The short version: This was one of the top three worst runs I’ve participated in. This ranking is due to the weather conditions and nothing against the organizers.
As a runner in South Texas, my range of running weather conditions is limited. But to get to my worst weather list I have to believe I or another participant has a very real risk of needing an ambulance.
I should mention even before the race began, the bus driver who took other runners and myself to Schlitterbahn said he thought it was a very unsafe route. He said the rising sun could blind drivers, causing them to hit runners on the causeway. He added he would not let his children participate in this run. Noted.
It was very warm already in the morning. I didn’t wear shorts and knew that was stupid.
Runners started at Schlitterbahn, headed south to the Jetties, and then circled back toward Schlitterbahn to get to the causeway. Two people in front of me who were walking (yes, they were walkers and still ahead of me) didn’t even make it to the causeway. When we were passing Schlitterbahn, they just walked back to Schlitterbahn.
It wasn’t even 30 minutes into the run, and walkers were quitting. They must’ve known what was to come. I just thought it was hot.
The water stations before the causeway were a bit congested, but I knew I should grab some water. I got two cups - one to drink and one to toss on my head. It has to be really hot for me to toss water on my head. (My $$ headphones fall apart with a drop of water.) I still didn’t realize how bad the weather was.
I’m trudging up the two-mile causeway and then realization sets in. It’s very hot and humid. It’s like nature is draining you of all your energy and trying to force you to the ground but without using wind. My body did not like this at all. I realized I won’t finish the race unless I slow down. A lot. Actually, I just wanted to stop. I wanted to move to the side and sit down. Give nature this win, and I’ll keep my overall health.
But I didn’t. I thought water would help. I carry it with me, but it was already too warm to drink. And there wasn’t a water station on the causeway. I spilled a little of what I had on my head to see if that would help.
I can’t explain specifics of what I felt. But others told me about similar experiences. “I was starting to shiver.” Heat exhaustion. “I had to stop running. I wasn’t going to make it.”
It was the grace of God that let me make it to Port Isabel. Two people were standing at the corner with hoses. The people in front of me got their feet wet with the water.
“Their feet?!,” I thought. “Screw that.” I weakly motioned those heavenly people with hoses to just drench me from head to toe. It was beautiful and I wanted to stop, but I still had about a mile to go. I think I saw a few 10K runners who skipped that last part and just followed the 5K participants to the finish line.
I was too weak to give my usual thanks to the volunteers guiding runners for the rest of the route.
Eventually I finished. At the finish, the fire truck were there and the fire hose was ready for another shower of relief.
I didn’t look at my finish time. My goal for this run was just staying alive.
Former high school water girl (really) finally running.