Running out the old and running in the new – New Years Double

Posted on January 13, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

If you read some of my previous posts, you’ll recall that I was so excited to have been accepted to the Half Fanatic Asylum that I signed up for three more races.  The first was Space Coast, and the other two made up the New Years Double.  The Double took place in Allen, Texas – which happened to be the town that we were moving to!  I took it as a sign that I had to register.

I didn’t think much about the race in the months leading up to it.  I did Dumbo (10K and Half) and Space Coast, but majority of time was spent getting my kids (and me) settled in a new town and with a new routine.  The New Year’s Eve race kind of snuck up on me.  I had not done any running since Space Coast and a couple of weeks before the back-to-back races, I was pretty ill.  I had even debated doing the races at all.  I tend to get nervous before every race and will try to talk myself out of it.  However, I felt physically ok and the race was sold out.  I would have felt bad just not going when others that really wanted to weren’t able to get in.  The start line was less than a mile from my house – did I mention that I was destined to do this race?

As I gathered my gear the night before I realized that I could sleep until 7am.  That’s seven o’clock in the a.m.!  Do you realize how rare this is?  Sure isn’t anything like the 2am wake up calls at Disney.  I had originally intended to walk to Celebration Park, but it was pretty chilly outside.  Frost on the ground crunched under my feet as I walked out to the truck.  It was in the low 20’s.  I went back inside and grabbed a jacket.

HF pictureI arrived at the park and the 5K was underway.  I stood around with other runners trying to keep warm.  Guess it doesn’t take that long to get acclimated to Texas weather.  It was -6C and when I was training for Goofy at WDW that was warm to me.  Now here I am in running pants and a jacket, wishing I had put on my ear warmers.  At 8:20, a group of fanatics snapped a couple of pictures and soon it was time to go.

NYEWhile waiting for my corral to be called I cheered on the speedy people that were starting.  It was here that I met Lauren.  I told her I was planning to do a 15:45 ratio and she said she’d give it try.  We waited patiently for them to call our corral.  Standing there, still waiting… The emcee was talking about how “all runners should be running now”.  Ummmm Excuse me?  You never called our corral.  Were we the only two people in corral J?  The emcee told us to get going.  I think they did the first few corrals, and then kind of mushed the last few together.  Along the course we saw many other “J’s”, obviously Lauren and I were the only two that are deaf or can’t listen to and comprehend directions.

woodsThis race was a 6.55-mile loop – two loops for the half, four for the full.  The way they had us run through the park, it was the longest part of the journey.  Sometimes I didn’t think I would ever finish that part.  Once out of the park, the course went through a tunnel (under the road) and then down a nice wide path.  We got to go pass a pond and a chicken farm, over a creek and through the woods (but not to Grandmother’s house), to a very large loop and then back the way we came.  As the miles passed, I warmed up and was cursing myself for wearing pants and a jacket.  This always happens to me.  I’d rather freeze at first than get hot later in the run.

neverending parkWe were over halfway done and Lauren was itching to cut loose and go.  I told her to go ahead and run her race, I’d catch up to her at the finish line.  Things were going well and I was still feeling strong with my ratio.  I had less than a 5K to go when a runner (doing the full) was coming towards me and just crumbled.  It was almost like magic.  One second he’s standing tall and looking strong and the next – “POOF!” – he’s in a ball on the ground.  It was just a muscle cramp, but even a muscle cramp can be debilitating.  After checking on him, I kept going.  I’m about 2.5 miles from the finish and I can start to feel my calf muscles – both of my calf muscles.  I kept pushing and soon realized that if I didn’t do something soon, I was going to be crawling to the finish.  I slowed my run part and my muscles still felt like they were going to seize up.  I cut out running and just walked.  That seemed to help.  Periodically I would try to run when my timer beeped and I got a couple of steps and then had to stop.  It’s a very surreal feeling – having both of my lower legs threatening to just simultaneously stop working.  I come out of the tunnel and all that’s left is the park.  This freaking park that went on forever.

Park againAt mile 13, there was a photographer.  Like all runners, when I see a photographer, I run, smile, and wave.  I ran two steps and sure enough my calves seized up.  Here I was running for the camera, smile on my face, and having fun.  Then the smile turned into a grimace of pain, the waving arms began to flail, and I almost face planted on the concrete.  I’m sure the photographer got some pretty amusing shots.  I managed to keep my feet under me (not sure how) and walked towards the finish.  I rounded the next corner and saw my husband and kiddos there cheering me on.  Quick stop for a hug and the four year old joined me on the course.  Rounding the last turn before the finish, I shooed him off the course (he was NOT happy with me about that) and ended up on the side to keep going for another loop.  I was trying to walk across to the finish line and a runner was coming through (on his way out to do another loop).  I tried to run out of his way and once again felt the muscle failure in my legs.  I managed to not have a collision with the runner AND not to fall – double victory for me!  I crossed the finish line and got my medal.

And I have to do this again tomorrow?  What was I thinking?  Why do I have such a hard time training consistently?

New Year’s Day.  Once again, I’m so grateful for the 7am wake up call.  I had decided that today I was going to go in shorts and without my jacket.  I had looked at the weather and the temperatures were going to be a little higher than the day before.  Just stepping out my front door convinced me otherwise.  Yes the temperature was higher than the day before, but the wind had also increased.  It felt even colder than yesterday.  I had already made up my mind about just walking the course today, so I grabbed my pants and jacket (still forgot my ear warmers) and left.

I met up with Lauren again and she was also planning to walk it out today.  We made sure to pay close attention to the emcee and go when we were supposed to.  There were a lot of people walking today.  I wore my HF shirt today and loved receiving the cheers and high-fives.  Half fanatics are awesome!

Go runnersNYD Day1Ours was a slower pace today.  About halfway I started to feel a pinpoint of pain on the bottom of my foot.  All I could do was keep moving.  And I did.  I found out after I got to the house that it was a blister that formed.  It hurt to touch it to anything for a couple of days (made walking interesting).  But let me get back to my tale.  Let’s talk about wind.  The only good think about wind and a loop course is that at some point, you get a tail wind, right?  I thought so.  It was the only redeeming quality about the cold wind that cut through me.  The wind seemed to be particularly strong (and cold) when it was blowing in my face.  I pushed through it and kept imagining how great it will be to have the wind pushing me along the course rather than backwards.  I reached the portion of the course where this tail wind should kick in.  Wait a second… where’s the wind?  Where’s my glorious tail wind?  It had died.  Okay.  I can deal with that.  I don’t get help from the wind, but at least I won’t have to fight it anymore.  I get down to the turn around loop and head back to Celebration Park.  Oh, come on… Seriously?  The wind is back in full strength – blowing straight into my face.

NYD Day5I did manage to run it in to the finish.  I really appreciate the fact that there is a short “finish chute”.  You turn the last corner and the finish line is right there.  Some races seem to have an extremely long finish chute, or make you run all the way around a track.  I crossed the line and got my second medal and…. A space blanket!  I was so excited about getting the blanket for two reasons:  1).  It was still chilly with the wind blowing 2).  They generally always run out of the space blankets by the time I cross the finish line.

Because I did a double, I got to pick up my challenge plate.  I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I’ve seen medals before that fit together and a lot of the time it doesn’t fit properly or you have to mount them on a plaque.  The plate was fantastic!  There were magnets that held the two medals in place.  The ribbons were disconnected from the medals and attached to the plate.  So it ended up being a HUGE medal with two ribbons.  Love it!

Injured husbandMy four year old ran up to me while I was getting my plate.  I was so happy to see him – I wasn’t expecting my family to show up today.  My little boy gave me a huge hug and asked me if I won.  Of course Mommy won!  Every time I cross a finish line – I win.  My husband slowly made his way over to me.  He wasn’t putting any weight on his left foot.  Turns out they were playing tag while waiting on me to finish.  My husband was “it” and running down some stairs at the playground.  He rolled his ankle and fell.  I got all my gear gathered up and we started out to the parking lot.  Here I am – decked out in running gear with bling around my neck, pretty obvious that I just finished a race – on one side of my husband and my four year old on the other side.  My husband was able to get a sense of how big that park really is.  The cars seemed to be on the horizon that kept receding as we worked our way across the field.  We must have been a funny sight.  The bike medic even stopped and came over to check on us.

Bikini boyPoster ladyI really enjoyed this race (even with the chill in the air) and can’t wait to do it again next year.  It’s a fabulous course for spectators to come and cheer you on, too!  The family can enjoy the park and playground while you run around.  The way the course was laid out, you passed people several times during the race.  It gave me several chances to see people.  There was one lady that cheered everyone on.  She had so many signs with her and every time I passed her she was holding a different one.  She was there both days and I never saw a sign twice.  Many people were in costumes.  Batgirl was there, along with Mary Poppins and one of the penguins.  One guy had a grass skirt and coconut bra, but as the race progressed, he seemed to lose some of his clothes.  I also had a chance to run with the mighty Thor, and yes, he was carrying Mjölnir.

There is one thing that I hope to change before next year – me training consistently. Well, the weather, too.  But no one can control the weather and it could have been so much worse – remember MetroPCS Dallas?  So I’m thankful for what we got.


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