Saturday, May 02, 2009

running in hill country

A while back, I decided to run a half marathon. On April 4th, I did.

Sam drove us all to Austin and we played in Barton Springs for a while until we got dinner and headed to Sam's Grandpa Frank's house to eat it. He loved meeting little Anna and liked to make faces at her and let her chase his cane. I always love hearing his funny stories. He always leaves us with a smile.

We stayed at a motel for the night, Anna in her pack and play in the bathroom with the fan on. We woke EARLY and headed down to the airport to catch the shuttle to the race. There was a huge line of cars, but I still got there in plenty of time. The race started at Hyatt Lost Pines near Balstrop. We drove through a winding, hilly, tree-lined road to get to the start, and it proved to be indicative of what I'd see for the next 13.1 miles.

I had decided to try to stay with the 9-minute mile pacers for the first 5 miles, and then go faster if I felt good, or back off if I didn't. With my shoes tied just right, my special socks on, and my new watch on my wrist, I was ready. However, I was tired and it was, as I said, EARLY, and my body wasn't used to it. By mile 3, I felt terrible. I was behind the pacer and was feeling a cramp. Finally, I decided that I'd just have to give up on my goal of finishing under 2 hours and just have fun and finish.

Not feeling so hot
(I obviously stole these pictures from the website of the photo company)

Of course, once I decided this, I was able to relax and had had 4 miles to warm up, so I started feeling good. I hit mile five at exactly 45 minutes (9-minute pace) and then had a long (3/4 mile) down hill. I just let go and by the turn around at 6.5 miles, I was two minutes ahead of my time. I tried to keep it up, even though I had to back up that loooong hill. By mile 11, I was feeling really tired, and the constant hills were wearing on me. There was literally never a flat stretch, it was either up or down the whole time (I guess that's why they call it the hill country...) and since Houston is nothing BUT flat, I was less than prepared for that. But since I knew I didn't have much left, I just let my body go with it's flow, and I finished in 1:56, four minutes under my goal!
Much better

I was 102nd place out of 1200 runners, so that was encouraging. I was also 8th in my age group which was surprising. Sam and Anna met me after the race since there was no place for spectators along the course. I got my free massage which was much too short, a free cupcake, a delicious breakfast burrito, and lots of runners high endorphins.

Once we changed Anna and enjoyed the sunshine a bit, we got back on the bus and headed to the airport parking. Anna LOVED the bus ride, but was exhausted. She fell asleep in the time between Sam putting her in her car seat and him driving to the curb next to the restrooms to pick me up.

We ate at the yummy Ironworks Barbeque for lunch, and though it was delicous, I could feel my body begging for lean protein and complex carbohydrates to rebuild after working so hard. Sorry body.

Sam was kind enough to drive all the way home and Anna was as patient as an 11 month old with a nasty diaper rash can be during a 3 hour car ride. Needless to say, we were all happy to be home.

I'm also glad to say that I've been good about continuing to exercise and haven't given it up completely like I did after my first marathon. I think the half was a much better distance for me.


Marci said...

You're amazing! I have no desire to ever run anything more than a 5k, but I totally respect people who do it :-)!

Rebecca Holt Stay said...

You look just marvelous in those photos. Amazing after 13 miles!

tpmotd said...

For your next pair of special socks, you should wear a pair of Dad's black socks like the ones he wore when he ran with you in his work shoes. You would look SO HAWT.

Rachel said...

Those are some pretty good photos. Running long distances really does take will power, that's awesome.

lizzie said...

Hooray! I'm glad you made your goal. Sounds like a tough course. And you definitely look great after such a hard run.

Anna and Jon said...

Way to go! On my list too

Laurie said...

Yay! I'm glad you made your goal. What an accomplishment!