Saturday, February 11, 2012

Galveston Mardi Gras Half Marathon

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Mardi Gras Facebook page had posted that it was forecasted to rain.  Comments were such as "Bring it on!" and "Running in the rain makes you hard core."  My friend Dianne says that if you are running 13 miles you are already hard core, and I tend to agree.  I dont think I need rain to increase my hard coreness.  But what is a Warrior Princess to do?  One must prevail. 

Cut to 3 in the morning when I checked the radar.  It showed this huge green area with yellow cells headed straight toward the island.  There was no way it was not going to rain.  And it was 50 degrees outside.  Awesome!

Sure enough, Kelly and I left my house at 5:30.  As we got closer to Galveston, the rain started.  We stopped at a gas station about two miles away from the race start line because even gas station bathrooms are better than port-a-potties.  As I got out of the car into the cold, I thought "This sucks!" and I hated the fact that we were going to have to run 13 miles in it.  It was so cold, and the wind was blowing so hard the rain was coming down sideways.  Once we got to the parking garage, we parked and sat in the car for about 30 minutes until we couldn't really wait any longer.  I got a text from my friend Tiffany wishing us luck and telling us she wished she could be there with us.  I texted her back that I wished I was with her (in a warm house) as I was feeling definitely not hard core and thinking I should renounce my Warrior Princess title. I kept checking the radar, and I told Kelly I may as well stop because it was not going to give me any good news.  This was our fate.  And I was not particularly thrilled, but I just kept saying, "This is awesome!"  hoping eventually I would believe it.

Fake it til you make it, right?

We left the parking garage and the winds were so strong!  It almost blew my visor away.  Amazingly, it stopped raining as we made our way toward the start line for which I was incredibly grateful.  It took no time at all for the gun to go off, and it was time.  I turned on the Garmin, but I put it in my fuel belt in a plastic bag because I didn't want to take any chances. 

We ran the first mile before starting our intrevals.  It was a great mile, right at a 14 minute pace.  Soon enough, we came to the sea wall, and it was awesome!  The beaches were as clean as they can be in Galveston, and the water was very pretty.   Before we hit mile two, we saw fellow Road Runner, Andrea.  She was standing on the corner and cheering us on!  That was great!!  We had to make a loop in this neighborhood before heading back to the sea wall to backtrack and go further down the island.  I was feeling okay, although I was feeling my calves quite a bit.  I think this was because we did not really stretch.  By mile 3.5, we were back on the seawall.  It was raining lightly which wasn't bad, but the wind was terrible.  I found out later that they were blowing at 20 mph, and it was all against us as it would be for the next five miles.  It was brutal and constant.  Kelly almost lost her cap!  We pushed on, and I started to struggle a little bit around mile 6.  The mean girls in my head were telling me I couldn't keep it up. The wind was beating us up, and I was tired.  I needed to rest. 

However, that did not stop me from getting ready for my picture to be taken.

We continue on, and we got a slight repreive from the wind.  Just a little, but not much.  I was trying to shut out the negative thoughts in my head, and then I heard it.  A voice telling me, "Shut up!"  Very loud, just like that.  "Shut up!  Why are you saying you can't do this!  You're doing it!  Stop saying that you can't!"

And that's all it took.  I found my groove.  And then it started to pour.  Not heavy, heavy rain, but heavy enough to where there was a steady stream of rain falling off my visor.  By mile 8, our feet were soaked.  We started talking a little bit more.  It was a strange part of the route for me because I had no idea where we were, and every time I thought we should be turning left to go back toward the main road, we were turning right.  I was all "What the hell!"  We came up to a portable potty, and it was positioned right before a photographer around mile 10.  Kelly had to stop at this one, and she was pretty irritated that they had positioned this potty where a photographer would be.  They took another picture of us at this point where Kelly is scowling at the camera and there I am behind her with another smile. 

We continued on.  Kelly told me I was doing great, and I told her she was too.  But she wasn't.  I couldn't tell to look at her, but she was struggling.  I encouraged her, because she did look great!  But at this point, we got lapped by a full marathon pacer.  That didn't help the attitude.  I told her to imagine the little pacer balloon was a margarita and we were chasing it.  Then I just kept trying to talk.  I brought up sit-coms and movie quotes.  I talked about the hamburger we would have when we were done.  We kept going.  We got to mile 11, and then it was just a 5K to get to the finish line. 

I just kept babbling on.  I'm surprised she didn't trip me or something.  We got to mile 12, and then we were turning to head back to The Strand, and we would be done!  Once we got back in that area, we came to the trolley tracks, so I started sining The Trolley Song.  I was just feeling so good, and having the best time, cold rain and all.  Soon enough, I looked up and I could see the finish line.  "Kelly, we're almost there!" I called out.  I don't know if she could see it or not, but I could.  We took a quick breather, and then we ran it in.  We got to the 13 mile marker, and I could see the clock.  It was at 3:28:58, and I got so excited!

"Kelly!  We can make it under 3:30!  Let's go!" 

"Oh, Candi. I don't think I can!" she cried.

"Come on, Kelly!" I shouted, "Let's do this!"

And we did.  We picked up the pace!  We were running and I started laughing, and then we crossed it!  We crossed the finish line at 3:29:32, and I saw Kelly throw her arm up into the air in triumph as I raised my arms in victory!  And then a volunteer placed the medal around my neck, and then another gave me a bottle of water, and I gave her a hug.  Then I hugged Kelly, and and I cried tears of happiness!  It was the best feeling!  Really, just amazing!  Immediately, they were taking our pictures in front of the Finisher banners!  Awesome!  Just awesome!

We went to the finisher area and got a breakfast taco, and I think it was the best breakfast taco ever!  Kelly's husband bought us lattes and we found a place to hang out while the music was playing.  I was dancing and eating my taco, and I was just on cloud 9; except where were my peeps?  My husband was not there, and neither was my friend Dianne who was coming to see me cross the finish line.  I called.  No answer.  No problem.  I dance around a little more.  I call again.  Nothing.  Then I called Dianne.  They got lost, but they were close and would be there any minute, but Jim was not answering their texts either.  Now I'm freaking out because the weather is awful and I'm thinking that he got into an accident while trying to hurry up and get there.  Finally I went back toward the finish line and there him and the little one were.  I know he was dissappointed, but I was just relieved they were there since I was approaching full panic mode. 

Soon enough, Dianne and Scott were all there, and we were all together.  It wasn't until then that the cold started settling in.  While running, we hadn't realized just how cold it was, but now we were wet and definitely feeling the chill.  We took off for a celebratory lunch at The Spot, a great hamburger place on the sea wall. 

While we were there, several people approached us and asked us about the marathon.  We got congratulatinos and also a couple of runners that were talking about how horrible the run was.  Kelly was agreeing.  The lady said that she runs marathons, halves and fulls, all the time, and she almost quit this one because the conditions were so awful!  Wow!  I didn't think it was that bad.  Then I checked my facebook, and others were saying the same thing.  I guess I was still on a high, and I was grateful that I didn't struggle as much as I could have if I had let those mean girls get to me.   And maybe it was my job that day to be with Kelly to tell her that she could finish this.  I know I've had my days where she pulled me through.

Stuggles or not, we did great.  We were hoping to finish around 3 1/2 hours, but I was thinking it would be more like 3:35 or 3:40.  Our final official chip time was 3:28:07!  A whole minute and 53 seconds faster than I had hoped for!  And I learned my lesson to take a dry pair of socks to change into after running in cold rain.  You really can't warm up when your feet are cold and wet.

I can't help but wonder what our finish time would have been like had we not been beat up by the wind all that time.  As much as I had to talk myself into thinking it was going to be an awesome day, it just was! 

Rain, cold air, strong winds, and 13 miles.  I guess it's just part of being Warrior Princesses. 

And we are hard core.  


  1. Awesome race report! I just love those finish line smiles on the both of you. So proud of you -- you Hard Core Warrior Princess you!