Today started at 3:45AM. Mike and I drug our butts out of bed and were heading to Clear Lake for the 1/2 marathon at 4. I didn’t sleep well at all last night due to anticipation. So, as soon as the alarm went off I was ready to turn it off and go back to sleep!
We got to the race area about 5:30AM and went in search of my cousin. I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to find her or not with over 1600 people participating today. However, she was up front and easy to spot as we walked over to where the organizers were setting up the finish line. Clara and Kelly both look like they’ve lost quite a bit of weight. So proud of them!
Since I was in the walking group, we had a 30 minute head start. At 6:30AM I was called to line up at the start and get ready to go! It was the first time I’ve started a race when it was still this dark.
The fire engine sounded its siren and we were off. It was so crowded at the beginning that we couldn’t really get moving well. I felt like I was in a crowd leaving a concert…being herded like cattle.
I was able to pass quite a few people right off the bat, then finally the throng thinned out and I was able to get going a little faster. There was a lady in a yellow shirt that passed me doing the run/walk intervals. She was always within my vision (never more than a mile ahead). I decided then and there that I would beat her. This gave me a goal to work toward. My other two goals were to finish before Kelly and Clara (they were run/walkers so they started 30 minutes behind me) and to finish in less than 3:40 (the time on our trial run).
About mile 3 the first runner flew by me. He was hauling butt! I was still moving pretty good and feeling good. I could feel a spot on my left foot where a blister was wanting to start, so I knew my poor feet weren’t going to come out of this looking pretty! Around mile 4 Mike smacked my rump as he ran by. I was surprised to see him pass me so soon, but he was running quite fast! About another half mile down the road someone else patted my shoulder which caught me off guard. I knew it wasn’t Mike, so I wasn’t sure what I’d see when I looked over. There was a woman (about my age) who waved and said “You’re doing great. Keep going!” While it was surprising, it was nice!
This is me about 1/2 way through (mile 6ish). I was still feeling pretty good and confident that I’d meet my time goal and the yellow chick was still in front of me so she was going down soon! I was being passed…a lot…at this time by the runners. All of the walkers I passed earlier had yet to pass me again. There were a lot of people on the sidewalks cheering others on and most of them cheered everyone on as we went by. One guy kept playing the “rebel” horn sound over and over which was irritating. This was the most supportive race I’ve run so far!
The guy in the pink speedo with his name across the back cracked me up. There was one other runner in a black speedo as well. Neither one of them were setting any records. In my opinion, if you’re going to dress the part you better be up to the challenge!
The line just stretched on for miles ahead of me. I did some wogging down this road. When I stopped and started walking again the lady passing me told me to keep it up and the older woman behind her gave me a thumbs up! We turned on to Kirby and stayed on that road for quite a ways. Our mile markers stopped after mile 6 until I got to mile 10. Mike says he saw every one of them, so I guess I was off in my own little world. I started wogging again from mile 7-8. It was at this point that I passed the Lady in Yellow…finally! Unfortunately, about mile 8/9 I started hitting the wall and slowed down. I half way expected Kelly and Clara to catch up to me, but they didn’t. This entire course was flat, which was great. However, at mile 9.5 there was an elevated bridge. Come on…put that sucker at the beginning, not the end! When I hit mile 10 all I could think about was how sore my feet were becoming (blisters were forming on my heels and little toes) and was having a hard time keeping up my speed above 17:00. Then suddenly…in a blinding flash…the Yellow Lady passed me. Again. To push the point home, she brought the Pink Lady (who I passed at the beginning at the race) with her.
I stayed as close to them as I could. At this point, I wogged most of the time. I seemed to move faster that way and my feet didn’t hurt as bad. At mile 11, I passed the Pink Lady but was still behind the Yellow Lady….dagnabbit! I thought if I could stay close to her at least, I could try to pass her again at the end. Mike found me at 11.5 miles. He always comes back to find me when he finishes his race so he can walk the rest of mine with me. He was a little surprised to see me at that point. “I thought I would just go to mile 10 and wait for you to catch up, but you’re moving right along! You’re doing good!” My feet were throbbing but starting to get a little numbed out, which helped some but I was still going slower than I wanted.
I sucked down some Gatorade and water at mile 12. There had to have been 20 people telling me “you’re almost there!” I asked Mike where the turn was to get to the finish line and he said “you’re almost there” which got him to giggling. Funny man…yes he is. I was still wogging but tried to push harder to go faster. Slowly I caught back up to the Yellow Lady and passed her right after mile 12. I couldn’t allow myself to walk at this point. If I did, she would pass me again and I couldn’t have that! I kept asking Mike how far back she was. He said that she was wogging as well, then stopped. YES…I had her beat! That last mile was tough. I was so relieved to make that last turn to hit the finish line. I was able to get my medal and a cold towel. That towel was from Heaven. According to my watch, I finished in 3:39:53. Hey, it’s under 3:40! Mike finished in 1:50:19. Unfortunately, my official results weren’t on their site. I don’t know why…I finished in the time frame and hit all their timing markers. I’m a little upset with that.
As I found Kelly and Clara’s group of friends I saw they hadn’t finished yet, so I sat on the curb to cheer them on as they came in. Clara came in first and was all smiles as she spotted the finish line! Kelly came in about 5 minutes later looking a bit tired. I hollered at her to “finish strong” and she came back with “This is all I’ve got!” Yep…I can relate to that but she picked it up and finished it at a jog. Mike had to help me stand up off the curb. I ended up walking like an old lady back to the car. My legs were tired and my feet were covered in blisters in a way that I couldn’t find a spot that didn’t hurt to step on!
We got home and I soaked for a bit in the tub. My toe nails were overly sensitive when they hit the water. I’ve heard of people losing toenails from walking long distances, so I’m hoping all my toenails stay where they’re supposed to! I think my biggest problem is my shoes may be a little too small. When I walk long distances my feet swell and I don’t think they have room to spread out enough. So, I will get some new shoes for the marathon…if I actually do the marathon now!
The medal was nice. The race was a baseball theme with some of the money going to the Clear Lake Little League. All in all, I thought the race was well organized and went off without too much of a hitch.