Monday, May 21, 2012

Race Recap: Hope & Healing Place Half Marathon

Race Day - 5/13/12

Race Day -1
The husband and I decided to head up to Amarillo the day prior to the race due to the  time change (we lose an hour crossing the border...8 miles away) and the early 7am start time. We spent the day having a late lunch at Red Robin then watching The Avengers (I was kinda disappointed...I expected more from the movie). We both turned in a bit early at around 9pm since I had to get up early for the race. I had planned to wake up at 5:30am so we could hit breakfast at 6am but somehow he didn't understand what I said (who am I kidding...he probably didn't have his hearing aids in) and set his alarm to 4:30am.

Race Day
An early Sunday meant barely any traffic on I-40 so we took that route then I-27 to get to downtown in less than 10 minutes. After parking I went to pick up my packet so that I could finish getting ready. As I walked through the parking lot, I noticed that there were only 3 New Mexico tags on cars...kinda odd since we're so close to the border. Anyway, the temperature was nice in the high 50s and no inkling of rain to be seen.

As we lined up for the start, I took my traditional towards the back position. When the horn went off so did the runners. It wasn't until about 2/10ths of a mile in that I realized that I had forgotten to set my MotoACTV GPS for a time/distance goal, so there I am slowing to a quick walk waiting for the GPS to hook up in and amongst the few tall building in Amarillo so that I could start running again.

A house in the one of the older Amarillo neighborhoods.
Blurry pic of route under I-40.
The course started downtown and moved into some of the older neighborhoods that are well maintained. These were areas of Amarillo that I had never been to. We also ran past Amarillo College and Memorial Park early in the race. The course then took us to Plains Blvd past an older shopping center and along one of the urban walking trails. Next came a move into what I'd call a more upscale neighborhood with the big homes and the country club which looked like it's golf course was undergoing renovation. Then just after we turned the corner from the country club, I see it. A hill, a big hill by my standards! At that point I'm thinking, "Why do the race directors feel the need to put a hill so close to the finish?" The finish was still 3 miles away, at least up until this area the course was mostly flat. I was at least happy to find that before tackling the hill we would turn and go around a strip park with tiny, rolling hills before attacking the big hill starting  closer to the middle of it.

"Oh crap...a hill!"
One of the few hills in Amarillo.
The next mile or so went through an older, less well maintained neighborhood then into the old Route 66 area of town. As I was running along, I noticed that the girl who was about a quarter mile ahead of me had crossed the street and was running on the opposite side. As I got closer to where she had crossed I noticed that there was a disheveled guy on my side of the street that was obviously having some active symptoms of schizophrenia going on. Unlike the girl before me, I simply moved from the sidewalk onto the side of the road just out of arms reach of this man and went about my merry way. He yelled a few garbled and nonsensical words at me but never posed a threat. People might perhaps say that was not a smart way of reacting to the situation, but after having been an inpatient in a psychiatric ward twice and teaching clinicals in a locked down psychiatric facility I've developed a tolerance and a healthy respect for active mental illness symptomology. The last 1½ miles or so had us running through an older business district south of old Route 66 and finally back into downtown and the finish line. As usual, for me, that last mile is always the'd think it would be the opposite. But I finished and quite a way from being last! Yay me!

Dammit! That finish line is still THAT far away??

We hung out at the finish line until the last finisher crossed. During this time I had several people come up to me and thank me for running the race...I have to wonder if they were saying that because I was bald (having just had my head shaved for Relay for Life two nights before) and thinking that I was/had been ill or if it was just a congratulatory thanks. Oh well. I got my free massage...the very last one in line...and we headed back to the hotel to check out. We spent the rest of the day trying to locate the Sear Service and Repair shop that I had passed during the run without any luck, then headed  Pei Wei for a late lunch before heading to the theater to watch Dark Shadows (actually enjoyed this more than The Avengers). A quick and nice weekend getaway with the old man with only slightly over a 1½ hour drive to the race instead of my recent multiple hour drives. Yay!

What I liked about this race: Extremely close to home (1½ hours...just slightly over) and I love coming up to Amarillo. The course is nice and not too flat or hilly.

What I didn't like about this race: Nothing really. It was well organized over all.

Would I do this race again? In a heartbeat! Especially since it's close to home!

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