OK, so this post is VERY late, but I wanted to blog about it before the ‘cabra leaves the chupa!
Sometime late last year, my friend Amanda sent me an email asking if I’d be interested in running the Texas Independence Relay with her and a 12 person team. I had been working on my running piece of the tri-fecta, and thought it would be a GREAT way to keep myself motivated and running races. I said yes, and then took a quick survey of some work friends to see if they’d like to join our team as well. JoeP took me up on the offer, and off we went!
I won’t lie; I was highly intimidated and not very confident in my running ability at the week of the race. I had dropped out of my regular morning cardio class and picked up a weight training class instead (I felt I needed a change), so hadn’t been running AS much. I ran a 5k the week before and didn’t do my best (bad weather nonwithstanding), so I was DEFINITELY nervous. Being the good Taurus that I am, I bounced the idea off some friends and got the pep-talkin’ confidence buildup I needed to follow though.
Friday evening (March 6, 2009) marked the beginning of the race! Joe and I picked up a couple of 10 passenger vans in Central Austin, and booked it to Shiner, Tx to meet the rest of the team. We had an awesome pre-race introductory dinner at The Shiner Restaurant, where they had some KILLER stuffed avocado and even better service! The waitress there (whose name was Ransom) was SUPER hospitable, and even gave us some free margaritas. We sat around the table for quite a while chit chatting and getting to know each other a bit before heading back to the hotel to decorate our vans.
What’s that on your van? A ‘CABRA? You’ve been Chupa’d!!
Van decorating was definitely a fun experience. Thankfully, Amanda has some awesome van decorating skillz, and we got some awesome chupacabra faces on the van. The idea to tag other vans with a Chupacabra came on, and a few cars around us had some … additions. Hee hee!
Morning came around, and off we went! We went to the start line and did a group mile around Gonzales, TX – and our first runner was off! Van 1 went ahead and started on the relay work, and in the meantime our van – VAN 2!! – went back to Shiner for a little kolache action. Carla met a cute little boy there, and he about didn’t leave her side until we left the donut factory.
After that, we waited it out at the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner for Van #1 to come back so we could make the exchange. We ran into the Austin Rogue team there, who were tagging vans as well – we got Rogue’d. Its ok, they got Chupa’d.
After that – Amanda was off!
I ran my first leg, and was feeling OK, and maybe did a little better than I thought I would. I ran my 3.6 miles in less than 40 minutes and felt good about it. John was off after me, and we finished our van leg a few legs later. At the end of our van’s 1st leg, we had a snafu and had to re-work the schedule a bit. We got the job done, and went off to eat.. at Denny’s. They have running food of champions, don’t ya know.
After that.. exchange 2!! I was definitely nervous about running the night run. My night vision….SUCKS. If I’m driving at night, in a poorly lit area – watch out. I was worried I’d fall into a pit of armadillos or something. We had head lamps given to us as part of our race package, and I purchased one at a wal-mart in some little town – and wow-e, that thing WORKED! I could see straight ahead and let me just say… it was WAY better than I thought it’d be. I was so surprised, but running that night run at 2am (3 with the daylight savings switch) was definitely one of the most liberating feelings I’d had in a while. It was cool, slightly breezy, and FUN!
Other vans that were out there were definitely supportive. One stopped while I was almost at the end and cheered me on while waiting for their teammate – “One more mile!! You can do it!!” – and I pushed myself a little running down into another small town. I handed my wristband off to Joe, and we went on our merry way out. We saw the Governer and his team while we were there, and went on to the next piece. Poor Jeff, he had to deal with my post-race driving in the front seat while Joe was running. lolz.
After our Van was done with our second leg, we went back to Walling to get some shut-eye and a shower at their junior-high. Three hours later (REST? What is THAT?! Chupacabras don’t need no rest!), we were up and going to our last piece through Houston.
Now, we had a little bit of fun relay drama out there, but I don’t want to get into the specifics.. but thanks to some quick thinking, the dreaded 6.7 mile run through Houston I was anticipating was given to Joe. I instead had a 4 miler through H-town, and let me tell you – humidity is my silent killer! Well. Really, cedar is, but humidity is a VERY close second! I went through it and was surprised that I was able to get through it in the time I made considering both the air quality and proximity to the gulf, but did it. I .. felt.. awesome!
After that, the team finished off the run going to the San Jacinto monument. It definitely felt like we were coming home! We got some nifty medals, and went to go eat as a very exhausted team in Houston. I have to say, it was one of the better sporting experiences I’ve ever had, and I’d DEFINITELY be happy do to it again! I’ve started upping my milage and endurance.. watch out, cabras…;)