Monday, May 7, 2012

A (Wet) Day at the Race

As I said in my last blog post, my family traveled to Sheridan, Wyoming on Friday, in preparation for the half marathon my husband, Chad, was running on Saturday.  The weather was clear and beautiful for our little road trip, and we had a lovely day.  I'll write more about our Friday adventures tomorrow.  Today, I'll skip right to the events of Saturday.

Saturday dawned cold and foggy.  Chad had to be up early so he could get his breakfast eaten, and drink water and Gatorade, at least two hours before start time.  We knew the weather forecast was not that great, calling for wind, rain and a high of about 50 degrees.  Not great when you've got 13.1 miles to run out in the country, over dirt roads and through pastures!  Chad had a hard time deciding what to wear, and how many layers he might need to help keep warm, in case it did start to rain. 

We packed up and checked out of the hotel, and made the 30 minute drive out of town, to the starting place, a residence out in the country, surrounded by beautiful rolling hills, with a great view of the nearby Big Horn Mountains.  By the time we got there, the fog had lifted, but the clouds were heavy and dark.  Before long, the mountains began to disappear, and we knew the rain was coming!  We prayed that the bad weather would hold off for the runners.

Hmmm...which shoes are going to be better?
The race began at precisely 9:00 a.m.  My daughter and I settled in the car with our books, knowing it would be a couple of hours before we'd see Chad making his way toward the finish.  I said some prayers for his physical health, and for safety, and watched as the sky got darker, and darker.
A few minutes before start time. Chad is standing behind people, so isn't visible in the picture.

And they're off! Chad is next to the lady in the bright jacket.
About an hour in, the sky opened up, and it began to pour!  The wind kicked up, and it got cold enough in the car that I started it so we could have some heat.  I was worried about all of the walkers and runners being out in it, and just hoped they weren't too uncomfortable.  Later, after we'd gotten home, I checked the temperature log for the day in Sheridan, and as the bad weather moved in, it had gotten down to about 45 degrees before the race was over.  With the strong wind and rain, that had to be no fun.

The lovely view from the car.
Finally, at about 2 hours and 15 minutes, we saw Chad coming up the hill above where we were parked.  Another two minutes, and he'd crossed the finish line!  His official time was 2:17:37, which was actually faster than what he'd managed in training, on flat, paved surfaces, and good weather conditions.  Not bad for his very first half marathon!  So proud of him for his accomplishment!  I had wanted to get some good pictures of Chad as he finished, but with all the rain and wind, it didn't work out well.  The best I could do was either take pictures through the open car window, or hop out and quickly snap a picture before the wind blew rain all over the camera lens.  So, alas, the photographic evidence is not great, but I think the memory of the entire experience will last a very long time!
Here he comes!

Just crossed the finish line! Can't tell from this picture, but the rain is still coming down.
After the race, there were prizes and food.  The hosts of the event have a huge building that normally houses a very large motor coach, that they had set up for the "after run party".  After some food and water for Chad, it was time to get him into a hot shower and dry clothes.  He was very cold, totally soaked, and muddy.  His parents live in Buffalo, about 30 minutes from Sheridan (an hour from where the race was), so we headed that way, and finally got him taken care of. 
There were lots of runners crazy enough to go out in the bad weather!

Congratulations, to a very cold and wet, Chad!
Thank you, Lord, for keeping Chad, and all of the other participants, safe!

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