They say third times a charm. I set out to race Jailbreak Half Marathon with friends and Fifty States Half Marathon Club members. This race is in Baytown Texas. If you are flying in fly Southwest, Jet Blue or American into Hobby, unless George Bush is cheaper. The expo is nonexistent. You pick up your packet under an EZ tent. You can pick up your packet on race day. There is fruit and snack available pre race and post race. The best is the Chick fil A sandwich after the race. Swag consists of a shirt, the bag is canvas sometimes they run out and you get a plastic sack. This year everyone seemed to get the thin drawstring bag. I live in Houston so I typically drive up race morning.
Although, it was sad to learn the race director died this past year, it was great to know the torch was passed on and the race organizers continue to support a great cause.
This race was chosen because of the elevation on the Fred Hartman Bridge. I enjoy using this race for hill training.
Let me be the first to point out the support this year was lacking.
I was supposed run slow constant intervals and listen to music. I started out running with Jennifer, a Team RWB member I haven’t seen in almost 3 years. She ran intervals and I seemed to be right behind her so I decided to run with her. I was not trying to leave Laura, but evidently we did. We were going a comfortable speed, one I thought I could maintain. I had no difficulties for the first few miles. In previous weeks it had been in the 50s. The weather warmed up for this race. The temperature was 72 with 85% humidity.
Nothing new in Texas, but my body wasn’t having it today. I felt goose bumps on my arms and knew I needed to get cooled off quickly. I ran to the mile four water station only to find Gatorade. There was no water at this station. I continued running, Jennifer offered me her water, but I declined. I refused to take water from the other runners because I feared they may need it later. I told her I would see her at the finish and to enjoy her race. I slowed down first, then ended up slowing down to a walk. I continued on for another mile and a half searching for water. I couldn’t see around the curve to check for a water station. I didn’t think I was going to make it to the next stop. I left the course and went inside the only convenience store on the route.
I accidentally left my wallet in Laura’s car and had no money in my run belt. I walked over to the store’s cashier and asked if I could have some ice. I told him I was racing, had a spinal cord injury, was overheating from the race and needed ice quickly. He looked at me blankly as if he didn’t understand what I was saying. He refused by shaking his head. My heart sank, I felt my body get weak. I didn’t want to fall out in his store. The lady in the restaurant area looked at him and said something I couldn’t quite understand. He then said, ” Go on”, he agreed to allow me to have some ice. That was the part were I should have run to the ice station like it was a mirage, but I didn’t.
I pressed the ice maker button. I placed my cupped hands underneath the opening as ice fell. I was careful not to touch the mouth of the machine. I took the ice and put it into my bra. I put a few pieces in the back of my bra and the remainder into my mouth.
As I stood up my left AirPod, an Apple brand wireless earbud, fell from my ear. Thoughts of me losing my brand new iPod while handcycling at the Cheveron Marathon a few weeks back flooded my mind. Anger fueled me as looked down on the nasty floor. I remembered seeing the AirPod fall from my ear, to the tray underneath the icemaker, to the floor and underneath a rack of chips. I was like the Terminator scanning for his target. I was scanning for movable pieces. I grabbed the potatochip rack which happened to be directly in front of the restaurant area. As I moved the rack towards me, Sour Cream and Onion Lays fell at my feet.
I was so disgusted, but I was determined to get my Airpods. With every move I heard the rustle of potato chip bags. I saw the tip of the pod, but could barely reach it I stretched and stretched until I felt the tip in my pinser grasp. Rustle, rustle, rustle went the chips at my feet. Blood flooded to my head and as I stood I was very dizzy. Rustle, rustle, rustle, my job was almost complete. The cashier had come over to see what I was doing the moment I reached for the ice. I could feel his eyes on me as well as another customer’s. I told him I would come back and pay for he ice. The lady at the restaurant couldn’t exactly see what I was doing, but she was looking too. Prior to moving the rack I yelled out I dropped my earbud and I am reaching to pick it up. Once I had my property I slowly stood up and held it in my finger tips for all to see. The irony here is that now its dirty and I don’t want t back in my ear and it died. I wasn’t sure the right one died because I broke the left one or because the battery died. I replaced the rack and picked up all of the chips and put them on the rack as they were originally. I turned around to see 2 people staring at me and the froze when my eyes met theirs. I fled the store anticipating being arrested or shot in the back at the Jailbreak Half marathon.
As I returned to the race my friends were in no better shape than when I left. The ice melted while I was in the store panicking over my earbud.
One of my Fifty States Club members offered me her water. I refused as I walked and ran trying to get to the next water station. On the third time sd he insisted I take her water. I took her water and poured some on the back of my neck then onto my head. Instantly I felt better. I felt so much better that I took off in a fast trot towards the bridge.
I carry a handheld water bottle that keeps my right hand from contracting and today it was filled with water and Pedialyte. Definitely not something I want to pour onto my body or onto my Sisterlocks.
I continued on to mile 7 before I found a water station with water. As I thanked the volunteers for volunteering, I grabbed chips of water from them and poured them on my head, on the back of my neck and down my back. I kept running as I Tossed the cups in the receptacles.
I continued on my journey thinking about how cold it was going to be tomorrow in Fort Worth Texas as I handcycle Cowtown Marathon. Praying I wouldn’t be to dehydrated I kept going. As I ran towards the top of Fred Hartman I could see my friends in the distance. I was running to catch up to them, but, was having zero luck.
I was definitely going up. I was really tired of going up, but I needed to get this race over with.
Finally Laura comes down the bridge and snaps this picture of us.
I almost there, I can hardly wait.
I round the corner I pass Donna trying to coast down the bridge. Two ladies that had been running behind me passed me going up. As I race down the hill, one looked at me said something to the other one and they put on the afterburners. I wasn’t trying to catch up to them I was just trying to catch up to Laura because I didn’t have a guide for this race and I truly needed one.
As I ran down I leaned over the railing to Laura. She stopped and was talking to a lady. I told her I was on my way stay right there. Would you believe she took off running again? UGH!
I was tired by this point, when I got to the next water station I had 3 miles to go. I told myself, I just need to make it across the railroad track before the train. In 2016, I was caught by the train with my friends. That wasn’t going to happen this year.
I continued on, and out of nowhere an officer on an ATV drove by me on my left. He was so close to me he could have hit me. I jumped and tweaked my back from fear. Before I could yell to the guy with a rucksack in front of me the officer had done the same to him. It was wild to see the the guy with a ruck leave the ground. The guy turn around and looked at me after he cursed. I yelled to him, “He did the same to me”! He slowed down so I could catch him. We chatted long enough to learn we were brothers in arms. We thanked each other for our service and spoke negatively about the officer’s behavior. A few seconds later I spotted a black dog in the middle of the course. The guy got in between me and the dog and we walked together until we were a distance away from the dog. He replaced his earbud and I began running. My running lasted probably 12 steps. I walked the rest of the race. I made it almost to mile 13 and just had to take a picture of the Veterans Memorial.
When I tell you I was exhausted, believe me I truly was ready to give up the ghost. I stopped to tell the officer thank you for his service and I asked him, “Do you think if you tazed me I would get a jump start like a defibrillator?” The officer said, “I don’t know, but you are really close to mile 13 you got this.” I told him I knew I had it, but I was just curious and we both laughed.
I took a picture of mile 13 for my friend Julie.
As I turned the corner to complete the 0.1 people began encouraging me. Random strangers were yelling at me to run it in. I smiled and wanted to say heck no. I saw the finish line. I was fine walking and I actually told one guy, “No thank you, I have a marathon tomorrow.” It was the truth, I wasn’t lying nor was I running across the finish. My 60th half marathon and my 1st time dancing across the finish.
Today I completed my 60th half marathon in Baytown and was happy that I wasn’t arrested. I told my my friends the story and we were all set to stop at the store to drop off the cash, but the driver got caught up in the moment and flew by. Sadly I mailed it, hope he got it.