In some ways, today kind of felt like I fell down the rabbit hole into an alternate universe.
- A booming thunderstorm woke me up about midnight. Wha–? Thunderstorm, in Texas, in July? Very weird.
- I had FUN during the race!
- It rained on us the last five miles. See #1.
The race offered two starting times: 6am and 7am. At the last minute, we decided to brave the early start to maybe beat some of the late morning heat. After all, it’s July in Texas, and we knew we’d take forever to complete this thing. Well, the aforementioned thunderstorm cooled things off a little, but unfortunately we traded it for humidity.
The first mile or so, it was still dark out, but I know this area well because it’s part of every Rogue training run. After a while, my friend G caught up to us–B and I were attempting intervals of 5-minutes running, 5-minutes walking, and that sounded good to her. At the mile two water stop, we picked up another friend, C. We’d all been taking it sort of easy this summer, so we were content to run-walk our way through this one.
I noticed the dim stars in the early morning sky, so I knew as soon as the sun came up, all the humidity from the storm would turn the place into a sauna. But oddly, as the sky lightened, more clouds rolled in. Totally not what I was expecting.
As we came down the 183-A path toward
the road to hell Brushy Creek Road, two things happened. One, I learned that the course did not actually traverse Brushy Creek Road. Instead, we’d continue along the path all the way to the Brushy Creek trail, which B and I have run a dozen times. Whee! This was such amazing news to me, I nearly collapsed to the ground in gratitude. Except that I couldn’t, because the others were ready to move along. And two, as we crossed the road and the train tracks, we could see a train off in the distance. Just after we started down the path, we watched the train approach, then come to a complete stop, blocking the crossing for any runners behind us. Whew, missed it by thatmuch.
We were probably about five miles into it when we started seeing returning runners–those who had made it all the way to the turnaround and were at about mile 10. Yeesh. At least we had each other. 😉 But we were still sticking well to our 5:5 intervals and we felt pretty good as we ran along the trail, through the sports park, under the highway overpass, and up to the halfway point. It was still humid (the waterfalls, mud, and at least one puddle obstacle had reappeared along the trail, thanks to last night’s storm), and we’d all had a little trouble staying cool, so we were grateful for the iced washcloths the volunteers were giving out at the turnaround.
On the way back, I think most of us started feeling the lack of serious training. Lots of sore muscles and slower paces (although I will admit to not checking my Garmin pace once–just distance and interval). B started chatting with G about Iron Man, and that got us all the way down the trail and back to the 183-A path. G decided to run ahead; C and I were dragging a bit and decided to take it easy on this hilly section. B wanted to stay in front of us. Mr. Competitive. 😉
By now the train was gone, so we crossed the road and headed up the hill. B took off, saying he’d meet us at the top. Yes, after 10 miles, the kid charged up the hill and left us in the dust!
As we traveled up the path, I felt raindrops. That overcast sky had turned into rain clouds! In Texas! In July! I have never been more grateful to see water falling from the sky. We were drenched, and we didn’t care. We just laughed and kept going.
For the last three miles, we ran downhill and walked uphill. We made bargains with ourselves–run to the sign. Run to the break in the grass. Run to that cross street. Run to the windmill. With one mile to go, B decided he wanted to run ahead, and off he went. Then C and I agreed to run the final quarter-mile–finish strong!
As we approached the finish, I realized that we were only at 13.08, so of course we had to run a few extra yards, then loop back, to make it an even 13.1. I turned off my Garmin and B handed me my medal. We did it.