Back in the spring when I signed up for this race that took place this past Saturday evening in Tucson I was not thinking about the heat and what it might be like right about now. Temps hovered in the low 100s most of the day. My main concern was hydration so I avoided any alcoholic temptations on both Friday and Saturday before the race.
Athletica and I checked in to get our bibs and our free t-shirts. The shirts were quite impressive; not your typical cotton t-shirt, but were made of the same material as some of my sports tops that are supposed to absorb sweat. I was also quite impressed with the picture printed on the front. This will most likely be worn with shorts rather than the gym. It’s too pretty to be sweating in.
We arrived early enough to walk around to some of the booths that were set up. There was a man set up with packets of chia and he explained the many health benefits to us and to another runner whose name really was Chia! Zoom had told me about this during another race so I happily popped a handful of these seeds into my mouth, followed by a swig of water. They are supposed to help keep you hydrated.
Speaking of hydration, I must have done a darn good job at it because I suddenly became the incredible peeing woman! I made no less than 5 trips to the port-o-pottys before the race started. Better to be prepared I suppose. 😉
A few minutes before the race began we all lined up at the finish line while a gentleman who was either related to or knew Gabe Zimmerman, aide to congresswoman Gabby Giffords that was shot in Tucson back in January, said a few words. Unfortunately the crowd was very chatty so I couldn’t really hear what was being said. The gentleman did get very choked up. Gabe Zimmerman was one of a few people who lost their lives that day in January.
The race began and where this was a run/walk through partially blocked city streets, I found it a little challenging getting around the walkers and strollers. However, as hot as it still was despite that the sun had gone done already, there were folks outside with their garden hose spraying away onto the crowd of runners. I’ve never been so grateful!
The first mile we passed through an older section of town that had been restored. Old adobe homes painted in bright colors lined the streets, their door steps leading right onto the narrow road. I was overwhelmed by the sheer beauty and charm of it. It made that first mile go by very fast. Half way through the second mile I really started to feel the heat. Still, I trudged on. I passed a teenage girl who was holding onto a post and was close to getting sick. Luckily her Mom was right nearby.
We passed another street with more interesting old homes, including a converted old brick church that looked like it easily could have been over 100 years old. By the time I got to the third mile I started to feel like that cartoon character in the desert crawling towards that oasis that is really a shimmering mirage. I started to wonder if when the finish line came into view it would be real. My legs at this point just didn’t want to go. I really had to push myself to keep running. Athletica has been running for years so she of course was long done by the time I got to the end. She waited in the sidelines and high-fived me as I ran through the finish line. It took me 40 minutes to complete which is the worst I’ve done so far of any of the 5ks completed. I was a bit disappointed in my time and kept thinking, heck, this is my 10th summer here. I should be used to this heat by now. Maybe I should just be happy I didn’t feel like hurling and that most importantly, I finished.
Rather than hang out in the crowd we decided to go back to her parent’s house where we were staying and celebrate our efforts with some champagne. We swung by that fine purveyor of international cheeses, Wal-mart, and actually ended up with a half-decent havarti. The lady behind the deli counter saw us in our running garb and couldn’t believe we had actually run in this heat.
Yesterday we decided to drive back into the area we had run in to get a better look. I keep a camera on me at all times for moments like these. Here are some of the shots I got from the Old Tucson area: