Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Race That Went On Without Me

December weather in Texas can be "iffy" at best.  It epitomizes that expression, "Don't like the weather, just wait a minute." I know other states or regions lay claim to this saying, but trust me when I say that Texas represents it the best. In December it is typical to experience temperature drops of 40-50 degrees in just minutes as a "blue norther" roars in from the north. As my late husband used to say, "There are only a few strands of barbed wire between Texas and Canada to block those cold winds." It can be a wild roller-coaster ride the entire month as temperatures swing wildly between the 80's - even the 90's - and the 30's.
Packet pickup at San Luis Hotel

And so it was this past weekend as I got ready to drive down to Galveston on Saturday to run in the Santa Hustle Half Marathon on Sunday. I packed a little overnight bag with my running stuff, and then left the house early afternoon to make the 35 mile drive down to the very nice San Luis Hotel in Galveston to pick up my race packet.
Cute inflatable display at packet pickup

Cute "elf" volunteer at packet pickup

From there I drove a few blocks to the very elegant and historic Tremont House Hotel on Mechanic Street, just a block off the famous Strand. I love this hotel, having stayed here a couple of times in the past. It's richly restored into a luxurious hotel, with all of the very historic architectural features mostly preserved, including the beautiful hardwood floors throughout, including in the guest rooms.

Historic plaque for Tremont House Hotel

It was a lovely and warm 80 degrees as I walked the Strand after getting checked in. I stopped at the Starbucks, got a chestnut caramel latte, and then sipped and strolled. I was a little surprised at how shabby the Strand had become. Hurricane Ike did a lot of damage to this thriving tourist area, but it appears now that it's not really recovering very well. Many shops were still boarded up 8 years later. All of the nice shops I remembered from years ago are now long gone. Galveston is a major cruise port, so this is surprising.
The Strand in downtown Galveston

I returned to the hotel, had lasagna for dinner in the hotel restaurant, then went up to my room to get my things laid out for the next morning's race. A cold front is expected. Temperatures will drop more than 50 degrees, down into the low 30's in the early morning hours, and winds are forecasted to be 35 mph and gusting to 40-45 mph. Yuck! I ran another half marathon in Galveston a few years ago in very similar weather conditions, perhaps 10 degrees warmer but just as windy.

Giant gingerbread house in lobby of Tremont House Hotel

So...Sunday morning I got up, got dressed - bundled up, really - and started out on the 1.7 mile walk to the start line. I chose to walk rather than drive so that I could add approximately 3 miles to the half marathon race distance as I prepare to run a marathon on New Year's Day. It was 40 degrees and winds were blowing 35 mph out of the north.

It didn't feel too bad as long as I was among the buildings on the Strand, but as soon as I got south of the downtown area and out into the open, I felt the full strength of the wind. As I got closer to the ocean, the winds were stronger and even colder.

As I neared the start line, I thought to myself, "Why in hell am I doing this?? I don't need to do this race!" The route will be 6 miles south along the seawall, and then will turn around for 6 miles north along the sea wall, with that cold northerly wind directly in my face.

And then I did it. I bailed. I turned around and walked right back the way I came. I had my Starbucks card in my pocket so I stopped there, got a cappuccino, then walked the rest of the way back to the hotel and had breakfast in the hotel restaurant: an egg and ham croissant sandwich and a lovely plate of fresh fruit. Even if I had second thoughts on my renege, it was too late. The runners all left without me.

There will be other races....and this race will be here next year if I decide I want to try it again. In the meantime, it's almost Christmas!

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes you just have to know when to call it and go with your gut. Sounds like you made a wise decision.

    Good luck on your New Years run and Merry Christmas!