New Year's Day Half Race Report

(This is long, bear with me... you know how I get carried away during race reports.)

You know me and my obsession with races.  I love races.  There's no cutting out early.  You are inspired to give it your all by those around you, as well as the fact that your time will be published for all to see.  It forces your training to stay on track!  I love racing.  And the cherry on top... BLING!!!  Who doesn't love bling. 

So on 1/1/11, the first day of the New Year, I was ready to log my first race for the Run for the Bling of It! Challenge (if you haven't signed up yet... go and do it now!).

The awesome, Libby Jones, decided that just one month after giving birth to her second baby girl, she would direct a brand new race so that we could all ring in the new year properly.  She limited participation to 200 participants for this first year, and she sold out the race in just a couple months with no advertising... just Facebook word of mouth!
So before any little people were out of bed on 1/1/11, I was dressed and out the door to a very cold day, headed to the New Year's Day Half Marathon.  I got there around 6:40, and sat in my car for a minute dreading the cold weather (it was around 32 with a windchill in the mid-20s).  Don't forget, we're in Texas.  If its below 60, we're cold!  I was early because I had volunteered to help with the packet pick-up.  Considering this was a smaller event, I could not believe the giant stack of packets.  It was brrrrrrrr... cold.  I helped for about an hour, and then I literally couldn't feel my toes, so I snuck out a tad early to go warm up.  I went to throw my packet with TWO technical tees (one long sleeve and one short sleeve) into the car, and then the awesome Sherry was parked close to the start with the heat on high and the passenger seat already warmed for me. 
Check out my elite single-digit bib!!!
We stayed warm until about 5 minutes before the start and then headed to the porta-potties where there was a small line.  Despite really needing to pee, one of the officials came up and shouted "3 minutes and we're not starting a second late."  Ugh, whatever, so we went to the start line.  We had already conceded that we were going to run this one easy.  We've both been in recovery-mode and have been getting very very few miles on our legs.  And we were off...
The running, well, it was surprisingly uneventful... which was AWESOME!  I think we were both nervous that after so much time off post-marathon that our body wouldn't be ready for the challenge of 13.1, but it was.  It remembered the miles we had pounded.  It was fun running for a few minutes near Corina!  I knew she was shooting for a 2:10, so I knew she'd leave us in the dust soon!  Around mile 3, I really needed that porta-potty that we skipped at the beginning.  Being in the fog I was in, at mile 4, there were these two crazy ladies cheering with giant posters (this was a small race with participants very spread out, so we weren't passing a lot of cheerleaders).  Sherry looked at me and said "hey, they are here for YOU!"  I quickly brushed it off saying that I didn't know those people and figuring there was another "Lesley" on the course (despite the signs with my name spelled correctly).  As we passed them, I realized they WERE there for me.  As we turned the corner, Sherry asked who they were... oh, you know, only two of my best friends... and I didn't even recognize them because I had NO CLUE that they were coming out to cheer me on.
Around mile 5, we finally saw that porta-potty I needed, but it was on the other side of the course, and we weren't willing to walk even over the small grassy area to get to it... we'd have to stop when we looped back around in less than a mile.  When we got back around, there was a short line, and for the first time ever during a half, I stopped and waited in line... I didn't care!  We were taking it easy and enjoying New Year's!  We took our time, used the potties, and Sherry even chased after a girl who had left her iPod. 
At the end of the loop, we got to see my friends again, yippee!!! And then we headed off down a long path...  in fact, most of the trail looked like this.  (Yes, that is Sherry and I, but trust me, you don't want me to zoom in to our little winter caps and goofy looks!)  Sherry's parents were also along the course (especially cause they literally lived right down the street from the path).  We saw them around mile 6, then at the mile 7 turn-around, and then again around mile 8.  Cheerleaders really do make the time go by so much quicker!  About mile 9, we were on the "back" portion of the course and back to the loop where my friends were... yeah!  More cheering.  After the loop... woot woot... my friends for the 4th time!!!  (This course was certainly convenient for spectators!)
About mile 10, I saw another woman who I thought might be an Athena (150+ lbs)... so I told Sherry that I wanted to pass her.  We slowly got past her and settled into a good pace to just finish out the race.  Despite our taking the race easy and taking a long-ish potty break, my competitive nature got the best of me towards the end.  Right around mile 11, I spotted another Athena, and I told Sherry again that I wanted to pass her.  I think she groaned at me a little since we said we'd take it easy, but she went along with my craziness and sped up just a little.  It took us awhile to pass this lady, but we finally did... into the last mile, I just wanted to keep it slow and steady.  I didn't plan to sprint until I could actually see the finish line... and when I saw it, I pushed it in as fast as my legs would carry me for a nice finish!!!  And guess who was there?  My friends, AGAIN!!!  Plus, my awesome race buddy, Elaine, who couldn't do this race, managed to make it to the finish line to volunteer!  It was so awesome to have her at the finish for me and be the one to hand me my BLING!
Finish - 2:22:58 (wow, that was what we pulled off when we were taking it easy and lolly-gagging during a potty break???)
Sherry, Me, and Elaine at the finish line!
Whitney, Me, and Emily (Best sign-makers and friends EVER!)
Me and Sherry with our BLING!
Wait???  What was that last photo?  Oh, it was Elaine handing me my prize for 2nd place Athena!!!  I guess passing those couple of ladies in the last couple miles paid off!  First time I've ever gotten any sort of award.  Sweet... what a great way to start off the New Year!!!  (And the funniest part is that Emily missed the photo, and made me go back up and re-pose with Elaine... I'm sure the other people waiting were stoked about that! )
Don't forget to enter my awesome giveaway with Mission Skincare!  There will be TWO winners!!!
I used both the anti-friction cream and the mint lip balm for the race... and I'm happy to report that I had zero chafing, and never had to re-apply the lip balm!  Thank you Mission Skincare for such awesome products.