Well, it is 1 down and 1 to go in the Heart of Texas Challenge.
Paul and I left our Hotel at about 6:45 to drive the 8 miles or so to the start line. It was a bit foggy in the morning, visibility of about 1 mile or so. We get to the start line area and park right on the beach about 200 meters from the start line and big white tent. It was about 60 F out so a little warm but all in all not bad. There are lots of people walking all over getting their bags and chip things. And a festive atmosphere is around.
Right at 8 AM the trumpet player plays the National Anthem and we are almost ready to go. There is not mat to cross at the start so everyone is running against “gun time” which is no big deal as there are about 650 to 700 people on a quite large beach. The horn sounds for the start and off we go. The goal is to start out at 9:30 pace and see what happens later in the race. Slower than I am used to but a good idea as you will see later.
Mile 1 9:06 Felt very slow and I had to hold back a lot.
Mile 2 9:35 First water stop and short walk break
We ran about 2.5 miles down the beach and turned around and headed back toward the start/finish line and then continued a whole 13.1 miles to the north.
Mile 3 9:12 Still feeling very easy
Mile 4 9:29 I think I need to stop for a porto
Mile 5 9:42 Did stop
Mile 6 9:17 Ahh I feel better.
At mile 6, the wind picks up A LOT. We have to head into this wind all the way up to the turn around at mile 15.5 and it is brutal. I would say it was a 20 MPH wind almost directly into our face. We all hoped that after the turn around that is would still be this much at our backs the final 10.7 miles. At mile 7 I feel the presence of a lady running just behind me. I am 6’2” and I was the wind block for her. Pretty soon more join in. By mile 9, we had about 8 to 10 of us running in a pack. The problem was I was the leader for all but about 2 miles of it. Now runner etiquette says that other should share the lead as wind breaker but only this younger guy in his 20’s would do it for a short time. He was tall as well so everyone loved us. I mentioned a few times as we talked a lot that someone else should take the lead for awhile but that lady just said “But you are doing such a nice job at it” This irritated me as I like to run properly (at least in my book)
Mile 7 9:57 Windy
Mile 8 9:46 Windy
Mile 9 9:35 Windy
Mile 10 9:51 We start to play games guessing how far it is to the buildings we see off in the distance. I say 2 miles, the other guy says 1.5 miles. It was 1 ¾ miles, we tie!
Just trying to keep it steady here and just get to the turn so the wind can be at our backs. The other guys says a funny line “She is just playing by different rules”. At one point in time, someone in the group moved over and almost trips me from behind. Stayed up so no harm.
Mile 11 9:53 Windy (Getting repetitive, isn’t it)
Mile 12 10:05 Crap, first mile over 10
Mile 13 9:57 This wind is getting very old very quickly
Mile 14 10:43 No one leading but me and I am sure a water break.
Mile 15 10:56 Way to close to an 11 minute mile but only ½ mile until the turn around
We hit the turn around at 15.5 miles and does it feel good to have the wind at our backs. My total pace here was 9:49. Also, I said this race was entirely on a beach but the sand was very firm. So problems with sand flying up but there was nothing to block the wind either. The wind did help keep us cooler, but it was way too hard to run good it. We turn around and head back and that lady just takes the lead and goes. I thought some bad thoughts about it but let it go quickly. At 16 ½ miles, the other guy I was running with says, “See, she is playing by different rules” as she build about 40 meters on us. It is this guy’s first marathon so I felt bad that he had to deal with so much wind in #1. He was from Houston.
Mile 16 9:45 Woo Hoo, wind at our backs
At mile 16.5, it starts to drizzle, by mile 17, it is a down pour! Now the sand was Gushy and very wet. It rained hard for about 20 minutes so we were fully soaked. It also caused some ruts in the sand where the water rushed to the Ocean. Did I mention we ran only 10 to 20 feet from the Ocean most of the time! That was pretty cool. Not much else to see, but the roar of the Ocean was quite loud.
Mile 17 9:28 Pouring Rain
Mile 18 9:16 Pouring Rain
I was running all by myself my now still seeing that lady about 100 meters ahead of me promising myself if I was close to her at the finish that she would be toast in a sprint to the line.
Mile 19 9:25
Mile 20 9:58
This is where I usually start to falter but I told myself not this time. I went out slow enough and I refused to let it get to me. Plus I was passing a few people here and there so that helped my confidence.
Mile 21 9:47
Mile 22 10:52 Water Break and a porto stop
Mile 23 10:42
Not sure what was going on here but I had to buckle down and suck it up. Only a 5K to go. Feeling confident still though.
Mile 24 10:02 Legs are tired now but the finish is calling my name.
At about 24.5 miles I see a guy in a yellow shirt a head of me. He is now my new goal. Catch him and pass him. Plus I can now see the finish tent off in the distance a whole 1.7 miles down the beach. I decide to pick up the pace and say screw whatever this will do to me tomorrow.
Mile 25 9:48 I am getting closer and closer to him!
Mile 26 9:04 My fasted mile of the race and I had caught the guy and moved past him quickly. I cross to the finish line and finish in 4:17:10. Not a fast time, but considering the 10 miles of wind in the face, I am happy. I end up in 43rd place. 1 place higher than at Icebreaker (I am glad I passed that guy) I also end up 6th in my age group but that means nothing.
I find Paul and he tells me about his race. He ends up running 3:37 and takes 10th overall and 2nd Place Masters. That was awesome. He received a plate as an award and we both also get a plate for being one of the first 50 out of state finishers in the Half and Full. I feel a little queasy but we decide to wade into the Ocean to cool the legs a little. The water was Fickin’ Cold! I went in about thigh deep and let the waves cool me off but after 5 minutes, it hurt and my feet were not getting numb quick enough.