I had been here before.
A few times. Most of them not on this particular course, but thanks to the Striders LLR I had indeed been through this section once.
And now, twice. Its a rough section to be sure, but in that rough section there sure was a lot of good stuff too!
In the beginning there, once I passed the turnaround I remember thinking how quickly the rest had come and gone. Literally. It seemed surreal to me that I was already at that part of the course that I had just done 3 weeks before. It was familiar to me, and anyone that knows me knows that I truly love a familiar course, even if it had only been once, it helps me. I like to know landmarks. I like familiarity.
As I said this section had a lot of the good stuff, and by stuff I mean the spectators! Oh my goodness! As I was running down Main, there in the median were the church go-ers with their palm leaves and a sign that said "Communion Ahead". Then there was the priest and his holy water. As I was running to the right more or less, I made my way across to the left because I figured "Hey it cant hurt, splash me with the Holy Water." Then I opted out of Communion, because well, I had never eaten a Communion wafer during a run, and you know the rule: Dont eat anything you havent tried before for fear of messing something up. Like your pants. :o)
So after running down University and all the frat parties going on outside, we crossed over Kirby and there it was that I saw a sight to behold. For blocks and blocks and blocks through that neighborhood each front yard next to the sidewalk were flag pole holders that held a very large American flag. It was an amazing sight to see.
But in the back of mind there was the ever-looming thought that soon I would turn on Westpark and immediately see "the hill".
Somewhere during this part was also the mariachis and the dancing Spanish ladies! That I loved!
And then it happened. I could see highway 59 just in front of me, and I remember distinctly as we came to the corner to turn I said to one girl next to me "here it comes" and then I heard her say "oh my God". Obviously she had never run this course, nor had she driven it.
There was a water stop there and as I did with every water stop I took Gatorade. I closed my eyes, took a couple of deep breaths and started up the hill. At the top there was this huge balloon like pylon blowing in the breeze. Must. Get. To. Pylon. And I did. At the bottom there was another water stop. Wow those were close together.
Once I got on Post Oak and closer to Westheimer I knew it wouldnt be long till I could see a familiar face. Eric. But it was also here that the Westpark Hill caught up with me. I began to feel very hot. And very nauseous. And tired. It was mile 16.5. This was the bad. I managed to reel it in and as I turned the corner I was searching the crowd for Eric. He was not there. I kept going, thinking first how I was going to kill him, 2nd how could he have let me down and 3rd how I was going to kill him. But then, there he was. A huge smile on his face and the biggest bottle of blue Powerade one could hope for. I stopped and said ok, heres the deal: you are going to take all this shit from me, as I took my waist pack off, took the money and the gu's out and my last 3 ibuprofen ( I had taken 3 before I left the house and then 3 more sometime um, I cant remember) which I quickly downed with the Powerade. I had my gloves in my pockets, and my arm sleeves and earband tied around the belt. Those 3 things had quickly come off before I even had hit mile 2.
And then I was off again. And it was time for Tanglewood and the longest mile I had ever done in the LLR. It was here that I saw alot of ugly. At the medic station there were ALOT of people down. Covered in mylar blankets, some with their shoes off, some laying in the grass and one of the cute A&M corp dudes puking on the side of the road.
To a runner, it looked like a war zone. I wondered how much longer before I might find myself in a similiar situation. And then I quickly put that thought out of my mind.
I also remember thinking how "pretty" the mylar blankets were. All shiny and silver. I like shiny and silver. Alot. But I know I didnt want one of those, because getting one of those meant I would end up with a DNF. You keep your silver, shiny, pretty blanket. I wanted a big shiny silver medal around my neck. I wanted BLING!!!
I kept going. And surprisingly the mile was not that long the second time around. I quickly got over the war zone I had just seen as I passed through what I call the "pink zone". Lots and lots of signs in pink with photos and messages for those suffering or who had died with breast cancer. I tried to read as many of them as I could as I passed by thanking God for my health and thanking Him for allowing me to run.
As I turned onto Woodway I briefly remembered that I had just run through a mini-wall I think back there at 16.5. And I have Eric to thank for that.
Then as I approached Loop 610, there were the belly dancing women.....
to be continued...