Sunday, November 25, 2012

San Antonio Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon

On the 9th of November, I jumped on a plane and flew to Texas! My sister-in-law was pregnant with my first nephew and I was so excited to be an aunt that I wanted to be there for the birth. To celebrate, I decided to run the San Antonio Rock’n’Roll Half marathon, which just happened to be held the same weekend that I was visiting. Unfortunately, God’s timing was not my own and little Samuel David decided to wait a week before making an appearance, but I ran with him on my mind anyway.

San Antonio was my first out of state race and I was a little nervous about how the travel would affect me. We flew in late Friday, hit the expo Saturday and the race was Sunday. The expo was awesome! There were so many vendors and free samples. I had gone to the expo hungry (I’d missed lunch trying to get through the traffic to get to the expo) and I left feeling stuffed from all the different things I had tried. I don’t even want to think about how many calories I had eaten!

Yay! Another race!
No, thank you!
As has become my routine, I got a cheapie hotel near the start and walked in the morning. Unfortunately, since I had waited till the last minute, this hotel was a good mile and a quarter away, so I woke up extra early race morning. The start was a little bit of an interesting setup. They had their wall of port-a-potties next to where we lined up for the corrals, so the lines invaded a lot of the corral space. This was a pain when the race started and we were all trying to squeeze by everyone waiting in line. Not a big issue, but a little bit of a pain.

Even though this race was bigger than LA, which I had just run two weeks before, the first few miles seemed to run a lot smoother. I didn’t feel like I was dodging walkers till the mini marathon ended. They must have organized their corrals differently than LA had.

The first few miles of the race weaved through the downtown area. I’m not familiar with the town at all, so I didn’t have many landmarks to guide me. I kept an eye out for the sky tower, which I could see at many different points throughout the race. I also enjoyed when we crossed over the river walk and I got to glance down at the canals. For the first time I took some video. I hope to someday do some video race reports and this was a good practice run.

I got to do the River Walk the next day!
Around mile 3 we ran by the Alamo. This was a highlight to me and one of the major reasons I had been excited about this race. I even stopped to take a few pictures, which ended up messing up Daddio’s timing for a picture he was trying to take of me. This is also the point where the mini marathon ended. It was fun to run by the shouts of excitement at their finish line.

Running by the Alamo! How cool is that?!?
There were several churches we ran by and the preachers and a lot of their members came out in their Sunday best to cheer us on. That was one of the coolest things I have seen in a race. At one church, a priest in his robes came out and with a loud booming voice called out to us as we ran by. I really enjoyed experiencing that kind of support. In fact, there was a ton of local support, from the numerous volunteers, to the communities that came out to cheer for us and give us goodies.

Texas pride
In one neighborhood, they had setup what at first I thought was an aid station, but instead of water they had beer. I almost got trampled when people realized what they were giving out. In another area, I received a beaded necklace, which I wore to the finish line. A lot of people came out with bowls of pretzels, oranges and candy. I really felt the community support.

Around mile seven or eight, I suddenly realized that we had come around and we were right by my hotel. My mom had stayed at the room and I was keeping an eye out for her just incase Daddio had given her an estimate for when I would be coming by. Sure enough, just as we were about to cross an overpass, I see her walking from the hotel parking lot. I called out to her, but she was totally oblivious. A guy next to me tried to whistle at her, but we got nothing. I was just about to let it go and tease her about it later, but at the last minute, I decided to run back and give her a quick hug. It was totally worth the extra minute or so that it took.

Since I was coming off of the LA half and I’m still terribly out of shape, I faced this race without a pace set in my mind. LA had been a little hard on me. I finished the race feeling a little rough and I didn’t want that happening this time, so I just took it easy. About three miles from the finish, I could tell I was just about on pace for a finish time extremely close to LA’s time, so that became my goal.

I was on track, feeling strong but tired. Ironically, this race ended up being much warmer than LA, but my body was handling it better. Maybe all the calories I had consumed the day before were helping to fuel me, I’m not sure what made the difference. A quarter of a mile from the finish, I was getting excited, maybe I could even beat my LA time, but it would be close. I was flying high and enjoying every second when I heard a spectator yell “You can do it! Don’t let the hill beat you!” I didn’t have a clue what they were talking about till we came around the corner. Sure enough, there was a lovely steep hill just down the street from the finish. Right then and there, I knew my LA time was all but lost.

I ate the hill as best I could on my tired legs and I found some sprint left in them to make it down the street and to the finish at a pretty decent clip. I ended up with a chip time of two hours and twenty eight minutes, missing my LA time by a minute! Stinking hill!

Coming up on the finish
The finish area was crazy busy. I got my medal, my wet towel, a bottle of water, Gatorade, chocolate milk, banana, and marathon bars and then I came to the picture area. With my hands full of food and drink, I decided to give it a pass. After swimming through the runners, I got to swim through the spectators. Daddio called to have me meet them under the big blowup PF Chang and I couldn’t even see that from the runners exit. I started to wander towards the spectator’s side of the finish line and finally spotted it. So many people!

My brother, his extremely pregnant wife, my dad and my mom were all there. I felt so blessed to have so much support! Too bad my stubborn nephew didn’t decide to show up!

Heather, my sister-in-law and me after the race

Nice looking bling!
Showing off my fake tattoo
I spent the next few days, sight seeing, baby shopping and hanging out with my family. It was a great race, great trip and a wonderful time of catching up. Now they tell me I have to come back next year and run the marathon which just happens to be scheduled on Samuel’s first birthday!
We took a tour of the Alamo
The day after the race, we did a boat ride on the River Walk

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