Oh yeah. This may be the ugliest yet. I may even have to fork over $15.95 or whatever ungodly amount they want for a 5x7 of number 31362-3017-002 here. EXCELLENT ugly race pic. This one's not bad though - from the lost and found (dumb bib).
I'm actually feeling pretty good after the Inaugural Rock N Roll San Antonio Marathon last Sunday. The race was the largest inaugural race in history and the largest race in Texas, with 30,000 registered and 24,761 starting. Runners were from all 50 states and 18 countries. Needless to say, the Kenyans beat me. But I had a good time.
I started out around 5 am - driving to my friend's house in the King William District just South of downtown, about a mile from the finish line. Unfortunately, the barricades were already emplaced and, trying to do the right thing, I attempted to find an alternate way into the neighborhood. At some point, I unintentionally ended up within the barricades - but on the wrong side of the river. Finally, I just looked both ways and drove down the sidewalk around the barricades. (I was hoping they wouldn't arrest someone wearing a race bib.)
From downtown, we caught a shuttle to the start and caught an eyeful of the mess that was Hwy 281 South. Apparently, many shuttles were stuck there and folks didn't quite make it to the start in time. At the start, we waited. And waited. And waited. I really don't like waiting to run. Anyway, the start gun fired. And we waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, corral #16 was released (moo) and we shuffled for about 5 miles. I don't think I actually hit stride without running around someone until almost the 9 mile mark. Funny how folks in "faster" corrals were already walking at mile 2. Grr.
Somewhere in that time, I managed to almost lose my bib, so I was running with it shoved down the front of my skirt. I eventually grabbed an extra pin from a runner and managed to reattach the bib to my shirt. Luckily, the weather was good - cold in the morning, with the sun coming out and low wind. There were actual spectators in town and bands, but they all spread thin as we headed down (and back up) the Mission Trail.
I felt pretty good until I got to mile 14-15, where I always bonk a bit. It doesn't happen in training runs, but in the marathon, at that point, I feel tired and kind of hopeless. Luckily, it passes and it's gone. And I haven't encountered 'the wall' at any point.
My hip reminded me that it hurt, but it didn't cause the shooting leg pains. Near the end, after my MP3 player froze at mile 21, my feet started hurting. Surprisingly, they took the brunt of the run this time, but I'm not feeling plantar fasciitis like last time. They did remind me just how hard it is to keep running for hours and hours. The Kenyans were already finished, with their feet up, drinking a beer, I'm sure.
The finish was designed by the world's biggest sadist. Instead of running toward the Alamodome and crossing the finish at the closest point, as we had in past years, we instead got to run to the dome, then around the West side, then around the North side where there is a HILL, then around the East side of the dome to the finish. Jerks. The girl I was running beside said "almost there" when she came in range of the Dome - yeah, except for the extra 1/2 mile around and big HILL 500 m from the finish line. Jerks.
Anyway, I finished in 4:49:00 on the nose. Thank goodness for chip timing, since my corral (moo) didn't even start until about 30 minutes after the starting gun. I was aiming for a faster time when I started training, but given the hip/piriformis/orthobutcher surgeon who wants to cut my back issues, I'm happy with that finish.
After the race, we walked back to Janie's for a Brak Pak BBQ and massage - which I think helped me recover much faster this year. Four of my buddies qualified for Boston and six friends completed their first marathon. Here are the Brak Pak pictures (mine is at about mile 23-ugh).
Next up: Courthouse 4 miler Saturday (probably) and Marine Corps Marathon next October!
Thanks to Darlene for the Brak Pak pics.