It’s been a long, LONG weekend in the ‘No … Fresno, that is. Over the weekend our oldest child had graduated from COLLEGE, and two graduation ceremonies later we can say that we did it. Sunday morning found Chris and I exhausted. Not just tired but dog tired EXHAUSTED! In addition to driving to and from Fresno twice, attending two different graduation ceremonies for the same child, then a congratulatory lunch, we spent the rest of the afternoon on Saturday searching for, then purchasing said college graduate a car!!! Yes, we were tired, but probably Chris more than I, however, I whined louder.
So, yes, Sunday morning you would have found two dead tired parents who just happened to sign up to run a half marathon before heading home from our already long weekend. California Classic Weekend – a combination of a Century (100 mile) bike ride on Saturday, a half marathon on Sunday, and a kids run. One could ride the Century ride and turn around on Sunday and run the half marathon. Or one could just do the bike ride, or just do the half marathon. As I had run the half marathon last year, and as we had absolutely NO intention of riding 100 miles, Chris and I opted to only run the half marathon. It had already seemed as if we had been on the ride of our lives with the graduations and rearing of children. The half marathon was all that we could handle.
Packet pickup for this event was held on a Thursday and Friday. What the hell? Really? I can see if you were in Fresno, or if you lived in Fresno that this would work for you, however, we don’t live in the area, and even though we were in town on Friday, the expo began at 3 p.m. and we were long gone by then. Last year we could pick up our bibs at Chuckchansi Stadium on Saturday, this year we were not able to as there was NO packet pick up on Saturday. Really? What an inconvenience! We were assured that we would be able to pick up our packets and shirts prior to the race start in the morning.
Our evening ran late as we took our child car shopping, add on the need for filling out applications for credit, insurance, promissory notes, etc., we were lucky to get in dinner by 9 p.m. Our other younger children were were grouchy and tired by this time, however we made the best of it as we dined at Denny’s! It was an exciting night for our older son who was extremely excited and thankful to have gotten a new car!
Upon arriving back at the hotel, we readied and laid out our gear for the morning’s run. Shorts – check. Shirt – check. Shoes – check. Everything – check, check, check. The only thing we did not have was our bib’s. Sleep came easily for both of us, as we were both FAST asleep by the time our heads hit the pillow!
0515 came early! I was able to get up early, and ready myself without incident while my mother-in-law made coffee. I know! The horror of not having my regular Starbucks tall, triple, non-fat, no whip mocha! What the hell, right? But actually, the hotel provided coffee was fine, and it provided the jump start that I needed. I was fortunate enough to have packed a mojo bar to have as my breakfast. It was a very short walk to the start line, and while walking we met a very nice man who was also running the half, named David. He and Chris struck up a really nice conversation, and he let us know of his goals (to sub 1:30! LOL!) and we talked about how inconvenient it was to have packet pickup on a Thursday and Friday! We got to the packet pickup table and were able to get our goodies without incident, put our bibs on, and head out to use the facilities.
While on my way to the porta-potties, I was fortunate enough to find my new
running friend, Richelle, who was stretching and warming up. I introduced her to my husband, asked him to take a photo of us, and I was off while they chatted and waited for me. Shortly after I was done, it was perfect timing, as there was about 10 minutes until gun time. I worried the entire time before the start about my ankles and feet that were still nagging me, and that were still quite painful.
Miles 1-4 were fair. I ran sub 10min/miles which was okay for me since I was still nursing injuries to both of my feet and ankles. I was reminded of my girlfriend when I saw the Amtrak station at the half mile mark and I wondered how she was doing. It brought a little smile on my face as I noticed that even when she’s not with me, she is.
Mile 5 was just outside of the zoo gates. I was still doing okay, but I could tell it was beginning to get slightly painful.
Mile 6 was in the zoo. It was nice to see the animals – Giraffes are my favorite. I stopped for a minute to stretch out my calves which were starting to tighten up. I was beginning to hurt even more – I know because I was running crooked, putting more pressure onto the side of my left foot. Mile 6.5 I see Chris and call out and wave to him. It was starting to get hot out there but I reminded myself to pour water down my back at every water station.
Mile 7, my left foot was starting to cry, so I stopped and removed the ankle support/brace, and I stretched out my feet once again.
I was doing okay from miles 8-10, but by mile 10.5, my left foot again started to whimper so I stopped and removed the ace wrap that was also supporting my ankle. I left it on the side walk and hoped that some homeless person would be able to use it as it was fairly new.
I ran from mile 10.5 to the finish without much incident. I decided to just suck it up. I told myself that I was okay, that my foot was okay, and that I would be okay, but I was done and we needed to finish what we set out to do. So I pushed it, slightly limping, but not. Just kind of running a little bit crooked as I had been over the last few races since the Napa Valley Silverado Half Marathon. I told myself to dig deep. I reminded myself that there were worse ailments out there and that I was very fortunate to be able to run, albeit a little slower than I normally run. And I just finished as strong as I could.
I was happy to have finished strong and to have finished upright. I waited for Chris and as I was doing so, my lovely family arrived … and I jokingly berated them for being late and not seeing my stellar finish! Chris arrived shortly afterwards and my son was able to take a few picture of him, and my mother in law and family were able to cheer him in. I was happy that they were able to see him finish.
I love this little half … about 3500 people. We all got Cold Stone ice cream at the end, as well as a fairly stocked breakfast plate.
Overall, the course was slightly different than from what I remembered from last year. It was still a nice run, but it was HOT. The sun was scorching hot at the end and I was thankful to have been done and out before too long. Aside from the packet pickup fiasco, it was okay because even that worked itself out. Last year I remember that there were no porta potties on the course. This year I saw several.
I’m not sure if I would run this race again. It was a nice run, and right now I’m a legacy runner, however … it would be bittersweet as I only ran the race because my son, Sam, was in Fresno and I could visit with him. This year he graduated from college and starts a new chapter of his life. Only time will tell if I run this race again. Who knows … I may.
Here’s what I do know though … I’ve been nursing the injuries to my feet and ankles since the end of April. Although I have been nursing them, babying them, taking them to accupuncture, soaking them in warm foot soaks, and keeping them compressed … I’m still injured. I still hurt, but I continue to push it because that’s how I am. I’d say on a pain scale of 0-10, I’d rate it a 5, and would go up to a 6.5 to 7 at worst. It’s not that bad, but yet, my injuries prevail because I am stubborn! I’m so hardheaded and I beat my body up pretty good! I just know that there could be worse things though. I just know that my injures are minute when looking at the big picture. I know that my injures ARE healable. I know that I WILL heal. I am sure of that. So while my injuries are slightly aggravated after each run, I know that it’s my own fault that they prevail. I run when I should rest my feet, but I know that I will be okay. This will not get the best of me … I am bigger than my issue, and I know people! =)
Until next time … Train HARD. Train SMART. Eat WELL. And run HAPPY!