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Three attempts at half marathon #21 in 2014!

Three attempts at half marathon #21 in 2014!

 

Texas has smoldering hot summers and I had several races scheduled during the summer months, but never thought it would take three attempts at half marathon #21 in 2014.  I thought it would be a good idea to check as many off the list as possible while I was off from work. I knew when fall arrived, I would be busy with work and football (I am super excited to have a freshman playing high school … big deal in Texas… need I say anymore).  2014 has been an unusual year as far as weather in Texas with snow storms and cool days in the summer.  To be honest, it has been nice.

June was great.  I ran a couple of races in nice weather and rescheduled one to take a camping trip with friends. The camping trip was a cabin in Broken Bow, OK and we had a fabulous time.

Great time with friends!

Great time with friends!

July came around and I rescheduled another race to take Austin (my youngest son) and his friends to a video game convention in Austin, TX. They had a great time and I had some wiggle room in my race schedule.

Video Game Convention

Video Game Convention

First attempt at #21 – July 13 was the day for El Scorcho 25K and I was excited about it.  I did not know how to prepare for the race.  It was 5K loops around the Trinity River in Fort Worth at midnight.  It was a hot day in July with a beautiful super moon.  One 5K loop was completed when my stomach started to rumble and a bad trip to the portapotty sent me home.  I have always finished races and not finishing was devastating to me, but I did not see any other option.

Super Moon

Fun night race!

Fun night race!

Second attempt at #21- July 19 Orange Leaf Half Marathon in New Braunfels, TX

I was nervous about a race in southern Texas in July, but I love New Braunfels and it started at 6:30am.  I figured I could survive and I would make it into a vacation for me and the boys.  We drove to Austin to stay with a friend and would get up early, drive one hour to New Braunfels for the race, and then float the river.  Well, I overslept! Again, I was devastated that I had paid for a race, traveled for the race, and missed it due to oversleeping. We did have fun floating the river, kayaking, and at Schlitterbahn Water Park.

Boys and I at water park.

Boys and I at water park.

Boys and I floating the river.

San Marcos River

Three attempts at half marathon #21 in 2014!

Third time is a charm… not to mention it was local.  My commute was just across town! It began and ended on the football field my boys had played and Austin would play many games over the next four years… ADDED BONUS  finishing on the 50 yard line.

Wildfire Half Marathon

Denton, Texas

July 26, 2014

High Temperature of 98 degrees

I arrived at the stadium, picked up my packet, and was ready to conquer #21! I could do this 13.1 miles of rolling hills on blacktop in smoldering heat… pancakes awaited me on the other side.  I was relieved to see a friend at the start line and we ran the first few miles together before drifting apart.  The next couple of miles were long as I questioned my sanity. About 5 mile, I met up with a couple of guys who we finished the race together.  One was running his first half marathon.  He swore he would never run another one and I encouraged him to run another one in better weather.  The other had run over 50 half marathons and multiple fulls plus he was a cancer survivor.  He was encouraging with interesting stories which made the next 8 miles pass by a little easier.

The heat was smoldering upon my shoulders, the road kill accented the pathway often leaving you guessing what the creature may have been before it was road  kill. There were plenty of water stops and my fingers swelled like small sausage links due to dehydration taking over my body. I could feel the blisters below my toenails and knew I would lose the toenails in the following days.  The last mile was spent walking more than running finishing with a 2:55 finish which I will take since it was Three attempts at half marathon #21 in 2014! I ran into the stadium and across the finish line.  It was a honor to have Stacey cheering for me at the stadium.  Spectators always add value and love to the course; especially, when they are there for you.  I love when friends and family take time from their schedules to support my goal.  Non-runners don’t understand the love of torture and it fills my love tank when they are there cheering for me. I picked up my medal and a bottle of water before heading to Old West Cafe for PANCAKES!!  YES… pancakes always make a half marathon better.

Three attempts at half marathon #21 in 2014!

Three attempts at half marathon #21 in 2014!

Finishing half marathon #21 in 2014!

I have completed 21 half marathons since January 11, 2014.  Running the 13.1 miles has not been the biggest challenge in this goal compared to the discipline and commitment.  Is it a mid-life crisis or is it a personal desire to be better??

Challenges of 40 Half Marathons in 2014

  • Running the 13.1 miles is a mental challenge moving one foot before the other 70,000 steps
  • Committing the time
  • The cost of the race and supplies
  • Scheduling and strategizing the race dates and times
  • Weather issues- rain, heat, cold
  • Lonely – several of the races, I have been by myself
  • Sore muscles
  • Loss of toe nails

It has been worth all of the challenges, to have the victory of completing a huge goal and meeting so many amazing people along the way! I know I will reflect over my lifetime the goal of 40 half marathons in 2014!

 

 

Diva Dash Half Marathon

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Galveston, Texas 15 0f 40 in 2014

Diva Dash Half Marathon

 

A month has gone by since this race and I have not been able to bring myself to blog about it. It was by far my worst time, but time has nothing to do with the essence here. What happened at the end of the Diva Dash Half Marathon has scared my mind and broken my heart.

Garrett and I woke up early and headed to Houston to pick up Danielle before headed to Galveston.  We chose to commuted between Houston and Galveston; so, Danielle could be a part of the weekend.

The highlight of the trip was the time I had with a lifelong friend Leila (terrible part is we did not take a picture together).  I loved the time we had together. She has been sick for a couple of years and had convinced me to do the 10 day detox diet with her which I did.  The detox changed my life and helped me to find some inner health problems of my own. I will share in another post. We enjoyed lunch, shopping on the strand, and the Diva Dash Half Marathon Expo.

I spent the remainder of the evening reading about the detox diet and watching meaningless television in the hotel.  We woke up early, picked up Danielle, and headed to Galveston.  They let me out close to the start line.  I found the port-a-potties and my way to the start line. It took me about 3 miles to find my mojo which is unusual and I still don’t think I ever found it by my time in this race.  It was humid and hot outside. The course had a couple of small hills and ran along the seawall.  The scenery was amazing running along the beach and seeing the winners pass you on their way back. The second person on the return was a 12 year old runner which was inspiring to see. 20140520-222946-80986649.jpg

At mile 13, they adorned you with a boa and a crown to cross the finish line which was a nice bonus, but always the Diva Dash Half Marathon’s key attractions.  At the finish line, you had the choice of champagne or Ginger Ale which I love both.  I chose the champagne.

As I approached the finish line, the officials directed us to the left.  On the right, the emergency response team was performing CPR on a young lady.  I knew the outcome wasn’t good when they carried her away and there was not any response from the CPR.  My heart aches as I write this.  She was there on her bachlorette party and was to be married in two short weeks after the race.  She had run many marathons and had a heart condition un-diagnosed heart condition.  I will forever be shaken by the Diva Dash Half Marathon. Read more about Kaytie Joyner here.  God bless her family and fiance. 20140520-222951-80991816.jpg

Diva Dash Half Marathon was race 15 of 40 in 2014 in Galveston, TX.  It was a woman’s race which I loved the support and encouragement of other women along the race. I loved running along the beach.  The heat and humidity was tough and my time was bad.  The finish line story leaves me with a broken heart for Kaytie’s family and friends.

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Bearathon Half Marathon

Bearathon Half Marathon

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Only picture from this race and it was taken by a student when I picked up my bag.

Awaken on Saturday morning at 4 am by the alarm.  At this time is when I question my sanity.  Wo in their right mind wakes up at 4 am to travel 2 hours and run? I preceded to get up, dress for the race, and start on my way.  It is dark and lonely on the roads to Waco. I stop in Hillsboro for a breakfast burrito and at this time, a light drizzle has started to fall.  The lady at Whataburger was nice and told me I was 20 minutes from Baylor and rain should hold off until 10 am which was all good news to me.  I continued on I35 to Waco, pulled into a dark campus, and parked close to the race festivities. I ran to the student center for my bib and packet, checked my bag, and walked out the door just in time for the race to start… NOTHING like making to a race just in time to start.  I was able to save myself from the portapotty stop while in the student center… always a bonus for a runner ( I am not too proud to use a portapotty… much better than “pantsing your poop!)

We were off… running through the campus of Baylor University for the first mile. I was surrounded by college students on a beautiful campus and fellow runners all out for one goal… to finish!

The transformation within yourself between the start line and finish line conquers fears, creates discipline, and builds confidence.

It means running with and through pain.

It means believing in yourself.

It means encouraging others.

At mile 2, we ran past the Budweiser plant which I found ironic, but promising.  I love a beer after a race, but there was no beer a then end of this race.  The course curved through Cameron Park and the Methodist Children home.  The college students cheering the runners along were amazing with incredible energy; not to mention some were handing out BACON! What a marvelous idea- BACON is simply the best.  It will take care of your protein and salt in one shot with yummicious taste!!

I knew I had a double this weekend and next; so, I thought I would take it easy, but try to stay at 2:30 finish time.  Earlier in the week, I had messaged a Baylor alumni friend about the elevation– good thing I asked him and not the elevation chart or I would have stressed all week.  Now, the joke is… before you run a double, you ought to check the elevation chart.  At mile 6 I text the Baylor alumni, ” OMFG these hills are a BEATCXH!” His reply, “Welcome to the Hill Country” with an inspiring “You can do it.” It gave me the motivation I needed at the moment to push forward.  The course was treacherous, but beautiful. I do want to take the boys back over the summer to hike, camp, and canoe.

At mile 9, I ran with a Baylor senior named Casey who was running her first marathon.  Poor girl… Bearathon Half Marathon is not a good choice for your first marathon. I encouraged her, shared some recovery tips, and she went on to finish.

At mile 11, I saw a group of ladies with shirts that read “I survived the Bearathon Half Marathon Toughest Half in Texas.” WTH… How am I just learning this??

#9 was not easy, but it was in the books!

Bearathon Half Marathon is the toughest race I have ever done.  I will do it again to conquer it. I feel like it got the best of me this year.  It was the first for me in a series of 4 half marathons in 9 days. I liked the medal and the shirt. The post race was a few vendors, but nothing was left when I arrived.

Big D Half Marathon

"White trash" bag to protect me from the rain.

“White trash” bag to protect me from the rain.

Big D Half Marathon

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Big D marathon was cold and wet, but a beautiful course.

As the alarm went off at 6 am, the dreaded moment hit me when I realized I would be running Big D Half Marathon in the rain.  It was a situation I wasn’t prepared for.  I knew I should have bought a poncho to put in my running bag. I thought maybe I would stop along the way. Mom and I drove to Fair Park (downtown Dallas where the State Fair is held) and there was not time to stop for a poncho, but we did stop at the McDonalds across the street to avoid the porta potty line. As we approached the building, I asked a man outside, “do you have anymore of those ponchos?”  I did not know he was homeless. He sold me his and took off with the money.  Mom would not allow me to where the poncho; so, I wore the trash bag that I grabbed as we left the house.  We parked the car in Fair Park and sat there until the last minute before the race started.  I walked up to the race just in time to start running with the back of the pack (not always the best place to be, but today I did not care).  This is my fourteenth race of the year and my 20th race ever.  I don’t mind cold, but cold and rain is more than I was ready for this 6th day of April.

Big D Half Marathon Mile 1 through 3

During mile 1 as we were leaving Fair Park, I step in a puddle leaving my shoes wet. I thought , “what have I gotten myself into? Who in their right mind would be out here running in this wet, cold weather? What was I thinking to run 40 half marathons in one year?” The rain had slowed down and I removed the trash bag.  We were moving out of the Fair Park area into the nicer parts of downtown Dallas.

Big D Half Marathon Mile 4 through 6

We were running along White Rock Lake.  It was beautiful and chilly as the wind blew off the lake.  I love running around White Rock Lake.  At mile 4 is where the full marathoners and half marathoners separated for a while. I had my Stinger Chews and kept running.

Big D Half Marathon Mile 7 through 10

We are running through beautiful homes which I found inspirational.  At mile 7.85, I hear police horns going off behind me.  I turn around to see the first full marathoner passing me which in my mind is beyond amazing. I am explaining to the other runners what is going on.  All the runners began cheering for him and pushed themselves a little harder after his unspoken motivation.

Big D Half Marathon Mile 11 through 13.1

This is where I experienced the downpour! I started singing, “Singing in the Rain” to the other runners and decided it was time to pick up the pace and be done. The rain avoided my face and fell off my hat.  It was a funny feeling.  My clothes and shoes were drenched. It was a strange feeling to be soaking wet from rain and sweating too. By this time, 8 male full marathoners and 1 female had passed me.  What an accomplishment to complete a sub 3 hour full marathoner in rain and with hills. These runners were truly inspirational; not to mention they all were in great shape.

As we wind around Fair Park, there are plenty of potholes full of water to drench my shoes and chill my toes. As I approach the finish line, I see mom standing there.  It is always nice to have a cheerleader along the way.  I cross the finish line, grab my medal, and we head into the post party.  We sit down to eat the breakfast burrito for a few minutes and then I am ready to go home.

The Big D half marathon was race 14 of 40 in 2014! It was a beautiful course with great volunteers.  The medal was small. The shirt was a tech shirt with the Big D logo on the front.  The post race meal was 1/4 baked potato, egg/ potato burrito, banana, and pork rinds which is more than most give you.   There were a few vendors in the post race party.  I am thankful it was inside because it was cold outside. Packet pick-up was easy at Academy Sports and Outdoors.

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