Tyler Rose Half Marathon Race Report

I got up uber early to an unfamiliar sound - pouring rain!  My good friend Emily met me at 4:30am, and we started the 90 minute drive to Tyler, Texas.  We probably could've left a good bit later, but when traveling that far to a race, I didn't want to leave anything up to chance.  We arrived and got a space literally 3 parking spots from the building with the check-in/after-party and quite literally, steps from the starting line.  Wow...  We got our bibs and shirts and then hung out in the car for a bit.

The plan for the day was to take it easy, enjoy it, and run with Emily.  I had invited two others people to run with us too, so that we could have an on-course party - Corina and Holly F (who was doing her second half only 2 weeks after her first half).  And we also kind of paced with Elaine, though in a more indirect way... she wanted to push, and she knew to do that, she'd need to stay out in front of us (which she did)!

(Holly F, Elaine, Corina, Me, and Emily)

The full marathon started at 7:30am, so we headed to watch Robin D get started... She was running this event in place of her 22 mile training run so was planning to take it easy and run/walk the last 4 in. 

(Robin on the right in her signature pink hat and just in front of her in orange is reader/fellow NTX Runner Shawna)
One more group pic before go time:
EW, Corina, Dana, Al, Marcie, Elaine, Robin W, Me, and Emily
Finally it was nearing 8am, and we were ready to go with only one goal in mind... beat the man in the silly outfit (purple spandex, cropped tee, faux lei, and duck hat complete with feathery tail):
Actually, our only goal was to enjoy the day and all get to the finish line!
And we're off...
I don't know how to describe the day to you other than there was a lot of this uneven brick (not exactly a cushioned surface) and when there wasn't brick, there was this uneven pebble-style asphalt.  The entire course was neverending hills.  I am certain we went up more than down, but somehow ended up in the same spot.  I don't think there was ever a flat spot on the course.  Up, up, up, down, up, up, up, down.  I had originally told Emily and Holly F that we would walk the uphills, knowing there were supposed to be a lot of hills... but I didn't realize 8 miles of the course would be uphill.
Look, we found Woody!  (Sitting on the wheel well.)
(Holly F, Me, and Emily)
And we just kept plodding on...
(Emily, Holly F, and Me - this is at a weird angle... I'm not *that* tall.)
I may or may not have tweeted The Unlikely Runner a photo of her butt while running behind her:
And at mile 11, I might have taken and uploaded this photo to facebook to wish Emily's daughter a happy 11th birthday!
And pretty much the whole way, I was checking Libby's tweets from the Chicago Marathon.  I actually had another runner ask me how Libby was doing at Chicago.  I had no idea who she was or how she knew I was tracking Libby!  (If you're reading this, say hi so I know your name!!!)  I'm only guessing that maybe she overheard me reading the tweets to Corina.
Lots and lots of uphills, but we did eventually com into the finish...

Time for a quick group photo:
(Corina, Holly F, Emily, and Me)
And then I headed straight back out to find Holly C (also running her 2nd half marathon just 2 weeks after her first).  I didn't get very far... around 0.35, and I already found her... she was trucking along nice and steady.  Despite being very tired, she hadn't stopped to walk at all.  She ran up all those monstrous hills.  Woo-hoo.  So I headed in the last little bit with her and was telling her how far and where the finish was.  The finish line was odd because you couldn't see it at all... you saw a crowd of people and no finish line... what you couldn't see is that when you came to the crowd, you took a sharp right and veered across a grass field to finish. 
It was so funny because Holly was yelling at me ... "WHERE is it?  WHERE?"  She wanted to pick up the pace but didn't want to do it too soon.
And what feels better after a tough hill workout???  How about some ice cold water on the legs... oh yeah!
(Holly C, Holly F, Elaine, Emily, Me, Erik, Michelle, and Corina)
This is possibly my favorite post-race photo EVER.  Love it... and that freezing water felt so good.  Just jealous only 1/4th of my legs were underwater and some people had water up to their thighs... REALLY?
Just after getting out of the water, a lady came by and said "Would you like some free frozen yogurt?"  Um, is that even a valid question?  YES.
And then a quick pic of the Racing It Off team:
Then I ran in to pick up my SECOND medal because the company putting this race on, Mellew, had a challenge of completing all four of their half marathons (Texas Half - Winter, Big D - Spring, Hottest Half - Summer, and Tyler Rose - Fall).  This was my last half of the Four Seasons Challenge!
After shoving down a piece of free pizza, I had to run back out to watch Robin D finish her marathon.  She did awesome and was right on target for her "easy" training run (which still beat the pants off anything I could do on my best day!).
Great day all around!!!  I had so much fun.  And I'm so glad that Corina helped document all the fun times.  This is a tough course, but we took it slow and just enjoyed every second of it!  Running with friends is never dull.
After the long drive home, I put my medals on my SportHook and quickly realized it might be time for an add-on bar... I clearly have a bling addiction. 

Congrats to all the runners who ran the Chicago Marathon yesterday!