finish strong and fast…TWSS!

I did it! I officially finished the San Antonio Rock n’ Roll Marathon on November 13th, 2011. I can now mentally say “check!” to that item on my bucket list, and go about trying to get my right knee back to normal size.

It was a flurry of a weekend, beginning with the boy, Poodle, Chrissy and I heading down to Austin for the night. We got out on the road about 2:30pm on Friday, armed with tunes, snacks, and a massive amount of water and Gatorade (I was seriously dehydrated!). The trip down was pretty uneventful..other than an occasional song and dance breakout…of course. Getting down to Austin around 6:30pm, we quickly decided on Buca di Beppo for dinner. Perfect carb-loading dinner, right? Well, apparently “Yes, we have availability tonight” also means “No, we are completely booked solid till 8pm, why would you even bother showing up?” Enter plan two: Carrabas. Arriving at the restaurant, we were told the wait would be 30 minutes. 30 minutes came and went, and we still stood by the host stand, our eyes and mouths watering with each plate of food taken past us. Again, apparently “It will just be 30 minutes” means “It’s going to be more like an hour or so…and the bread you asked for to tide over your hungry pregnant friend, Candace, here won’t show up…” Fail. The evening wasn’t a total bust, however, thanks to our amazing waiter Simon who regaled us with jokes, attentive service, and free dessert. Lurve.

After dinner, I headed over to my sis and BIL’s apartment to stay the night, since tomorrow we would be making our way to San Antonio with them in tow. The following morning we ate breakfast, then drove over to their new house with my parents. After doing some brainstorming for future projects, we set off for lunch at La Madeline, then Home Depot for some tools. A quick stop later at Target for much-needed Sudafed (my glands were swelling like crazy) we were on the road for the hour drive to San Antonio.

We arrived around 3:30pm, and upon dropping our bags at the hotel, immediately set out for the expo to secure our race packets and swag bags. Pam, John and I hung out a bit, scoring some samples, a visor (for me), and a head warmer (for John), and then made our way back to the hotel to meet our parents for dinner.

As we were cleaning up for dinner, I decided to do a quick check of my gear for the next morning. Shoes? Check. Tank top? Check. Ipod? Check. Running tights? Chirp Chirp Chirp….I’m sorry, let me ask again….Running tights? Trinity Mother Francis! I left my tights at home! After a quick freak out and some no-need-to-repeat swear words, I realized I couldn’t run sans pants (although it wouldn’t be the first time…), and thus needed to head to the mall asap. So while my family took off for dinner at The Fig Tree, I ran (literally) to the River Center mall and right into Macys, which was my only option for workout gear (seriously, River Center, expand your options!!). Thanks to a return they just so happened to have 2 pairs of Nike running shorts in the WHOLE store. And one of them was my size. Oh thank heaven! After purchasing the shorts (and a pair of yoga pants which were cut into shorts out of desperation before the previously mentioned Nike shorts were found) I hightailed it over to the restaurant to meet the fam. Sweating, breathing heavily, and still pissed that my beloved Mizuno tights were sitting on my dryer at home, I managed to calm down a bit to enjoy an amazing meal. We walked back to the hotel later that night in order to try and sleep before the big day.

Bright and early Sunday morning, Pam, John and I “got up and geared up” for the race. My nerves (and swollen glands) made it difficult to eat, so after choking down a bagel, we made our way out the hotel door to the race start two blocks over. Since Pam and John were in corral 22 and I was in corral 12, we split up shortly, and I made my way solo to line up among the mass of runners. Thankfully I had the boy texting me to keep my mind off of the pre-race jitters. The race started promptly at 7:30 with my corral crossing the start line around 7:50. The weather was hot and humid, and the first few miles were slightly difficult. With any run I take, I usually need about 10-15 minutes to warm up, so with the addition of my annoying sinus infection, my body wasn’t too pleased with what I was asking it to do that morning. Around mile 8, though, when I saw my wonderful cheering squad, I began to “buck up” and felt my legs finally working with me. The race split at mile 11, making the field of runners significantly smaller as all the half marathoners turned towards home. Finally…peace! It couldn’t have come at a better time, because when mile 15 hit, so did my Osgood Schlatter’s disease. I’ve mentioned this issue before, and unfortunately, it came back with vengeance during the race. I slowly began to feel my kneecaps shift and swell, and quickly realized that it was going to become increasingly more difficult to run as the time went on. And I still had 11 miles to go. Crap.

The consistent running turned to a brief walk every other mile, with one period between miles 22-24 where I walked for at least 1/2 a mile straight. My legs ached, my knees were swollen, and I was soaking wet due to the combination of the water stations and my own perspiration. I was so tired that I didn’t even realize I had been listening to the same song on repeat for the ENTIRE RACE. Yup, I completely forgot to change songs. Thanks to Marc Broussard, I now have “Home” playing in my head 24/7.

I saw my cheer squad at mile 13 and again at mile 21, and they gave me a great push of motivation to make it the last 5 miles. With their amazing energy and inappropriate signs (TWSS!), it was just the right combo to keep me going on that last stretch. I could see the downtown skyline from the trails and just kept thinking about the shower and epic food baby awaiting me at the finish. I’ve gotta say, I’ll run for carbs any day of the week. 🙂

The very last portion of the race was uphill into the Alamodome (WTF race peeps??), but I managed to sprint through the finish, shaking knees and all. Afterwards, I met up with my parents and the boy, and then promptly made the murderous mile or so walk back to the hotel to shower, leaning on my dad for support most of the way.

The group headed over to Mimi’s Cafe for lunch soon after to replenish, and then we all headed back on the road home to Dallas. Unlike the trip out, the tunes on the way back were much more mellow, and I spent most of my time laying across the boy in the backseat, drooling snoozing peacefully.

I took Monday off from work, knowing I’d be extremely tired from the weekend, and instead partook in a two-hour massage, followed by dress shopping at the mall for the upcoming Dallas Margarita Society Ball….bliss.

This weekend was one of the hardest things I’ve done, but I’m so glad I did it. It’s amazing what your body can do if you push it, and I’m proud that I kept going even when I felt like quitting.

I also have to give a shout out to Pam and John for running the half! This was John’s first half…and Pam ran while 4 months preggers! WAY TO GO!!! I’m so proud 🙂

hearts and “happy to be done” hugs,

B.

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