Sunday, November 17, 2013

Rock'N'Roll 2013 San Antonio

Today was an awesome and an amazing day for me.  I ran my very first ½ marathon this morning.  I live in Austin and it happened in San Antonio, about an hour and a half drive away.  I am lucky enough to have awesome friends who let me crash in their bed for the night while they’re at work on the night shift.  For free.  I saved probably almost $100 (after taxes and fees) that I would have otherwise spent on a hotel room for the night.  And it would have been post checkout by the time I got done with the race and not been able to take a post-race shower.  So, I spent a little of that money I saved on a fun outfit for the race.  First, while at the expo, I bought a Wonderwoman tutu to wear over my running tights.  Then, I was on a mission to find a red running shirt or tank to wear with it.  Nothing to be found at the expo meeting my needs.  So, I left and made my way to Kohl’s.  I found something but it was the wrong size and it was $40.  Then next door to Marshall’s…again a bust.  So onward to Academy where I scored a running tank in my size in a nice rich red and then grabbed a blue sports bra to wear under it.  Also while at the expo I bought two SPIbelt-like storage belts.  They’re made by Hippie Runner and they had them one for $20 or two for $35.  So I grabbed 2.  The red with skulls I’ve been ogling for a while on their website and the other because, well, do I really need to say?  Ok…it’s pink and sparkly.

So, last night, after my friend left for work and I’m left alone in his apartment to watch the movie Oblivion (OMG…amazing movie!!!) and get all my little running ducks in a row before bedtime.  I take out my bib and I’m studying it.  I pull off the timing chip which loops around your shoelaces and sticks to itself.  I’ve never had a timing chip like this before.  I had one that velcroed around my ankle that I had to give back to the timing company when I crossed the finish line, and one that you bread twist-tied to your shoelaces, but other than that all my timing chips have been installed on the race bib itself.  So, I was left wondering if I had affixed it to my shoe correctly, even though I followed the very brief instructions that were provided.

After affixing the timing chip, I checked out my new shirt!  I know a lot of people will wear their shirt for the race while they’re running the race, but I’m of the mind that you shouldn’t wear that shirt until you’ve “earned” it…until you’ve crossed the finish line. 

This morning, I got up at 4am (oh yea, I went to bed last night with the beginnings of a sinus infection) and everything was just fine.  My throat was a little sore, but it was otherwise good.  I made my breakfast: a grilled cheese sandwich, a pear and a cup of papaya juice. 
Then, I headed out the door to make my way to the AT&T Center for the free parking and shuttle bus to the race. 

When I arrived, there was a few people that arrived in style:

I made friends on the bus ride over to the race start.  They were a large group of friends that had gotten matching shirts made.  They all loved my running tights and thought they were the super expensive compression tights, but they’re not, they’re just Fila capri tights from Kohl’s.  But, they *are* my favorite tights!  Anyway, they also loved my tutu.  We made jokes and talked the whole way from the free parking area until we got to the race starting vicinity.  They were nice enough to invite me to hang out with them until the race started too.  They even said if I could run with them, which I would have loved to do, but they were much more serious runners than I am and I knew by their bib numbers (the first 1 or 2 numbers stated what corral you were in…my first 2 numbers were 22…most of them were 17 or lower…one was even a 3!!!) that they were indeed way faster than me, even the lady who dubbed herself The Turtle (Michelle).  While we milled around for over an hour and a half waiting for the start, we got our pictures taken by the Marathon Foto peeps a few times and took a great shoe wheel pic:

Then, we got a really nice guy to take some pics of the whole lot of us with our phones:

I don’t remember the lady standing next to me or the one next to her names.  The next one is Katie (daughter of Charlotte…furthest to the right).  I don’t remember the lady next to Katie’s name, but the next one over is Michelle (aka-Turtle), then Annette and then Charlotte.  I love that these ladies let me be a part of their group, even if it was temporary.  I wish I would have gotten at least one of them’s information, but oh well.  Maybe I’ll get lucky and one of them will read my blog some day and say “hey I know her!”  Oh and the guy behind and to the left of Michelle is Hank…husband of the lady to the left of Michelle.  The lady right next to me is the ONLY one I saw on the course after the first mile and we all separated because they were all, like I knew they would be, faster than me and pulled away and ahead of me.  I passed her a couple times when she stopped to walk and then she passed me and I never saw her again when I stopped to use the port-a-potty.

Okay, so, while we milled around waiting for the start, we happened to me next to a trash box and a guy had a banana that he didn’t want and was about to throw it away and asked if any of us wanted it.  I snatched it up.  I had a banana at home that I forgot to bring with me.  As we continued to wait and wait for the start to happen, I realized that what I had eaten for breakfast, even with the banana included, wouldn’t be enough.  I had seen a couple people with bagels, but I couldn’t figure out where they got them.  As we were walking toward the entrance to the corral area I found the bagel tent and snagged one. 

Even though I was assigned to corral 22, I stayed with my new friends as they made their way all the way up to corral 6 (the ones that weren’t assigned to corral 6 per their bib numbers had changed their corral at the expo yesterday).  I was so afraid that someone was going to notice my bib number and that I didn’t have a green sticker stating that my corral had been officially changed…but no one did.  And I’m so glad they didn’t.  I forgot about that the higher your corral number, the longer until you actually crossed the start line.  In corral 6, we crossed the start line about 7 minutes after the clock started.  If I had been in my actual corral, it would have been about 40 minutes after the clock started.

I had originally planned to take pictures with my phone as I ran the course, but realized that might not be a good idea because if my phone slipped out of my hand, I would drop it as it has no wrist strap.  I should have taken my digital camera.  There were some great signs held up by the spectators.  One of my favorites was maybe a half mile into the course and it said “hurry up!  I could have enrolled in Obamacare by now!!!”  I had one guy give me a shout out as I ran past around mile 2 or 3: “tattooed women rock!!!” 

As I had planned, I didn’t take my fuelbelt with its 4 water bottles with me.  At the expo I picked up a new handheld water bottle that would fit into my bottle holder with strap and storage pouch.  It was a little bigger than the one I had in the holder, so that appealed to me.  So I switched out the bottles.  I just put plain water in the bottle I was carrying, that way I could eat my gels whenever I wanted without having to be at a water stop.  Also, I knew that some of the water stops would have Gatorade, so I could get my electrolytes there.  Also, and I didn’t know they did this, at one of the water stops, they had a table piled with salt packets.  Yes, you read that right: salt packets.  Like the kind they hand out at restaurants with your plastic fork, spoon and knife.  I grabbed 2 of those.  Who knew plain salt could taste so good when your body actually NEEDS that salt? 

The bands were great.  I just wish they had been louder and I had been able to hear them for longer.  My favorite was a band that was before my port-a-potty stop when we were doing the downhills after a few uphills.  They were singing “What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes.  I sang along to that as I ran past them. 

I think from the second water stop on, every water stop, I walked.  The first one was just too early for me to feel the need to walk, so I skipped it.  I also walked about half the uphills because, well, those were some crazy uphills!!!
here's the elevation profile from my Garmin
 As we ran along, I was continuously amazed at the huge amount of support and spectators there were.  I was moved sooooo close to tears so many times.  This was an emotional run for me.  I was so very grateful for all the spectators and all their shouts of encouragement and signs full of funny and supportive sayings.  It just amazed me that a lot of those people didn’t know someone running the race, but were there supporting us and cheering us on…or, if they did know someone, they kept cheering after their loved one had long since passed by them.

I was doing pretty good for the first 11 miles.  At mile 11, almost exactly, my legs hit a wall.  Let me make this clear, *I* did not hit a wall.  *I* was perfectly fine.  My legs, however, were a different story.  My legs’ idea of running after mile 11 was some people’s idea of a walk, but I kept shuffling right along.  I did walk a few times in the last 2.3 miles, but I DID NOT walk across the finish line.  No way.  I did my best effort at running across that finish line and I raised my arms up in victory as I crossed it for my finish line photo op.  I crossed the timing chip mat, turned off my Garmin and made my way over to get my VERY FIRST FINISHER’S MEDAL!!! 

Right after picking up my medal, there were Marathon Foto peeps at the ready to take our pictures with our newly earned medals.  So, of course, I got my picture snapped holding it up next to my face proudly.  I, of course, asked a staffer if he could snap a pic of me with my phone holding up my medal...and he was nice enough to do it.

After that, I grabbed a bottle of water which I downed as quickly as possible, then I grabbed a PowerBar protein bar and scarfed that down.  Then I grabbed a bottle of Gatorade and sipped on that.  I also got a bag of HEB store brand Frito’s.  YUM!  Then, I sat down for a few minutes to rest my legs.  After about 5 minutes, I stood back up…what a feat that was!  I made my way to the post-race festivities area in search of a free spot massage tent like I had been told there would be.  However, when I got there, there was nothing.  There were beer tents and a shade tent, and some information tents, but NO massage tent.  What the heck?  There was a massage tent at both of the 10K’s I participated in and those were only about $40 each.  This race is a nationwide series and well known and participation is coveted and the registration fee at its cheapest is twice that of the 10K’s I’ve done (I paid more because I wasn’t an early registrant) and you’re going to tell me that there is NO massage tent.  Fail, Rock’N’Roll…fail.

So, since there was nothing to do post-race, I decided to just go ahead and hop on the shuttle to go back to my car.  The way I figured the timing, if I left then, I would get back to my friend’s place right before noon, which was the predetermined meet up time.

I have my official results, just not the official pictures yet (and yes, I’m one of those people that “steals” the pictures with the watermarks on them).  I’ll post those when they put them up on the website.  If there’s a good one of me then I might buy it because this was my first official half marathon.  Speaking of that, I can now officially display my 13.1 sticker on my car because I’ve “earned” it!!!

When today is done and over with, I am extremely proud of myself for having done this and followed through with it.
I stopped for the potty in mile 9


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