The Race: I chose to register for the RunGirl 13.1 largely because of where it fell in terms of schedule and distance, but it also appealed to me because I like Tri Girl Sports, an organization dedicated to putting on women’s only events to encourage women and girls to work toward becoming triathletes. I found their race-day organization to be well-run and appreciated the email warnings a week in advance that the temperature would drop from 80 degrees (I was wearing a tank top the day I got the email,) to 35 degrees by the weekend. I had no warm clothes!
The Gear: When I gathered suggestions for my runner’s gift guide, I did a lot of browsing for suggestions for good cold weather gear and the best way to deal with running in low temperatures. By the time the race began it was going to be in the low 40’s, so I knew I needed something to keep my skin relatively covered but not arctic “I run outdoors in the winter in Canada” type gear. I settled on a thicker jacket/pants and a headband and was glad I didn’t wear more. 40’s is cold, but once I was moving I was totally comfortable in my clothes.
The Run: The pre-race was awfully cold, but because it was all women and a group of people with similar interests, we all sort of started smushing closer and closer together for warmth before the start. Here’s my attempt at a discreet picture that may or may not look stalkery.
The course was absolutely beautiful. Southern Texas gets a bit short-changed on the fall, so with the temperature drop our leaves only just barely changed to orange and were on full display as we ran around Deussen Park and the adjoining Eisenhower Park. In case no one has mentioned, it is REALLY HARD to take pictures while running, so this was the best I got.
My view included a lot of this as well:
Since my goal was, “Just finish and don’t die,” I actually ended up not paying much attention to the watch after the first two miles or so unless I felt like I sped up too much or slowed down too much.
About mile 5.5 my IT bands, which have been giving me problems for the last 3 weeks or so, finally flared up as I was expecting but hoping to avoid. I tried to stretch and walk a bit but nothing doing. After about ten minutes at a near standstill I pulled out a roll of athletic tape and didsomething similar to this:
The tape gave me just enough support to keep going, though I found myself running more sporadically after that, picking up the pace to try to make up lost time then immediately slowing down again when I remembered that it hurt to run too fast! Here’s the Garmin Training Center read out, and you can see quite clearly where the pain started and when I was walking.
In the end I finished at 2:25:45, not exactly Olympic, but with the IT Bands I was hoping I could stay under 2:30 and not have to walk all 13.1 miles, so I’m pleased with where I ended up, right in the middle of my age bracket.
What I Learned:
1) I still have problems with my right foot taking a weird angle when it lifts off the ground. I will continue to work on strengthening my ankles and working on proper form. (Proofs are from Your Sporting Image, and I ordered a few!)
2) ANYONE CAN BE A RUNNER. I hated running my whole life, but I really genuinely enjoy it now. I was really happy to see people of all shapes, sizes, and skill levels on the course.
3) Carry supplies you think you might need when reasonable. Athletic tape saved my race.
4) Pictures taken right when your foot hit the ground are much less flattering than those right before or after.
5) Paying extra attention to hydration for three days before the race paid huge dividends.
6) Take a photo when you finish! I love this picture because even though I was FREEZING in my sweaty clothes and my knees were aching, I was so flipping HAPPY to have made it that I couldn’t hide my goofy grin.
Today I’m learning all about post-race recovery and will post about that in the future so you can avoid my mistakes! Thanks, readers, for all the support through this process. I hope to encourage you to try to do something of which you do not think you are capable. You just might surprise yourself.
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