Sadly, the Gusher is over, but there are plenty of memories to last me a lifetime. Running in that race was one of the best days of my life. There were a lot of people to meet and there were a lot of inspiring stories to be heard. Days like this are a reminder of why we make southeast Texas our home.
Last year, I was scared and lone, but this year was a different story. What a difference a year makes! Besides blisters on my feet and some windy weather, I have no complaints about the day and will only take fond memories into the future. Oh and I didn’t get a PR, but I’m going to blame it on the wind. My Louisiana Half was my PR with 2:15:03 and I finished this year’s Gusher in 2:15:53. I’ll blame it on the wind and those nasty blisters I got while running. (This was the first time I’ve ever had a blister problem while running and it was a little annoying. It took me out of my head space a couple of times. That’s probably when I should have turned on some music to push through, but I didn’t.) All in all, the most important thing is I finished the race with a way better finish than my first Gusher (2:53:33)!
There were so many fond memories that I will hold close to my heart forever. I hope not to forget anyone or any special moment so I’m starting with this list.
- This year I participated in the warm up for the race and it was so fun. It was great getting people jazzed about running and seeing so many people loving what Kristen put together for us. The pre-race atmosphere was fun, positive, friendly but a little on the cold side. And snaps to Exygon for springing for the nice bathrooms for the race! High point!
- The biggest positive was having Willie there with me and running the 5K. He finished with a PR which I know made him happy, especially since he hadn’t run since the Turkey Trot. Just imagine if he would have run on a consistent basis? I know he’ll never fully admit to having fun (He knows I’ll get very excited about him actually running), but I know he enjoyed himself at his first Gusher!
- The GTS Pasta dinner the night before the race was great. I really didn’t want to go because I was tired. I had woken up early that morning to work out, but I went anyway. Willie & I sat with Cara and Trey where we all won door prizes and became fast friends! It’s really nice to be a part of this running group.
- Jeremy running with his GoPro camera is always great to see. And I’m not just saying that because I like cameras or anything. I love that he runs with it and includes everyone along the way. I love how he “stops” along the way to talk to people and find out their story and how he encourages everyone along the way.
- I had the pleasure of running with two ladies, Sarah and Dawn, and the pacer. We were all trying to finish in two hours and fifteen minutes! We stayed with him pretty much the whole way too. But I truly enjoyed being able to talk to them along the way. It really made the first 8 miles pass quickly. Around mile 9, things started to get serious and there wasn’t much talking; just breathing and pure determination to finish. These ladies really became my friends in those moments as we joke and pushed each other along the way. We may not all have finished together or within our time goal, but it was pretty darn close. And the pacer was a great guy who looked for us along the way.
- The home stretch is definitely a memory I will take with me forever because no one knew me last year. When I was about to make my final turn, Willie (not my husband) cheering me on with all of his heart as he was just starting the second lap of his marathon run. The pacer was also a few feet behind me coaching me to the end so I could meet my goal. He pushed and coached until I crossed that finish line! And of course, Kristen and Patsy were on their feet cheering me to a strong finish. Last year, my eyes filled with tears because I had completed my first half marathon. This year I had tears of joy from love and support from my running friends! I have truly found a great group of friends in the running community.
- Lastly, I was able to volunteer my time this year. Events like this don’t happen overnight and not without volunteers. It was important to give back to an event that changed my life so much. I didn’t have much time to give, but I did manage to find time to help stuff packets and help out at packet pickup. It wasn’t much, but I know it was appreciated. Thanks to everyone who put in their time and effort to make the event a success, especially Amie and Richard who dedicate so much time and love to the Gusher!