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  • Quick Glance:
  • Host: Alamo 13.1
  • Shoes:Reebok YourFlex
  • Venue:Awesome
  • Would I Run It Again: Definitely
  • Muddy Sneakers: 4 out of 5 (even though it wasn’t muddy)

It’s been a bit over a month since I ran the Natural Bridge Caverns (NBC) 10k Trail Run. In my swag bag from that wonderful event was an advertisement for the “Alamo 13.1 Fight To The Finish 1/2 Marathon”

In truth, despite all my whining, I felt like I could have done the NBC 1/2 Marathon, so I decided I was ready. Time to start a serious training regimen, but that’s a whole story for another post…this one is about the race itself.

I woke up bright and early, again with Mrs. MuddyJ kicking me out of bed when my alarm went off. I donned my running shorts, Road ID , heart rate monitor, my Buff, my Aerator socks, armband, chest strap, and my Jaybird BT headphones.

Again I stole out of the house in my trusty steed, Zooey, in the wee hours of the morning, chugging a protein shake as I drove.

I parked in the River Center Mall Parking lot, and made my way towards the Alamo on foot, taking the long way around as I had plenty of time. As I made my way around the corner I saw other people moving in the same direction and IT hit me.

“You signed up to run in a 1/2 marathon dude, that’s 13 point freakin’ 1 miles!”

My stomach did it’s usual pre-race flip and I went off in search of port-o-potties that were mentioned on the race’s website for relief.

If you were at the race, you knew my pain.The port-o-potty company failed to deliver them on time…. there were none (hence the 4 out of 5 rating)

Oh crap, I was going to have to run this race full of, well…..full of crap.

I grit my teeth and do a lap around the Alamo to warm-up and make my way to the starting corral. The web site mentioned a tiered start based on projected pace, but there’s no one really organizing the runners into groups. I look around and find some runners that look about my fitness level and ask them what their average pace is…I am thinking I am going to be somewhere in the 10 min/mile range.

In my training and research I had found the MARCO marathon calculator and used it to figure out a strategy for this race… I knew I could finish it, now I wanted to beat my PR of 2:18:30 (set during training)

The start was…interesting. A canon went off to start us out, and my PTSD went a little haywire (my fault, not the race’s) and we were off, all 1000 or so of us. For the first mile or so I was jostled and pushed aside (actually physically pushed aside) by much faster runners…mental note, stay calm.

After the first mile, the pack thinned out. I wasn’t worried about being passed early on, first because I was racing AGAINST MYSELF, and second because I HAD A DAMN STRATEGY.

I started off @ around an 11:30 pace, aiming to keep my heart rate below 145 bpm for the 1st 3 miles. I managed to do this, and passed up the first water point, feeling fine. I stepped up my pace @ mile 3 to 155 BPM, closer to a 10 min pace. Then it happened, I STARTED PASSING PEOPLE.

All the mean runners that had jostled me for the first mile were falling out… I was just starting to settle in….ahhhhhh my dear friend training, that’s where I’d have been without you.

Much of the race is a blur, I kinda checked out mentally and just let my legs take over on auto-pilot, checking my instrumentation just to be sure I was on my target pace.

Mrs. MuddyJ was near the halfway point to take pictures, and she got photos of me going past her twice. Then she hopped in her car and boogied on down to the finish line in hopes of catching me there as well. She made it.

Chillin on the way out....

Chilling on the way out…

hauling ass on the way back in….

Some Highlights:

  1. The volunteers were super-enthusiastic handing out water, and it really served to pump me up.
  2. At the turn-around point were hills. Not just any hills. BIG FREAKING HILLS.
  3. Sorry to the gentlemen running next to me @ mile 9 (ish) when Disturbed’s “Down With The Sickness” kicked in on my headset and I sang along REALLY LOUD with the opening wah-ah-ah-ah part…. (he nearly jumped out of his skin)
  4. I love living in San Antonio, and this course showed some of the best of it.
  5. Despite a rocky start, the other runners were awesome to run with
  6. Awesome Finisher Medal

The Not-So-Great Stuff:

  1. No port-o-potties at the start line
  2. Slight disorganization at the start
  3. Too many switchbacks on the Riverwalk portion really broke my pace late in the game

All in all I did well, finishing just shy of my goal of a sub 2 hour Half-Marathon, I passed ALOT of people in the final 3 miles, but that was all due to strategy!

Final Official time: 02:06:09

12 minutes better then my PR!

The Finish line…. 13.1 miles after I started, I was back at the Alamo