Wednesday, December 05, 2012

LaPorte By the Bay Half Marathon - Race Report

Well, we made it! It's the final race of the "Bridge Series"! You've read my race reports for the Toughest 10K Kemah and the thoughest 10K Galveston, this one was toughest of the three races - the LaPorte by the Bay Half Marathon.

This race is labeled as "the Highest Off-the-Ground Half Marathon in Texas" with
177 feet water clearance. The race leads runners over the 2.6 mile Fred Hartman Bridge not once, but two times.  The bridge spans over the Houston Ship Channel and is considered a "cable stay" bridge - it is really cool too see.  And out of the 3 races, this bridge is definitely the toughest!

The race had an 8 am start, so we arrived a little after 7 am. Parking was plentiful, there were more than enough porta potties, there was coffee and water at the start...what more could a runner want?  I decided to wear my standard black running skirt and my "Run Aggieland" shirt.  The shirt was an excellent choice, because I ended up getting shouts of "Gig'em Aggies!" the entire race.  Yep, that famous "Aggie Network" even exists at races!

The view of the water before the race

Hanging out before the race

The Hubs and his friend placed themselves in the front of the middle of the pack. M and I placed ourselves farther in the back, as we were planning to run the 5/1 intervals that M had been using for training. After the anthem, we were on our way. I saw Jon Walk, who was announcing, and he shouted something about me being too far in the back. I yelled back, "Not today, Jon!".

Just like the two 10K races, this was more of a training run than a race for me. The Hubs and I wanted to try this series, and we were in it primarily for bling fun. My focus remains on the Aramco Houston 1/2 Marathon in January and The Woodlands 1/2 Marathon in March.  And, I'm running a 1/2 marathon relay in one week, so I had no desire to attempt a speedier pace.

When we started the race, the temps were in the high 60s/low 70s. The high on Sunday was supposed to be 83, and it did warm up really quick. The heat doesn't do much for my pace either! Thank God there was a bit of a breeze on the bridge and the race volunteers provided cold towels and sponges. To make things a bit more uncomfortable, it was a bright and sunny day...and I forgot to wear sunscreen, doh! 

The race route took us down some residential streets for a few miles. Then, a little before mile 5, we made our way onto the bridge. I'm not sure of the grade, but it was definitely steeper than the previous two races. We charged up the first half of it, but then it was time for a walk break. We kept walking. And kept walking. Downhill was awesome, though! Before we knew it, we were off the bridge and making our way into a local park and to the turn around point. M's hubby and kiddos met us at a couple of places along the way and this was one of them. And, they came bearing gifts of ice cold water and Gatorade!

Up, up, up we go...

Taking a quick break and photo op!

Next, we made our way up the bridge once more. Again, we ran a good portion of the bridge and the opted to walk the rest of the way. The race is a point to point, so we knew once we were off the bridge, we only had a few miles left. Honestly, with all of the catching up M and I had to do, the miles seemed to go by pretty quickly. I was kind of surprised when we made it to the mile 12 marker, because I was pretty sure we were only at mile 10! Gotta love it when that happens!

Going up.  Again.

Spectacular looking bridge!

The view of the bridge from the turn around point.

Before I knew it, we hit the 13 mile marker and then the finish. As usual, Jon made me feel like a superstar when I crossed the finish line. I sped ahead, while M's 4 year old son crossed the finish line with her. We collected our bling, which was amazingly huge!  Next, we made our way over to our families and friends and enjoyed all the post race food and drinks. I was excited to see that they had my favorite beverage - Mike's Hard Lemonade!  Yum!

Post race with our amazing bling!!!!

All in all, this is a great race series and the La Porte by the Bay 1/2 Marathon was an excellent race! Will we do it again? I don't know. All three races require a pretty long drive from our neck of the woods. We decided after the 2nd race that there are enough races in our 'hood and Downtown (which is closer), that we really don't need to drive this far for a running race. Triathlon is a whole different story...most of those do require an hour drive from us. But, we really enjoyed each race, so who knows? I do highly recommend this series, especially to the folks who live near the Kemah, Galveston, Clear Lake area.

What races are you training for right now?  How is the training going???


Lisa said...

My vote for Heisman is "Mr Football" Johnny Manziel. Go Aggies! I like any team that beats Alabama!

Congrats on the race bling!

TX Runner Mom said...

LOL Lisa! That was the most exciting win ever! Fingers crossed for Johnny Football!

Michael said...

Extra medals always motivate me. I'm a sucker for that kind of stuff.

Bridges in races suck though. Really bad. It's pretty though.

Robin said...

I like those medals!

Anonymous said...

Those medals are enormous!

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

Bridges make for a tough run! Congrats on the finish!