I will add some pictures as soon as Stephanie emails me some (hint-hint, Steph).
Deckmart (Sunmart 50K Saturday and Decker 1/2 marathon Sunday) was a blast. Things started Friday around 230. Stephanie, Meghan and I had a fun ( but long) drive down to Huntsville. We got in right around dinnertime, and met Meredith for our packets that she was nice enough to get for us, saving us what would have been a very hellish drive to Houston first.
Next we were off to a great dinner at The Homestead, and it ran a little long, but we had the best time catching up, and enjoying a really good meal. Another bonus was an overbooked hotel giving us the suite, so we had a huge beautiful (by Huntsville standards at least) toasty warm room. Great for a 30 degree night. We fell asleep pretty quick.
I was excited for Sunmart mainly because Meghan was running every step of the way with me for her first 50K. Meghan is a super strong, fast runner, and I knew she would have no problems at all with the added distance. I never really got too nervous, as I think I was just so excited to have a race after a long void without one. Stephanie was along just for fun, so she could drop us at the start pretty late, and we didn’t wait in the cold too much. We quickly found Kathleen who was also spectating, like Steph, and her friend John saved my butt with an extra pair of gloves. It was so cold at only 31 degrees.
Things got started pretty quick. I won’t go on about the course, as most of you who read this have done Sunmart. We had a great time from the start. It was fun to do the 50K instead of the 50 mile. There was a quick 10K loop and then the 2 12.5 mile loops. The 10K goes so quick we kinda forgot we even had done it. The trail was beautiful as always, the aid stations were awesome. The only negative was very sandy trails due to our dry weather. We went through the race running into old friends and making a lot of new ones. Both of us felt great, but I think Meghan felt a little better than me. I still feel like I have a little post asthma attack from hell struggle, but nothing that prevents me from running…I just notice I huff and puff a little more than I used to on hills.
Meghan and I had so much fun chatting, joking, and getting to know other runners. Our last loop came pretty quick and before we both knew it, we had 5 miles left. I am so happy Meghan was having fun, because now I have a new “victim” to drag along to other races. We both were still feeling well, but my butt, lower back and hips were getting tight from 25+ miles of a sandy trail. Meghan’s toes were her achilles heel, so to speak. While we both had little ailments, there was never any negativity. We did great keeping it together and crossed the finish in 5:21. I was thrilled today to find out we both got 3rd in age group and won bronze horses. But, bummed we didn’t figure it out yesterday and get our awards. I normally don’t care about picking up some little trinket, but a bronze horse is a super cool award.
The ride home was painful fun…I love trips like this that really are not about the running, but about creating memories with friends.
All day Saturday, I hunted for excuses not to run Decker the next day. I really started earlier that week, trying to get Wesley to take my entry, but he declined. I had a sore achilles during Sunmart and declared Decker null and void. Mark gave me some guilt, and later Steve did via email, but I insisted to all the Decker was a wasted entry fee.
Last night, the little guilt trips added up and I decided to run it. I knew if I woke up in the morning to decide I would say no way, so I had to commit the night before. Sure enough, after a pretty restless night, this am the Decker 1/2 marathon sounded horrible.
Steve had guilted me by saying he would pick me up. I warned him I would finish an hour after him, but he insisted. So, bright and early at 615, I started another cold morning. I had left Mark several psycho text messages saying I was now running and “please run slow with me!!”. We got to the Expo center, and I found Mark, who I think was surprised to see me. He agreed to run my wimpy pace. I really didn’t feel too bad. Just a little sore and tired.
We were off after a cold start, but it was warming up quick. Mark and I had a great time chatting, and while we ran much faster than I was planning, I know he slowed his normal pace to wait on me and was patient as I did bathroom stops, water stops, and gel stops. With his encouragement, we finished much faster than planned, and Steve didn’t have an hour + wait for me to finish. I was glad to get home though, and start a day where I plan to very little. I got a display cabinet for my grandmother’s mineral collection and finally set them up. The Christmas decorations will come out later, but first I am taking a little nap.
Thanks to all my friends who helped make my first races in a while so much fun.