Last week, my faithful racing partner and I trekked the brutally epic Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon.
You guys can probably guess, I'm not really in any shape to be racing-let alone running a half. Details, right? I woke up yesterday, already stiff. Never a good sign, that you are SORE before the race. Why? It's cold, I have a bad mattress-I'm old. Pick your answer. I stretched a little, drank some coffee and then drove the hour and some change to Topeka, Kansas.
My road trip there, I thought about last year. Last year's race, was my second half marathon and my first time meeting and running with Megan. My ever-so-faithful madre, drove me last year and followed us through the course. We drove the course together, and we only got to mile six and I was nauseated by the course. Last year, I walked through the fairlawn mall severely intimidated by the stature of the runners. Last year, at the finish line Megan and I SWORE we'd never be back.
This year, I followed the same path. I stopped at the same McDonald's to use the restroom. I parked in the same spot. Megan and I met in essentially the same place. The race has an afternoon start, due the weather and them trying to take advantage of the warmest part of the day. So at 10:58, we lined up for our 11:00 start. This race is seriously small. I think last year there were 200ish people, and this year 280ish. I don't know the best way to describe the race, but for whatever it's worth Megan and I are usually middle of the pack runners, just about average for the course-but at TtoA, we come in close to last.
Imagine the hilliest course of your life, and then you'll have Urish road-the mile 5-8 stretch. Imagine the slickest, most compacted slushy snow, and then you'll have 100% of the course. Image the most unstable, unlevel dirt and gravel road, and then you'll have miles 10-12. Imagine the hardest, most grueling course and the coldest winter winds and you'll have the Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon.
This year, even though we are in way better shape was equally as hard as last year. The first few miles are always the hardest, but I was so stiff and my shoes weren't tied right, my legs were cramping. It's kind of a blur now since, it's been over a week-but I still remember the misery. Miles 1-5, I always ask myself WHY? but miles 6-12, I know.
Something magical was the fact that we crossed the finish line at the EXACT SAME TIME as last year, pretty much down to the second. Crazy right? Our finish line photos were ruined by this douche that asked us to drag him the finish line, and then edged us out in the last second. Rude.
We finished up, ate some FREE pancakes-one of the many perks of this race. Then I drove him. The drive home was brutal, almost as hard as the race.