The First Challenge – Rock ‘n Roll San Antonio 10K/half marathon

So, it has been way too, too long since I have updated this blog.  I am very proud to say that even though I have hit some detours, and not made the progress I wanted to make, I am still going strong, maybe even stronger in the long run.  That being said, here is my recap of the Rock n’ Roll San Antonio weekend.  Despite not having trained the way I should have done before attempting this feat, I decided to go ahead and do the 10K and the half marathon.  It was totally a mental thing for me.  With some of the nagging little injuries I kept having, I knew doing these races at my size was iffy.  I had several challenges coming up requiring me to do a 10K followed by a half marathon the next day.  I needed to believe in myself, and I needed to know I could do it.

First, the 10K.  I woke up early, and I got ready.  I was not particularly stressed out about the race, because my husband was going to be doing the race with me, and in training, I had gone that distance before, and felt pretty good.  We got ready, I ate a breakfast bagel sandwich, and off we went.  My friend Brandon and his girlfriend Shaleka were also there with us for this race, so we walked to the starting area.  The walk was about a mile from the hotel, and I definitely was of the mindset I wanted all this walking to come off the total distance I was going to have to do that day.  Either way, we arrived early, and we hung around waiting for the start.

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Brandon and Shaleka went off on their own, and Michael and I went on our way.  We agreed from the start that we were going to be taking it easy, as I really had no idea what to expect the next day at the half marathon.  I tried to do a couple of running intervals, and the hip injury reared its ugly head and I backed right off.  We decided to just walk at a quick pace, and cover the miles.  I do not remember specifics from the race, other than the fact that I felt pretty decent.  I was feeling strong and powerful, and I enjoyed it for the most part.

After the finish, I was feeling it.  I felt like I had a couple of (managable) blisters, and my muscles were sore, sore, sore.  I was stiff, and overall, right after the race, I was worried about the next day.  I definitely was ready to go back to the hotel.  I took a couple of epsom salt soak baths, and I had this amazing husband of mine who rubbed my feet and calves, and I just decided I wasn’t going to decide until the next morning what I was going to do.  I got plenty of rest, we ordered room service for dinner, and I slept.  The next morning when my alarm went off, I got up and I tested the waters some.  I walked around the room, and I had a little stiffness in my calves, and my feet hurt a little bit from the blisters, but overall, I felt pretty decent.  I consulted with Michael, and he made it clear he supported me, and he believed I could do it.  That was really all I needed to hear.  The biggest mistake I made that day, however, is they couldn’t bring me my breakfast, so I said don’t worry about it.  I didn’t eat a thing before going 13.1 miles.  Really, really bad idea.

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At the start line, I got to shake hands and a runner I had befriended while waiting for the start snapped this photo of me with Meb.  I was really, really pumped!  I met MEB!  My husband also cheered me on right after the start, and I was off.  I did a couple of run intervals, but then I started feeling that twinge in my hip again, so I resigned myself to walking.  In the back of my mind was always the timing.  I wanted/needed to be an official finisher in order to qualify for the Texas Legend medal after the Dallas Rock n’ Roll half in March.  The timing was fairly generous, I just had to finish in 4 hours.  I felt that would not be difficult, and the first 6 miles, I was feeling pretty awesome.  I was actually keeping a good pace, and then we wound around to the San Antonio Zoo and I encountered my first HILL.  Holy cow.  I will not post all of the cursing I did when I saw that hill, because I was just not prepared.  I made it up that hill, then we went downhill, then back up another hill.  All I could think was, TEXAS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FLAT!  I remember a medical worker saying to me at the top of the second hill that it was all downhill or flat from there (around mile 8) and I remember thinking, if he is lying to me, I swear, I am coming back to find him after the race.  Luckily for me, it was.

Around mile 10, I started really feeling it.  I knew I was going to finish, I had come too far not to finish, but I was so miserable.  I looked at all the side roads and mentally thought about telling my husband to come pick me up at that intersection, or the next one, and so on.  I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, and looking behind me.  My two goals were to be an official finisher, and not to finish last, and I was doing okay.  The worst mile of my life thus far was mile 13.  That 1.1 mile from mile 12 to the finish line was horrific.  I felt like it went on forever, and I was suffering.  I was continuing on sheer will power at this point.  I felt nauseous, my feet were killing me, and all I could think was, I have to do this.

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Near the finish line, my husband was there and I saw his smiling, happy, cheering face and I just shook my head at him and put my hand up, because I in no way wanted to celebrate a damned thing, and I had to concentrate, one foot in front of the other.  He snapped this shot as I was getting ready to cross the finish line, and phew, I was done.  I actually had a lot of problems immediately following the race.  I thought I was going to pass out, and I was very nauseated.   I never should have done that race without something in my stomach.  My feet were killing me, and I just could not go any further.  The idea of having to walk over a mile back to our hotel was abhorrent to me and when I was able to get a grip, my husband got the car and came to pick me up.  Despite being horribly sore and having ridiculous blisters, I did it!

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As you can see, I was still able to smile and pose with my medals, once we made it back to the room.  A few days later, when we made it back home to Austin, I got the tattoo I swore I was going to get in honor of my first 19.3 mile challenge.

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