(Pre) Mile 1. Where have all the toilets gone?
Like anybody who seems to have a pea-sized bladder, I make sure to take a restroom break before the race. I heard someone say, "The toilets are over there." But I couldn't find over there. I thought I had done a decent search, but I couldn't find them.
Mile 2. Mus-- --ep- sk--pin-
I forgot to adjust the holders on my hydration belt. So my phone was at my back, and my Bluetooth headphones kept cutting in and out. At Mile 2, I did a less-than-gracious adjustment to my bib number and belt, but it got the job done. The music played without any interruptions.
Mile 3. Eww
I saw something gross on the ground. Let's leave it at that.
Mile 4. A pleasant surprise
My Team in Training coach was volunteering at a water station. It was great to see her! (Honestly, that might've been a different mile. Details.)
Mile 5. Turn here
A few runners had already passed me on their way back to the finish line. But now it was a steady stream of runners. I was happy to see I wasn't the only one confused on where to head. "Turn," I yelled to one runner, who was pointing and asking for direction.
Mile 6. How'd I miss that?
One of the joys of runs is you get see the sights. For example, I failed to notice a multi-story building in downtown Brownsville until the run. Huh.
Mile 7. Always carry a towel
That Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy advice is very true. I wet the towel I was carrying with me and plopped it on my head for the run. I look stupid in the photos, but I kept cool.
Mile 8. They've got spirit. Yes, they do.
There was a group of college students at a water station. Their energy was encouraging. And they got what I was trying to explain to the other water station volunteers - I need more than a cup. I need to refill my water containers.
Mile 9. I won't judge.
I saw a runner ahead of me in a sweat-drenched cotton shirt. He was struggling. I kept thinking, "Just take the shirt off. No one will care. It's just weighing you down."
I was second-to-last by the time all the runners turned the first corner. I was able to catch up and pass a few runners later on. The fact that some of them stopped to look at trees at UTB helped.
Mile 11. Jerks
I read an article calling all runners jerks. It said something like, "Because runs close roads, and it's not like anyone needs those (sarcasm)." I imagined all the drivers thinking that as I crossed the road, which is just a few hundred feet from an international bridge.
Mile 12. Are you sure it's just 12?
I was carrying 40 ounces of water and kept refilling. I was getting worried for others who didn't seem to be carrying any. I overheard one volunteer share a similar concern.
Mile 13. Slow and steady
I was hoping to speed up for the last bit, but instead I just focused on keeping my feet moving.
Point 1. There they are.
When I got to the finish line, I finally spotted the rows and rows of toilets I had missed in the dark earlier,
I admit around Mile 5, I was reconsidering my plans to do the Valley Triple Race Challenge.
This run was the first in the Valley Triple Race Challenge, which consists of three half-marathons in the Rio Grande Valley. I read once that you sign up for your next half-marathon, when you've forgotten the last one you ran. I didn't do that. The next one is next month.
Earlier this year, I was headed to a run in McAllen, when it sounded like my tire was about to fall off. I was still at least half an hour from the location. I said a prayer and remembered there was a Discount Tire at the next exit.
My car wobbled into a parking spot in the empty lot. It was almost an hour until the business opened. I was already dressed for the run and even had my bib pinned on. I figured why let a thing like the wrong location stop me from running.
I checked Google Maps, made an impromptu route and headed off. I circled the business a few times. I saw the employees arrive, get ready for the day, and most likely wonder why I was running circles around them.
I had this beautifully timed moment when I ran up to the door, just as they opened it. They got my information and I headed back to the road to finish my run.
When I returned, I remembered they have a fridge with water, which I helped myself to. Cold water, air condition, clean restrooms with no lines, plenty of parking. Instead of a medal, I got two new tires. (Considering race fees and travel and hotel costs, the price was comparable.) It was one of the most organized races I’ve participated in.
Former high school water girl (really) finally running.