DISCLAIMER: This is long. I’m sorry.
A couple weeks ago my husband and I ran the Houston Half Marathon. Yes, I realize it’s been a full two weeks since the race so this post is rather belated. But, hey right now my life is just a little crazy. Getting this up at all is a small victory.
There’s only one word that can describe the experience. Rain. The race was planned to start at 7 am but thanks to a line of thunderstorms and heavy rain that moved through the area the start was postponed an hour to 8 am.
So, we sat around for an hour in the parking garage (it was warm and dry in there!) waiting for the rain to let up.
The delay wasn’t really a big deal except that I ended up eating my pre-race banana an hour too early and by the time the race started I was starving.
Because of the rain I have almost no pictures of the event. I wasn’t too motivated to take my camera out in the epic downpour. I think this one sums it up the best.
The race is an out and back which started and ended at Sam Houston Park in downtown Houston. The first bit meandered around downtown and then finally down Allen Parkway to Memorial Park and back to downtown.
The weather was a very cool 60 degrees and it rained during the ENTIRE race. I don’t mind racing in the rain, it kept my body cool and the clouds kept the sun away but being wet after the race wasn’t fun at all.
This was a smaller run, about 5000 runners and since it was small there wasn’t a waved start which was a little frustrating. The funnel effect of the downtown streets and the crowd of people running different speeds made finding my pace almost impossible for the first two miles. I bobbed and weaved around people just trying to settle in. Around mile three the crowd thinned out a bit and everyone was starting to run in a group of people their own pace. My husband found me around mile two and ran with me for about a mile but then he peeled off at a rest station and I didn’t see him again until the finish.
The race itself was organized well. Rest stations were about every 1.5-2 miles and were well stocked with Gatorade and water. The course was well marked and had police at every intersection. EMTs were patrolling the course on bicycles looking for people in need of medical attention.
I think the worst part of this race was something the race organizers couldn’t control – the mud at the post race party at Sam Houston Park. It was horrible. It made the post race “party” more of a grab a donut and go home type of event. This wasn’t mud in the traditional sense. This was brown primordial goop that was slippery! Oh so slippery! You couldn’t get to the food tent or any of the vendor tents without risking a fall in the muck. That and there was no toilet paper left in any of the portable toilets by the time the race was over.
My stretch goal for this run was to break two hours. I set the virtual partner on my Garmin for a 9 minute mile and made it my goal to beat it. I knew if I could average 9 minute miles then breaking two hours was a given.
My racing strategy was to run 9:30 the first mile, 9:15 the second, and then settle into 9 for the remainder of the first half. The second half I could focus on negative splitting and making up the lost time.
This was a small race (less than 5,000) and therefore didn’t have a
wave start. The crowd during the first couple miles made intentional pacing almost impossible. It was more of a do-the-best-you-can kind of situation but the rest of the plan worked out well.
Splits were: 9:23, 9:12, 8:53, 9:08, 8:40, 8:43, 8:55, 8:48, 8:45, 8:33, 8:32, 9:02, 8:37
Official time – 1:56.28
Overall – 924/4543
Gender – 252/2378
Age Group (F 30-34) – 48/391
Avearage Pace – 8:53 min/mile
1st Half – 59:09 (9:01 min/mile)
2nd Half – 57:22 (8:45 min/mile)
PR by a whopping 13 minutes!
I stopped at every water stop through the first half of the race and then only one in the second half. Took a Gu (Roctane Cherry Lime) at mile 7.
My legs felt surprisingly good throughout the race. Around mile 10 I started cramping in my left shin and foot but was able to run through it. By the time I finished the race though my thighs felt like someone had been pounding them with a hammer. My pacing strategy worked well; at the finish I had the perfect amount of energy left. I felt like I had pushed my body as hard as I could and left the course with absolutely no regrets.
Since the post race party was more of a muddy shiver fest we grabbed a few bites of food and then left. I changed into dry clothes in the car so at least I would be dry on the way home.
After picking up the kids at my parents house and visiting for a little bit we finally made it back to our house around 2. We immediately laid Evie down for a nap. I laid down with the baby for a nap around 3 and we all woke back up around 6.
We had planned on grilling burgers for dinner but we were both so tired we ordered pizza instead.
At 8:30 I laid down in bed to nurse the baby and fell asleep again. This time for the night.
I was so tired that I accidentally slept in one of my contacts. When I woke up I couldn’t see a thing out of my right eye and was a little freaked out. I kept putting eye drops in my eye thinking it was just really dry. It took me an hour to finally go look in the mirror to figure it out!
For those of you wondering, yes I wear a contact in each eye. I thought I took them both out before I laid down to feed the baby. I succeeded in removing the left one (which I put in the right side of the contact case?) and failed at removing the right one entirely, even though I distinctly remember taking it out. I must have been very, very tired.
I think the biggest surprise of the day was my husband! He didn’t train AT ALL – like he maybe ran a total of 20 miles in the three months leading up to the race. He was planning on running/walking since he was so out of shape but somehow he still ran a 2:04! 2:04!!! No walking involved. Mind blown.