Race shirt - each distance had a different design and style of shirt, and all of them were really cool!
On Saturday, I ran the Missions 10,000 race in San Antonio, which was part of the Missions Marathon Half (they had a 5K and a kid's race as well). My fellow renegades ran the half marathon, but I'm sticking to my guns and am limiting myself to just one half this year, which I've already done. Cristy and Brian ran this race last year and even though they suffered through terrible weather (it was sleeting during their race), they had nothing but good things to say about the race, the organizers, and the swag, so we decided to run it this year. We lucked out with beautiful, if not a wee bit warm, weather, but it's better than running in freezing cold rain, so I'll take it.
Back to the race recap. This had a down-home, friendly vibe right from the time we registered - the organizers would periodically send out email updates, and it felt very welcoming and inclusive. We drove into San Antonio the day before the race and went to packet pickup, which was held at Fleet Feet. It was a simple process to get our bibs, shirts, and reusable bags, and we also got to see the medals that we'd be receiving when we finished the race. I thought it was great that each distance had their own design of shirt, bib, bag, and medal - they really went all out on making each race its own.
The race started at 8:00 am, but in our email instructions, they advised us to be at the starting area at 7:35 am for announcements, which was such a random time that it just made us all grin. Jeff and I rode with Julia and Scott, to Mission Concepcion, where we parked in a big grassy field. Because we were at a park, there were real bathrooms to use instead of porta-potties, which was nice. The rest of our group rolled in, and right on time, the announcements began. First thing, they wanted us to all go in front of the mission for a big group picture. We did, but seeing as the photographer had climbed onto a low branch of a tree, I don't think you'll see us in the picture - he didn't seem high enough to get the entire group in the shot.
Pictures - as always, you can click on them to enlarge:
Julia, Diane, Cary, Cristy, Brian, and Jeff, who was standing a little too far away, so I told him to act like he liked Brian...and this is what I got. I can't take him anywhere!
Cary took this picture of me in front of Mission Concepcion.
The announcements were made, the National Anthem was sung, and boom, we were off. Because we would be running through the missions, I planned on taking some pictures during the race, which is something I rarely do. If I have my phone with me, it's in a pouch at my waist, not in my hand (I'm afraid of dropping it). So my plan was to run 2:1 intervals but not stress over the time - I wanted to take in the sights! There were plenty of people around me, but everyone had earbuds in and was listening to music, so even though I was surrounded by people, I felt a little alone. I haven't run with music in several years, but when I'm doing long runs by myself, I might just have to start back up with that.
We ran through the older streets of San Antonio - the neighborhoods were a little run down, but it didn't feel unsafe. Right around the 2.25 mile mark, we turned toward Mission San Jose - we were on grass and it was really uneven, so I walked that part - I did not want to turn an ankle. There were volunteers greeting us as we entered the grounds, and I asked one man to take my picture:
Mission San Jose - this was completed in 1782.
As I ran past the mission, there were some girls tossing rose petals in the air, with a race photographer ready to take a picture. I can't wait to see that one - I've never run through rose petals before!
The entire mission is surrounded by a wall; originally, these were compounds where people lived. The grounds are quite large here.
Not too long after we left the mission, we ran down to the river - yes, the same river of the Riverwalk fame, only this was much more of a natural, wildlife area. Did you catch that "ran DOWN" to the river? Somehow, I thought we'd be on level ground once we hit the river, but no. We ran on a paved path, and it was really nice, meandering around bends and such...but it had hills. Lots of hills. We'd run up, and then down, and then back up, and I think at that point I decided to walk the ups and run the downs because it just seemed to go on forever:
Here we had just reached the top of a hill; you can see the path goes back down to the river and believe me, it went back up. And then down. And up. I did not expect this!
See the woman in the picture, the one with the gray tights and blue top? She and I played leapfrog the entire race. It wasn't annoying with her like it was with the other women in the Texas 10 Series race, but I could tell something was going on with her, because way before this, she motioned with her arms and yelled "just GO!" to someone who was pretty far ahead. She did this several times throughout the race, and I felt for her, as she was maybe planning on running with someone but couldn't keep up with them? She'd pass me on the uphill, and then I'd pass her on the downhill, and even though she had earbuds in, eventually she removed one and we started commenting on the hills as we'd pass each other. I figured we'd finish together, but I ended up passing her in the last half mile. Afterward, I saw her and an older woman taking a selfie at the finish line, so I offered to take their picture, and she filled me in on the situation: this was only her second race, and the woman ahead of her was her mother. You know moms, they always worry about their kids, even though this woman was an adult. I congratulated her and told her that this was a tough course and she should be proud of herself for completing it.
These hills were ridiculous. Here's the elevation from my Garmin:
They just kept coming - my worst running nightmare!
I was walking up yet another hill, when I saw a race photographer point his camera at me. I called out "wait - at least let me run for the picture" and he laughed, so hopefully that I'll get a good one. As it turns out, that was right before the finish - one last hill and then just a few more feet - it threw me, because my Garmin had me at only 6 miles at that point. The course was a little short - I finished at 6.05 miles, when a 10K is 6.2 miles, and our half marathon people finished anywhere from 13 miles even to 13.04.
I ran through the finish line, the announcer called out my name, and then I was handed my medal by a folklorico dancer! They're in the red dresses behind me:
My leapfrogging buddy took this picture for me. :)
My medal - it's made of wood and is so beautiful! I think it's the Mission San Juan, but it also might be the Mission Espada...they both look similar. Any case, it's one of my most favorite medals ever.
Finish time was 1:29, distance was 6.05 miles. My splits were:
Mile 1 - 13:57
Mile 2 - 14:22
Mile 3 - 14:57
Mile 4 - 15:05
Mile 5 - 15:46
Mile 6 - 15:10
Average pace was 14:52. I wasn't going into this expecting to see a fast finish, and I'm glad I took a couple of minutes to enjoy Mission San Jose...and as for those hills, well, I got through them is about all I can say about that. If we do this race next year, I'll probably do the 5K, unless I miraculously become much more adept at running hills.
I grabbed a bottle of water and a tray of food:
The little round cinnamon sugar cookies were melt-in-your-mouth good! They also had homemade breakfast tacos, but that didn't sound appealing to me - too heavy right after a run.
There was a round tower-like structure near the finish area, so I climbed up the (thankfully shallow) steps - I had a great view of the runners as they came up that last dastardly hill, and it was fun to call out to my peeps from above - no one expected that! I was livetracking Jeff and Cary via their Garmins, so I was ready with my camera when they came in:
Jeff - he looked pretty good for just having run 13 miles with those hills!
I thought Cristy was running with Cary and Brian, but apparently she was having her best half marathon ever, and I missed her finish! I'm so bummed about that, especially since she got a new PR. She was just a couple of minutes behind Jeff.
Cary and Brian - see that woman in white, in the top left picture? She didn't know it, but she was in a race with Cary for the finish...and she lost.
I was looking for Julia next, but suddenly Diane came blasting up that hill! She left it all out there on the course and wasn't feeling very well as she finished, but dang - she ran all of the hills. Go Diane!!
Julia - she always cracks me up at the finish line because she rocks her "whatever, I'm good" vibe!
Spectators - an aluminum foil knight and dragon...because, why not?
The renegades - finished!
It's copper! So gorgeous! This is Mission Concepcion - of that, I'm sure.
This was a really nice race, even with the hills. I'm glad we ran it.