As you can deduce in my blog about the Houston Marathon, I am not racing 26.2 miles ever again. I am, however, all for 13.1, especially when at the end I’m promised ice cream, and not just ANY ice cream, Blue Bell. For you non-Texans, or those who aren’t lucky enough to be in one of the distribution areas, you DON’T EVEN KNOW what you’re missing. You may laugh. Others have scoffed, “You can’t even tell the difference.” But we can. And we do.
So a few months ago I learned that there was a Blue Bell Fun Run in Brenham, the heart of God’s Country. Normally it’s just a 5k and a 10k. This year they were adding a half marathon. Heck yes! Sign me up! And so I did. I didn’t train as well as I should have, but I trained just enough to get by.
The race would be on Saturday. Side note: I can totally get behind more races being on Saturday. I get an actual weekend afterward, rather than going to bed early Saturday and losing half of Sunday. I can still party on Saturday night, and go to church on Sunday morning. It’s perfect.
Thursday night before the race I go down to Austin to stay with a friend. The next morning I work out with November Project Austin. I hadn’t visited them since they were pledging in 2015? 2016? I don’t remember, but it had been a while. They had definitely grown. That was neat. Then later that evening I make the trek to Brenham and spend the night there for the race. A thunderstorm rolled through the night and I slept terribly. I was worried it would affect my time. But I managed to take a small nap before my alarm went off the next day.
I decided to be basic and post a “flat runner” photo. And I only thought it was necessary to race with a Texas flag singlet. Thanks, Run On! I was feeling confident with my Boston’s, so I decided to run in those. I had shorts to match. Sorry to my Nike friends and other brand loyalists!
The next morning, I jumped out of bed and quickly got dressed. I drove down to Brenham High School, where the race would take place. I pick up my bib and walk around, do my pre-race routine, and then start heading up the hill to the start line. Soon enough, 7:30 a.m. rolls around and the race begins. It’s cold, but not terribly cold. There’s an overcast. Not bad running weather. I thought I had read online that there would be water at every odd-numbered mile. I was wrong. There were I think a total of three hydration stations. One shouldn’t count though, because by the time I got there they had ran out of water! I’m not even a slow runner; I’m middle of the pack. I was parched and annoyed. It began to drizzle a little and I stuck my tongue out to get some water. And that was after the first water station, where several of us were queued up waiting for them to pour the water into cups. At the third station, they had some bananas, Gatorade chews as well as some Gatorade to drink. I didn’t want to wait too long for water again so I grabbed the next Gatorade, several chews, and half a banana. I swallowed the banana and chugged the Gatorade as I power walked uphill. Then I begin running again.
A bit later I decided that I wouldn’t make my PR, so I would really have some fun during this Fun Run. And I stopped to take this picture. I had to stop and look at how beautiful Texas really is, in case I haven’t mentioned it enough.
For those of you who are new here, I used to hate running. And I’ve been working on not using the word “hate,” because it is so strong. But that’s how strongly I felt about running. Now? Oh it was one of the best not only races, but runs I’ve had in a long time.
It was such a scenic route, I didn’t care how slow I went. I was just enjoying the nature and beauty that is Texas.
I didn’t care about the water at that point. I would survive. I was taking it all in and slowing down to look at the cows, the bluebonnets, and just some really picturesque moments. I was super bummed that this one photo I took didn’t save! There were some cows behind a fence and I got this amazing shot of one staring up at me. It had the cutest markings on its face. Alas, the moment is only in my memory.
As I get closer to the finish, we begin to merge with the 5ker’s and the 10ker’s. Weaving around them is difficult to begin with, but doing that uphill? Sheesh. It made the ending that much better. The final .1 mile was downhill. I wanted to sprint, but you know, the walkers. So I ran fast, careful not to hit any strollers or rogue children. I finish and walk over to receive my medal. Turns out they were sent the wrong ones, and so I’ll be waiting patiently by the mail for mine. But I got a finisher’s shirt!
Afterward I walk over for the reason I came: Blue Bell. BASK IN ITS GLORY. ALL OF IT.
Now, last year during lent I gave up dairy. I learned that I miiight be lactose intolerant. I’ve tested the theory several times over. It’s officially unofficial…But, it’s BLUE BELL. I’m not NOT going to eat it. So I limited myself to two servings. And it tasted SO GOOD on the way down. I didn’t care about how my stomach would hurt later on, and it did. Such is life!
Long story short: The inaugural Blue Bell Half-Marathon wasn’t the best from an organizational standpoint, but the scenic route more than made up for it, along with the ice cream.