1. Purple Haze
I had wanted to dress up for the event as there was a costume contest, but I've worn some pretty cumbersome costumes that I know I couldn't run in. In the end, I figured I'd just wear purple and paint my hair purple. I didn't order a wig, because it would be hot…. and then the day ended up starting in the 40s.
I bought a can of purple hair color and I am surprised I'm still alive. It's flammable and has a rather strong odor, which is apparently still there. As my sister pointed out later, "Why did you color your hair? You're wearing a hat." " …Because I said I would."
2. Something's wrong. I'm comfortable.
As mentioned, it was in the 40s when the race started. I got to the Team in Training tent and everyone was shivering. I was fine. Someone even noticed it and mentioned to me.
To be honest, I was very proud of my four purple layers, but I know my body heat would rise when I started running and I'd have to shed a layer, which was a shame. I just bought the clothes. And of course, the thrift store shirt was my base layer. The others were things I thought were on sale and ended up not being on sale.
3. Potty Time
McAllen had their much-appreciated portable toilets with A/C, sinks, soap and actual doors at the race. I was fooled into thinking there wasn't a line. Until I opened the door and there were 10 women squished in the small lobby-like area. We were packed in so tight, it was difficult for someone exiting a restroom to get out of it.
When I was leaving, I asked what I know appeared to be a very stupid question. Pointing to the exit, I asked, "Does that door work?" A woman slowly replied, "Uh… yes" with an obvious but silent "duh" reaction. In my defense, I hadn't seen anyone use it. I was beginning to think we were all just stuck in there.
4. Meet Olivia
Olivia, who's part of Team In Training and did the San Antonio RNR, was assigned to walk alongside me. Betsy, my Lower Valley teammate, also had a partner assigned. Betsy's partner was redirected for a bit. So the three of us completed the course together.
Betsy is a much faster runner than I am, but fortunately, for me, she walks most of the course.
5. Thank you but no
As we ended the first mile, I noticed an ambulance near us and slowly driving just ahead of us. I know they're there for my benefit, but they were making me nervous. Then I joked, "If I were them, I'd be betting on runners I think wouldn't make it. That guy. That girl over there. That man. That girl with the four layers of purple and partially painted purple hair… "
6. Where do I go?
Somewhere along Mile 2, everyone disappeared. Betsy, Olivia and I were pretty much the only ones on a stretch of road, not counting the volunteer cyclist keeping tabs on us (which required he travel the slowest possible speed on a bike).
But during a few of the turns, there were no signs and no runners ahead of us to follow. They were relatively short areas, and I'm grateful I had company during them. "Are we going the right way?" A minute or two later…. "Hey, arrows! Okay. Good job."
7. And the Crowd Roars
We turned the corner in a neighborhood and there were a group of cheerleaders and a tiger mascot with signs ready to cheer us on.
I was a little ahead of Betsy and Olivia at the time, and I heard Betsy say, "She always speeds up at crowds" and something about egging them on. I laughed. I would've turned around and denied it, but I was too busy yelling at the group, "What? I can't hear you! What!?!" and then high-fiving the mascot.
8. Shed some layers
I'm amused by the clothes dropped along the route. Race organizers collect the items and donate them to a charitable organization. But if someone passed the area and didn't know about the race, they'd probably figure there's a bunch of streakers around.
Betsy had a quick break along Mile 6. (I swear there's something about Mile 6.) I took the opportunity to get rid of two layers. I'm not sure how my TNT jersey, the top layer, got sweat when the others didn't, but it did. Either way, that was my team shirt and had my bib on it, so I kept that layer. Not a great feeling putting a sweaty jersey back on.
9. Terrible Vision
"Betsy, is that a bear?"
"Is that a bear mascot blowing a horn? I think I see ears."
"…. No. It's just a man. He's wearing a hat."
We're taught and warned NEVER stray for our running routine. On race day, eat the breakfast you're used to eating before running. Wear the shoes you normally wear. Wear the running clothes you normally wear. If you just drink water when training, don't try Gatorade on race day. Don't take supplements you haven't tried before. NEVER stray from your routine.
And being the genius I am, I broke that rule. It was just a tiny piece of banana.
The two ladies there with treats were like sirens, near Mile 8. "Apple. Banana," they offered. Sure, I thought, totally avoiding the apple. (Apples and my running are a horrible combination and that's an entirely different and embarrassing story.)
So, this is the prelude.
11. Bananas Part II
Actually, there wasn't much between the banana and this next part. "Betsy, that banana did NOT agree with me." And it was intervals of a oh-so-fun mix of cramps and stomach gurgling.
12. My Love-Hate Relationship with Mile Markers
My reactions to:
Mile markers 1- 4: Okay, good job. Another mile done.
Mile markers 5-7: Hey, you beautiful sign! Look at you!
Mile markers 8-9: Okay, making progress.
Mile marker 10: *Blowing kisses* You freakin' gorgeous sign!
Mile marker 11: Where the hell have you been!?!
Mile marker 12: What!?! Shouldn't I have seen you like 10 minutes ago?
Mile marker 13: That can not be 0.1 miles to the finish line! That looks a lot longer!
13. Toenails are for sissies.
That's what one of the signs read along Mile 12. Betsy saw it first and laughed. Then I saw it and got worried. You see, along Mile 9, I swear my right sock shifted. It felt like the seam was just pulling up the nail on my little toe. I was… concerned. Please note, this was in conjunction with the banana situation.
13.1 Honest to God, I'm running
My dear Mr. Mendez and my mother were waiting for me at the finish line. They congratulated me and then my mother, who cheered me on at the San Antonio RNR Marathon, added, "You were running this time."
"… I was running last time."
So, all those highlights aside, there was some bad news at the event. My mentor, Lori, was taken to the hospital. She was participating in the marathon. I understand she's doing better. Please join me in praying for her speedy recovery.
Former high school water girl (really) finally running.