Merry Christmas! This year, my family gave me the gift of a future scar-free torso.
Let me explain.
I've been using a heart monitor chest strap for at least the last two years. And, because I'm slow sometimes, it took most of that time to realize it was responsible for the cuts around my torso.
I hadn't realized how bad it was until I happened to get a glance of my back in the mirror. Oh. My. God.
I debated whether to share a photo, but why scare anyone else?
I did share with my family. First, they could tell me if I was exaggerating. (I wasn't.) Second, I could explain the cuts if they happen to see them.
I had planned to save up and upgrade my watch to one with a built-in heart monitor. Meanwhile, the chest strap was getting worse.
During long runs, I could feel it cutting into my skin. Sometimes, removing the chest strap was a greater thrill than finishing the run.
My family saw this and decided to pitch in and buy me a watch with a built-in heart monitor for Christmas. I was eyeing the TomTom Runner Cardio and the Garmin Forerunner 225. I had been using a TomTom and heard good things about Garmin. My family got me the Garmin. Yay! It's in the center of the photo.
There were some unexpected differences between the TomTom and Garmin. Nothing bad, just different. I'll write about that later.
To complete the runner's Christmas theme, I also got a pair of pants, Balega socks and a hydration pack. So I'm excited to try out my new things. And based on the way I've been eating for the last few weeks, my health would appreciate it too.
I was basically pooped from my recent races, but my niece wanted to participate in the Santa Dash 5K in Weslaco. All the participants would get Santa outfits, and she wanted to dress upon of her dogs.
I always enjoy my family joining me at run/walks, and the run sounded like fun. The event was changed from a morning run to an evening run, so I was able to make it.
The race started late. (Thank goodness. We were late.) The costumes were fun. And a lot of people added their own personal touches. There was a snow machine at the start line.
Link: See the SmugMug gallery of the event
While my niece was excited about running with her dog, I was a little less than thrilled. That’s nothing against dogs. I just wish we were all a bit more organized when the race started.
As soon as I tried to cross the start line, I was immediately tangled in a leash. A little boy was holding the leash, and his mother was telling him to hurry up, until she realized what had happened.
A little further down, two runners had to stop to untangle their dogs.
I had trouble hearing the announcer before the race started. I was confused, because I thought I heard, “Stay on the sidewalk.” When we turned onto Texas Boulevard, we were on the street, so I thought I misheard him.
The runners and walkers were told to stay on the southbound lane. That didn’t make much sense to me. It’s a two-lane street. The side streets were closed, so there wasn’t any traffic, and the water station was on the opposite side of the road, so runners were headed to that part anyway.
Another participant later told me she moved to the side of the road to tie her shoelace and was told she had to move. I saw one of the vehicles used to coordinate traffic guide another vehicle through the street. They were heading in the opposite direction of participants, and the participants were told to move.
My sister was one of the last people to finish the race. I backtracked to find her. When I did, traffic was already flowing on the street. She and the other remaining participants were now on the sidewalk. It was already dark, and I didn’t see an race organizers or police watching out for them.
Isn’t one of the points of a run to have the roads closed, so runners have the right-of-way? It was a 5K. Most of the participants are done in a little more than an hour. If the city or organizers were concerned about closing one of the main streets, why not just use another street for the run?
My sister said her knee was hurting. At the start of the race, we were on the street itself, which is level. Later, we were moved to the edge of the road, which slopes. She said when that happened, her knee started to hurt.
Maybe I was being overly concerned. She and the other participants who hadn’t finished seemed in good spirits. But as a person who’s finished at the end of races, I’m used to my police escort even on less-trafficked streets.
The snow machine was turned back on at the finish line. I liked the medals and even my niece’s dog got one. Along with the water at the finish line, there was hot chocolate waiting. There were also funnel cakes and tortas for sale. There was a Christmas fireplace photo backdrop available.
I was actually a bit sleep-deprived. I had just gotten back into the Valley after an out-of-state trip, so I didn’t get to enjoy the run as much as I could have. If my family wants to participate next year, I think I’ll stay with them for the entire run and make sure we pack our own lights.
I got to attend part of it. Unfortunately, running in cold weather causes my nose to run too. On a long shot, I asked a woman if she had a tissue, and she actually had quite a few.
I headed back to the hotel, and I felt like I was moving fast. The first part I know was because I was headed downhill. (I could've gone in another direction, but I earned the right to run down the street the easy way.) The rest was because I was trying to reach the next block before the light changed. It felt like quick sprints, but my watch confirms I was going my usual pace.
I wish I had a chance to have a longer run, but I enjoyed the opportunity to have a quick look around.
It's the the third year for the McAllen Marathon. It's been renamed in honor of the late city commissioner Scott Crane. He died after participating in last year's run. (Read more about it here.)
This year, organizers added a 5K. It was held after the kids' run, which is the day before the half-marathon and marathon.
The 5K turnout was small compared to the main runs. If the race organizers copy the Run 'N' Roll remix challenge, maybe they can increase their numbers. The remix challenges participants to run two races - one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Runners get a a total of three medals. I know the bling compels me to run the challenge.
It was a bit cold the weekend of the runs. It sprinkled a bit on Saturday and I even bought a poncho at Target, which is so convenient next to a start line.
(Side note: Ignore the $16 ponchos in the front of the store. Head to the camping section and buy one for less than $2.)
The morning of the run, I debated carrying my pancho with me, since I thought it might rain. Then I heard someone say, "No, we'll be fine."
Because it was still early in the morning, it took my mind awhile to process this. It went something like this:
"I know that voice..."
"It's Alan.... "
"Alan is a meteorologist."
"He's NWA certified or something..."
"Alan knows the weather..."
"Listen to Alan. Forget the pancho."
I then got a breakdown about the incoming cold front. It was expected to hit in the middle of our run. The good news is we'd have the wind at our backs for the first half of the run. When the cold front comes in, we'd be heading south and the wind would still be at our backs.
So... the only challenge is I have to beat the wind to the halfway point. That's all. I just have to beat the wind.
I actually made it in time. That was no thanks to Mile 4, which unofficially became my first mud run. The entire road was caked in it.
I'm sad to report my time stunk. The McAllen Marathon with its flat trail took me almost as long to complete as the San Antonio Rock 'N' Roll Half with its hills.
Ah, well. It was my fifth half-marathon in three months. I'm tired. As long as I finished, I'm okay.
Former high school water girl (really) finally running.