Sunday, September 25, 2011

Toughest 10K Kemah Race Update

So, I thought I was nervous and scared about the Galveston 5K, but that didn't compare to how nervous and scared I was for the Toughest 10K Kemah. Between the traveling, entertaining an amazing friend, getting sick, and working my toosh off, I haven't been able to really run or exercise. To top it off, I haven't been able to get in to my boot camp classes, because they are always full when I can go and my month long yoga ran out. Consequently, I have been stagnate when it comes to exercise and I was worried that I was going to die...for real this time.

Then, I found out that the bridge that I run over is not the flat bridge that I was thinking about, but in fact, a really high bridge. I want to thank Haley for alerting me to this news the night before the race that I was already nervous about running. So, let's recap. I haven't exercised, I haven't ran 6 miles in over a year, and I'm adding an extra toughness with a high bridge. Yup, I see a death bed in my future.

Thankfully, Amy signed up for the event on Wednesday (nothing like a latecomer to keep me guessing). I was actually really relieved to not do this running event alone. Plus, my awesome photographer mother, Kandace Heimer would also be there to cheer me on and take some photos.

At 6 in the morning, Amy, mom, and I zombied our way in to the car, with much complaining from my mother about how early it was and she would never do this again (except she will on October 22 for the next Toughest 10K Galveston) blah blah blah. We made it down there with plenty of time to get in the confusing lines to get our packets. I hope for the next one, they get that organized by maybe putting some signs up to show which line is for what pickup. It also sucked that they ran out of socks. I really wanted those cute socks...I mean, tougher, manly, strong socks.

Amy and I took our before shots to get ready for the run.

Amy and I before the race under the Kemah Boardwalk sign. 

I absolutely love this shot.

I'm doing the superhero pose. I have to pump myself up somehow. But look at that sunrise...beautiful.

We lined up at the race, sang the National Anthem (which Amy didn't even realize we were singing after I told her), and then got on our way when the buzzer went. It was packed trying to run to the start, which is why Amy and I are in single file. No, I didn't leave her behind.

Yeah, this is my second favorite shot. 

So packed

And we are leaving my mom. I swear Amy runs next to me.

The race includes running around Kemah and going over the bridge 4 times; however, 1 time is just going up and down on 1 side. Actually, you are going over the bridge twice. There were people all around giving us high fives and cheering us on, which was motivating. Amy and I ran all the way around without stopping and up the bridge, which was a little over 1.5 miles.

The plan was to at least run up and down the bridge on the first time before stopping. I didn't make it. I made it halfway up the bridge when my legs were on fire. So, I stopped to walk and Amy ran really slow to keep up with me. We picked up the run on the way down, which was weird since you move faster than your legs are going. You really have to watch it so you don't fall on your face. Amy came up with the idea to just walk up the bridge and run down the bridge and that worked well for me. So, we ran all the way around and under the bridge before stopping on the up part again. I was pretty much grabbing water at each station.

Amy and I would stop and walk here and there, making little goal points, such as starting the run at this light pole or starting the walk at the second set of palm trees. Amy noticed that I start off running fast, which means that I need to slow it down to conserve energy. I'm working on it.

On our third time up, we looked longingly across to the people on the other side finishing up their last run on the bridge. Amy said, "We will be there next Toughest 10K." Yeah, I think we can do it.

I'm not sure where this is on the course, but I like this picture. I don't look like I'm constipated.

The scenery was pretty looking at the sun reflecting off the water. Also, it was cloudy giving us a break on the heat. Plus, we had a little bit of a breeze. I kept looking behind me and noticing that we had a lot of people still behind us running. I realized that I wasn't doing as bad as I thought. In fact, when we got on the final lap of the bridge, I looked over at the people on the other side (3rd lap of the bridge) and said, "Amy, I bet they are saying the same thing about us...We will be there next Toughest 10K." That made me feel better, but I was running out of steam and quickly.

Right before we hit the walk point, this lady said, "Kristi, you can do it." Whoa. I forgot that my name was on my bib number, but still, that was pretty cool. We ran to the last water station before I had to stop and I didn't think I could run anymore. But you know what, I did run again. I ran all the way down and crossed the street, with Amy trying to sneakily add more running. I couldn't do it. I stopped and then the kid came out. That darn kid was standing on the side at the second to last corner before the final stretch. He was yelling about how we can do it and we were all winners and don't walk. Well, I had to run and slap that kids hand. We slapped some more hands long the way and made it passed the last corner before I had to stop again for a quick walk. We picked up the run for the final stretch and then I saw my mom and the end.

I looked up to see our time and it was 1 hour, 21 minutes. I couldn't believe it. The last time I did a 10K, it was one hour and 40 something minutes (close to 50); I was tired and had a pulled muscle. So, it was amazing to see my time and it made me pick up the pace. Amy swears up and down that I didn't say anything, but I did. I think I did. I'm sure I did. I just saw the time and dug deep, because I didn't want the time to hit 22 minutes. As we crossed the finish line, they said our names and where we lived. That was pretty cool to hear.

I'm not sure why I'm laughing. I think that I thought the guy was starting to fumble Amy's last name, but he got it right. 

They took our time chips and gave us our medals. I wasn't expecting a medal. But I really didn't care about the medal. I wanted the popsicle, the popsicles that I seen those show off people that finished earlier than us eating. Yup, that's what I wanted. So, mom took our after shots and we headed to get the frozen treat.

Amy and I with our cool medals.

I tried looking for my friend, Haley and her family, but we missed them. I was looking forward to seeing them. They said they would have beer. Oh well. Maybe next time.

On the way home, Amy said she would do the next one with me and that we should shave off 10 minutes from our time. I was skeptical, but my mom made me say that we could. It's hard to say no to your mother. So, now, my new goal for Toughest 10K Galveston is to make it in under 1 hour, 10 minutes. Do you think I can do it?

On a side note, I was really thankful that Amy decided to go with me. I don't think that I would have been able to do this race in a pretty decent time and survive. She pushed me to keep on going even when I didn't think I had anything left in me. So, this post is to thank her for coming along this running journey with me. And if she tries to get out of the next one, I will hunt her down and drag her to the start line!


  1. Haha, reading that, I kept thinking that it sounded like a half marathon - you even got medals! And the start was packed? Our 10ks aren't too busy around here (which is why I usually end up being second last).

    Great job!!

  2. Just in the beginning where I was my mom could take pictures.

  3. Great success story Kristi!!! Congrats! And YES YOU CAN DO IT!!!! :)

  4. Well I think that my daughter should take pity on her old mother. Four thirty in the morning is a god awful early for the old bones. But I did have a good time when I discovered the Starbucks right by the finish point. As your niece would say, "good job, Amy and Kristi."

  5. I loved your post. I just heard about this race from a training buddy & now I'm thinking about doing it. Your post made me want to do it even more! In fact, I want to do the whole series! Hmmm...

    1. Thanks Dana! It was really hard, but totally worth it. In fact, I did all three of the bridge runs in the Texas Bridge Series. The Kemah one was my favorite. I guess it was just harder and steeper.

      But the Half Marathon will always hold a special place in my heart (my first). If I wasn't out of town for the Kemah one, I would totally do it with you. I hope you sign really is a cool series.


Thank you for your comments. I will respond shortly.