Tuesday, April 23, 2013

If it were easy, it would be your mother.

Dear Diary,

That was on the best-selling shirt at the expo. They sold out. This was the marathon I did Sunday in Texas.

You know, I just love Texas.

I don't want to live there, because spring is about three weeks long in between windy, dry, horrid winter and hot, humid, horrid summer, but for visiting, it's just fine.

I was born in Dallas at Baylor Medical Center. I moved around some with my parents for a few years, but when I started high school, we stayed put. My first two children were born in Dallas. My first husband is buried there. The second one still lives there, just like the old George Straight song. I left Texas in 1991, heartbroken, but returned nine years later with Sweet Baboo when he was doing his psychology internship at the Dallas VA. Sweet Baboo and I were married in a little church near his mother's house just outside of San Antonio. Sweet Baboo is also generally from Texas and played Texas high school football in Wichita Falls.

When I am in Texas, a twang starts to creep back into my speech and I find myself eyeballing whattachicken sandwiches.

Other reasons why ah luuuv Texas:

First off, everyone is so friendly. They just are. As long as you don't say something bad about George Bush or Jesus the entire state is your new best friend. The passive-aggressiveness is even friendly. Why, she's just as lost as a goose, bless her heart.

Second, in April, there are bluebonnets.

Third, everyone there is crazy about soldiers and gives military members steep discounts. The state is just full of Fort this and Fort that. They're all over. I'm married to one so I get all the benefits of being in the military with none of the aggravation.

Fourth, every athletic event that I've been in, from Lubbock to Houston, from ultra-runs to triathlons, starts with a prayer and ends with a beer. You get brisket or chili at the end and usually some ice cold beer. I don't personally drink the stuff but it just seems like a very nice way to end a day of endurance, dontcha think?

Sweet Baboo and I ran the inaugural Army marathon there last weekend.

We flew into Dallas Love Field the day before, rented a car, drove down to Killeen--which is south of Waco and near Fort Hood. At the expo, Sweet Baboo bought me some new compression leg sleeves and some Newtons, which I got with my/our nice, "I married GI Joe" discount.

I was hoping for a really nice experience after getting caught in wind storms at the El Paso marathon in February and the Corpus Christi Navy marathon in March.

And, holy crap, I got it.

It's a point-to-point, 26.2 miles of gentle rollers, all on blacktop, on a protected course, with a net downhill from Killeen to Temple, Texas. It was beautiful, mostly overcast. The sun out a bit during the last hour or so, and there was some wind in the last ten miles, but nothing to get in a twist about. I finished just under 5:30. I really pushed myself. I was motivated by the promise of a shower before our three hour drive back to Dallas.

During the race there was a woman ahead if me I was determined to finish, my very own White Whale. She was relentless. She never stopped running her slow, steady pace. I gave up trying to lass her until the end, when I passed her at mike 25 ish.

I got a nudge to my self esteem by all the young bucks that took off like rockets at the beginning but that I passed near the end.

There were lots of soldiers. The women I recognized from their tight, neat hair buns and the men from their high and tight haircuts. But like many youngsters, they didn't pace themselves well. At one point the couple I was running near came upon a fellow soldier standing near the side of the road, rubbing his calf. They asked him why he'd stopped running and teased him. He looked at them woefully. "This is some bullshit, right here."

When I finished I crossed the finish line and flooped down into the shade. About 20 minutes later another young soldier stumbled over and flooped down nearby, and started complaining on the phone to somebody. First he complained about the hills.

"I should have trained for the hills," he said.

Elevation Profile -->

Then he complained about "all these old ladies out there, and they were kicking my ass!"

I am pretty happy with my pace. It wasn't blazing, but it was steady. Once I get on too of that whole, "speed" thing, I might be a fair marathoner. If you use the Galloway method I will tell you that i used 4:1 run:walk in the first half, the 3:2 for a while, and then the last five miles, 1:1.

Here's my splits:

What I didn't like, and this is my only complaint: Baboo said that the first shuttle started nearly an hour after he finished, to take him back to the start. He quickly showered and then headed back, which is when he found out that he could park no closer than three miles away from the finish.

As a result, he didn't get to see me finish, and I sat around for an hour, wondering what the hell was going on, and then after beating myself up to my blazing sub six-hour finish, I got a three mile hike to the car.

This is some bullshit, right here.

Boo.

Otherwise, well done. I'd recommend this marathon. Aid stations were well stocked, friendly volunteers, plenty of portajohns, and I believe the cut off was seven hours, possibly longer.

Next up: the Lincoln Marathon in Lincoln, Nebraska.

 

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