Today we ran the San Antonio Rock n Roll Marathon.
Back when we registered for this, we adopted a very specific training plan that had us running a twenty mile run a few weeks before the marathon. We were so ready and felt so good running that training run that we just finished it out and made it another marathon, thinking that it wouldn’t affect THIS marathon.
Boy, were we wrong!
Factor into our idiocy a bad head cold (me) and a foot injury (Wes), and we weren’t loving San Antonio, y’all. We went down early like we had for the last race, and thanks to an awesome deal on Hotwire, were able to stay at a hotel right on the Riverwalk. We went to the Alamo and took a riverboat ride, finishing off the evening prior to the race with some Casa Rio (mmm) and an early bedtime. We woke up early, had some pancakes, and headed out to our corral, which had us positioned approximately eight hundred miles from the starting line. Insane!
The race itself (once we finally got up to the starting line and started running!) had half marathon runners and full marathon runners, along with some 5K runners all mixed in, and it was all good and fine, with plenty of entertainment and excitement until the half marathon runners broke off the course for their finish line leaving… well, just us. Oh, there were others still heading south of town for the second half of the race, but from our particular vantage point between those who were really fast and those who were really slow, we thought we were rockin’ that thing all by our little selves. (Never fear — we quickly fell back and finished the race with the slowest runners. Because, like I said, we were wrong about how to be best prepared for this thing.)
The first eleven miles were awesome. There were so many fans cheering and so many great landmarks to see as we ran through downtown and up into the north part of the city. At mile eleven, we started heading south… where the crowds disappeared, along with all the landmarks, only to be replaced by huge hills. The missions, which were the big high points down there, were totally missed by yours truly who ran right past them on the road without even seeing them. Doh! Perhaps this was due to my brain being literally fried in my skull because of the heat. In November, y’all. And I’ve been training in Houston during the summer, so that’s really saying something.
Wes and I determined at mile fifteen that we weren’t going to shatter any records with his limping and my head cold/fever causing me to hallucinate (“there’s a miniature horse in that restaurant’s parking lot!”), so we took it easy and breezy. This meant that all of the water/aid stations and the snack extravaganza at the finish line? Had already closed down by that point. I know your elite runners need that stuff, too, but those of us who are taking twice as long to run the same distance are still working hard at it. We need food! We need water! We need help! (Yes, I said we were “working hard at it” and that we “took it easy and breezy” in the same paragraph. Eh. And, yes, there actually WAS a miniature horse on the course! Ask Wes about it!)
We did experience a first during this marathon, though. In our past races, there have been medic stations, where they’re handing out medicine and advice, but we’ve never actually witnessed any serious issues. At mile twenty of this race, however, the medic station was all abuzz as the staff tended to three runners laid out on stretchers. I’m not sure if it was the heat or what, but I told Wes, as we scurried past on our own tired legs that we should praise God we were only dealing with a hurt foot and horse hallucinations. It could be much, much worse.
All that said, we finished the marathon. WE FINISHED THE MARATHON. That was enough of an achievement for the day for me, especially since the race management had left a cooler of chocolate milk for the last gazelles in the pack. Awesome! I told Wes it was worth the trip to San Antonio to get the chocolate milk, and I affirm to you, after drinking two cartons of the stuff, that it was indeed TOTALLY worth it.
That said, I have to agree with a woman who finished behind us, turned to her running partner, and said, “Well, I’m glad that (expletive) is done.” While I might not employ such colorful language to describe the experience, I wholeheartedly agreed with her sentiment. We learned some hard lessons about respecting the marathon distance and the needed preparation while we were running this race, and I have the aches and pains to remind me lest I forget anytime soon. What I was left with, at the end, wasn’t a feeling of great accomplishment or an overpowering joy of any sort — I was just glad that thing was done, y’all. All the stinkin’ exhausted, hot, Mr. Ed moments of it. (For real! A horse! On the course!)
Till next time, San Antonio…