After I DNF’d the Longview Half on Saturday I didn’t really have much time to sit around and think about it. Which now looking back, I think was a really good thing. Anyway, after I walked off the course my dad, Luke, and I hung out in the parking area for a little bit, talking, and we decided that since we were pretty close to where packet pick up for the Gobbler Grind was, that my dad and I were going straight there. Luke had to go to work, so unfortunately he didn’t get to join us for that adventure.
But anyway, I got into my dad’s van and we drove to the mall where Gary Gribbles was located. There were a bunch of people there! Haha I guess that’s pretty unsurprising given that packet pick up was that day. So we kinda wandered around the store for a little bit just looking at stuff. My dad bought some Honey Stinger stuff for his fuel for the next day (haha yup, I’ve got him hooked on Honey Stinger as well 😉 ). He also got himself a pretty sweet hydration vest. He didn’t really need it for carring his water or fuel for the race. What he really wanted it for was to carry his “bondage Barbie”. Hahaha she’s just this Barbie doll that he has tied up to his backpack that travels the country with him. I guess shes a great conversation piece, so he wanted to bring her with him. 😂 So he found a hydration vest that he liked and that would be perfect for her.
There was also a dog there just wandering around the store and greeting people! I assume he belonged to someone who worked at the store, but I was super stoked about him! I had to stop and pet him several times. Hahaha he was a friendly boy. 😊 While we were there we were also looking for a decent face mask/buff type deal to wear when it gets crazy cold out like it was on Saturday. According to one of the very helpful guys working there they didn’t have a lot of they’re winter stuff out yet. Mostly just hats and gloves. They did have a fantastic Game Of Thrones sign displayed over the hats and gloves though. I thought it was great!! 😂
Anyway, after we were done looking around and my dad has payed for his stuff we got our packets. Up until this point I had only done races that gave you a timing chip for your shoe, but this particular race had the timing chip on your bib, and I just thought that was kinda neat! 😁
Once we had our packets we were done at that mall so we left and set our sights on Bass Pro shop. My dad was dead set on finding a winter face mask thing, but Bass Pro didn’t have what he was looking for either! They had those full head/face mask things, and plenty of baklava’s but that’s not what he wanted. So we kinda gave up on that and just wandered around looking at stuff for a little bit, before we finally headed back to my house.
When we got there we figured out how my dad was gonna rig up bondage Barbie so she’d stay in place, but so her hair wouldn’t constantly be in his face. Hahaha she ended up getting a zip tie ponytail, but it worked! After he hung out for a while, my dad went back to his hotel and I began repeating the process of getting my gear ready and preparing everything I’d need for the next day.
I was up at 6 am on Sunday morning and the first thing I did was check the weather. Luckily it was looking like the weather was going to be much more favorable!! I definitely enjoy seeing temperatures in the 30’s and that was what we were supposed to get! Yay!
So I started getting dressed and preparing my breakfast, when my dad showed up at my house about 15 minutes later, dressed in his running gear (featuring Barbie of course 😉) and ready to go! So we kinda talked while I tried to eat and drink some coffee and water, but I was having trouble getting anything down because my stomach was NOT happy with my that morning. Probably had something to do with my bad day at Longview on Saturday… Whatever caused it though didn’t really matter. What mattered was that yet again I wasn’t feeling great and I was starting to get really nervous at the idea of attempting to travel 13.1 miles on foot. But damn it if I wasn’t going to try! So around 6:45 we got into my dad’s van and made our way to the starting line.
We ended up getting there super early which was actually really nice! There was literally NO line for the port-o-potties so we were able to pee in peace without having to wait. You have no idea how fantastic that was after having to wait in a long ass line at Longview, praying that if making it to the starting line in time. 😂😂😂
After that we sat in the van for about half an hour because it was cold out. Not as cold as the day before, but still, cold enough to be uncomfortable to stand in for an extended period of time. So we hung out, I took a couple bite of a banana and then kinda gave up on that because of my stomach, and just sipped on water instead, and we did lots of people watching. Haha that was kinda fun! Once it got to be about 15 minutes until the start we got out and wandered around for a little bit. We wanted to use the port-o-potties again, but the line was ridiculously long at that point! So we decided to wait until we came across a bathroom along the course. Except I seriously considered finding a nice, dense area in the woods and going out there. The start of this race was on a trail that I’m very familiar with and that wouldn’t be the first time I’ve peed in those woods. 😂 But unfortunately most of the leaves were gone and the woods was pretty thin. Plus there were just too many kids around, I I figured I’d better just wait.
With 5 minutes to go we made our way to the staring area. I can’t really call it a corral because there wasn’t really any dividers or anything. They had pace flags set up so we could line up accordingly, but that was pretty much it. My dad and bondage Barbie were starting to get some attention and a couple of people asked about her, and I was getting more and more nervous.
After having to drop out of Longview the day before I was full of all sorts of doubt. Especially since I wasn’t feeling all that great that morning. At the time I wasn’t sure trying to go for it again so freaking soon after what felt like failing was a good idea. I kept thinking that if I couldn’t get it done yesterday then how was today any different? Especially since we hadn’t even started yet and my stomach was already feeling lousy. And most importantly I was worried that I’d let my dad down that day. He’d driven 11 hours from Colorado just to do this with me, at my request I might add. So if I was unable to do this with him then I felt like I would have been wasting his time and money. So even though I was feeling super unsure of myself I was resolved to at least give it my best shot.
The national anthem was sung, we were counted down and then sent off. As usual, a lot of my nerves started melting away as we got going. 🙂 The weather was great and I was able to ditch my throw away sweater before we even got to mile 1! The only problem was I really had to pee so my bladder was getting uncomfortably full. We did eventually find and stop at a port-o-potty around mile 2. I felt a lot better after that hahaha.
But before that, there were race volunteers handing out tissues and cheering on the runners. I thought that was a crazy good idea! I’ve never been offered a tissue during a race before, but there have been plenty of times when I could have used one! So I thought that was fantastic! As we passed the mile 2 marker my dad decided that he wanted to take a selfie with every mile marker. We weren’t in any rush as the whole point of the day was to have fun, so we ended up doing just that! We weren’t very good at it though! Sometimes one of use was in front of the sign (like in the photo below), sometimes we got the back of them, and sometimes one of us wouldn’t be ready, so that resulted in some really funny photos! It was pretty great though! And near the end of the race we were both very grateful for the short little breaks!
At some point before mile 3 we ended up on the part of the Indian Creek Trail that I know and love back from my apartment living days! Things got a little bit tight as the trail can be a little bit narrow in areas. We were getting passed by the 5k leaders so we were constantly trying to get out of their way. That was a new experience for me and it was definitely interesting! I could see how it could potentially be obnoxious, but I didn’t think it was too bad. And of course at mile 3 we stopped to take a selfie! Hahaha I was trying to hold up all 10 fingers, cause you know, 10 miles to go! But I wasn’t fast enough so it looks like I was doing a very poor t-rex impression. 😂
Miles 4 and 5 were relatively uneventful, which is a good thing! At this point we were still on the part of the trail that I’m super familiar with so I knew when hills were coming up, when the trail got more narrow, and where some of the really pretty views of the creek were, so that was kind of nice. 🙂 My stomach still wasn’t feeling great though. I was taking water and Gatorade at the aid stations but was only able to sip on it and I was only able to take little tiny bites of a Honey Stinger waffle. I still felt ok at that point but I knew I was going to be in for a really rough time near the end of the race. Not fueling properly always does me in…
I believe around mile 6 we started to see the lead runners coming back in the opposite direction so we cheered them all on. Clapping and shouting encouraging things to them. That was fun! Although some of them seemed to be in rough shape and didn’t seem to appreciate it very much. I don’t blame them though. I know sometimes the last thing you want is people yelling encouraging things at you when you’re having a rough time. For some reason I don’t have a photo of us at mile 6 hahaha. I’m sure my dad does though. Also after the race was over he told me his knees were starting to ache around this point. I’m sure that was pretty awful.
Around miles 7, 8, and most of 9 were basically all up hill. Sorta. There were a few downhills as well, but really at the time it felt like it was all uphill. 😂
Somewhere around the 7, 8, and 9 mile points we ended up talking to a really nice couple from South Carolina. They are traveling around the country in their RV and doing a half marathon in every state. This was their 17th half! They told us they were actually going to do Longview the day before but when they saw how cold it was they decided not to show up. I sure don’t blame them! They said that they talked to someone who said that a lot of people didn’t show up for that race and I totally believe that. I’m sure the unseasonably cold weather put a lot of people off. Of course I told them what happened to me at Longview and they said they didn’t blame me for quitting haha. They were an incredibly lovely couple and my dad and I enjoyed talking to them. They also stopped to talk to a bunch of the police officers and race volunteers and gave most of them gloves and hand warmers.
I also just want to take a second to say how amazing the race volunteers were! They had all sorts of great snacks along with the usual energy gels, water, and Gatorade. A lot of them knew what they were talking about and were encouraging people to eat pickles for cramps, and to take as much food and water as you needed. They were fantastic. Around mile 9 I took a banana hoping it would help my stomach, but nope. I was only able to eat half of it a little after mile 10. I had to wait because I did drink a lot at that aid station and it was all sloshing around for a while.
After mile 10 my dad’s phone died, so we started using mine to take photos at the mile markers. At this point we had obviously been out on the course for a while and both of our hips were starting to ache. Hahaha apparently we both have the same issues when it comes to our hips and I think that’s kinda funny. So we ended up walking through most of miles 11 and 12. Like I said, the goal was to just have fun so we took our sweet time getting there hahaha. We joked with several people that we were just getting our money’s worth from our entry fee. I also grew fond of saying that we were the party in the back. Because races are like a mullet, all business in the front and party in the back. 😂😂😂😂
After we passed mile 12 I was really looking forward to going through the November Projects aid station again. We went through there aid station around mile 4 already and at this point we were headed back the way we had come. Anyway, their aid station was so much fun the first time through and it was even more fun going through the second time! They were running out to hi-five people, yelling out bib numbers, blasting rock music, and just making everyone feel like a total badass as they ran through. It was amazing. They also had one of the best displays set up that I’ve ever seen at a race. 🙂 Come on, how can you not love this?!?
Haha and several feet after that we had to stop at the mile 13 marker. Oh boy was I happy to see that sign! I was DONE being on that course and very over the whole “half marathoning” thing at that point hahaha. This was the longest I’ve ever been out on a half marathon course and I’m really hoping that I never do another half marathon this slow. That being said, it was also the most fun half marathon I’ve ever done! Aside from not feeling great, I enjoyed almost all of it! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Honestly crossing the finish line was a little bit underwhelming. Not many people where cheering, even though there were quite a few people there. It was kinda weird… Oh well, the race volunteers kinda made up for it. They knew how to make you feel pretty darn awesome as the hung a medal around your neck and started handing you food haha. Even though we came in at 3:30:05, the still really made me feel like we still accomplished something really cool! And I mean we did! A half marathon is no joke, no matter how slow you do it!
I was a tad bit disappointed with the food they had though. Online they made it sound like they were gonna have all sorts of goodies, but all they had was broth, bagels, bananas, oranges, coffee, and chocolate milk. My dad got himself some broth and I grabbed a bagel and a chocolate milk (I was unsure of how my stomach was going to handle that, but of course it started to feel better after I ate my bagel….) and we set off to find a good place to take a picture with our medals! We ended up in front of the photo op thing they had set up that we didn’t notice until we were almost about to walk back to the van haha. That’s when the couple from South Carolina found us again and took our photo for us and then we took photos for them. 🙂
After that we talked for a little bit and then we got into the van and decided that we wanted to go back to the mall where Garry Gribbles was to show off our medals! When we got there the people working there recognized us which was really cool! And we ended up running into another lady who had also done the Gobble Grind Half as well! So we talked to her for a little bit and then we left the running store and somehow ended up in a target that was in this mall (I thought that was kinda weird, but whatever). We wandered around there for a little bit and spent some time looking at the Christmas decorations and my dad bough us both a ginger kombutcha which REALLY helped my stomach situation. 🙂
After we left Target we stopped at a 5 Guys and split a bacon cheeseburger. Oh man that was the best burger I’ve had in my life! Hahaha probably because I’d spent the last 5 hours or so trying to eat and kinda failing at it. While we were there a lady came up and asked to take a photo of my dad because he was still wearing bondage Barbie. He thought that was hilarious and let her do it. Oh man, eating there was worth it for that alone! 😉
When we were done eating we went back to my house and just kinda relaxed until Luke got home and then we had our own little Thanksgiving dinner of ham, German green beans, sweet potatoes, and of course pumpkin pie, because we’ve had a slight change of plans and Luke and I aren’t going to Colorado for Thanksgiving anymore.
Whew! That ended up being a lot longer than I had anticipated haha so I’ll stop there! Thanks for sticking with me if you made it this far! Tomorrow is my birthday so I’m sure I’ll have more to talk about then, but for now, happy hump day!