I got peer-pressured into running the Toughest 10K Kemah, part of the Texas Bridge Series, last Saturday. It killed me.
Ok, maybe that’s a wee bit of an exaggeration. But I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that Saturday morning was hot and humid – and sunny, the trifecta of running suck. I got to Kemah and the Runner’s Parking at 6:40 a.m. and just had time to hightail it to the starting line for a picture with these amazing ladies, the League City Moms Run This Town group.
After that, it was the usual bathroom-GU-warmup routine, and slipping in to the corral to find a spot not too far from the front. I chatted with a guy named Skip as I warmed up, and as an awesome and very Houston-area bonus, astronaut Sunita Williams was also running the race – on her birthday, no less – and provided some opening remarks.
And then the gun went off. I started off strong, and I clocked my first mile at 8:04.33. And then… the bridge. Oh my God, the Kemah Bridge is a nightmare. I thought the Holyoke St. Patrick’s 10K was bad… nope. My first half marathon in Westfield, Mass.? Piece of friggin’ cake. At least it wasn’t tropical heat running that thing. Embrace the suck, embrace the suck:
Mile 1: Flying!
Mile 2: Ok, this bridge is steep, but yay, there’s a downhill! I’m flying on the downhill!
Mile 3: Aw, crap, I have to go back up that bridge.
Miles 4-5: Rinse, repeat, oh my God I’m going to die.
Mile 6-finish: My legs are toast.
After: Breakfast tacos! The beautiful lady on the left is my pal Laura, who was manning (womanning?) her Mary Kay booth and rekindling my love for the products. All I cared about at that point, though, were the breakfast tacos, a big bottle of water, and some stretches.
I am proud to say that I ran the entire thing. The Toughest 10K is definitely for tough people; you’re not going to make it if you don’t have something that keeps you going (even if it’s just the humiliation of having to walk). I knew that if I stopped to walk, especially uphill, I was a goner.
I had a perfectly mediocre time: 55:20.6. Not a PR, placed 13th in my age group, 82nd overall women, and 257th overall, but there were also 2,000 people running the race, so I’ll take it.
Would I do it again? At the box this morning, I said I was waffling, and I am. On one hand, I’ve been there, done that, have the t-shirt and the medal. On the other hand, maybe I want to get stronger and make that bridge my, well, you know. Tough call.