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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've never posted a race report here, and I know this is really late, but even though I enjoyed it immensely, and would do it all again, I was just so worn out from it that to even talk about it after the first rehash with the family was more than I wanted to do.<br><br>
My team was thrown together over postings here and on the TIR message board. A 2-day, 2-night blind date with 11 other people who met on the Internet, getting in a couple of vans to go out of town. One of the best decisions I ever made, but I think it did give my mom and my husband a little concern.<br><br>
We were so lucky with the weather. Very cool at night, and foggy. Clear and dry all day Saturday, although fairly warm mid-day. Sunday turned cloudy and very windy in the afternoon, and a few runners got more than a bit wet, but it wasn't like one of those wretched cold fronts that can wreak havoc, hail and sideways rain.<br><br>
Just over 203 miles from Gonzales, TX (where the battle for Texas independence from Mexico began) to the San Jacinto Monument (where the final battle ended with General Santa Anna's surrender to Sam Houston's army). 40 legs of ~2.75 to ~8.75 miles.<br><br>
I had legs 1, 13, 25 and 37. First one was after a little 1.1 mile loop around downtown Gonzales with the team, then I headed out on my own for another 4.26 miles.<br><br>
I don't do any hills at home here in Houston, so I got tired a little quicker than I had hoped. I've been an off and on runner since my 20's, mostly off since my 2 boys were born '93 and '97. Took 3 tries over the last 3 years to get started again. Started Couch to 5K back in July, and have only missed 2-3 weeks since then because of illness. The longest run I've done so far is 6 miles.<br><br>
So I knew I'd have to save some energy for later, and I walked a little, but finished in 46:20, a 10:53 pace. Handed off to Tracy, and we drove down to the half-way mark to decorate the van.<br><br>
Each van took about 5 hours to do their 6 legs, and would cover about 30 miles or so. So we were ready for a little lunch and rest after our van's first legs. I was really glad to see how well we all did, and how much fun we had supporting each other. I also liked seeing the other teams as we made each exchange, and it was fun to start seeing the same teams over and over. I was so impressed with "Q", who ran an 8.78 mile leg on mostly gravel roads. And E.J. running more back roads. They both did 8 minute miles or faster, I think. Kerry had suffered a heart attack 4 years ago, so he run/walks, and got the shorter legs, but he did great coming into Shiner, where the exchange was at the brewery (sadly, no beer available). And Jim completed the #1 Posse Van crew with a great run down a hilly freeway. Kinda scary with the trucks going by!<br><br>
Kerry, who usually drove our van, had some friends in a nearby town, so we had planned to visit them for a while to rest after lunch, but they were not in town. So we all just spread out sleeping bags in the yard for naps. No telling what the neighbors thought! There was a little yard mowing and such going on, but when I'm tired, it takes a lot more noise than even that to keep me awake. None of us had slept much the night before, so it was a welcome afternoon nap under the trees, with the warm sun and lovely breezes.<br><br>
My second leg started outside Schulenburg. Hills!! ACK! We had driven to the start from the end, so I got to see all the hills I would be going up and down and up and down and up and down. All I could do was, as we say in Texas, "Butch up, Sally!" And once I got started, I realized that it felt so good at the top of the hill, it was as if I lost 10 pounds and could just cruise down the other side. There were folks sitting out in their front yards cheering us all on, and since I was doing 10-minute miles, I had plenty of time to chat as I went by. They were all so great! The traffic on this leg had me a little worried, especially over the narrow bridge! But all the cars would clear me by quite a bit, and I waved to all of them. I had a great kick coming into downtown Weimar to finish this 4.21m leg, with the DJ blasting out some great tunes. All the Weimar leg finishers got a silver plastic baton with a decal on it to commemorate this leg - great idea! Hills, schmills!<br><br>
This started off the evening and night running. Someone, one of the gals from "Athletic Girls Next Door" got bit by a dog and had to be taken to the hospital. I don't know how bad it was, or if they caught the dog. I hope they did. That had to be awful!<br><br>
We all had a great time with the rest of our legs. As E.J. came in to Columbus, the high school band had a steel drum group playing a few songs, and then they switched to horns and sax for a few more. They were not exactly in tune, but we all appreciated that they came out to play for us. It really was fun to run through these little towns!<br><br>
We finished our legs and handed off to Posse Van #2. And went to Kerry's house in Katy for some really great turkey and cheese sandwiches on this fabulous bread crusted with sunflower seeds. So yummy! There was plenty of room for us all to crash on something soft after a shower (for those that chose to - I did!), but unfortunately, I only got about 1 1/2 hours of sleep before it was time to head back towards the race.<br><br>
My 3rd leg started at 3:30am! All the stars we were gawking at earlier in the evening were gone, replaced by soupy fog. I had taken my contacts out because I don't like to use them at night. Should have kept them in. I had to keep wiping my glasses. I ran 5 miles, straight north, in 49:18 without facing a single vehicle coming towards me. I could not believe I broke my 10-minute pace that consistently! But I was really determined to do well on this leg, since there were no hills, AND we had just learned that we were the LAST TEAM!<br><br>
This news really stunned us. We could not believe that after having been in the middle of the pack for so long, that we were now going to be running alone. I did pass one of the solo runners. I felt bad about not stopping to talk with him. He was having to walk because his feet were so blistered. The rest of my van group did stop and see if he needed water or bandaids or anything, and cheered him on as well. That's one of the things I loved about my van group - we supported not only our team, but gave water to others who needed it as well.<br><br>
So, we just kept running through the dark and into the dawn. We enjoyed coming through Cinco Ranch, a master-planned community in far-west Houston, where Luke's Locker had a nice display and photo-op, and even a bowl of fresh fruit, cartons of juice and Starbucks coffee! I was no longer bothered by being the last runner. We were getting used to seeing the exchange tarps being taken down as we handed off to the next runner on our team. Finally we handed off to the next van in the middle of a big park that Jim had run through, and we went back to Kerry's. E.J. had bought some chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and several spoons so that he could share with everyone - I loved it! I had been jonesin' for a milkshake the whole time for some reason, and that ice cream hit the spot, even at 7am!<br><br>
I should have tried to sleep a little, but I just enjoyed visiting with Kerry's wife, Georgia, and relaxing, eating another great turkey and cheese sandwich for lunch. Georgia came with us for support as we headed back out. She would have been along to drive more, but she had broken her arm recently, and was in a cast from above her elbow to her hand. It's gotta be tough to not even be able to bend your elbow! Hopefully she's out of that cast by now.<br><br>
Back out we went to east Houston, but as we drove through downtown, we were starting to worry that we would not be allowed to finish, since we would be coming in so late. I have to confess, our team was willing to stop running and head in just so we would not miss out on getting our medals. But the other team made sure we could keep going, and we did end up talking with the race director who said that since it looked like we would be getting there by 5pm, we were good. The policemen were still at the major intersections, so we made sure to thank them all. AND, we found out that Anna, who handed off to me, had passed another team on her leg!! Woo hoooo, we weren't last anymore!<br><br>
So at about 2:15 or so, I headed out on my 4th leg. It had been raining off and on, but only sprinkling a little on me. The worst was that there was now a hard head wind for at least 4 of my 4.4 miles. It was pretty much straight south, heading from east Houston towards Pasadena, down Broadway and Galveston Rd. All I could do was put my head down and push. The van stopped twice for Kerry to give me a drink. He told me I was doing fine, that I didn't have to push hard, that we had plenty of time. Did I listen to that? Um, not so much. I did walk a little, but only when the wind was really ripping through an underpass that I had to go through, or when there was an incline with the wind that was more of a combo than I could tough out. I just kept telling myself, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" Phillipians 4:13 Saying it out loud, in rhythm with my steps. I could finally see the exchange, but couldn't hold it in my sight, because I still had to keep my head and shoulders bent down into the wind.<br><br>
I don't know if the rest of my team knew it, but after I handed off, I trotted away from the exchange and just burst into tears, which really surprised the heck out of me. But it was truly the most physically difficult thing I had done since childbirth. And that last child only took 10 minutes, whereas I ran for at least 40 minutes into that wind.<br><br>
I finally got my breath back after a couple minutes and had to jump right back in the van because we had to make sure Tracy didn't miss a turn on her leg. She did great, even though she had to do about 500 yards through a grassy field! What the heck!? It's so hard to run through thick grass - no energy return! But, that's the way we had to go, and she did great.<br><br>
Q came next, and he had lots of zig-zags through neighborhoods. We stayed pretty close to him to make sure he made all the turns. The end of his leg was at a middle school. Three or four girls from the school stood at the end of the street to flag down the runners and make sure they turned left towards the school. Then they shadowed Q as another group of 6-8 girls stood on either side of the sidewalk and did a cheer for him as he came in! They were all so adorable! We took several pictures with them after handing off to EJ for the LAST LEG of the relay.<br><br>
Finally the San Jacinto Monument came into view. EJ did great, and came in right about 5pm, and then all of us ran the last little bit toward the Monument as a team, all in a line so the photographer could get a good shot of the whole Posse! We got our medals and took more pictures, and then ate a little pizza. And then it was time to say goodbye and head back towards home. I wish we had had more time to just relax and really take in what we had all done together.<br><br>
Courtney and Kay were friends before the race, and Tracy and Q have been a couple for several years. Tracy and Q had met Berford, our team captain, at a relay in Vermont last year. Other than that, we were mostly strangers who came together to run 203 miles in 33:46:15. My total amounted to 19.4, with the first and last team legs included (1.15 and .38 ).<br><br>
They don't know it yet, but I'm using my team and our collective effort to teach a lesson in Children's Church at my church after Easter. Yeah, it's another chance to show off my big honkin' medal, but I was so truly inspired by everyone. We had to depend on each other, we supported each other, and we believed in each other.<br><br><span>1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (The Message)</span><br><span>You've all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You're after one that's gold eternally.</span><br><br>
I hope to teach the kids that although it's great to get a big honkin' medal, sometimes even when you don't win, but just for finishing, still it is better to go for the prize that will last eternally. And to do that, they will find it easier to make it through the tough times if they have a team of believers to support them through their trials. And they should support others as well.<br><br>
Well, anyway, that's my story. It's long, but you were warned! Thanks again to the TIR organizers, the cops, the crowds, the little towns, everyone who pulled over in their cars to give us room, and most of all, to my team! I will forever be grateful that I was "Runnin' With The Posse"!
 

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I have some friends who ran in this also...they are from Amarillo, which is where I lived the last 24 years of my life (I live in Nebraska now). My friend also said the same--he was so mentally exhausted that he could barely bring himself to discuss the trip. Awesome that you guys had so much fun!<br><br>
What did you place? Or do you know?
 

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Laura,<br>
I'll be interested in reading the rest of your race story. I just typed mine and was getting ready to post pics and lost the whole thing. <img alt="sad2.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/sad2.gif">
 

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neat, ksnrunr posted pictures and you posted text <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"> looking forward to part two!
 

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Hurry up Laura
 

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in a van with eleven total strangers running a relay?? You're a brave soul! But it's a testament to the kind of people runners are... a crazy/adventurous bunch and we all know it and know others know it.... and that is a winning mix no matter where you finish!<br><br>
Someday I want to try a relay like that!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Whew - okay, it's done! Sorry to take so long. I just hardly ever have time to sit and type for more than a few minutes.<br><br>
ksrunr - I hate that you lost your post - I've had that happen! Stinks!<br><br>
Lioness - thank goodness there were only 6 of us to a van. I don't think we would have been as charitable to each other if we had been squeezed in any tighter. As it was, we all had enough room to relax as needed.
 

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Rock The Casbah Laura!!!!!!!!
 

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Laura, congratulations on finishing a tough race, and surpassing your expectations!<br><br>
I think we need a peek at that team photo.
 

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Great report, Laura! It was almost like I was there!! <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif"><br><br>
I'm Kerry in her report.<br><br>
I have to chime in and say how awesome she did. I think her times got faster for every single run. That is not an easy thing to do.<br><br>
I didn't know she broke into tears after the last run, but I did know she was digging down really deep. I think we could all see it The wind was absolutely brutal and she was refusing to give in.<br><br>
Laura, it's very interesting to read about where you were drawing your strength over that last leg. As I was watching you do it I was thinking to myself that not many people I've ever known had a place down that deep they could draw anything that strong from. I was just amazed at how you kicked it's ass and left it all out there. I honestly did think about it quite a bit over the next few days. It was an exhibition of toughness you don't see very often. I was both envious and very impressed!<br><br>
Awesome!
 

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Relay runners are totally nuts. <img alt="wink.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/wink.gif"><br><br>
Congratulations on a job well done, Laura.
 
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