Deer Park Independence 10K: Sweat and More Sweat

Howdy, y’all! It’s been a while. Saturday I ran the Deer Park Independence 10K. The city of Deer Park puts on three concurrent races that day: a 10K, a 5K, and a kids’ Patriotic Mile. So I signed up to get a baseline of where I’m at with 10Ks.

Spoiler alert: Saturday was not a good day to get a baseline anything.

The morning of the Deer Park Independence 10K, the thermometer read 80 degrees when I woke up at 5:15 am. Let that sink in, then factor in Houston-area humidity. Saying this wasn’t going to be pretty was an understatement. I had an uneventful drive to Deer Park, picked up my 10K packet, and waited… and waited. The Deer Park website said the 10K would start at 7:15 am, so I took my pre-workout at 6:45. By 7:15, I was raring to go. The race didn’t start until 7:30 am, so by then I was incredibly antsy.

When the gun went off, I started out way too fast. I worked to keep the brakes on my pace, but I finished that first mile at sub-9, which wasn’t going to be sustainable for the entire race. Hot and humid doesn’t begin to describe it, and at every water stop, I doused myself after I took a sip. I also had my own water bottle, which I had frozen the night before. That was a godsend. By mile 3, I had slowed more, sweating and wishing that I was in an air-conditioned gym. At mile 4, the volunteers were handing out wet washcloths, and I happily grabbed one. I ended up stuffing it in my sports bra after I soaked the back of my neck.

The good news is, I finished. The course was really well marked, and 99% of the volunteers were totally with it and kept traffic at bay. (One volunteer wasn’t paying attention, and I almost ended up as roadkill. Fortunately, the driver was.) There were water stops at every mile and the aforementioned wet washcloths. Additionally, the race had finisher medals, which I didn’t expect. I still feel silly getting a finisher medal for anything less than a 10-miler, but I happily accepted it. Running that course in 58 and change was hard work. I also happily accepted a bottle of water, drank another bottle of water, and ate half a banana.

Wait, what?

Whataburger was in charge of the post-race food. Instead of anything with protein, they supplied sugary cinnamon rolls. I have officially learned my lesson and will always bring protein (powder) with me. Seriously, there wasn’t even a chocolate milk in sight. So I left and stopped at Taco Cabana for breakfast tacos and chocolate milk after the Deer Park Independence 10K.

Here’s the part that makes me laugh: I left before the awards, and guess who got first place in her age group? There were only four of us, and I was probably the oldest in the group, so it’s not like I was competing against a field of elites. But still, it was also really weird to come in first (and fourth woman overall), and annoying that I missed my award.

Does it really matter? No. Maybe Deer Park will let me pick up my medal this week, but no worries. A portion of the proceeds went to the Wounded Warrior Project, a cause I support wholeheartedly. I care more about that than a medal, and I care more about celebrating Independence Day and all the freedoms we have in this country.