Friday, October 31, 2014

West Texas: Not All Downhill

Post 5 of 5.

To get everyone to sign up, my friend Anne had told everyone that this race was all downhill into Marathon. This is not true for anyone except maybe the 5K runners. So now you’ve been warned. And honestly no race is ever as downhill or flat as someone else might describe it. Yes, I’ll say never.
Due to the nature of the course for the races (the buses took us the appropriate distance from town and we just had to make our way back!) the marathoners started at 7:30 a.m., the half marathoners at 8:30, we 10K-ers started at 10 and the 5K started at 10:30. So even though we were up early we had some time to kill.  Very unusual for us to have so much time in the morning on a race day. But it was nice to have a leisurely morning.
We popped into town for coffee, wished our half-marathon running friends good luck and then basically continuously waited in lines for bathrooms until the race started.  I think that’s one of the things I like about running in the morning. No time to over consume other liquids that would mean more potty breaks.  The coffee couldn’t have helped either.
All smiles before the race!
Awesome running buddies!
As it turned out the half-marathoners started about 10 minutes late because of the port-a-potty line and then us 10K runners started about 15 minutes late for the same reason.  They asked for race feedback and I think most everyone would agree that the port-a-potty situation is one thing that could be improved upon. Although it wasn’t like they were going to start without everyone being ready to go, we all just knew it was getting warmer by the minute and as beautiful as the route is there is no such thing as shade in the Texas high desert.
Cheering on our half-marathon running friends on as they passed we then waited for the start.
“On your mark. Get set. Go.”
Literally. This was how our race started. You have to love a race put on by a small town where most of the citizens are volunteering too.
And we were off.  I quickly realized what a poor decision it had been to wear completely unsupportive flip-flops to putz around in Alpine the day before because my calves told me so.  At that moment they were definitely the boss of me.
Our race started on a very minor incline, but an incline nonetheless.  After about the first mile it was time for a walk break and at the two-mile water stop I was super excited to get some ibuprofen.  Seriously my calves hated me and I wanted to burn my flip-flops.
Despite my painful experience, Justin was in a zenful state of mind thanks to the beauty of our surroundings and was happy to walk with me as needed. We decided to just enjoy our time on the course together while maintaining a comfortable walk/run pace to the finish.
The last uphill was the hardest because
  • It was the last uphill and we knew it
  • We didn’t know where the top of the hill was- I’ll call it a desert mirage
  • You could see the town (and ostensibly the finish line) from the top of it but knew you were still miles away
We finished strong and completed the 10K in approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes or about 13 minutes a mile.
Determined to always get the at least the same time as Justin.
35 races in 34 months. Woot!
At the finish line we got our medals, changed into fresh shirts and then drank some beer as we waited for everyone to come together so we could enjoy the brisket lunch that was available after the race.

All the awesome finishers wearing their custom shirts that Denise designed. She rocks!
The recently opened Famous Burro was quite hospitable and we watched some football and played some shuffleboard (I redeemed myself!) and then decided that naps before dinner were a good idea.
Before dinner at 12 Gage,  we met up at The White Buffalo, the bar at the Gage Hotel. Justin and I tried to recreate the magic of the mezcal Margarita Verde but they didn’t have mezcal.  FYI Xochitl is not a good substitute.  Learn from our mistakes people.
Dinner was a fabulous celebration with everyone at the table being toasted at least once.  The post-race party was the perfect way to end the night under the west Texas starlight with live music and a little two-stepping.
The evening was magical.
It was a trip that everyone agreed they would love to repeat next year.  Some said they would run longer distances, others said they would drink more. Everyone has to have a goal they think they can achieve, right?
Is this view in your future?
Maybe we’ll see you there!

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