Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day 12: Survival of the Elements

KEEP ON TRUCKIN' BRAZOS BEND HALF MEDAL

THE ASICS TOOK QUITE THE BEATING ON THIS RACE
I had about 3 hours sleep last night. Alarm went off at 4:10am but my butt did not get up until 4:20am.  I am out the door by 4:40am.  The drive was brutal, since I could barely see out the window with all the rain.

And just my luck, my gas light comes on.  I exit in Sugarland (518). Now since I am not familiar with the area, when I try to pull into a gas station I do not see a small median with all the rain.  I chunk over the median and jolt my back.  Now I am awake.

Back in Drivers Ed...way back when...my Drivers Ed teacher told us that no matter what, they can never remove all the water when they make gasoline.  Well, according to the laws of science, water and gas do no mix.  When gasoline sits for awhile, the water separates and goes to the top, and the gas sinks to the bottom.  So the teacher proceeds to tell us, if we ever see a gas truck filling up the gas at a gas station, do not fill up with gas to decrease the amount of water that goes in the tank of our car.  Because as the truck fills up the tanks, the water and gas are all stirred up again.  So after I chunk the curb, I realize that this station has a truck refilling the gasoline...and now I must go somewhere else.

I see a Starbucks, and think this will be the answer to any future incidents because certainly I must be tired.  But of course, on Sundays it is not open until 6am. The clock says 5:38am. Ugh.

Next stop: Shell Station.  Credit card machine is not working right.  Strike 2.

Finally, I find an HEB station that works and I am back in business.  As I am getting gas, it is really coming down.  Now I am cold, wet and still sleepy.  I am staring at the light in the shopping center parking lot where you can see the rain coming down in sheets.  As I pump the gas, I am thinking to myself.  "What the heck am I doing?  Driving out to the middle of "who knows where", at 5 something in the morning, to run on dirt trails, in this chilly windy weather in the pouring rain.  Ugh.  If it wasn't for my friend that I was meeting out there, I would have turned around at that very moment to head home, because in my mind, this was not considered "fun" to me.  Maybe I will just go and cheer him on...while I stay warm and toasty in my dry car.  What an excellent idea.  That is the new plan.

As I drive, I pray for lightening so that we all get to go home.  I swear, I can hear God laughing at me.

I pull into the park and wait in line to pay.  I text my friend to tell him I am here.  He texts back "It's raining here.  This is gonna be so fun!!".

Ummm okay, scratch the new plan.  No way I am looking like a wuss. My pride is now at stake.

Damn you, rain!

People are in shorts, tee shirts and tank tops.  These trail runners are not skeer'd and they mean business.  I am trying so hard to act tough and fit in.  Instead of my 3 jacket plan...I pare it down to just one.  Yes, I am in the minority.  Most peeps are just wearing trash bags.

First 8 miles...wow...so breathtaking beautiful.  And what do you know, the rain is not so bad and I am really having fun.  I start to get a little bounce in my step and even take off my jacket.  Running in the rain is cake until I hit mile 9.

The rain doesn't stop and the trails are filling up with water and this is making thick mud.  It is treacherous and it slows you down.  Jacket goes back on but now both my shirt and jacket are soaked on the inside and out which really defeats the purpose of keeping me dry and warm.  My legs feel like lead and I am struggling.  I try to distract myself and look for alligators but when I do, I land in a pond of icy cold water.  Needless to say, that was the end of my wildlife search.

Longest last 4 miles of my life.  And this is usually my strongest stretch of the half marathon.

It is over and I survive.  I lose my timing chip in the process and I am soaked head to toe.  The race organizers ran out of food.  Major bummer.  So I enjoy my little bottle of water while I catch up with my friend.  Despite the mess I am in, I am happy and glad I did it.  It will definitely be a race I will never forget. Now I am grateful for the experience.  I think I grew 2 inches while standing there chatting.

I am officially not a wuss.

Afterward, I had a lovely lunch with a different friend at the Hobbit Cafe.  That black bean burger was so delish.

I had a wonderful nap listening to the rain snuggled in blankies.  A warm ending to a day with a cold start. 

Breakfast:
  • Banana
  • Soy protein drink 
  • 2 Hammer Gels (apple-cinnamon)
  • (After race) Tall toffee nut latte with soy milk from Starbucks
Lunch:
  • Black bean burger with guacamole
  • Side of rice and beans
  • Ice Tea
Dinner
  • Handful of blackberries (not feeling very hungry this evening...just very thirsty)
  • Coconut water