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Well, the wait is over! 2013 Races have officially begun for me! So, without further ado, I proudly present the very first race review of the new year!


If you have been reading my articles for a while, you know that December 2012 was a very busy month for me! I ran the Santa Antonio 5k (while pulling a trailer loaded with children), ran the Gladiator Rock and Run (twice) and was infected with a zombie virus during the Run For Your Lives...

This taught me a valuable lesson: Going into “race mode” (or, as my friend in the LRB refers to it: “Beast Mode”) every weekend is not smart for me…some people can do it…I wound up hurting myself… thank goodness for my well-educated friends and fellow runners for their help and suggestions…

20130125_221633-yes, I shaved my legs for this….go ahead and make jokes!

I mentioned in a previous post that I have been suffering from a slight bout of tedonitis… while this hasn’t gotten any worse, it’s been slow to get better. I have been “RICE” ing” it (Rest, ice, compression, elevation) and that treatment regimen has left me able to run short distances…

So I decided to run a half-marathon! I mean, that’s short…right? It’s only 13.1 miles!

We have been having an unseasonably warm (shorts and t-shirt weather) January…which is nothing I am complaining about….warm weather is why I moved to the Great State of Texas!

I’ll start the review here, with my experience at packet pickup. Pre-race packet pick-up was held at the Military Highway and 1604 West location of Academy Sports and Outdoors….for those unfamiliar with the chain, its basically a hunting supply and sporting goods super-store. Having packet pick-up happen in such a large store was a very nice experience! Plenty of parking, no crowding while waiting to pick up my packet… and I actually had to do some shopping. The volunteer staff that was working packet pick-up was very friendly and knew what they were doing! I hate that this happens, but it was such a pleasant experience, I don’t have much else to say!

I started to  pack my race-bag the night before, lightly because I was running a race locally. I left out a lot of things I usually bring that I haven’t used in a long time. The weather fore-cast called for mild lower temperatures, so I figured I would be ok in shorts and a tee-shirt. I packed up, grabbing my “Run For your Lives” t-shirt (following my doff n’ don tradition) I should have packed my sleeves….

I searched and searched and searched my home for my BT chest strap (that pairs with FrankenACTV) but the search proved fruitless… I am sure it will turn up eventually, but this meant I would be running this event without it. I considered wearing my Gaiam Heart Monitor, but I decided to just run this race for the fun of it and let my body tell me what I could (or couldn’t) do.

I KT taped my shins, (the cause of my recent agonies) that night, wrapped my lower legs loosely in ace-wraps to prevent damage to the tape while sleeping, and settled into bed…

Morning came all-too-quickly, and at the sound of my alarm, I woke up and got dressed. The KT Tape had worked miracles on my shins overnight, and I was feeling much better about running on them… the pain was barely noticeable….I could only hope it would stay that way.  I got dressed in my running shorts and Run For Your Lives tee and packed the car quickly.

After a quick breakfast  consisting of black coffee, Joint Juice and a Chia seed concoction I came up with….

Chia Concoction #2

  • 4-6 TBSP Chia Seeds
  • 1 Orange
  • 1 Lime
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • Directions: Squeeze the juice from the lime and the orange into a blender. add Chia, Salt and Baking Powder…Blend on any speed until thoroughly mixed…honey or agave nectar may be added for taste and extra kick if needed!

I ate half of what the above recipe yielded, and packed the other half in my gel flask for later during the race.

Stepping outside and firing up my trusty Z, I got my first notice that the weather was NOT cooperating with the forecast. It had grown considerably colder overnight, and a misting rain had soaked EVERYTHING. I was immediately thankful I wouldn’t end up running in wet shoes.

A 40 minute drive from my house, driven much more carefully than I usually am accustomed to driving, and I arrived at the venue…spotting course mile markers along the way. Parking was at a premium it seemed, and I simply grabbed the first empty spot that I came across! Why spend 30 minutes looking for a premium parking spot when you plan on running 13.1 miles? I grabbed my  Muddy J Logo sweatshirt and walked barefooted through the cold and wet morning air to pick up my timing chip.

I tend to forget what an oddity my lack of shoes seems to some folks, because I run with the same people most of the time. Everyone it seemed, had something to say, and thankfully most of it was positive comments, or disbelief…no anti-footers in this crowd!

I picked up my timing chip from the area that was distributing them…when the volunteer handed it to me, she said, “tell me you are gonna wear some shoes darlin!”

“Now, why would I do that? ” I replied, feigning astonishment…(and chuckling a little bit to myself in my head…)

“Well, I suppose you could tie this to your toe”, she joked…and I held up my ankle to show off my RoadID AnkleID… the same one I wore to the San Antonio Rock and Roll Marathon to hold my timing chip!

“That’ll work”

I guess that the toughness level of endurance events are a matter of perspective. Since I hadn’t had the time to train well for this run, (and I was running on hurting shins) I decided to wear my most hard-earned headgear- my Tough Mudder Headband… I was surprised when two women stopped me to ask about how Tough it actually was, and to tell me their fears about it…

Why is this odd? Both of the women asking me questions were sporting “Ironman” necklaces!

I had to ask…”wait, wait, wait, wait wait, ….you’ve done an Ironman Triathalon, and you’re worried about the Tough Mudder?”

“well…the Tough Mudder has some elements I’ve never encountered…jumping over walls, crawling under stuff……ice baths…. ELECTRICITY!….”

I mused on this response- I suppose that, for those who haven’t tried it, the Tough Mudder is a great mental challenge….the Toughest part is stepping up to the starting line, after that, it’s just a matter of continuing… I have a healthy respect (ok, I am in AWE of THEM for Ironman Triathletes…someday I will try to compete in one, but I just don’t have the money for a bike!

I walked around a bit, chatting with other runners here and there…and sooner then later we (the runners inside) were being instructed to head out to the starting line, as the race would begin in a few short minutes. By the time I made it to the starting area, I had dropped off my sweatshirt and donned my running bag, which held my gel flask, my cell-phone (inside a zip-lock) and my car keys. The air was a bit too chilly to start the race bare chested, so I was thankful that the “Run for Your Lives” tee was a shirt made for runners…oh yeah…and it was RAINING!!! (Just slightly misting actually, but enough to make you shiver uncontrollably when you weren’t running yourself to death…)

0e850ecbf12363ea15dc7f8c9c9dbad0“one of these things is not like the others…(not talking about the hats)”

The National Anthem played while Jerry, the San Antonio Road-Runners President, proudly held an American Flag high for us to salute as the anthem played…

rant begins ——….I don’t care if you had to bobby-pin your hair into your hat…or if you’re worried about messing up your ‘do…when the Star-Spangled Banner plays, TAKE OFF YOUR F@#$#% HEADGEAR——-rant complete

We lined up at the start, and I moved towards the back of the pack. I didn’t have much faith in my shins allowing me to set any PR’s, and I didn’t want to get in anyone else’s way! A short countdown and we were off into the cool morning air and running through Texas Hill Country….

The first 2-3 miles of the course can only be accurately described as “rolling” . While the elevation shifts weren’t extreme, but they were constant…it seemed like I was never running on a flat area…I was always going up or down…thankfully, it was mostly uphill… I despise running downhill!

The course was laid out as an out-and-back style loop with a few spurs….with the first spur at mile 2.5…and the first water stop…a welcome sight! I grabbed a few cups of the precious elixir of life (water) and downed them as I ran on.

I did my best to encourage other runners as I was passing them, offering encouragement and high-fives to anyone that looked like I was feeling!

For the next 2 miles or so, I had to stop running and walk a few steps every 1/4 to 1/2 mile…my left foot was having these odd and random bouts of going to sleep…oddly, within a few steps of walking, the sensation would almost immediately pass, and I would be able to run again.. only to have my foot fall asleep after a quarter mile or so…

This sensation continued through mile 4, and then, like magic, the feeling returned to my left foot, and never left it again…. I wonder if my foot just decided that a half-marathon was too far to run this early, and it tried to go back to bed…. ah…the joys of aging!

Since this was a relay, the halfway point was where I had decided I would make a decision as to whether or not I was going to be able to finish this race, and when I got to gut check time, I was honestly feeling fine…better than I had been feeling for the first 6.5 miles of the race! I downed the contents of my gel flask over the next half mile…truly enjoying the saltiness, and on I ran!

Then came the hills…..

Lots, and lots and lots of hills!

While the first half of the course could only be accurately described as “rolling”…. the second half of the race could only be accurately described as “Hellish” or “Steep”!

I stayed on pace as well as I could with the elevation shifts, but the downhill running soon took it’s toll on my quads…slowing me immensely every time I started to run downhill… somewhere around mile 8 or 9, my left knee decided to act up… a searing pain ripped through the lateral anterior aspect of my knee, and I stopped completely to examine it… I had a full range of motion, and could bear weight, with no swelling near the patella, I figured my IT band had decided to tighten up in protest of running so far after having not run in quite some time!

After a minute or so of walking, I decided to grit my teeth and run through the pain…and thankfully, the pain left shortly thereafter. It did make an encore appearance every time I started on a downhill…So I paid very close attention to my form and pushed on through….

At 10 miles, I hit the final turnaround and decided to change to my “Retro-Running” -basically the top 100 hits of the 80’s….

I was feeling good, and I find 80’s tunes to be an excellent motivator in the final miles of any long run…. I mean, who can possibly sit still during “Walkin’ on Sunshine” or “Whip-it”..even Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit” holds an honored place on my retro-running playlist…

I never did catch this runner....

I never did catch this runner….but the tunes had me smiling!

Listening to “feel-good” music for the home stretch turned out to be a good idea…my knee kept complaining, but instead of stopping, I would just kind of “dance” through it while running…

The final miles of this course hit me like a punch in the face.

As I turned into the final straight away, I was faced with a steep descent, followed by an even steeper ascent to the finish line.

I haven’t mentioned yet, but my GPS was announcing my lap-times about a km before each course marker…. this was a constant throughout the race, and it became VERY apparent that the 13.1 mile course was NOT (in actuality) a 13.1 mile course when I passed the 13th mile marker, and couldn’t SEE THE FINISH LINE.

I gritted my teeth and ran out the final distance…finishing 13.49 miles in 02:21:22! I had finished the 13.1 miles in 02:15:30 (ish) and really suffered the final distance…only 10 minutes over the PR I set last year @ the Alamo 13.1 ! And that was a mostly flat course!

the final finish line approach!

the final finish line approach!

After crossing the finish-line, I grabbed a beer and a cup of very tasty beans. I downed a banana as I chatted with other runners about the course, barefoot running…you know, the usual post-race banter!

20130126_111157-post race feet… honestly, they were a little tender from the rough wet pavement.

After a while, I decided to head home- Mrs MuddyJ and I had discussed taking the Thing’s Three on a picnic/hike….

Mrs MuddyJ had decided to get donuts that morning, and had gotten me two “kolaches” and a donut…  after wolfing these down ( I think they probably tasted pretty good)I was still a little hungry, so I decided to have a Muddy Julius Smoothie:

Thing #2 LOVES these

Thing #2 LOVES these

Muddy Julius

  • 2 Whole blood oranges, peeled and segmented
  • 4 TBSP Chia Seeds
  • 1 Cup Ice
  • 1-2 cups unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • Put all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth… after all it’s a smoothie! Add more or less almond milk as needed for texture…serves my family of 5, though I end up having extra to drink as Mrs MuddyJ doesn’t find it sweet enough!

I showered quickly, made some really yummy chicken salad, and away we went as the sun broke through the clouds…


Muddy J’s Chicken Salad

  • 2 Chicken Breasts, grilled, chilled and cubed (boiled works too!)
  • 1 Gala Apple, peeled, cored and diced,
  • 2 Celery Stalks, diced
  • 1/4 cup of Strained Greek Yogurt with cucumbers and Dill
  • Directions: Combine all of the above ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Keep chilled until serving. Serve on bread as a sandwich, or wrapped in lettuce for a low-carb option…I like a little smoked provolone cheese with mine!

So, to recap… I warmed up for a 4 mile trail hike (with the family….on very tough trails…) at Eisenhauer Park (the site of the EisenHOTTER 10k)by running 13.5 miles barefoot! I think I may have an exercise addiction!

20130126_172714-a cellphone panorama of the view from the top of the tower at Eisenhauer Park…

After a great and enjoyable hike, we headed home for the night… all of us thoroughly spent, especially me!

Now to rest up to run the Natural Bridge Caverns Half-Marathon this coming Sunday!

Stay Muddy My Friends!