Monday, July 29, 2013

21 Days and 2 Half Marathons: Part 2

I remember the night very clearly, June 15th around 10:45pm. T and I had gone to Xanadu night at Gay Bingo and we were eating dinner at Chili's when I got a text from AJ. The conversation went something like this:

     AJ: Is it crazy to ask you to run a 1/2 with me in Trinity Park on the June 29th?? 

     Me: Holy crap...

     AJ: And we get a jalapeno medal!!!

     Me: Is it crazy that I want to do it??

That was it, we were running our 3rd half marathon just 21 days after the Wounded Warrior Half. Over the next few days we recruited Jen to join us and found out that we had a handful of friends running as well. 

Race week came and it wasn't business a usual. Sadly our dear friend Jenny's Dad passed away very suddenly and as many of our friends who could headed to San Antonio to support her at the memorial service. Because of work I was unable to go even though my heart was there with my grieving friend. This time around there wasn't the group dinner before to relax and take in the support of friends. That would be a new mental challenge for me.

As race morning came, I was nervous about the heat but we were ready. After a brief delay thanks to the buses from the parking lot running slow it was show time! (seriously...if you want your race to be delayed ask AJ and I to do it. We have that affect on race start times!)

I was very cautious about pacing myself at the beginning because I knew the heat was going to get me if I over did it too fast.  That was an understatement. 

By mile 5 or 6 I threw my time out the window. I knew that just finishing this race would be an major accomplishment in itself. I would say at least 90% of the route was on the hottest, least shaded part of the trail that I tend to avoid when it is 85 or 90 degrees. Today it was pushing 102.  

At each rest stop I took a few moments to pour water over my head, down my back and on the thighs of my pants. As well as hydrating and refueling. And when they had ice I would put in in my bra and the back of my pants. Around mile 9 or 10 my feet started to hurt like I had never experienced before. At one point I was sure my toe was bleeding, but I tried to ignore it. 

Along the route people bonded over just how crazy we all were. We helped push each other to keep moving. But as the day went one I watched a lot of people bow out and call it a day. I would be lying if I didn't say the thought crossed my mind once or twice. But then I remembered my friend Monika, who was very pregnant, was not only out there running...she was ahead of me!

But I didn't give up. I pushed it till the end and I crossed the finish line, upright! Was it a PR? Not even close!! I barely made it under the 4 hour time limit...but I MADE IT!! 

After catching my breath and grabbing some water the first thing I did was take my shoes off. (which might have been slightly dumb since I had to walk to the car...) I have never had a blister from running, not even after the craziness in the rain at Wounded Warrior. Within moments of taking my shoes off, I could feel at least 4 blisters. By the end of the day that number had jumped to 7 and 2 of them were nasty blood blisters. Ick! 

After the race I posted this photo and caption. To this day it still sums it up.

"Another half for the books, the hardest one yet. One word (other than insane or brutal) describes today - thankful! I am thankful for amazing friends both on and off the course who have been a part of this adventure, for having the courage to start and the strength to finish. Today my feet may hurt but my heart is full."