- I haven't done an actual race since this time last year...this race, in fact.
- I haven't ran 3 miles in a LONG time. I have walked 3 miles and I have ran 1-1 1/2 miles. But this wasn't just 3 miles, it was 3 miles on sand. This race is so much more difficult and tiring than regular 5K races on the flat street. I actually wasn't sure I would survive this race.
- This was my first race running alone.
- I had some anxieties about certain aspects of my personal life showing up right before the race.
We got in to Galveston, TX, a couple hours early to pick up my race packets at Fit 2 Run Galveston. If you are a runner and in Galveston, go check them out, because they are awesome and so very helpful. Even with the crazy traffic on 45 right by NASA, we managed to make it there by 4:30 p.m. I picked up my packet and thought, "Hey, since I'm in a running store, I might as well try on some actual running shoes." I have wanted to get new running shoes for some time now (the kind that are actually made for your feet), but I haven't had the money. The very nice lady, Kim, helped me pick out shoes. She watched me run, stand, everything to see what would be the perfect shoe for the type of runner that I am. I walked out of there with the new Asics Nimbas (neutral runner) and I swear those shoes were made by the Gods. It was like paradise on my feet...a comfortable paradise. My feet felt so great in them. I was so happy and I couldn't believe the money that was spent on these shoes. I have never paid that much before, but I think they are worth it. The only sad thing was that I couldn't wear them for my race that evening. You should never break in your new shoes on a race and I didn't want to get my new shoes all sandy. Last year, it took forever to get all the sand out; therefore, I wasn't risking it.
After some very filling and overly sauced pasta, we made our way to Poretta Beach where they were still setting up everything. I did some stretching by the car and got my things ready to go, such as my ipod, my race tag, etc.
My mom took some pictures as we waited for the start time. On a side note, if your with a Photographer and he or she walks away leaving you standing there with a tripod, everyone thinks that you are a Photographer. I got asked so many times to take people's pictures.
#489 waiting to start this race with my headlamp wrapped around my wrist.
I love this shot of me watching the water and trying to expel my worries. Plus, the moon was starting to come up and it was pretty.
The race organizer got on there to thank the sponsors, the band lead singer sang our National Anthem, and then we herded ourselves like cattle to the start area. He also went over the rules. For instance, we had to touch the blue mats at the start and 5K turnaround (or 10K turnaround if that is your race). Your time wouldn't get counted if you didn't touch the mats.
Finally, the race started and it was a slow moving process to get everyone through the gates and across the blue mats. My mother was already set up to go with her big, fancy camera and tripod.
Did I mention that I love having a Photographer mother? How cool is this shot?
I decided this year that I would just start with the headlamp around my waist instead of on my head. Last year, it was a pain. It moved around alot and when I started sweating, it moved even more. I got the same light with it just around my waist. And with the beautiful moon out at night lighting up the sky, I didn't even need to turn it on until much later in the race.
The biggest difference with this race is not only the moon, but not that many people pointed out the holes. Last year, you could hear everyone saying, "HOLE. SANDCASTLE." There wasn't that much going on, but it was still light enough to see these things. Well, almost. I came up to this massive sandcastle with 3 big holes next to it. I did my football joop move to miss everything and completely didn't see the small footprint hole. My ankle took a little tumble, but it didn't hurt (only my pride). Someone asked me if I was okay. Damn, someone saw that.
I stayed close to the water with the packed sand making it just that much easier for me. I had my Unknown albums (thank you Whitney for hooking me up) playing on my ipod with lots of club, pump me up type of music. I ran all the way to the turnaround point (1.5 miles) without stopping. That was my first goal and I made it. In fact, I ran through their large turnaround point that took you well out in the deep sand (much harder to run on deep sand). I didn't stop until I was facing the direction back to the starting point (on the packed sand again). Finally, it was time to walk. I was about to die and I didn't think I was going to ever make it there.
I walked for about the rest of the song and then another song before I picked up the run. Then, the song came on...the one song that is officially going to be on my running playlist from now on, especially at the end when I'm dying. It was Lil' Wayne and Eminem called, Drop The World (sorry, for the cussing grandma and mom...you don't have to listen).
The song was perfect for everything that I was feeling. What sucks about your first walk is not only is it hard to start the run again, but it's easy to just stop to walk. It's almost like once you open that door, the walking desire comes flooding and it's really hard to ignore. So, I made a pact to just make it through this song before I walked. I was actually glad that Drop The World was a LONG song, very long song. And I made it through the end. It was hard; I'm not going to lie. Then, I decided to help with the future walking desire; I would run a song, walk a song. That seemed to really help and keep me running when I wanted to quit.
I looked up and noticed the moon on the water and it was really just amazing to see. The moonlight reflected off the black water and it made for a nice scenery. Finally, the end was nearing. The lights at the stopping point were getting brighter and it's funny, but I could see my mother's big camera flashing away (shutter after shutter). I was getting tired and sweaty and wanting to quit. And then, the song (Drop The World) came back on right at the end when I really didn't think I was going to make it. I picked up the speed to finish with a sprint.
I'm not sure why I look like a ghost, but it's my mom with her camera techniques or it's me being so fast that the camera didn't get me clear. Look at me dropping my head (dropping the world on your f*cking head...sorry grandma).
I waved at my mother as I passed her and looked up to notice I was finishing at 38 minutes, 40 seconds. WHOA! My mom asked me what my goal was for this race and I replied with, "Not die. But seriously, just not to finish after an hour or last." So, this far exceeded my expectations. In fact, last year when I did my first ever 5K in the Woodlands, I came in at close to 45 minutes and I was regularly running 3 miles at that time. I'm going to thank the yoga and bootcamp classes for this, because it gave me the endurance I needed to finish this race. People always told me that the cross training (especially yoga, thanks SUAR) really helps your running and I didn't believe them. Well, try using only cross training, because it's too hot to run and you will notice a difference. Now, could it have been better? Hell yes, but that's going to come in time. And now, I'm not so nervous about the 10K in a month in Kemah.
Afterwards, they had beer. THANK GOD! Last year, they ran out of ice and it was all warm (they stopped serving when we got to the front of the line). I'm not in England anymore and I want ice cold beer, especially after a run. This beer never tasted so good. Could it have been better? Yes. This lady told me that she couldn't find the water when she finished and grabbed a beer. She thought that was the best beer ever. I had water when I finished. Next time, I'm going straight for that beer...I want THAT feeling.