Sunday, January 25, 2009

Houston 1/2 Marathon Race Report

This race report is long overdue! Better late than never, right?

Saturday - The Expo

I met the Woodlands Fit gals at the "Y" Saturday morning and we rode together to the Expo. After the chaos that we encountered at the San Antonio Rock & Roll Expo, I had a renewed appreciation for the ultra-organized Houston expo. We had fun looking at all the booths and I even made a few purchases:

A hand-held fuel belt bottle

A subscription to Women's Running magazine (yes, I wanted the free t-shirt)

A Spibelt (see below)

After the expo, we headed over to The Grove at Discovery Green. Little did I know, my runner friends had a birthday surprise for me! First, there was the card...super cute, but it was also filled with lottery scratch offs and Starbucks gift cards! (By the way, I won $8 from those!) Next was a gift bag filled with birthday goodies - a "Happy Birthday" tiara, a "Birthday Princess" ribbon, a crown pin that said "Birthday Princess" and a hot pink feather boa! Fun, huh?

Sunday - RACE DAY

We met up at the Y again at an ungodly hour in order to get to the GRB in plenty of time (for a brief minute, I wished I was still living in town!). Once we arrived, I ate the 2nd half of my PB&J, grabbed some water, hit the porta-cans and checked my bag. I put on all my birthday garb and was ready to go! Here are the Woodlands Fit peeps in our super-cool matching shirts:

We waited until about 10 minutes before gun time to head out to our corrals. It was cool outside, but I knew that would change once we got going. We could barely hear the anthem and then, Bang!, the gun...and of course, we stood around until it was our turn. :-) Here I am with all the birthday girl gear on. If you know me, I am not one to draw attention to myself. I was definitely feeling a bit out of place at first, but it worked to my advantage later!

Finally, we were off! Sort of - it was so crowded that we couldn't really keep our goal pace for the first couple of miles and we decided to scrap the 5/1s until the crowds thinned a little. As always, it was cool seeing the sea of people as we went over the bridges on Elysian. Honestly, the morning was somewhat of a big blur! Somewhere within the first 1/2 mile, I ditched the boa and I handed it off to a little girl on Quitman a little later.

The funniest part of the race occurred somewhere on White Oak before the 4 mile marker. A guy ran up next to me and wished me a happy birthday. Then, he started singing the "Happy Birthday" song...but suddenly stopped to ask me my name. The next thing I knew, he had the entire crowd around us singing happy birthday to me! It was hilarious! That sort of set the tone for the rest of the race, as people were either yelling out "Happy Birthday Christy!", "Go Christy!" or "Go Princess!" the entire time we were running. One little girl looked at her Mom and said, "Look, a princess!". It was actually pretty fun!

In previous years, I remember the thick crowds of people for the 1st couple of miles, but I don't remember it being so crowded until the turnaround. Like I said, it's a blur. It seemed like we were passing the mile markers pretty quickly. Each time we made it to one, we'd comment, "Wow, we're already at mile 5!", then mile 6, mile get the idea. Along the way I came to the following realizations:

  1. Running with a group is SO much better than running alone! Thanks to Katie and Kelly who I ran with for almost the entire race!

  2. It was not smart to wear my Nike capri running pants on such a warm day...I went against my better judgement here. (But, I decided not to think about it too much while I was running - yeah, it's friggin hot - there's no point dwelling on it, right?)

  3. It was super smart to ditch the 4-bottle fuel belt and go with my cool new hand-held bottle! I love it!

  4. Also super smart to buy the Spibelt! The little pocket was perfect for anything I needed to bring with me and it held my race bib just fine!

  5. My hip-flexors were feeling very tight...again, didn't dwell on it!

  6. I think I was talking Kelly and Katie's ears off, pointing out some local landmarks like my former school, my favorite restaurants, etc.

  7. It was friggin' hot!

  8. Viv and Margo rock! More cowbell baby!

  9. I highly recommend running any race in a tiara!

While I didn't make my goal time of 2:30 (I missed it by 1:31 and some change), I really feel like I did the best I possibly could. As I was thinking back over the entire course and how I was feeling and the pace I was running, I don't think I could or would have changed anything. As I entered downtown, I had this moment...I looked up at the gorgeous blue sky between the skyscrapers and everything just felt, well, right. Like I was exactly where I needed to be, at exactly the right time, doing what I love to do and it felt great.

So that was my day! Well that and my live interview with Bob Slovak on ABC 13, lol. And, I have to say the Houston crowds rock, the post race accommodations rock, and thanks to the Girl Scouts for the cookies! I swear to God, they were the best cookies I ever tasted! The 2009 Houston 1/2 was absolutely the best race I have ever run - I have my Woodlands Fit friends to thank for that. :-) Cheers!


Blessed with Boys said...

Hey great race report! Much better than the one on BT!

Viv said...

Awww Christy I wonder how the heck you could be the cutest 1/2er out there for real! Congrats chickie but above all else you had a blast!

Hope to be out there running it next year, but you will get my cowbell any day.

Love the new masthead!

Margo said...

It was great to see you out there!! Loved the birthday attire too! I wish I would have remembered to tape the race during the morning so I could catch your interview.