WARNING: This post is 13.1 miles long.
That's me! That's the end of the race, my finishing time. But let's begin at the beginning.
John and I went to the Health Expo at the Alamo Dome to pick up my race number. I knew the race was going to be crazy when there were thousands of people at the expo alone. Got my race number and got out of there to go pick up my mom and stepdad. From there, we got haircuts and went to go carb up at Tre Trattoria. Delicious. I would like to publicly thank John for not slapping me. I was very anxious and short on Saturday.
The race started at 7:30 am, so I decided we needed to leave at 6 am. You see, the drop off point for runners was Alamo Stadium and from there, everyone would walk a mile to the starting line at Mulberry and Broadway. To get there with time to spare, we needed to leave at 6. I decided to get up at 4:45 to stretch, eat breakfast and get dressed. But I was so anxious I woke up at 4. Fail.
We never got to the drop off point. The exit on Hildebrand was backed up for miles. At 6:50, we were still on 281 and could barely see the off-ramp. I said, fuck this noise, and I got out of the car. I walked and ran down 281 to Broadway and up to Mulberry. Lots of other people were doing the same thing. I made friends with a guy running the full marathon. He left to check his gear at the starting line and I left to find a bathroom. Though there were at least a hundred Port o Potties, they all had really long lines. I was still in line during the National Anthem.
But since I was in the last corral (we were in groups for a wave start), I didn't actually start running til 8:30. So for an hour, I stood in my corral and moved up about 10 feet at a time. Not so fun. The announcer was pretty good. On the half-marathon, he said "Good choice. Half the time, twice the fun."
Not gonna lie, the first 5 miles were rough. I was already getting tired. It wasn't hot, but it was really humid. It wasn't til I got to 7 miles and knew I was more than halfway done that I knew I could do this.
Things I saw:
-A group of old people in wheelchairs
-A running Elvis
-Lots of tutus
-Sign that said "Free beer this way"
-Sign that said "You are better than Chuck Norris"
-A man wearing a fur hat, dressed like a turkey on the top half, with a rifle waving the Texas flag, with a giant pink tutu, pink leopard-print tights and pink pom poms on his shoes. He beat me
-Lots of dogs
-Lots of kids
-A guy dressed like a banana
-Lots of shirtless guys, some of whom should not have been shirtless
-A margarita mama
-People drinking beer at 9 am
-A high school band
-Lots of cheerleaders
-Thousands of people watching
I saw Nicolette's band, the Melissa Ludwig Band, play at the 11 mile mark. I thought that's where my mom, Julius and John would be but I didn't see them.
So I kept running. I wish I could tell you more about the actual run, but I don't remember much specifically. It was really humid, and the energy drink they passed out, Cytomax, tasted like sugary Gatorade. Around every water and Cytomax station, the ground would be wet My shoes got sticky.
Finally, at the 12 mile mark, I saw my mom, Julius and John. I really can't tell you how happy I was to see them. I'd been losing steam since the 10 mile mark, just thinking about how far I still had to go. When I saw them, I was walking, but I burst into a run and held up my finger to tell them I had one more mile to go.
Go here and type in 34661 and you can see me cross the finish line. I'm the one checking my watch as I go by. I didn't realize I was being taped. And also, I was tired and didn't care.
So I finished 5002 in the women and 9800 overall. My time was 2:30:29. 25,834 people finished the race of more than 32,000 registered. That puts me in the top 38% overall. I thought I was going to finish in 2.5-3 hours, so I did better than I thought I would. I did about 11.5 minute miles. I was fast in the beginning, with 9 minute miles, but fatigue caught up with me.
After the finish, got my medal, got an iced towel and water, some chips, and met up with John, Julius and my mom at the family reunion. We got back on the shuttle and went to the car and eventually home. Once my sweat dried, I was covered in a fine film of salt. My legs are still sore, but I can walk and even took the stairs today. I didn't work out today, but I deserve a break.
All in all, I will say that if you like running, this is DEFINITELY the way to do it. Thousands of people cheering and telling you you can do it, the energy of the other runners, the people in costumes, knowing that you've got 30,000 other people doing this with you - it's awesome. It's totally worth all the training and the pain, and, as Leigh pointed out, running by that (hopefully dead) snake. It was all totally worth it for the experience! I recommend it.
Who's in for Rock n Roll San Antonio 2010?