When we last spoke, I had finished the first of three half marathons in fifteen days. I still think I’m kind of silly for doing this many races in three weekends, but it’s been a fun ride so far. For the record, I am already a Half Fanatic, so I can’t say this is any sort of challenge or bucket list item. I’m just truly certifiable sometimes. I am really susceptible to the whims of my running buddies (seriously, I signed up to run a full marathon two years ago because Kathy said “it will be fun and have you seen the size of that medal???”). But I digress; so without further ramblings, my race recap of the Divas Half Marathon. And maybe a few other ramblings. LOL
When Marcy and I signed up for the half marathon in Galveston, Texas in April, it was likely somewhere in the twenty degree range in Dallas and we were on day three of icepocalypse. I blame the cabin fever, but we just didn’t even consider the likely heat and humidity of running on the Gulf of Mexico. Or maybe I can blame the blinding light of the tiara I was promised or the hotties that would be at the finish line waiting??? But no matter what, Marcy and I have run a couple hundred miles this spring with our eyes on a PR in Galveston… and a girl’s weekend.
There are a bunch of hotels on the island, but they tend to be pretty pricey. Add a race full of women and the hotels booked up fast. Marcy and I were able to get a nice hotel on the beach for about $225, which is about average. It was about six miles from the race start and finish line, but parking is quite plentiful in the Strand, so it didn’t seem like a big deal to be that far away. And parking ranged from $5-7 per day.
We got to the Expo early Saturday afternoon. The expo was a lot smaller than I envisioned, but it was packed. Getting our bibs and shirts was very efficient. Marcy and I then worked our way through the vendor tables and picked up a couple of new shoe charms and other goodies. I mentally made a note that the space was about the size of the expo we put on for the DRC Half in November, but it felt so much more crowded and
claustrophobic. It was good to see that the layout makes all the difference because I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
Marcy and I spent the afternoon after the expo just wandering through the Strand, walking along the seawall and the beach, and enjoying a banana margarita. A BANANA MARGARITA! This is ingenious… a girl needs potassium and salt to ward off calf cramps during the race, right??? This seems like a win-win. 😉 We spent the evening at a big group dinner at the Fisherman’s Wharf with the other Divas from Dallas Running Club. It was a complete blast being able to hang out with such great friends. But the time came for us to hit the hay if we were going to do this race in the morning.
Race morning was glorious. We were all decked out in our skirts and pink flowers and met in the Wave 2 corral. I felt bad for the announcer because he had a really tough job to do. Convincing thousands of women to get in their corrals because the race was starting in “three minutes” was a lot like herding cats. A quick pre-race picture was an order and then in was time to run. Marcy and I took off at the pace we were targeting for a PR, but three and a half miles in, we knew it was not
going to happen. We could see the seawall ahead and there was not a cloud in the sky. The temperature was already climbing rapidly and sweat was dripping from us already. I looked down at my Garmin and my heart rate was 180! This was not good. We made the decision to walk briskly until the rest of the group caught up to us and then we would finish with them. My only goal for the morning was to cross that finish line with a smile on my face, ready to run another day. The decision was declared a smart one when we passed by three different girls that were on the ground in pain or dealing with heat exhaustion, waiting for medics. I just didn’t want that to be how my race ended and the heat was definitely a factor. As we walked, we
discussed taking this show on the road internationally (Paris, baby!) and everything else under the sun. Sunny, Suzanne, Denise and the others caught up to us as we left East Beach and we began running again. One of Suzanne’s friends from college, Priscilla, was with the group and running her very first half. She hadn’t run double digits before, so we had to take pictures at the mile markers and generally enjoy the morning.
For the most part, the water stops were plentiful and well stocked. The volunteers encouraged people to take two waters, one to drink and one to cool down with by dumping it on our heads and backs, which really helped with the humidity. We finally made it to mile 13, where we went through the tiara and boa
station and could see the finish line ahead. Champagne and hotties with medals awaited us at the finish line (seriously, I’m really not one to go for a race with firemen waiting for us, but dang they were cute!). The weird part was the food tent was a block away, so it seemed kind of disjointed.
This is a race that is clearly focused on women and caters to a lot of first-time half marathoners. The course time limit is generous at 4 hours and allows you to completely walk the entire race should you choose to do so. There were definitely some fast women (but when they passed us by, my smile was far bigger than theirs) and there were about a dozen men that had great senses of humor and wore tutus to run with the divas. The only downside to the race was the drive back to Dallas when it was over – I so didn’t want this weekend to end! Overall, I enjoyed the race. I don’t typically like the big national events from for-profit entities because I’m more a fan of the underdog, the little races put on by local non-profits – they are important. But this race was really fun and I would definitely do it again. Especially with my divas!
As this was also the weekend of the Boston Marathon (I know a lot of fast friends, lol), this was also a “virtual” run through Skirt Sports to honor women’s running. They have a campaign called 261fearless because Kathrine Switzer was the first female to register and run Boston and her race number was 261. Because she had used her initials when registering, it wasn’t discovered that she was female until mid-race and the pictures of her being bullied off the course by a race director are iconic still today. I began reading her book, Marathon Woman, last week and will give more thoughts on the issue soon, but let’s just say I am blown away by her courage and the courage of all the women runners back in the 60s and early 70s that dared to buck convention and pave the way for all of us to push our own limits physically and mentally. Every race we do honors what she stood for that day in Boston.
Next stop: Des Moines for the National RRCA Convention and the Hy-Vee Drake Half Marathon!