Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Houston ½ Marathon Race Report

Wow, what an amazing race weekend!

FRIDAY – The Expo

On Friday, I headed to the Expo for packet pick-up (and shopping, of course!).  The Expo is my happy place – I love perusing the booths for upcoming races, cute running gear, new gadgets, etc.  And of course I love it, because I always run into friends from the local running community.

I picked up my packet and found a few choice items.  For example, I scored a new pair of tri shorts and a swimsuit for $9.99 each!  I also replaced my cheapie sunglasses that fell into the porta-potty during IMTX and picked up a cute shirt from BaySix USA.  I also took advantage of Luke’s Locker buy 3 get 1 free socks sale…who couldn’t use a few more pairs of running socks?  I met up with my Ironfriend, Li, and we had a great time shopping!  An exciting part of the expo was meeting up with Jolene, a PR Director from Skechers.  She asked me to try out a pair of Skecher’s GoRun Forza (not during the race, of course).  And she gave me a cute Aramco ½ Marathon tech shirt!  I will be sharing a review of the shoes, so stay tuned for that.

Me and fellow badass Ironman and training partner, Li, at the Expo...we had a great time shopping!

The wall of names...it's a list of everyone running any of the races this weekend!

The m-dot!
My awesome new shirt and shoes, courtesy of Skechers Performance!

SATURDAY – The 5K and The Dinner

I will never get tired of this view!
On Saturday, the Hubs and I woke up early and headed to the ABB 5K.  The 5K is part of the Houston Marathon’s “Houston Double”.  Runners who finish both the ABB 5K and the Houston Marathon or Aramco Half Marathon receive a third medal.  Doing the 5K seemed like a great idea when we registered, but getting up early two mornings in a row didn’t sound so fun when our alarm clock went off on Saturday morning.  But, we managed to get out of bed and head downtown.  And we’re glad we did!  We met up with our fellow Woodlands Fit and Team Beef peeps and had a great time.  The goal here for us was to take this race really easy.  No point in racing the 5K when our main priority was to do well in the Half Marathon the following morning.  We danced at the start (my IMTX finisher’s song, Uptown Funk, was on as we crossed the start), chatted it up with other runners as we waited, then we just enjoyed the sights and sounds of the race.  The thing I enjoyed most was seeing kids running the 5k…and some of them seemed to actually enjoy it.  My kids would more than likely complain the entire time and insist that it was not fun AT ALL.

Team Beef before the ABB 5k

After a day full of family stuff and the weekly grocery shopping, the Hubs and I dumped the kids off with their grandparents and headed out to an event hosted by Skechers and the Houston Marathon Committee.  Glorious grown up time!!! 

Checking out the finish line...

The hubs tolerating me and my picture-taking...

Ready to run!

It was a fun night of great food and mingling with fellow runners, as well as some of the amazing folks who make the Houston Marathon happen every year.  We have a whole new respect for what it takes to organize an event of this size.  Incredible.  We also received cool goody bags that included Nuun, a water bottle, some Elliptigo and Sketchers info, as well as a FREE PAIR OF SKETCHERS PERFORMANCE SHOES! SCORE!

SUNDAY – The Half
Finally, it was race day!  We woke up early and headed downtown.  The great thing about the Houston Marathon is that you have the wonderful shelter of the George R. Brown Convention Center before and after the race.  It was a cold morning, so the warm environment was welcome!
We found some of our running group friends and had time to hang out and mentally prep for the race.  My stomach was feeling a little ick, so I headed off to medical to see if they had any antacids.  On the way, I stopped at the church service that was just starting.  I’m so glad I did, it was exactly what I needed to get my mind right.  And, I just happened to find a Pepto tablet in my race belt…a little souvenir from IMTX.  Score!  I headed to the porta potty 2x before I was finally ready to head out into the frozen tundra cold.

The whole gang...minus me.  I was in the porta can line, doh!

I guess we had stayed in our warm cocoon long enough.  Sigh.  As we walked out the doors of the GRB, we immediately felt the cold breeze and air.  It was cold for this Texas girl!  We walked to our corral and promptly found our place in the pace groups.  It was go-time!  The anthem was sung, the gun was fired and off we went…a slow shuffle toward the start.  I was excited to run into my friend, June, as I shuffled along.  We wished each other good luck and I hit the porta-cans one last time before crossing the start (yes, I had to go AGAIN).  Once again my Ironman Texas finish line song was playing…it was a sign of a great race to come (or something like that).  

Just me and 25,000 of my closest friends!

During the first mile I was in awe of how much room we had to run.  In the past, the route seemed so crowded.  My first 2 -3 miles were always much, much slower than my goal pace, because there was just nowhere to go.  I always stressed out around mile 4 or 5 about how much time I would need to make up thanks to those first few crowded miles.  And, I noticed that I wasn’t weaving around all the people stopping to walk.  Could people have actually placed themselves in the right pace groups? Wow, it was really awesome.  Before I even hit the 1 mile marker, I had shed the sweatshirt I was wearing.  Around mile 2, I had shed my gloves and arm warmers.  I’d regret that later.

By mile 4, I was sweating and wishing I had worn shorts instead of my capris.  Fortunately, the miles ticked by pretty quickly.  Honesty, I had no expectations for this race.  It seems like since breaking my foot and then training for IMTX using HR training, my paces have really suffered.  Most of my long runs were in the 10:40 – 11 minute pace range during my training, and I didn’t feel like I could go much faster if I tried.  Some of my shorter runs had been faster, but rarely faster than a 10 minute pace! (Sad) But during the race, my splits were actually looking pretty decent.  I wasn’t sure if I would be able to hold the pace the entire 13.1 miles, but decided that I’d try.   By mile 6, my average pace was 10:22 and getting better.  Unfortunately, I lost time by mixing a bottle of Tailwind and making a porta-potty stop (stupid bladder!).  My average pace dropped to 10:31.  It took me awhile to get back into a good zone again, but I eventually started running around a 9:50 – 10 minute pace again.  I tried to take in the sights, read some of the signs, high five a kid or two.

My favorite sign?

The one at mile 5 that said, “LeBron would be cramping by now!”. I also really liked the ”If you walk,  Donald Trump will be President.”  I wore my Team Beef shirt for the race and really appreciated the Team Beef love that was on the course.  I’m new to this Team Beef stuff, so that was a pleasant surprise!

At some point, we made our way through a beautiful area with a lot of shade from the trees overhead.  That’s when I really wished that I had my gloves!  My hands were freezing!  But, I felt happy to be wearing my capris afterall.  I was happy to be back on Montrose again.  I was even happier when we approached Shepherd…I knew we were getting close to Allen Parkway (a/k/a the home stretch).  I ran into one of my fellow Team Beef / Woodlands Fit friends, Mark.  We chatted for a few minutes and then went back to our own races.  On Allen Parkway, I usually look for my friends from my days in Houston Fit, but this time I just really wanted to be done.  I didn’t really look at any of the tents along the way and just focused on getting  downtown.

Finally!  I was in Downtown and could see the GRB in the distance.  The street was getting a bit more crowded, which made it difficult to maintain my pace.  This is definitely one of the most exciting parts of the race – as you get closer to the finish, you can start to hear the announcer and the crowds get thicker and thicker.  There’s a steady roar of cheers as you round that final curve – I love that part.  It’s exhilarating!  And then it was done.  I crossed the finish line – 1:15:23.  Not my best, but far from my worst.

Once I made it into the GRB, I checked my phone and saw a text from the hubby.  He met his goal of a sub-2 hour race with an awesome 1:55:57!  I’m so proud of him!

We claimed our finishers shirts and headed to the breakfast area.  On the way, volunteers were handing out ice cream sandwiches.


Okay, so I almost never indulge, but what the hell...I grabbed one.  Yes, I had that in addition to my eggs and sausage.  This might be why my jeans don't like me right now.  I digress...

Afterwards, we met up with some others from Team Beef and Woodlands Fit and headed outside for more post-race festivities.  It was a perfect end to the morning!

On the lawn of Discovery Green

The Hubs requests better beer next year...

The final results...not great, not terrible

1 comment:

Julie @ ROJ Running said...

Congrats on the race! I loved that wall of names sign and what a great deal on the shorts and suit. BTW totally laughed out loud about the Trump sign, wonder if I'll see anything like that up my way in the next few months. Happy running!