My best friend likes to talk me into things. I’ve known her since middle school and we’re close enough that she calls us “sisters of the heart.” Thankfully, the things she talks me into are often good for me. This time she talked me into (another) half marathon.
When I first started running in 2014, I saw a flyer for the then-named Badass Brazos race. It was billed as the “hottest, hilliest half in Texas.” I told my husband that I would never attempt that thing, mainly because I didn’t want to die. Two years later, Charlotte pops into my email suggesting I be a badass with her and run this race.
I love running with Charlotte, even though she’s faster than me. I love the post-race rehashing of our favorite and the toughest miles, the feeling of sharing something special, and of course the post-race selfie with the medal. Sometimes during a hard race, all you can do is think of the medal.
They renamed the race the Badass Texas half at some point, and according to their website the thing was on a flatter course. Friends, if that’s what they called flat, I’m not sure I want to know what they call hilly.
It started off all right. Not too humid, a little warm but nothing I haven’t run in before. It started at 6:45 so it was even a little dark. Charlotte went to join her pacer and I went to join mine, we hugged and said we’d see each other at the finish line. At Mile 3, we hit our first big hill. By Mile 7, when the major hills started coming, I was already tired. To make things worse, the sun was out and slowly baking me. The race directors had anticipated this and put water stops at every mile instead of every 2 miles, and there was ice cold water, iced towels, and energy packs available at every station. Even with this extra support I was wishing for the thing to be over when I wasn’t even halfway through.
Then came Mile 11.
Actually it was more like Mile 11.5, but I don’t want to be nitpicky. All of a sudden I was feeling lightheaded, clammy (bizarrely enough), and extremely nauseous. I knew what this meant. I’d crossed the line from being hot to heat exhaustion. I was determined to finish, though, and with encouragement from Charlotte’s husband and son, I made it over the finish line and received my enormous medal.
We drank two ice-cold bottles of water, ate oranges in the shade, and were even treated to snow cones but we still felt like we were melting. We both swore we’d never do this thing again, and that distance races were out of the question for the rest of the summer. Still, we did it.
I started running again in 2016 to try and lose weight, and while I have lost some it’s no longer the reason I run. Even at my slowest, I’m amazed at what my body can accomplish. I never thought I’d be able to run a 10K, let alone a half marathon or a 30K. I’ve had some rough times and even ate pavement recently, but I am proud to call myself a badass and can’t wait to see what Charlotte talks me into next.
Definitely no more half marathons this summer, though. It’s too damn hot.