says a short-sleeved shirt. But then my brain started wondering - will 61 degrees in soaking rain feel cold? Do I need a long-sleeved shirt? Ack! Race nerves are one thing, but weather-related race nerves are a whole different story. Turns out that not only was it pouring rain, but a north wind blew in, with gusts up to 25 mph. I went with a short-sleeved shirt, gloves, and a disposable rain poncho, and at the last minute Jeff made me put on a neck buff, which was a good idea.
But getting back to the anxiety...I was really nervous the night before, and there was a good chance the race might end up being cancelled. It had been pouring rain for two days, about 10 inches, roads were flooding, and half marathons in Dallas (north of us) and Houston (south of us) were cancelled. Late on Saturday evening, the race directors announced it was still on. OK then. The next morning, Jeff changed his mind about four times before deciding on what to wear - I've never seen him do this, but the weather was really throwing us. We drove to the starting area and parked, staying in our car because outside looked like this:
Again, had I been more in tune with myself, I might have realized that while texts were flying fast and furious between my friends and myself, I was barely responding. Mostly I just sat there with my head down, trying to get it together. I wish I would have noticed this, I really do, because I wouldn't have even tried to run the race at this point. But, clueless Joe over here was on autopilot; we'd come to run a race and we were going to run a race. Jeff was going to run with me, and had promised to follow my lead with the intervals (sometimes I run through a walk interval if I'm feeling good).
A few minutes before the 7:00 am start time, we got out of the car and went to the start line. There were a few hundred people doing the half - this was a point-to-point race, and there was also a 10K, but they started at a different location. The rain pelted us and the wind cut through me - my teeth were chattering! We started running and no joke, at the half mile mark, we were far behind everyone. By the one mile mark, there was no one ahead of us that we could see, and no one behind us. We were running an unfamiliar route, and since we had no runners to follow, every time we came to an intersection or a T in the road, we had to ask the volunteers which direction to turn. This wasn't a good feeling, and didn't help me get my breathing under control - I was still trying to make a go of it, but I could tell it was bothering Jeff not to see anyone around us, either. He was not-so-subtly trying to get me to run faster by staying several steps ahead of me, and also asking if I could run through some of my walk intervals. Well, that was a big no - not with how much I was struggling to breathe. When we hit the mile 3 mark, Jeff asked me if I wanted to stop and I said yes. So we walked back to our car, drove home and changed into dry clothes, and then drove to the finish line to watch our friends come in.
It wasn't the distance that made me anxious - I know I can run 13 miles. It was the race, plain and simple. It didn't help that I broke my cardinal rule and signed up for the longest distance of a race series; I thought I'd learned my lesson when I ran a 10K in Maui that was part of a 5K/10K race, and 95% of the runners did the 5K and I was all alone out there for the 10K. But at least it was in Maui! Still, I hate being so far behind everyone else, I hate standing out for coming in last, and hate feeling like I'm making everyone wait for me to finish. Combine all of that on top of the pre-race anxiety, and it was a bad situation. Even just writing about all of this is making my heart pound.
If you've been lucky enough to never experience this kind of anxiety, then I know it must sound silly - I mean, it's just a stupid race, get over it. But that's easier said than done. I know it frustrates Jeff and my friends when this happens, and believe me, it's no picnic to be living through it. I wish I could just relax and let it go. Or maybe take a shot of whiskey or a Xanax before a race - but I don't drink and I don't take that kind of medication. So it's all on me...and I'm not always the greatest at handling it, obviously.
Enough of that. Here's a collage of our running peeps who did finish the race:
Cristy, Cary, Brian, Julia and Diane all did the half (with Diane besting her last half marathon by something like an hour!), while CC and Loretta did the 10K (Loretta's first official 10K as a race - she did great!). It was still raining when I took this picture.