In Texas, anyone running more than a few miles starts before the sun comes up–waaaay before the sun comes up. Thus my alarm went off at 4:45 for the Summer Safari 13.1 put on by the Austin chapter of Moms Run This Town.
B and I signed up for this untimed race months ago, before my injury. Because I’m not 100% just yet, I decided to walk the entire distance with a friend, and I’d let B run ahead at his own pace. The day before, the race director called me and asked me to drive the course so that B could familiarize himself with the turns and the intersections, so when we stumbled out the back door of Rogue at 5:45am, he took off, confident.
But Mom of the Year here didn’t think about the fact that it was still dark, and B was wearing a grey shirt and black shorts. No lights. So I wasn’t surprised that about two miles in, we found him waiting for us under a street light because he had been worried about finding his way safely. He decided to walk with us to the turnaround, then run back.
We stopped for water at the 10K turnaround and briefly contemplated bailing for the shorter distance. But I wasn’t interested, so on we went.
Somewhere around mile four, we saw the sunrise. B began complaining that his foot hurt and he wanted to turn around–wasn’t this a race he could choose his own distance, and weren’t eight miles enough? But because he has a history of taking the easy way out, I told him I thought he was just bored and maybe a little tired, but not really injured. I reminded him that last year’s half-marathon is a huge matter of pride in his life–he put the sticker on his bike, on his school notebook, and on his closet door. And I thought he would later regret not going the whole 13.1. So he kept going. Reluctantly.
He was briefly distracted by a real-life bunny near the sidewalk, horses in a barn, and what appeared to be a raccoon carcass hanging on a fence, but mostly he just scowled.
He carried my old iPhone 4–it doesn’t have phone service but the GPS still works with the Nike+ app, so he was using that to track his run. When it reached 6.55, he turned back. My Garmin was a bit behind, so Michelle and I kept going until we found the turnaround.
By now the sun was up–it had taken us nearly two hours to walk halfway–and my muscles were starting to feel sore. But it was exertion soreness, not knee pain. I kept telling myself that walking it was the right thing to do. And as each mile passed, my aching quads and sore ankles confirmed that decision. By the time we finished, I felt like I had run a half-marathon, not walked one! But finish we did. In four hours and thirteen minutes. B finished about 30 minutes ahead of us.
In the end, I got to say “I told you so!” because B finished strong (he said he sprinted ahead of one of the adult runners at the end) and is glad he completed the full 13.1 distance. He wore his medal most of the morning, but hung it on his medal rack when he went out to ride his bike. Me? I’m sitting on the couch the rest of the day.