Monday, November 18, 2013

Marathon Monday FMM: Holidays

Well, another marathon in the books.  This was ugly in the extreme.  But you know, it's done.  And my legs are stronger for having another long run under them.  And while doing this one with so little base could have been very stupid, I managed to escape unscathed. 

Short version is that one of my very first running buddies moved to San Antonio about 6 or 7 years ago, and now, a few of us make a girls' weekend trip to visit her for the race.  This year, she wasn't able to run (she'd fractured her foot in February and just got out of her boot a couple weeks ago), but she's an amazing supporter.  It's truly in her nature to be the most gracious hostess in the world.  She's always so concerned about everything you could want or need.  Honestly, if I'd indicated to her after the marathon that it would be nice for someone to rub my sore feet, I think she would have done it.  It's kind of a running joke that she'd never say no to anything someone wants.  Two friends flew back last night and their flight was delayed 50 minutes.  She called them three times to see if they wanted her to come to the airport and (1) keep them company, or (2) pick them up and take them to eat, or (3) pick them up and bring them back to her house to relax, or (4) pick them up and take them to the airport for a flight today.  Seriously, she was exhausted from a long day of cheering for us and entertaining us, and she was 100% ready to drive 20 minutes to the airport just to keep them company for half an hour. 

So here, it is Rock N Roll San Antonio Marathon 2013 race report.

My San Antonio trip in a few pictures (I definitely should have taken more).

A deer in her front yard:

One of our friends (doing her SECOND full ever!), to show proximity to the deer:

A picture from the race course, the new trail part that was included on the full marathon (of course we weren't on bikes, but this shows the rolling hill aspect, which I of course hated, being a hill wimp):
Single file: Riders along a stretch of the Mission Reach.
(copied from this site,, by someone who did the bike tour before the marathon started)

And the ugly -- a post-race screenshot that I took when the friend pictured above finished.  I was a bit earlier, but it was over 80 when I finished as well:
Bizarre that it's partially in Italian but days of the week are in English?  Iphone hasn't quite mastered using another language as primary yet...

A post-marathon reward... (I got TWO!  A pint of HD gelato and one of those baby B&J's cups):

And finally, my medal from the marathon yesterday: 
I don't really know what to say about the race.  I finished nearly an hour slower than I ran Berlin only 7 weeks ago.  The weather was just insanely bad in San Antonio.  It was over 70 when I woke up, and over 80 when I finished the race.  The overall high in San Antonio was 89 (late afternoon, after I would guess everyone was done).  This is officially the second time I have run a marathon on a record high day, the first being the Chicago Marathon in 2007, which they cancelled in the middle of the race because they were not prepared for the weather.
I knew I was just running this one for fun, so I took it very easy.  My friends and I all got split up very early.  But there was a section that was about 1.5 miles out, and then 1.5 miles back, and I managed to see all of them there.  One friend was only about 2 miles behind me, another 2.5, and another about 3.  But unfortunately, when I got to about mile 20, the sun came out (so more like 17 for my friend above), and that really slowed all of us down even more.
The new San Antonio course has you running along a lovely trail near a river.  Closed to vehicular traffic and narrow, but that wasn't a big deal so late in the course (it seems 95% of the runners do the half).  I saw a woman go down in front of me around mile 22, the guy she was with stopped, and I ran ahead to some spectators and asked one of them to take a phone and go back to check on her.  If she was in medical distress, I have no idea how they would have gotten her from the trail. 
The medical tents were very full and the heat was a big problem.  What saved me was going for a trash can directly alongside the course near a sharp turn onto a little bridge over the water.  I was throwing out an empty gu packet and on the side of the trash can, half in, half out, was a bag of ice.  I grabbed it.  I put a few cubes down my sports bra, I held the ice bag on my face and on the back of my neck and it felt insanely good.  I think I brought down my temperature a little, and I was able to pick up the pace some.  As I passed people walking in front of me, I offered them ice cubes and almost everyone wanted some.  I eventually was desperate enough to decide the ice was clean enough to suck on a few ice cubes.  Ahhh, so wonderful.  When it was almost empty, I let some of the melted ice water dump over my head, and I finished off the last few ice cubes holding the bag under each arm.  I'm convinced that's the only thing that got me through the race.
Honestly, I think I might be done with the full in San Antonio.  Full marathon runners really get the shaft there.  I've mentioned before that it's somewhat disheartening to have nearly everyone turn at mile 11, when only a few lonely souls continue forward for the full.  You have signs and spectators at mile 9 proclaiming that you're almost done -- yeah, only 17 more miles!  But beyond all that, after you peel off from the halfers, the crowd support dwindles to almost nothing.  There is almost no shade for the remainder of the desolate course around the missions, in the warmer part of the day.  There are no separate resources for full runners -- I think there should be separate porta-pottys (obviously a lot more important to use one if you're running a full than for those running the half), and the finish lines should be separate.  And of course it's very disheartening to merge with the half course for the last couple miles.  In places the course was divided by barriers, which was great, but in other places, it was just cones, and people running a 4+ hour half were taking up the entire road, leaving 4+ hour marathoners to weave around them.  Ugh. 
I've said it before, but this just underscores it:  The best marathons do not feature any other event.  It's a full marathon and nothing else.  Boston, New York, Berlin, St. George, etc. 
But maybe that's only true for large-scale races. 
But the volunteers were great along the course, and I really liked my medal.  I don't like that it's so late in the race when the half peels off -- it makes it very tempting to turn with them.  Because I was going so slowly and already so hot, I strongly considered doing the half instead.  It had started off overcast, but by the time I was in the King William district around mile 9, there were patches of hot sun.  So I decided that would be the determining factor for me -- if it was sunny at the half turn-off, I'd turn with them; if it was cloudy, I'd press on for the full.  Ugh again.  I guess 6 miles of oppressive, unrelenting sun is better than 12, but still, I kind of wish I'd taken the turn for the half. 
And based on the last few years, which have been equally miserable, I really should have known better:  2011 (; 2012 (  Didn't I see that the last two years the temps got into the 80s?  And did I forget that it makes a marathon not fun?  When will I learn? 
At least now they're saying it will be in December in 2014, but of course, they tried to tell me that last year and it turned out to be lies, all lies...
Anyway, I flew home this morning and fly out again tomorrow -- working in New Mexico next.  Fun stuff!  So now, on to Friend Making Mondays.
friend makin mondays

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

1. What are you plans for Thanksgiving this year?   As I have for the last 10 years, I'm starting the morning with a huge local 8 mile race.  Then we are going over to the house of one of my best friends and her husband, who is my former boss.  His mom will be in town, and we'll all have a big meal around 3:00.  Unfortunately, my husband is on call on Thanksgiving (and the day after), so I'm really hoping for no emergencies!  But if he ends up going to work, I'll still have fun plans to fill the day.

2. At what point do you being celebrating the Christmas season?  We will put up our tree on the day after Thanksgiving.  Kind of early compared to my traditions growing up, but hubby will fly out on Dec. 18 and I fly out on Dec. 19 for Christmas, so we'll only get to enjoy it for a few weeks. 

3. Do you celebrate Christmas, or do you celebrate another holiday? Christmas.

4. If you could have one present (you know, a material good, not love or world peace) what would you want?  I'm torn between a Vitamix professional grade blender and an awesome bike that I could use for an Ironman or commuting or whatever.  Either one would completely thrill me.  If I had to choose, I'll go with the bike since it would be pricier. 

5. Share an idea or two that you can plan to do for someone who may need to feel loved throughout the holiday season. I do notes in all of our cards, and I bake.  I haven't done much community service since about September because of all the traveling and illness and everything else, but of course this is a good time to get back to that. 

6. Would you rather spend the holiday season on the beach or in the snow?  100% snow.  I can't imagine ever staying in Dallas for Christmas, it would be so depressing and not white.  But actually, I heard it snowed here a few years ago.  As much as I hate the cold, I like at least a foot of snow for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  It just seems right. 

7. What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?  I think it would be cranberry squares that my mom sometimes made for dessert.  I think my favorite thing to eat this year will probably be the mashed potatoes that I make.  Lots of butter and milk...

8. Will you participate in Black Friday shopping?  No, I really hate shopping.  I'm going to try to get a few more people done this weekend, and then I'll aim to do most of the rest online. 

9. Will you travel for the holidays or stay at home? If you’re traveling, are you flying or driving or making alternate plans?  We will stay local for Thanksgiving, and we're flying for Christmas. 

10. List at least 5 things for which you are currently thankful.
  1. My marathon medal -- it was definitely earned, and I'm thankful for a safe finish and not hurting myself in the process.  I'm happy that even in my current "unfit" condition, and with horrible weather, I was still able to finish in a time that was my "A" goal only about 5 years ago. 
  2. Knowing my husband can't wait to see me tonight.  I haven't seen him since Friday, and since I fly out to New Mexico tomorrow, and we're still kind of in withdrawal from our 24/7 vacation togetherness that was almost a month long (between Europe and California), it will be nice to get a big hug as soon as I walk in the door. 
  3. My job.  A big case is on the line in New Mexico, and I'm excited to have the power I do to attempt to resolve it at this settlement conference. 
  4. Our plans for next year's trip.  We're in the early planning stages, but I love that we make it a priority to travel every year and I'm so excited to see some new and very different places, especially since I'm worried the Maldives will be gone from this earth by the time I die! 
  5. My mom in particular.  Her birthday was yesterday and I can't wait to get home and see her for Christmas.  I know she's already planning some wonderful things to cook while we're home, and she always makes Christmas so special. 
 Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions! Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments!  Happy Monday!


  1. Great job finishing your race regardless of the heat.

    I love that you run an 8-miler on Thanksgiving! I aim for a few miles too the day of. I swear it revs me up for the rest of the day of cooking and prepping.

    I hope you have a fantastic week. Safe travels. I put Vitamix on my wish list too :)

  2. Congratulations on your race despite the miserable conditions!! I agree that running a marathon with a half marathon in the mix is challenging. I found the same to be true in Montreal. It was an R 'n' R race and those races really promote the half marathon. It was a lonely course after we split from the half. I find that I have no desire to repeat any marathon course once I'm done. I keep joking to my husband that I might need to move for the sake of new running routes.

    I cannot find a Thanksgiving Day race in my area to save my life! I began my own tradition of running a solo double digit run in the morning.

    I love my Vitamix and use it every day at least once. Though I can definitely see you doing an Ironman! The Maldives…I'm jealous!

  3. Congrats on finishing despite the hot weather!

    I think you're the 3rd FMM I've read this evening wanting a Vitamix!

  4. Congrats on another race in the books! I agree with you on the multi-distance race thing… I hate seeing people turn off for the half when I keep going. Chicago is the first one I've done where everyone was in it for the full and I appreciated it! I didn't get jealous by anyone around me who had a half bib on or spend hours resenting the relay people!

  5. I wish we could have exchanged numbers and met up pre-race. That would have been fun. I, too, went into this event with basically no training. But, I wasn’t doing the full like you did. I was just doing the half. I do, however, plan to do the full in Vegas next year. And, while I was running the half on Sunday, I had lots of thoughts about running a full in the future. I’m sure I can do it when the time comes, but after my experience with running a half with no training, I definitely have to make sure I have some training before running a full. Definitely. I couldn’t walk right for almost 3 days following the RNR San Antonio!