As I mentioned about a million times before, we ran the Shiner Beer Run last Saturday. I had planned on this race being my comeback race after a disappointing finish back at the GTIS Half Marathon back in August. I got in all of my long runs, and did substantially better following my training plan this time (probably 60% if we're being honest... not great, but not terrible). I felt 100% prepared to run 13.1 miles this time.
That isn't exactly what happened.
We woke up to temps in the low 40's, but with wind chill and humidity, the air temp felt like it was around 28-31. Bad news bears, as I had planned for temps not being below 40. However, the whole fam-dangily was doing the race, and so were Meghan and Caitlin, so there was no backing out. I reluctantly put on my compression capris, long sleeved mid-weight top, and then bundled as much as I could over the top of it all for the trip to the brewery, where the race started and finished. Looking around, I saw a lot of cold, quiet people. There was not the same level of excitement that I expect at these kinds of events... people looked like their entire goal was just not to freeze dangly-bits off. Right before we took off, Ammon and I snapped a quick pre-race photo:
At this point, I was cold, but ready to go. For the most part, my legs felt great. So when the gun went off and we started inching toward the starting line, I was confident that the 2:40 I was shooting for was already in the bag. I took off running and didn't look back as I left my family in the dust.
Just before the mile 1 marker, I felt someone tap on my arm, and it was Nerky! I couldn't believe that not only was I running with one of those friends I'd made it blogging, but she's noticed me from behind, and recognized me. I guess the back of my head is incredibly distinctive ;-). We started running together, and we FLEW through our first 4 miles. It was cold and wet, but we both felt pretty dang good, and we were averaging 11:04 - 11:25 miles. I had initially projected my race pace at 12:02, so this was amazing to me!
However, all good things must come to an end. During mile 4, we were running up a gradual incline with a strong headwind, and rain beating down on us. It was all of the most awful nightmares you have about running a half marathon. I mean, I had anticipated a 70 degree race day while I was training, and suddenly I was in conditions with freezing rain and wind. Blech. I wish I could say that we kept a positive attitude, but no. We were not happy ladies, and we spent a good part of the race complining about how cold we were, and how much the race sucked. Luckily, we both have the vocabularies of seasoned sailors, and so we could just let our inner monologues fly with no fear of retribution.
Around mile 6 was this section that had been dubbed "loose gravel". Um, no, it was a dirt road with huge rocks all over it. There was no way that Nerky, 12 weeks post-knee surgery was running the section, and my knee was hurting as well, so we decided to walk the entire mile long segment. By that time, our pace had slowed WAAAAAAAAY down anyways, and we were just content to hang together through the half and finish. And really, we only wanted to finish, because there was beer and barbecue at the end. I will do a great many things for beer and barbecue. It was about this point that we started talking about Ryan Gosling memes that we wished were littering the race course, and cursing everyone who had done the 5k and was now partaking in beer and barbecue. We also pointed out that during a beer run, there really should be beer available at select aid stations on the course.
Just after the dirt road section, we decided to run a little bit more, just over a half mile or so before we both started hurting pretty badly. We decided to walk some more, and hope that we could maybe run the last mile or so. Like I said, by that point, we just wanted to finish, our time simply did not matter any longer.
The most demoralizing part of the entire run was running by our campsite and the car. I turned to Nerky and mentioned, "there are chocolate covered pretzels in that car right now". We were thisclose to giving up by that point, it wasn't even funny. About 5 minutes later, we noticed someone go jogging past us, and I was 80% sure it was Caitlin! We tried calling out to her, but she was in the zone, and there was no way we were going to catch up to her, so we let it go. As we found out later, it was her!
There were a couple of high points in the run, it wasn't all bad. By far, our favorite sign of the entire half marathon was just before mile 12.
I didn't know the first thing about Shiner Cheer until Saturday. It has changed my world entirely.
We did eventually finish, and we even ran the final 0.1 miles to the finish line. Our finishing time ended up being 3:05, the same exact time that I had at the GTIS half. Womp, womp.
Far and away, the best part of the whole thing was hanging out after the run with Nerky and Caitlin and Nerky's friend Lindsay. We drank Cheer, we ate, and we almost got thrown out of the brewery tour for having too much fun.
These girls are seriously the best, and I wish I lived closer to them! Also, notice that travel cup? It's a combination hot/cold travel mug that they gave us for our beer. It holds a 16 ounce pour!!!
I'm not entirely sure if we'll do this race again or not. It would be more enjoyable in better weather, but the course was a little meh. Even in good weather, it would get kind of boring. However, I would run with these girls again in a heartbeat, please go visit them and say hello!