Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Coldest Half-Marathon Ever

Texas Half Marathon, (somewhere in Dallas), January 30, 2010, age 52
2:36:34, 11:57 min./mile (7/15)

It started innocently enough.

"We should go somewhere warm in January, " I said to Number One Daughter back in November '09.

"Yay!," she retorted. "I know, let's run a half-marathon with Runner Susan! Down South! In Texas! Where it's warm!"


So, off we went to meet the inimitable Runner Susan, whom I have known virtually, for, well, I don't know how long I've known her. (I just searched my gmail, and the earliest e-mail from her is April 2006. I think we first started getting to know each other when she wrote for CompleteRunning (a site I used to edit, which is sadly, now dormant).)

Susan is a highly talented writer and Web designer, and just the funniest and funnest friend I had never met.

Anywho, so NOD and I booked a trip and down to Dallas we went, expecting, well, WARM.

As in HEAT.

Cuz last time I looked, TEXAS was a bit further SOUTH than say, Boston. Or Maine. Or even D.C.

We got to Dallas airport at 11 p.m.-ish, and darling Susan was there to pick us up. Right before we got to her car, I whispered to Deirdre, "Oh what if this is awkward??"

Cuz you know...we had NEVER met. It could be the worst, longest, and most expensive blind date in my checkered dating history.

Two seconds after climbing into the Soozemobile, though, it was just like coming home.

Like we'd known each other for ages. Like we were reuniting after not seeing each other since high school (where I would have been her teacher, since she's a few years cough younger than I am).

But anyway, the point is: It was easy.

Susan is delightful. Her family is delightful. Specifically, her CHEF is delightful.

NOD, Chef. They are tight.

We stayed with Susan Friday through Sunday, and somewhere in the middle there, Susan and I ran the Coldest Half-Marathon ever (AKA the Texas Freaking Half-Marathon).

I have seriously never been so cold in my life. And I'm from New England. I've lived in Boston. I know from cold.

The course wound around what I'm sure is a lovely scenic lake at some time of the year.

A lake.

With water in it.

That somehow generated wind.

That blew in my face.


As I ran in a circle.

Which meant?

The wind was changing direction just to mess with me.

Number One Daughter ran into some trouble with her training (as in: forgot to do it), so ran the 5k instead. She brought this guy with her.

And here's how she did:
13/25 in females 20-25, 21:15.

(Well, so say the results anyway, and we know they never lie.)

And then there was moi.

Did I mention I was cold??

The race announcer said afterwards that with the windchill the temperature was -2° Fahrenheit (-18.88° Celsius).

By mile 2 I was in serious face pain, which was good because it took my mind off the cramp in my right calf. I was (as always!) contemplating a DNF.

Susan and I started together but she took off after, oh, 2 minutes, and I didn't see her again until mile 11 when she passed me heading toward the finish, while I headed on a dogleg away from it, yelling, "You're almost there," the universal lie reviled by all racers. Susan, seriously??

Somehow, don't ask me how, I managed to will myself around that freaking lake. I had my iPod and listened to two episodes of This American Life.

The crowd was small and I was quickly at the back, but surprisingly, I was not alone. And I wasn't last!!

I lurched from mile to mile, just willing myself through.

At mile 7, the cramp in my calf started screaming. I stopped and stretched. And then carried on.

Cuz that's how we roll.

We had many other adventures, involving taking 100,000 photos, clothes, shopping, wine, a total makeover, eating, and clothes, but that will have to wait for another day.

Old friends, bookends.

Final time:

7. Texas Half Marathon, January 30, 2010, age 52
2:36:34, 11:57 min./mile (7/15)

6. Fredericksburg Blug Gray Half, Dec. 13, 2009, age 52
02:42:10 12:22 min./mile (19/19)

5. Fredericksburg Blue Gray Half, Dec. 15, 2008, age 51
2:28:43 11:21 min./mile (10/10)

4. National Half, March 29, 2008 age 51
2:31:57 11:36 min./mile (48/53)

3. Fredericksburg Blue Gray Half, Dec. 9, 2007 age 50
2:34:26 11:47/min (8/9)

2. Philadelphia Distance Run, September 16, 2007 age 50
2:38:06 12:04 min./mile (221/303)

1. Parks Half Marathon, September 24, 2006 age 49
2:38:15 12:05 min./mile (55/64)