Last year for our anniversary I planned a fun little getaway. This year was very different but just as memorable. We could have gone away for the weekend. Maybe even gone out for a romantic dinner. We could have had a picnic and been lazy or gone for a long walk Instead, we got up before the crack of dawn to run.
Saturday was our 22nd wedding anniversary (wow, time flies!) so we got up at 5am to head out to the Monster Mash 5k in Houston with the kiddos. It was cold!!!! We got to the parking lot at Sam Houston Race Park and rushed inside to get out of the wind and cold.
There were some great trophies being awarded at this race.
We hung around until they told us we had to line up. Nobody wanted to go out in the cold.
Rachel dressed up like Jason but Charlie just wanted to wear his new glow-in-the-dark race shirt.
The wind was blowing and the temps were in the lower 50s but it was time to line up on the race track. Everybody was shivering and ready to get started.
And the race is off! Did I mention this is a horse track? Running on sand is way more tiring than running on the road. We ran here for 1.5 miles then headed out to the streets. As you'd come around the track the wind would just hit you in the face and almost take your breath away. Brrrr!
The kids had fun. Rachel chased Charlie with her machete and they had a good time acting goofy. Love to see them playing together.
I could tell Rachel wanted to go faster but Chuck and I had already decided we weren't going to exert ourselves too much because we had another race the next morning. So Rachel and Charlie decide to take off and finish the race together.
Rachel said they had a great time and she'd raise her machete at cars that passed.
It wasn't long before the race was over and we met up at the finish line with our new medals.
Both kids enjoyed the race so much that they want to do more!
We headed to Waffle House for a much needed breakfast instead of hanging out at the post race party. We even wore in our brand new glow-in-the-dark zombie medals.
After getting cleaned up, Chuck and I took a long nap. We then toasted our race (as per custom) then toasted to our anniversary. Afterwards, we were pretty much lazy the rest of the day. Ahhhhh. Happy anniversary, Chuck. 22 years!!! Wow.
Sunday Chuck and I were up at 5am again. Though the temperature was just as cold it wasn't as windy as Saturday so it felt better. We made our way to downtown Houston and found a parking garage then wandered around until we found the starting line for our race: Houston Half Marathon. This is a southern region championship race and brings out some of the faster runners (such as Kenyans). I ran this race last year and it was just as intimidating then. There are some very fast people.
We get to the start line just in time As soon as we get there it is announced that the race will be starting in 7 minutes. It's dark and people are still driving around downtown looking for parking and trying to find their way to the starting line.
There are so many people here! It was just as crowded last year, as well. Of course, we line up in the back but even behind us there are tons of people.
Finally the horn buzzes for it to begin but because of the size of the crowd we just stand there. Kind of anti-climactic. Finally the crowd begins to inch forward. As we cross the start line there's finally enough room for us to begin a slow jog.
Woohoo! We're off! We're running through the streets of downtown. The course loops through the streets so we look over to the left and see tons of runners looping back. Their legs are moving so fast it looks like a group of cartoon characters.
The sunrise created pretty effects on the buildings.
Batman was even found downtown. He was chilling on the job.
Chuck and I were doing run/walk/run intervals. This is an endurance challenge so no need to go out of the gates full force.
The miles were going by pretty easily at first. We chatted and laughed and enjoyed the scenery. We even began to warm up as we moved more.
By mile 4 I started noticing some pain in my left foot. By mile 5 I knew I was developing a pretty bad blister on the pad under my toes. At each step it became worse and worse.
By mile 7 I stopped and sat on the curb and tried to wrap it with some blister tape. It was too late. The blister was huge and had also developed on my right foot at the same location. Not only that, but both heels were developing blisters.
Chuck was worried about me and suggested everything from walking the rest of the way, quitting, to carrying me. But I was determined to finish this. My feet were killing me and each step was becoming more and more excruciating. The rest of my body felt great though!!
By mile 8 I had reached a mental road block and felt like crying. How in the world was I going to finish a 13.1 mile race when mile 8 hurt so badly?!
We met up with a girl who had run a good portion of the Space City 10-miler with us so we chatted for a while and that helped to distract me from my pain. Chuck, bless hie heart, was so worried about me. Like I said, my feet were the only problem. Otherwise I felt great!
Finally we're at the double digit miles. YAY!!!!
When I'm not running, at this point, I'm limping. It looked like I was hobbling. But at double digits there is no quitting.
People were really giving it all they had during this race. We saw a person in the back of an ambulance receiving oxygen. We saw several people stopping to puke. We heard people coughing and gagging. But I think most people finished.
That finish line never looked so good. The medals were beautiful but the sense of accomplishment was the real reward this time. (Such an ugly hat but it has tiny flaps that keep my ears warm)
Mmmm.....free frozen yogurt. It tasted sooo good but did not set well on the tummy.
A pretty new medal. It's nice to get some anniversary bling. The proceeds from this race went to a fund to reforest a park that lost a lot of trees during the drought last year and that's why it's a tree medal.
We hobbled around downtown a little until we found the parking garage (always remember where you park!). Then time to check the aching feet. This is one of 6 blisters I got.
Seriously, what is the deal with the blisters? I'm wearing Asics that aren't too used that I got from Luke's Locker. They fit fine. I'm wearing Experia socks that are $14 a pair. I don't understand why I'm getting these. It's frustrating because the rest of my body is doing fine!
We wipe the salt crystals from our faces (from the sweat) and head out to celebrate our victory. Cheers!
And yes, we are those obnoxious people who wear their medals into a restaurant. Mostly because we want people to understand why we're dressed like that and why we look so terrible. Also, to understand why I'm having trouble walking.
After getting cleaned up, popping blister and taping up my feet, rubbing Chuck's knees, we take a long nap.
We celebrated the anniversary a little more with some cookie.
Then it was off to an early bed.
Happy anniversary, Chuck! Thanks for supporting me in everything I do. It means a lot to me. And thanks for the anniversary bling. I had a wonderful and memorable time this weekend. Congratulations on finishing your second half marathon!!