The shirt - even though they changed the race name, they kept the armadillo.
On Saturday, I ran the Republic of Texas Quarter Marathon. This race used to be called the Armadillo Dash, and back in 2010, it was the second-ever race I ran (I did the 5K). The race used to be held right down the street from my subdivision - it started and ended at Veteran's Park, or as I still call it, Scary Statue Park. But the organizers sold the race a couple of years ago, and big changes were made starting with this year's race. They moved it to the George Bush Presidential Library, and added the quarter marathon distance (6.5 miles) as an option, and changed the name to honor the time in Texas history when the Battle of the Alamo occurred. There were signs with historical facts relating to the battle placed throughout the race route, which was a nice distraction along with a good opportunity for this non-native Texan to learn more about this state's history.
The race had staggered start times, with the half marathon starting at 6:30 am, the quarter starting at 6:45 am, and the 5K starting at 7:00 am. It was a cold morning, which is great for a race, but hard to make yourself leave your car too much ahead of the starting time, so Jeff, Julia, and I hung out in our car until almost 6:30 - we got out just as the half marathon group was starting. We walked to the start line and I ran into an old friend, Mark, who was running the 5K. I chatted with him for a couple of minutes and told him "I'm slow; you'll be passing me" (spoiler alert: he did, right around the 1.5 mile mark...and took third place in his age group!) - and then it was time for our group to start. I'd forgotten that I wanted to take a GU at 6:30, so as we were crossing the start line, I took about half of it and carried it with me until I came across a trash can (being on a college campus, there were plenty of trash cans, which was nice).
As usual, I started off a little too fast, but I settled into a decent pace. I wasn't overly nervous, but I'd woken up with a pretty good sinus headache, so I wasn't feeling spectacular. I took some Sudafed when I woke up and it did kick in during the race as my headache went away at some point. I ran with music and that was nice, especially since I wasn't with a lot of people most of the time. The route was confusing to me since it was mostly on campus and, not having gone to school at Texas A&M, I always get lost on campus. Luckily, the race organizers had volunteers at every turn, and not only were they helpful, but they were all really nice and encouraging. The route was mostly flat except for the underpass - there was a really awesome downhill followed by a steep uphill, which of course you know I walked, twice, as we made a loop around campus.
I was doing OK, running my 2:1 intervals, when right around mile 4 my legs felt like they had turned to lead. I don't know if I didn't eat well enough in the days leading up to the race (Jeff was out of town, and I can get pretty lazy with proper meals), or what, but any time goals I might have been entertaining pretty much went out the window and I just focused on finishing the race. It was a struggle but I'm proud of myself for keeping up with my intervals and not just walking the rest of the way, which is what I really felt like doing.
The medal - they were all the same, but different sizes depending on which race you ran, and the ribbon reflected the distance, as well. The cut-out on the side is a bottle opener; Julia ordered a Mexican Coke (which comes in a bottle) at breakfast, intending to use her medal to open it, but the waitress popped the top before she could get her hands on the bottle!
Finish time: 1:31, average pace 14:19.
Mile 1 - 13:38
Mile 2 - 14:04
Mile 3 - 14:37
Mile 4 - 14:40
Mile 5 - 14:32
Mile 6 - 14:44
.50 - 6:46
As I came into the finisher's chute, I could see and hear my fellow Renegades cheering for me - nice! I crossed the mat, heard the announcer call out my name as I was handed my medal, and then Cary intercepted me to tell me that Jeff and Brian had won their age groups and awards were being handed out right then, so I rushed over to watch them. They did age group awards in five-year increments, which increases your chances of winning - hey, we'll take it!
Brian with his first place prize.
Jeff with his first place prize - he's so good, he didn't have any competition!
When they called out Diane's name as third place winner, she was totally surprised and started stripping. I swear, it was the funniest thing - she handed off her bottle of water and I think a sweatshirt, and then unbuckled her race belt, while all the time we were telling her "go up there and get your prize!" - I was wondering if she was going to pull a Brandy Chastain and strip off her shirt next, but she restrained herself...this time.
Age group Renegade winners! Diane, Jeff, and Brian.
Here's a close up of Jeff's prize:
Pretty cool drinking glass, although I think it'll end up with his other running trophy (which was an age-group 2nd place for the 5K of the Armadillo Dash last year - this must be his lucky race).
So you might be noticing that other than the awards pictures, there aren't any other shots of the race, before or after. I realized this as we got in our car to go to breakfast, and it made me a little sad, because I've always taken a few race pictures ever since my first 5K back in 2010. Being someone who participates in races was such a novel thing for me back then that I wanted to document it, and honestly, it's still something that I like to have pictures of to look back on. There was a photographer on the course, and hopefully I made it into one of his shots, but the race pictures aren't ready yet so I don't know if I did. Next time, we'll have to slow down a bit and take a minute not only for pictures, but to take in the post-race experience - there was a lot going on at this one (including, according to the race guide, pickle ice pops, which might have been interesting to try) but we rushed out too fast.