Inclement weather: that word does not mean what you think it means

For the last week or so, Central Texas’ weather has looked more like London’s–drizzly, grey, and cold. But each day the high temperature warmed up a few degrees, and by Wednesday afternoon it was close to 70. A cold front was on its way though. When I left work, it had dropped to the mid-60s, and by the time I got home (13 miles away) it was in the low 50s. When I left an hour later for an appointment with my sports doctor, it had dropped to 46. It was still drizzling, and the roads were wet and gross (not to mention my car–yuck) but it wasn’t a whole lot different than it had been all week. However, the forecast predicted overnight temps would drop into the 20s, so there was some concern about icy roads in the morning.

Keep in mind, this area doesn’t get snow in meaningful quantities, and we have almost no snow- or ice-removal equipment. We are good with hot summers, but we are wholly unprepared for frozen precipitation. Last week, icy conditions caused a two-hour school delay, and I wouldn’t have been surprised to see another one in the morning. But as I pedaled the stationary bike and scrolled through Facebook, I couldn’t believe it when I saw that one large area school district announced not a delay, but outright cancellation. And when one did it, the others fell like dominoes. Within 15 minutes, every big district had canceled classes for the following day. At the time of this decision, it was ten degrees above freezing.

I was baffled that they didn’t start with a delay, then re-evaluate early in the morning. But my co-workers were celebrating an unexpected day off, so my preference for a delay (which doesn’t have to be made up) was a minority opinion. I wasn’t excited about losing a holiday later in the year, but then I found out we were just going to have classes on what had been designated a Staff Development day (on which I would have had to work anyway) and I stopped caring. I went home, turned off my alarm, and decided to appreciate an extra day to sleep in.

And appreciate it I did–I woke up 2.5 hours after my alarm would have gone off. Temps were in the 20s and I saw ice on my back deck, but the asphalt streets didn’t look bad at all. We decided to go to breakfast.

IMG_0274[1]

Today is the first time the sun has been out in more than a week, and schools were closed due to “inclement weather.”

Later in the afternoon, after I thought the wind had died down a bit, I decided to run my neighborhood loop. Long sleeves with thumb holes, long tights, windbreaker, ear-covering headband.

Inclement weather: that word does not mean what you think it means.

Do you see ice? I don’t see ice.

The first mile, however, was into the wind. My eyes watered. But down the side streets, with the protection of the houses, it was better. I took off my windbreaker. Traffic was light, my pace was pretty steady, and I shouted out answers to “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” questions as I ran along.

Icepocalypse... or not.

Icepocalypse… or not.

When I got home, the guys had built a fire in the fireplace. I took a hot shower and fixed some hot chocolate, then binge-watched caught up on some favorite shows: the Bosch series on Amazon and ESPN’s 30 for 30 series on Netflix. We finished Bosch, then watched “Of Miracles and Men” about the 1980 Olympic hockey game. I have yet to see a 30 for 30 episode I didn’t like–they combine history and sports, two of my favorite things.

Canceling school early the day before was clearly premature. But I got to run before dark, then enjoy my couch, fireplace, and streaming TV. I could do this again tomorrow.

Compression socks

I’ve had a couple of pairs of compression socks in my closet for a while, but I really only used them for recovery after a double-digit run.

Once I was allowed to run again, back in January, I started wearing calf sleeves. And while I think they look kind of ridiculous with my capri-length tights, they really do seem to help. I wore them for the 3M half marathoneverything hurt by the end of that race, except my calves. I’ve worn them on most of my runs since then too, including last night’s 5.5-mile hill extravaganza.

Zensah sleeves via amazon.com

Even more importantly, I have been wearing compression recovery socks after my runs. I used them after double-digit runs or races in the past (especially the Army Ten-Miler, after which I got on a plane for three hours) but now I put them on after just a couple of miles. Last Saturday morning I ran just over 10K in the icy cold, and the rest of the afternoon I wore my socks–I didn’t have any soreness at all. And at the end of last night’s aforementioned hill workout, my quads and calves were sore (in a good way, not in a recurring-injury way), but foam rolling and sleeping in my recovery socks meant that I woke up with no residual lower-leg achiness at all.

Vitalsox via amazon.com

I’m convinced that these socks and sleeves, or some combination of them, have helped my recovery. I don’t know if I’ll keep wearing them once the weather gets warmer, but for now I’m going with what works.

————————————————

Do you wear compression sleeves when you run?

Have you tried recovery socks?

Hellish hills

Last night was my triumphant return to Rogue training. Slow recovery, travel with eighth-graders, and a gradual return to longer distances has reduced my running to a couple of days a week, a few miles at a time. But with a handful of pain-free four-, five-, and six-mile “long” runs under my belt, I was ready to return to training in the hopes of salvaging the 10-miler and 10K for which I had registered prior to The Winter of my Discontent.

In typical Texas fashion, Saturday’s icy sleet led to Tuesday’s 60 degree afternoon. It’s been rainy and drizzly for the last week, so the damp made temps feel colder–of course I overdressed. Which I realized pretty quickly on the two-mile run out to the bottom of the hill. Speaking of hills, I feared a return to the Hill of Doom, but thanks to the rain, it was apparently a muddy mess and we were spared that particular indignity. Not that this one was easy, but at least we weren’t Tough Mudder-ing it.

We started by running up the hill to the first cone. It felt like forever, but it was probably more like 150 meters. Then we were supposed to take a 30-second breather and run the next, slightly flatter section, to the second cone. Jog or walk back down the hill and repeat. The bad-ass members of my group did that circuit 8-10 times; mindful of my recovery, I ran it six times. At one point I noticed that a car had to downshift to get up the hill we were running. Another time a driver yelled something at our group–I’m not sure what it was, but I’m guessing from the revving engine and derisive laughter it wasn’t complimentary.

I ended up with 5.5 miles on my Garmin, although I know at least once I forgot to restart it after that 30-second break, only discovering my error when I reached the bottom of the hill. Considering it was two miles each way just to the hill and back, the 5.5-mile total is pretty much explains why my quads (which were already tired from Monday’s core class) felt like jelly.

IMG_2996

I realized after I finished that since Thanksgiving, my training has consisted of injury layoffs, shortened and abandoned training runs, and … two (slow and miserable) half-marathons. The fact that I could show up and successfully complete last night’s training–including a mile and a half of hill repeats–gives me a liiiiiiiitle bit of confidence that I can work my way back.

Goodbye February

I was tired before I left for D.C. with a bunch of eighth-graders, so when I got home at 2:30am (Tuesday? Wednesday?) I was exhausted. I took Wednesday off–three hours of sleep would have been wholly insufficient–and then went to work Thursday and Friday, but by Friday night I was so tired, I knew getting up at 6:15 the next morning to go out to Rogue wasn’t in the cards. Instead I planned to run from my house whenever I got up. Turns out, I slept for about 11 hours.

Overnight, temperatures fell below freezing, and since it had been raining or drizzling since the evening before, things were icy, at least in places. Cars and mailboxes had an icy coating, but the driveway and street appeared to be just wet. So I dug out my gloves and fuzzy headband and headed out. I wanted to run six miles–I’d successfully run four and five miles the last two weekends, but with a ten-mile race looming at the end of March, I wanted to bump my mileage a little.

The temperature after I got  home from 6.4 miles

The temperature after I got home from 6.4 miles

My street is asphalt with no sidewalks, and I figured even if there was ice, the rough surface would help me maintain traction. But for the 1.5 miles or so that I ran before crossing into the other neighborhood, I didn’t encounter any ice. Just wind and drizzle, plus a fire truck and an ambulance and two other runners.

For most of my run to the high school and around the block, I ran in the bike lane on the asphalt. I slipped on a small patch of ice one time, but other than that, the roads were indeed just wet.

I started to feel tired around the four-mile mark, and I took a couple of walk breaks. But I couldn’t slow for too long because I got cold pretty fast that way. My legs were numb, but fortunately my calf didn’t hurt.

Icy tree

Icy tree

Once I crossed back into my neighborhood, it was mostly downhill. Not too many people were out and about, although I did see a herd of goats wandering in the dry creekbed. Icicles dangled from house eaves and parked cars still had that icy coating. I’m not sure what the temperature was when I started, but it was 30* when I finished.

I pretty much ran a positive split (reverse negative split?) today, slower every mile, but I’m okay with that. It was my longest pain-free run in a long time, so I’m starting to feel confident that I’m back on-track.

Incidentally, my original plan had been to run in the early afternoon when M and B went to lacrosse practice. But practice was canceled so I went earlier. Turns out I made a good call there–even though it’s a few degrees warmer now, the drizzle has turned to real rain. After going out for tacos, I’m content to sit in front of the fireplace watching Netflix knowing I’ve completed my run for the day.

Home sweet home

Home sweet home

Even so, February has been exhausting and I’m not sad to see it go. I’m hopeful that March will bring a fresh start, injury-free. And maybe just a liiiiitle warmer too.

Traveling with teenagers: a different kind of marathon

Every February, a co-worker and I take a group of eighth-graders to Washington D.C. for four days. This year we had 44 students, six parents, two staff members, and the two of us. We travel primarily by tour bus but often walk some distance to and from the sights. I don’t know if we covered a marathon distance during this trip, but all things considered, it felt like we had.

Day One

We met the kids and their parents at the airport at 6am. When we landed in Baltimore just before noon, it was snowing, and what should have been an hour drive into D.C. took 2.5 hours.

After a quick lunch at Union Station, we went to the Newseum. I love this place–they have a chunk of the Berlin Wall, a Pulitzer photography exhibit, and a really moving display on September 11, including the antenna from the top of the World Trade Center and a piece of the Pentagon. We also discovered an additional September 11 exhibit on a different floor–airplane engines, police car door, and people’s personal belongings–cell phones, a wallet, things like that. They also had Tim Russert’s office (complete with that whiteboard from the 2000 election) and a Civil Rights exhibit last time we were there, although I ran out of time to look for them this year.

From there we went to dinner, where I got to see J. She braved the snow to meet us! The last few years we’ve gotten together for a run one of the mornings I’m there, but since she had Achilles surgery in November she’s not back to running yet. Dinner was a worthwhile substitute.

After dinner we went through the Crime Museum, and by the time we came out, the snow had turned to sleet, pretty much icing everything over. D.C. is more prepared than Austin for this kind of weather, but still, sidewalks were slick and roads were not well-plowed. Each time we got on or off the bus, we had to climb over the little mountains of slush and snow that accumulated at the curb. This was easier in snow than slush, but my little Texan kids really didn’t have any idea how to navigate a snowbank.

IMG_0253[1]

Day Two

It was in the 20s when we left for our wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. I took my four participants to check in, and then we walked around to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The marble staircase was roped off, completely covered in ice and snow. A salted walkway about a foot wide snaked from the soldiers’ offices to the tomb, but everything else was icy. We were told the students would not be presenting the wreath from the staircase, but from the side. As always, it was a moving ceremony and my students performed well. From there, we walked around to the other side of the Tomb and waited for the shuttle bus. It seemed to be taking forever, so I decided I’d walk down with anyone who wanted to walk. I think I had about ten kids and two adults, and it was great. Kennedy’s gravesite was closed because of ice, but it was a beautiful walk through a quiet, snow-covered cemetery.

From there we went to Ford’s Theater. They’d had some flooding and the basement exhibits were closed, but they’d opened the second floor and the Presidential box, something I’d never seen before.

After lunch we went to the National Archives and saw the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. I also stumbled on a small exhibit about Louis Zamperini, of Unbroken, including the Purple Heart issued to his family after he’d been missing for a year.

Next up was the WWII memorial, which is beautiful by itself but also has excellent views of snow-covered Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. Then we walked across the street and up the hill. We were early for our timed entry to Washington, so I let them play in the snow. My rule is: if it’s got “memorial” in its name, it’s not appropriate. But since this was a monument, and clearly people before us had made snowmen and otherwise tromped around in the snow, I let them get it out of their systems. And then we went to the top of the Washington Monument, something I haven’t done since before the earthquake that damaged it. And the tour guide reminded us that it was, in fact, Washington’s birthday that day.

We visited the Marine Corps War Memorial (AKA the Iwo Jima statue) as the sun began to fall behind it, which makes for a fantastic photo. Then it was on to FDR and MLK (they’re together along the frozen Tidal Basin), where Marine One flew over us as we admired Dr. King. After that we visited the Korean War Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and Vietnam Memorial. Lincoln’s marble steps were a bit treacherous and a large section had been cordoned off, but it was still an imposing sight with the fading sunlight in the background.

IMG_0254[1]

When we got to the Einstein statue, I had to issue the warning, “Please do not put your fingers up Einstein’s nose.” That tells you everything you need to know about working with eighth-graders.

For dinner, we were supposed to go on a Potomac cruise, but since the Potomac has been frozen for the last couple of weeks, we ended up just having dinner on the boat while it was docked. I’m not sure the kids noticed much of a difference, since they mostly ate and danced and had fun with their friends.

Day Three

We started our day at the United States Capitol. It’s under significant restoration–apparently the dome was in really bad shape, so it’s covered in scaffolding inside and out, including a big inflatable donut suspended inside the dome. Our guide was excellent–we got to go into the old Supreme Court chamber and both the old Senate and Statuary Hall (which used to be the House chamber) as well. I love that Rosa Parks’ statue is sitting down.

After our tour, we spent 30 minutes taking a panoramic picture in front of the Capitol, which is slightly less photogenic than usual due to the restoration project. The water in front of us was frozen and the wind screaming down Capitol Hill had a wind chill factor in the teens. We were glad to get back on the bus for the drive over to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing where we got to see how they make money.

After lunch we went to the Air and Space museum, one of my all-time favorites. The Spirit of St. Louis was sitting in the lobby; Apollo 11’s Columbia capsule and John Glenn’s Mercury capsule had been unceremoniously shoved into the corner. I wandered around with a couple of students: WWI, WWII, the Wright Flyer, the space program, all my favorites.

From there we went to the Holocaust museum. This was my sixth trip, and I’ll tell you, it doesn’t get any easier. It was not crowded so I took some time reading through the exhibits at the beginning–usually mobs of people congregate here and I don’t take the time to really read. This day, I did. Something else new I found was Martin Niemoller’s typewriter–he’s the author of the quote I used in class last week. I forgot until later that they’d said we could take pictures so while I didn’t get a picture of the typewriter, I did take one of his quote projected on the wall a bit later.

After dinner we visited Mr. Jefferson. I enjoy seeing him at night, but temperatures were in the teens and the wind was blowing off the frozen Tidal Basin so we didn’t stay long. We made a quick stop at the Air Force Memorial, which was mere blocks from our hotel, and then we called it a night.

IMG_0256

Day Four

It was ten degrees when we left the hotel. First stop was Starbucks because the adults were feeling the effects of this whirlwind schedule. When we came back out, the kids, imitating our bus driver’s musical choices, sang, “We want, we want Starbucks!” But we overruled them and headed out to Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home. The sun was out, so barely double-digit temperatures actually weren’t that bad. We wandered throughout the estate, visiting his gravesite, all the outbuildings and quarters, and marveled at the view of the frozen Potomac. Then we took our tour of the house. They’d finished the renovations of the New Room and it looked amazing, but there was scaffolding on the interior staircase and on the roof outside. It’s always something, I guess. All in all, we spent about two hours walking around Mt. Vernon before heading out to the National Cathedral.

Everything I know about cathedrals I learned from reading Pillars of the Earth, but I do know a few random facts: this cathedral took 83 years to complete. Woodrow Wilson is buried there, they have a moonrock from Apollo 11 (Michael Collins had attended the cathedral school) and Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan are interred there. The same earthquake that damaged the Washington Monument also sent bits of cathedral stone crashing to the ground (actually I think they fell onto the roof, but that sounds less interesting) but the gargoyle that looks like Darth Vader apparently was unharmed.

After our tour of the cathedral, we headed back to the White House. We’d seen it out the windows a few times throughout the trip, but we hadn’t been able to stop until today. Because cars are no longer allowed on Pennsylvania Avenue, our driver dropped us off a couple of blocks away. They’ve added another level of barricades, so we couldn’t get up to the wrought-iron fence (when I was a kid I used to stick my camera through the bars to get a clear picture), I guess because of the recent fence-jumpers who have made the news. Security was omnipresent to say the least.

We’d stayed at Mt. Vernon longer than usual and our Cathedral tour ran long as well, so we didn’t have time to go to the National Zoo and see the pandas. Instead, we ventured over to the Pentagon Memorial. Buses also can’t get very close to this one, so he dropped us off and we had to walk across one of the parking lots, through a tunnel (the same one J, K, and I had navigated before the Army Ten-Miler last October), and across another parking lot before reaching the memorial. It’s on a small patch of land facing the spot where the plane hit that day. The side of the Pentagon is slightly discolored from the repair–it’s easy to see where it has been rebuilt. The memorial itself has a wing-shaped bench for each person who died. They face one way if the person was a passenger on the plane, the other way if the person was killed inside the building. They’re organized by birth order and are cross-referenced with other family members to acknowledge that many families were on the plane that day. It’s a somber memorial, perhaps because the event it honors is still so new, but it’s beautiful too. Unfortunately, it was completely closed. The same kind of barricades that had blocked off icy parts of Lincoln and Jefferson blocked the entire entrance to the memorial. I spent a few minutes telling kids what I knew (they were all babies in 2001) and we returned to the bus for the drive back to Baltimore.

IMG_0256a

Our flight was scheduled for 7:50 so our drive coincided with rush-hour traffic. We took a bit of a scenic route but made it with plenty of time–the Southwest counter and the security lines were very small. Kids fanned out to get some dinner, and then the airline made an announcement that there was some kind of maintenance issue with the plane that was supposed to arrive for us. They informed us there’d be an indefinite delay. We started having the kids call their parents to tell them to check with the airline before leaving for the airport. About an hour later Southwest announced that they were bringing in a new plane for us and that they hoped to have us in the air by about 10pm. The reactions from this exhausted group of teens ranged from indifference to tears to disappearing to get more food. At some point they moved us to a different gate, and I had to walk the length of the terminal to hunt down a group of boys who had gone to get more ice cream or something.

At the new gate, our kids monopolized one corner of the gate area. I was too tired to deal with getting 44 eighth-graders to get out of the main walkway so I declared “this floor is lava–you stay over there” and that pretty much contained them. Which was good, because while I’ve never run a marathon, I’m guessing it feels a lot like I felt after four days with eighth-graders.

I got home at 2:30am and immediately fell asleep. I woke up about six hours later–not nearly long enough–and worked on unpacking. Later in the morning I figured it was time to start the detox-after-four-days-of-restaurant-food process, so I went for a four-mile run. It was slow, but not as bad as I had feared. And even after all the marathoning walking (in winter clogs, not running shoes!) over the last four days, my feet and calves were sore but not painful. A day wearing compression socks took care of that.

Okay so maybe I didn’t complete the equivalent of a marathon, mileage-wise. But I’ll bet the percentage of people who are successful at 26.2 isn’t terribly different from the percentage of those who take large groups of teenagers halfway across the country. Both events are grueling and exhausting, and I’ll guarantee you’ll never forget either one.

“Texas is a state of mind” –John Steinbeck

Yesterday’s Austin Marathon made national news after the woman who led the race for 26 miles collapsed 50 meters before the finish and crawled the rest of the way. She finished third.

I wasn’t there–we were cheering people up the Enfield hill around the time she finished, but when I saw the story yesterday afternoon, I immediately flashed back to last year’s race.

The weather was much like yesterday–humid overcast, and about 60*–and I had run slower than my month-old half-marathon PR but was on pace to meet my goal time. This year’s course was a bit different, but last year the half and the full marathons met at 15th and San Jacinto, ran up the San Jacinto hill (again), then finished together on Congress Avenue in front of the Capitol. Here’s what I wrote last year:

At this point, the course is divided–marathoners on the left and half-marathoners on the right. I looked over and saw a marathoner struggling. He had a brace on his knee and clutched his shirt in his hand. He was leaning forward, almost sagging, but still running. I thought he might collapse. Another marathoner ran alongside him and offered encouragement, and I moved over toward the divider and did the same. The sign said “800 meters to go.” Bystanders began to notice this man and started cheering louder. I don’t know if he noticed any of it. But I did, and I told myself that if he could do this, I could suck it up and run this damn hill.

As we reached the top, a medic ran out to join him. I was afraid she’d stop him–with 400 meters to go. But as I watched, she looked over at the crowd lined up on the curb and gestured for them to cheer. And cheer they did. It was like a wave of sound following them. I saw that he was in good hands, and as I made the penultimate turn onto 11th Street, I took off. The Capitol on my right, the marathoners–who’d gone twice as far as I had in the same time, let’s remember–on my left, hundreds of people lining the barricades, and nothing but downhill in front of me. I rode the wave down the hill, then turned left onto Congress Avenue, the finish line only a block away. I think I passed a bunch of people, but I can’t be certain. All I know is that as I stopped my Garmin and walked through the finishers’ area, I heard the announcer recognize that marathoner, running in with a medic. I could tell when he crossed the finish line because the crowd cheered like football fans celebrating the winning touchdown. Tears streamed down my face.

Yes, I achieved my goal, and I’m proud of that. But I witnessed something bigger today. Not only this man’s determination and iron will, but the response from hundreds of total strangers at the finish line of a grueling, humid, hilly race profoundly moved me. This is why I do this, y’all, and this is my city.

Yesterday it was a different runner in a different situation, but I have no doubt many others staggered or limped those last yards to the finish line, buoyed by the crowds lining the barricades along Congress Avenue. And that Texas state of mind? Grit, tenacity, and fierce determination.

2014 finish line via youraustinmarathon.com

More cowbell!

This morning, a bunch of running friends lined up at the start of the Austin Marathon/Half Marathon. As the race began, I was just leaving my house with my Rogue friend G–one of the many awesome people who helped me get through the 3M half a month ago. Seeing friendly faces on the course has always made a HUGE difference for me, and I decided that since I wasn’t running Austin, I’d join G’s cheering section.

Our first stop first stop after Starbucks was the five-mile mark at Mary Street and South First. The race was about 45 minutes old and the crowd of runners was enormous! I’m usually a bit further back in the pack so I don’t get this perspective, and it was awesome. I saw two people from work, a current student, and quite a few Rogue friends.

It's fuzzy because everyone was so fast!

It’s fuzzy because everyone was so fast!

From here we drove up to a tough spot on the half-marathon course (sorry full marathoners) right at the Mile 12 marker. It’s a beastly hill on a good day; at Mile 12 it sucks really really badly. Last year G cheered at the bottom of the hill and ran up with a few friends, but somehow I missed her. I fully admit to walking about half of the damn thing last year. This year, I knew I could run it because I hadn’t just run 12 other miles.

When we got there, we immediately found two other friends. G had made a Touch Here for Power! sign and I had a cowbell, so we were nice and obnoxious.

"That damn hill" is a nice way of putting it.

“That damn hill” is a nice way of putting it.

The people next to us had a sign about beer at the finish, and frequently runners would yell, “How about beer NOW?!” as they passed. Lots of runners observed that a giant hill at Mile 12 was cruel, and we agreed. I resisted the urge to shout “You’re almost there” but it was difficult. A mile to go sounds totally doable when you’ve driven from Mile 5 to Mile 12, but I’ve been at the bottom of this hill with a mile to go, and it’s anything but “almost there.”

After a while, I noticed my cowbell had caused a blister on my finger. Clearly, that’s on par with the pain the runners were feeling at Mile 12.

More cowbell!

More cowbell!

Every so often we’d see someone we knew and one of us would run up the hill. G was wearing these fantastic Day of the Dead tights, and once she saw another runner wearing the same ones. She jumped in and ran her up the hill. Turns out, it was her first half marathon and she was alone, tired, and tearful with no friends on the course cheering for her. Until G ran with her and got her to the top. See why I love these people??

Awesome tights!

This picture does not do the hill–or her awesome tights–justice!

After a while, two more friends arrived. They’d run the Paramount 5K and walked up to meet us after they finished. S had a cowbell and really got into it. “Go random stranger!” and “You are amazing!” She declared she was never running again, just cheering.

We got especially loud whenever the Marathon High kids in their orange shirts ran by. These are middle- and high school kids from economically disadvantaged areas who work with Rogue coaches to train for the the Austin half or full marathon. They are amazing! We also saw tutus (mostly on women, but one guy was rocking a Mardi Gras theme), a couple of military guys running with boots and backpacks, and a guy who shaved his chest hair to look like a bikini top. And I didn’t see it at the time, but this one won the sign contest:

When our friend P came into view, we saw that she was running with a friend who was struggling. I ran with P up the hill and A ran with her friend. Man, P had run twelve miles and she beat me to the top! Her friend had been sick, so she waited for her to make sure they finished together. My leg didn’t like the standing-standing-standing-WHOA RUN UP THE HILL! but it held up okay.

We waited for one more friend, walked with her a while, and sent her up the hill and to the finish. Our friends who had run the 5K headed off to the finish line to wait for P. I know a lot of my training group members (the ones who didn’t run the race) were out along the course supporting those who did. I don’t have any desire to run this race again, but I will definitely be out there cheering for those who do.