Wednesday, December 26, 2012

End of the World Half Marathon (Rachel's First)

Ok, we all know the world didn't end and most people knew the world wasn't going to end on Friday. But it's still fun to play along and create playlists, etc. If it really was the last day on earth I wouldn't be running walking a half marathon!

The End of the World Half Marathon was advertised as a race for everyone including walkers. There was a cut off time of 9 hours because "why rush to the end"? This was not a Boston Qualifier because "there will be no Boston Marathon in 2013 because it's the end of the world." Yes, the race organizers had a sense of humor.

The race was on the other side of Houston so we left around 5:20 to make sure we got there in time to get parking and our packets. I've never been to a race in temps this low! Ever. I do not like cold. Brrrr!
Notice that Armageddon It by Def Leppard is playing. Appropriate for end of world.
 So we got there waaaay too early. They had us park in a field that really needed 4 wheel drive to navigate. Plus it was dark. We made our way to the tables to get our packets. Wearing capris and walking through tall grass that has frost on it is not very pleasant. Our shoes got damp and those feet really started to freeze.

Grabbing our packets, we shuffled back to the car as quickly as possible and got the chips put on our shoes and bibs pinned on our shirts and shivered. The heat was running in the car at this point and in the dark you could lots of runners all huddled in their cars doing the same.

We had almost two hours before our race started so Chuck, Rachel and I all took a little nap. Rachel was nervous since this was her first half marathon but sleep overcame us all as we snuggled down into the heated seats of Dash.

Finally it was time to make our way to the starting line at 7:45. The Grim Reaper on the banner can't be a good sign.
 Everyone waiting anxiously. The full marathon would start at 8 while our half marathon woulds tart at 8:15/
 Poor Rachel is nervous while Chuck is tired and keeps trying to talk me out of this. "We can just watch Rachel. We don't have to do this."
 I like to get a picture of the starting line so I'm walking around trying to find it. Ummm, a bit anticlimactic. It's a blue mat. Oh well.
 Now that it's daylight I can see we're starting at some unfinished condos that look like something out of a zombie movie. How appropriate!
 There is no starting gun, only a countdown and we're off. I was expecting something a little different than a mowed field as the running surface. You really had to be careful or you'd end up with a twisted ankle. There were tiny stumps and potholes. We were jogging at first but it didn't take long for the uneven trail to take its toll on Chuck's knee. So we walked and so did many other people.
 There were cute signs for some of the odd things we encountered along the trail.

 There were pretty lakes (ponds) along the way. These two aren't wearing smiles. Am I in trouble? Look, I swear I didn't force them to do this.
 You really had to watch where you were going. The unevenness of the trail was pretty tiring. Then you'd come to puddles that almost covered the entire trail. Is this an obstacle course race?
 It was so cold!! The temperature was 34* when we got there and it was 34* when the race started. There's still frost on the plants.
 The deep sand would suck the life out of you pretty fast. This was one of the tougher races I've done.

 You can see that Rachel is coming up to a mud pit we have to navigate around.
 And a huge truck on the course? The driver was moving branches out of the way. You can see all of the pine cones on the ground.
 One part of the course had us running in front of the unfinished condos right beside the lake. The trail was very narrow so you had to be careful.
 The course had several loops that caused people to be running head on at you so everyone had to be careful to navigate carefully and stay out of the way.

 There were plenty of water stations along the way. At one point, Rachel decided to take off and go on her own. Guess Chuck and I were too slow but his knee was hurting and I was in no rush. Plus my feet are just not happy. I wore my Newtons and it helped somewhat. Maybe it's time for a new pair of Asics?

Right near mile 7 I started hallucinating and thought these women were wearing chefs hats. Nope!
 We finally get to the turnaround point where we run over the mat as our checkpoint and head back on to the obstacle course trails to begin our last stage of loops.
 Really? Just mile 7? Where are the double digits?
 There were hills that went up and down (as hills tend to do) that had the runners really moaning by this point.
 Superman even showed up to save the day!
 Runners helped decorate the trail after the water stations.
 Hey! It's Superman again! The course route made several loops upon itself so you'd see people over and over again.
 Time for upchuck, Chuck? Come on! Mile 11! So close to being finished. By the way, mile 11 was the longest mile EVER. I didn't think we'd ever see mile 12.  This is usually about the point where I have my little mental breakdown and want to cry because I don't want to do this anymore. But it's so close to the finish that we can't stop now.
 We finally cross that finish line and Rachel is there to give us a high five. She finished 15 minutes ahead of us. We got pizza and a HUGE medal. Seriously, this is the biggest medal I've seen so far.
 We all enjoy our pizza but don't dare sit down because we all know that as soon as we sit down it's going to hurt to get up and move again.

Rachel said she felt like crying at mile 8. A runner stopped to help her stretch. Nice guy. Another runner cheered her on later on the trail. She did really good for being her first one.

I asked her if she would consider doing another in the future. The answer was maybe. :)

This is Rachel's take on the race:
Miles 1-5: okay, I got this.
Mile 6: okay....getting a bit more difficult
Mile 7: I'm only halfway done?
Miles 10-13: Keep walking. Try not to cry.

We had a good laugh and talked about the people we encountered and the trails and how we felt and the hallucinations (you were right, Chuck, they were pelicans and not bald eagles stalking us). It was a good race but a tough one. Though the temperature did warm up enough to make it pleasant, the terrain was pretty rough at spots. We still all had a good time but were happy when it was over.

After the race we went out for Mexican food sporting our new Flavor Flav medals. Then home to shower and collapse.

I was pretty sure I felt a blister on my heel. Yep. A big one too. Gross. And a rub on my ankle.
 The loot was great! Got a duffle bag, tech shirt, hat and mega medal.
This was the last race of the year for me. It's been a very fun year of running and walking and tackling obstacle courses.

Congratulations to Rachel on completing her very first half marathon!!!! That's quite an accomplishment. I would have never thought to do one at 17 years old. Way to go, Rachel!!!!!

Congratulations to Chuck on completing his third half marathon this year. Way to go! And he doesn't even like running.


  1. Thanks to YOU!
    You are to be commended for getting your family out to exercise together.
    Secretly, I really don't mind the half marathons. Especially since I spend the entire time with you.

  2. Kelly it is good to see you still focusing on fitness. I've been away for a while and having a hard time. My ex-husband and my daughter are starting the C25K program as soon as the weather is better. I'm thinking of starting again too but it will be much more difficult at this weight than where I was a year ago. I wish you the very best next year.

  3. Oh my gosh, I was worried about that course, and rightly me, it's asking a lot for people to run on a course where you could easily get hurt - and I'm too gun-shy to attempt anything like that anymore. Sounds like a huge challenge - congratulations to all of you for getting through it, and yay Rachel for completing her first half marathon!!! Now she needs to do one that is on a level, paved road...she'll be hooked for sure. :)

  4. and pavement will seem SIMPLE AFTER THIS!!!


  5. Haha awesome medal!! Congrats! Keep up the good work!



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