Most of you know my end result at Bandera this year, so let's dive into all the other memorable parts of the weekend.
I decided to fly out on Thursday night instead of Friday. I wanted a little extra time to hang out and see San Antonio. Thus I flew into Austin and drove to Bandera that night.
The next morning I took an easy jog along the river across from my motel/cabin. The park had a dirt path that followed the Medina River for about a mile. Perfect.
|No doubt about where I was.|
|The morning was pristine and the river was glass.|
|Click on the pic to see the crazy ladder up the tree and the rope swings. Fun times in the summer for sure!|
|The deer population in Bandera is doing just fine.|
|Trying to scout out a lunch spot.|
I finally wished my water taxi driver friend a farewell and quickly decided on the Rio Rio Cantina for a riverside lunch. With a big burrito ingested, I soaked in the sun at my table and almost fell asleep before I was snapped out of my stupor by some loud music. I was only four tables down from a mariachi band serenading a couple. Seems they don't play the typical mariachi music in San Antonio. See below...
|I couldn't visit SA without the requisite shot of the Alamo.|
|If anyone needs a mechanic that's honest and will tell you like it is, this is the place to go.|
Saturday morning was cool, but perfectly comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt.. All the pre-race prep went off without a hitch. While standing at the start line I met Darcy Africa. Cool lady and fun to chat it up with another Coloradoan.
|About 10 minutes until "go" time.|
|Greeting the rising sun from atop Sky Island.|
|Heading over to Ice Cream Hill. Certainly not a sweet treat.|
|A typical Bandera trail.|
|The typical Bandera trail with the infamous leg shredding Sotul.|
|Ice Cream Hill|
|The Field. It's flat, long and a bit mind-numbing.|
|Catching a few back of the pack 25k folks heading up Lucky Peak.|
|I don't remember where they took this pic, but why not stick it here.|
|The trail you're "lucky" to encounter at the top.|
|The descent of either Cairns Climb or Boyles Bump. Can't remember which, but they're both the same.|
After a few minutes to load up, I was heading back out for round two. I remember dreading this moment last year as my blisters had already formed. This year was much different. I wasn't running as fast, but overall felt just fine. Within a half mile, I heard footsteps behind me and who should appear? Pam Smith. The new Pam Smith I should say. She was chipper and running strong. We chatted for a bit about her rough patch and then off she went. By mile 35 she was gone and I was starting to get concerned as my knee began to ache.
The story starts to wind down here. I ran slower and slower as the ache increased. The rocks were doing what they do best. Even though I felt 100% going into the race, clearly that wasn't the case. Miles 37-45 were spent debating between what I could do to make it better or whether I should even keep going. Meanwhile the breeze had disappeared and the temps had climbed significantly. I had stopped eating and felt the hole I was in was just too great to overcome this day. The decision was made to drop. The last three miles to the aid station (mile 48) were spent getting down on myself because my aunt, uncle, and cousin would be waiting there to see me for the first time all day. All they would get to see is me walking in with the news it was over.
In my few years of running, this was my first DNF. It felt a bit weird to take off my chip, grab my drop bag and drive away. There was no finish line, no "I did it" moment, no closure. I was left with a pit in my stomach and the dread of having to explain to everyone who knew I was running Bandera why I couldn't finish. Yes, it was the right decision, but it was a sucky one.
Well, it quickly gets much better now. My Aunt Hildy, Uncle David, and cousin Rachel were so awesome! They drove me back to Austin while we listened to the Texans beat up on the Bengals. They fed me some scrumptious food and we talked for hours. Rachel & I got to talk running as she's a month away from her first half marathon in February. I got to witness her going out and rocking her longest training run ever on Sunday! All in all, I thoroughly enjoy their company and can't thank them enough for giving up their weekend and taking such good care of me.
|Here it is Jaime! Check out these babies! I ate four of them.|
Well, I returned home late Sunday night to find this note on my pillow. My youngest, Zoe, had worked all weekend on this story. Just for me. It's a little silly in parts and her spelling is coming along, but you'll quickly see why there is no way my life will get hung up by DNFing at a race. I have so much to be thankful for and my family will always be the biggest blessing in my life.
|Click to read.|