Sunday morning started with quite an early wakeup call:
Although I went into this race without any time goals, for some reason my stomach was still in knots. I could recite the course to you turn-by-turn from memory and should have had nothing to be worried about.
I picked Carly up at 5:45 and shortly after 6am we were parked in a garage downtown by the finish line. In an effort to stay warm, we stayed in the car until 6:30 and then headed to the start. We decided to hit the restrooms before jumping into our corral.
Easier said than done. There weren’t any port-o-potties visible on either side of the corrals. There seemed to be a ton of runners coming and going from a building to the left of the corrals so we headed in that direction. After we waited in line for a few minutes, a police officer came in shouting it was a public building but not open at the time and we all needed to exit the premises immediately.
I overheard the officer tell someone there were port-o-potties to the left and across the street so off we went. At this point it was 6:50am and clearly we weren’t going to make the 7am start. There were about 9-10 port-o-potties and 5 lines of 50 people each waiting. Needless to say, it took FOREVER.
As the announcer declared “if you are running the half or full marathon, you should have already crossed the starting mat. The 5K is about to start!” we were full out sprinting towards the start, crossing the mat at 7:21am.
Just like San Antonio, if there was anything we did well in this race, it was running positive splits.
We didn’t slow down nearly enough, clocking our first mile in 9:47. Not ideal for the first mile of a notoriously hilly race. We pulled in the reins a bit on miles 2 & 3 (10:10 & 10:25), but could tell it was probably too late.
Miles 4-6 (13:25, 11:25, 12:54) were a steady uphill climb so we started incorporating walk breaks. I had a massive cramp which didn’t seem to want to go away, no matter how much I focused on my breathing.
We decided to try and make up some time on the downhill stretch of South 1st Street, heading back into downtown. We ticked off miles 7 & 8 in 11:03 and 10:14, respectively.
Mile 9, the Yellow Mile, was nothing short of inspirational. Supporters lined both sides of the course and the road was covered in motivational phrases etched in chalk. Their cheers pushed us along to finish the mile in 11:58.
At this point, our legs were starting to feel fatigued. Earlier the walk breaks would leave me reenergized, able to go back to running at a pretty decent pace. After mile 9 the breaks made me want to walk more and run less. Our pace slowed considerably over the final miles (13:49, 12:48, 12:39. 12:12), which included the beast at mile 12.
Please excuse these recycled photos from last year’s recap – my running camera had a timely death the day before the race. Lucky for me, the course was exactly the same and recycling was possible.
The course rose 80 feet in less than a 1/4 mile and drained much of what was left of the strength in our legs.
Another recycled photo. Again, I’m sorry.
After this hill, we hit another (not as large) hill on San Jacinto, before making the right onto 11th Street. We started to pick up the pace, exchanged one knowing glance, and let our legs fly.
Whoa, check out that heel strike. Nice form, Melissa, nice form.
The last portion of our race was a 7:58 pace, 6:16 best pace. A tad faster than I thought I had left in those tired legs!
Official Finish Time 2:34:37, 11:48 pace
It wasn’t a PR for either of us, but not a bad time for a challenging course. We also beat our time from San Antonio, which was a much flatter course.
Another great race put on by LIVESTRONG and I can say with certainty I’ll be back for more next year. I’m thinking 2013 might be the time to conquer the full after completing the half in 2011 & 2012.
We’ll see how crazy I’m feeling come registration time!