Friday, September 26, 2014

San Antonio Half Marathon (Double Half Marathon)

Sorry I've been MIA lately. Here's what I've been up to...

San Antonio Half Marathon

The actual name of the half marathon in San Antonio that I participated in was the Double Half Marathon.  The reason for that was that you could do a half marathon in the morning and one in the evening. I, however, decided one half marathon for the day would be sufficient!

My boyfriend and I headed to San Antonio for a little R&R earlier in September. Of course, our R&R consists of a half marathon and staying with a 1.5 year old! In reality, we were taking a vacation to visit his brother's family who recently moved to San Antonio. Of course we played it around a half marathon to knock off a state! 

We did the normal tourist stuff: River Walk and a boat tour, drove past the Alamo, had some local Texas BBQ, went geocaching, saw the world's largest shovel be inducted into the Guinness Book of World Record.  We were busy!

World's Largest Shovel (sorry it's on the side...I tried to fix it.)

Board tour on the Riverwalk
But of course you want to know about the half marathon!  The weeks/months before we went to Texas, the weather in San Antonio was 95-105 degrees. Every.Single.Day. Chicago weather had been much (MUCH) cooler this summer and I've hardly experienced many warm weather runs this year. Luckily (I guess...) for me, the weather got warmer the last couple weeks before my trip to San Antonio and almost mimicked what I actually had for race day.  Even though those warmer/more humid runs in Chicago were rough and I wasn't very happy running them, I knew that I would be thankful come my half marathon, so I kept trying to think of that positive.

Lucky for us, San Antonio had cooler (for them) weather when we came there. It actually rained (we must have brought the rain-gods with us). San Antonio residents were happy. The rain didn't interfere with our plans and usually only downpoured for about 5 mins at a time.  But for us Chicagoans, it was still hot and humid. We'd do an activity, then come home and sit in the air conditioning for a while before going back out! lol. We are such babies!  Ok, back to the half marathon!

The race was only about 20 mins from the house we were staying at. There were not a lot of people there and I knew it would be a very small race. There were port-a-potties but the bus station was right next to the parking lot, so I snuck in there for the "real" bathrooms instead.

I ran the first couple miles with Derek. It's nice to run with him sometimes since we don't always run together. I secretly love those moments but for various reasons, we normally do our own thing.

Only about 175 runners

Before the half

At the start of the half
The first 2 miles had virtually no shade. I was concerned the whole thing would be like that but luckily the rest was shaded pretty well. It was on the Leon Creek Greenway trail and it was nice to see things that we normally don't (cactus!).

The trail. Very winding. I was mostly running alone!

Cactus! All over the place.
It was a very small race. There were only about 175 finishers. Because of this, I was running alone or mostly alone most times on the trail. It was an out-and-back course though so of course near the middle section, you saw the people coming back.

Unfortunately for me and many others, after mile 6, there was a split in the trail. You could either go straight or turn right.  There wasn't a sign so I continued straight (the logical thing to do).  Then I came to a large (VERY LARGE AND LONG) uphill. I was thinking, "Really? Really? ... Um.. Really?" I continued to start running and walking up the hill. Near the top (or course), a girl was running back down along with many other runners. She told me that this was the wrong way. We were supposed to turn right at the other spot. She said she went to about the half way mark according to her garmin and turned around.

Oh, did I mention, my garmin battery was dead so I had no way of knowing where I was or how long I was out there?  There were also no time clocks on the mile markers. I was just running for the love of running. lol

Anyway, I decided I had gone about half way and turned around. I was a bit upset I found this out after going up this large hill but whatever! We were telling everyone as we got back on course that they needed to turn at that spot. I saw Derek and told him also. I was only mildly annoyed but didn't really care since I wasn't running fast, trying to break any PR's, and since I had gone halfway, I just turned around and ran back. I didn't correct the course and run extra miles. To me, I still ran the half. I just got a bit turned around near the middle. No big deal.

Since it was so small, there were no spectators. I did find one...

The only spectator (sorry for the side pic. Ugh)
I knew from the website that there would be about 3 aid stations and since it was an out and back course, you would hit each one twice. The first two were pretty close together so that left the middle one at mile 5 (and mile 8) a very important aid station. I brought my hydration belt so that I would have adequate hydration. Derek said when I saw him later, that the mile 8 aid station ran out of water when he got there. That was not good considering the next aid station was 3 miles later. So for the later runners, there was no water on course from mile 5 until about mile 11. I did tell the race director's brother later when he asked how everything was (benefit of small races).

All in all, I did this race for fun and for a Texas half marathon medal. I thought most of the course was really nice and since there weren't a lot of people, very peaceful and enjoyable. I just struggled the last couple miles for no reason really. I was just tired and hot. I found out after the race that it was about 80 degrees during the race with a real feel of 97 degrees!  No wonder I was tired and hot! lol.

Since I didn't have my garmin or time clocks, I had no idea what I was going to finish at. I walked many times the last two miles. I was sure it would be over 2:30 but I really didn't care. So I was really surprised when I finished and saw my time was 2:21!  This is a very standard summer half marathon time for me and I was pleased to be under 2:30! I ate some food, drank some water, and waited for Derek to finish.

Overall, I had a good time. It gave me a chance to run long "alone" under difficult (hot/humid) weather conditions, and practice my "run happy" mental attitude. It's what is going to get me through that marathon in Grand Rapids with a PR! Now I can mark Texas off the list of states to run half and full marathons in!


  1. Great job! I would never dare to run a race in Texas outside of the winter, so major props to you. Congrats on crossing off a new state :)

    1. Yeah it was a bad time to run in Texas! Could have been much worse though. I need to plan the warm weather states better! ha!

  2. Oh my goodness. Those temperatures sound insane! Great job and way to push through! Love the picture of your lone spectator. Please share a picture of the Texas medal - would love to see it!

    1. I will definitely post a pic of the medal! I'm really bad at that! lol. and thanks!

  3. That's strange that they did not have a marker at the fork in the road, but I guess it was a very small race. Congrats on the finish!

  4. Great job! Even though it was a small race, I don't think that's an excuse not to have the trail marked properly or to run out of water!! Good thing you had your hydration belt with you. Congrats on another state!