Okay, I’m going to back up a little from where I left off last…
I met my fellow Team In Training people in the hotel lobby around 5:45 AM. We boarded a bus that shuttled us to a point about a quarter mile away from the start line. After huddling together, waiting for others in our circle of running friends to show up and getting in some last minute pit stops, we made our way to the corral.
The Rock ‘n’ Roll series checks to make sure runners are in the right corrals. After we showed our numbers to the gatekeeper (the guy standing next to the roped entrance into our corral) we joined the herd and stood around while waiting for the race to start. This year’s race sold out – 35,000 runners!
Once we were finally able to start running the course, the excitement really settled in! The first mile felt like a big shuffle, there were so many people all bunched together and some of the roads were kind of narrow. The full and half marathon courses were together on the course for about the first 10 miles, thus there were a lot of people in a small space.
At mile 2 we passed The Alamo. It really is smaller than you realize from seeing it in movies. Plus, if I hadn’t been aware that it was at that point on the course, I might have missed seeing it!
I was surprised at the roads in San Antonio, there were a lot of little obstacles to contend with. Raised reflector bumps everywhere, potholes, large cracks… lots of potential for twisted ankles. Plus people were shedding their coats, pants and gloves at a very fast rate early in the race. PLEASE… if you ever run a race and plan on throwing clothing away, move over to the side and toss it out of the way. I couldn’t believe how many people just dropped things right where they were, requiring everyone to jump over and around it at the last second.
I shed my gloves at about mile 4 and my sleeves at mile 7 or so. The sleeves were tucked into my waistband, they’re going to come in handy at future races. In fact, I think they provided more warmth than the throwaway sweatshirt I was wearing around in the start line village. The gloves were a big pair of knit ones that were in everybody’s goodie bag, provided by Verizon. Brilliant marketing, all of the runners were wearing them and then if they get collected, cleaned and donated to charities there will be armies of homeless people wearing Verizon-branded gloves. They were huge, so they kind of looked like Mickey Mouse gloves on my hands. But I was grateful for them!
Most of the bands on the course were playing pretty upbeat, fun music when we went by. Well, one group was playing a song about “long way to go” or something on those lines. I don’t remember exactly, but I do remember the lyrics seemed a little discouraging. Maybe they should have reconsidered that song choice.
My husband met us at the half marathon point. He needed to give Melinda some more Gatorade (she couldn’t stomach the Cytomax being served on the course), he took our sleeves, Jim’s jacket and gave me a kiss. (I got a better exchange at that point than my friends did!) He also snapped a couple photos.
When I painted my TNT shirt I was a little disappointed in how short my name is and it seemed like I didn’t have much to put on the shirt. During the race, my short simple name really worked in my favor as everybody was screaming out “Go Jill!” and “You can do it Jill!” and “Looking Good Jill!”. Believe me, having that kind of encouragement for 26.2 miles is very welcome, even if after a while I couldn’t muster the energy to wave around like a mad woman and scream “Thank you!” back at them anymore.
My stomach felt a little off the whole race, but by mile 20 I was in serious pain. My stomach was churning and at mile 24 I actually had to call out to Melinda and tell her I had to stop moving for a second because I almost puked on the course. It was brutal for me to take in any gels or Cyto during the race because most of the time the mere idea of those made my tummy quiver. I knew I had to consume something, but I’m not entirely sure if it was 100% beneficial.
The last couple miles were brutal, my pace suffered a lot at that point. According to my pace tattoo, I was only 4-5 minutes behind a 4:30 finish for a lot of the race. But once the stomach pains really hit, I was doomed in that area. I kept telling Melinda to go on without me, but she kept me going to the end.
Around mile 25 we ran into Cynthia, she ran the half marathon and is a coach for our chapter’s PF Chang’s team. She walked with me a little and said, “How are you feeling?” I said, “Queasy… and dizzy.” Her response was, “Lick your hand.” It took her about 3 or 4 times telling me to do so before I was able to comprehend (yep, I was pretty shot…). I licked my hand and she dumped a salt packet on there and told me to lick it while she grabbed a cup of water for me. So I licked the salt and gulped the water. It was nasty, but I think it helped get me to the end.
We ran along a road that went under a bridge at the mile 26 sign point. There were so many people there, many of them screaming my name. That’s when tears started to spring to my eyes a little. And then we had the hill…
It wasn’t a huge hill, but it was still kind of disheartening to see the big 26 and then look up to see a hill. At least we knew it couldn’t go on for too far, the race only had another .2 before it was finished!
I crossed the finish line… 4:51:22. I had an amazing time and I can’t wait to do it again!