Way back in 2009 several of the KreW had signed up for this race, but as it got closer it was down to 2. Me and Dixie. Of course I knew several other friends doing it; being from Ft Worth, Austin and even some from here in Houston as well, so it was shaping up to be a trip I was so looking forward to since I dont get to see my friends from other parts of the State as often as I would like (and how wonderful that so many of them have taken up running!)...a girl at work signed up and so we drove up together on Saturday and checked into the Hyatt which was located just 1 mile from the expo and the Start of the race...
Tracey met us at the hotel and we all walked over to the expo where I found Crystal and Becky but missed seeing anyone else...then we all went to dinner at Campisi's which was awesome! Yummy veggie pizza for me! Yay! The place was packed with runners of course! MelissaM and I retired to the hotel after getting all our gear ready and turned it remembering to set the clocks right, setting the alarm on my phone and calling for a wake up call!! :) The plan was for Tracey, Becki and Crystal to meet us in the lobby at 7 and we would walk over the Start. What ended up happening was Crystal and I only as Tracey overslept and had to drive from Ft Worth, Becki got lost and Melissa upstairs as she likes getting at the Start at the last minute.
So with mile 1 in the books already :), I found gear check and checked my bag and then Crystal and I situated ourselves in corral 3 and waited. Eventually Tracey found us but we couldnt find the others and I had checked my phone in my bag :( I had put 2hrs down so thats why I was up front; Crystal was to be in 4, MelissaK was in 3; not sure how we didnt see her..MelissaM and Dixie in the back and Tracey was to be in 8 along with Becki if I remember correctly.
They were starting the corrals about 2 min apart is what I heard but I really didnt think about that till later on in Mile 1 and I will say why later...
My Garmin wasnt picking up a signal; I guess due to the buildings and such so I just turned it off at that point figuring I would try again once we got out of the way of those.
The usual fanfare at the beginning and we were off! I knew going in from Aimee that this course had 8 miles of hills, 'worse than Houston marathon, but not as bad as Austin marathon' were her words...so I was apprehensive. As we made the turn I could see the next turn and everyone barreling downhill and I thought, shit I hope this isnt like AP where we go down and THEN up...Crystal, Tracey and I together...and then no uphill! yay! As we got away from the buildings i turned the Garmin back on and yay a signal before mile 1 marker! So I hit the start button right at the sign. It was also here where I heard a guy next to me tell his friend that 'we're 5 min in from where we started'. This became embedded in my brain and I shouldnt have listened. The clock at the 1 mile marker said 13:58, and if I was 5 min in that means my first mile was an 8:58 and while that is doable, I didnt think I had run that...I should have done the 6 min as I intended and I would have been more accurate at the end, as at every clock I subtracted only 5 min instead of 6...this is also why when I crossed the finish line at 1:14:52 I thought I had gone sub 2:10...and by the way as I was approaching the finish I saw the time and ran as hard as I could to get under 1:15 for that specific reason...I wanted a sub 2:10 once I knew it was in reach at about mile 11.
In mile 2 was the first big hill and so it went through miles 2-8, with the largest one being in mile 8 right after your turn onto Mockingbird and out of the ritzy neighborhood of Highland Park.
2 things sucked about this portion...1 is I guess since its an exclusive neighborhood there were NO water stops through here...which I was ok but I heard plenty complaining about it later on. The other was in mile 5, Crystal and I are going along, stride for stride and then out of nowhere this photographer wants to stop us for pictures...whaaat? and I dont mean a picture...he was posing us, etc...so bizarre...so we take off again finally as I was like 'dude i HAVE to go' 'you're screwing with my time here!'...so we take off and then we hear yelling and I look back and hes running after us! Ha! 'Can I just get a few more of the 2 of you in front of this house?'...it was a HUGE house...and I was like are you FREAKING kidding me? (something about for the new brochure for RnR)...I tell ya, our picture better be in that brochure!! :) I dont know why we did it, and when the mile split beeped and it said 11:04 I WAS PISSED....I took off to try and make up some time on the next mile, but then I remembered what Coach always says and thats not to try and make up time for a stop at the potty or whatever...so I figured it meant in this case too...and I backed off to my regular pace.
It was also in mile 5 where I took a gel and an SCap (I had taken an SCap before the start), and I knew I wouldnt need another one, so I just took it when the opportunity presented itself.
Everything was uneventful really from here on out; a few more hills (I would say miles 6.5 through 8 were the hardest as far as hills) and a LOT of wind, headwind at that...Funny signs along the way, lots of spectators which was awesome. Actually the course really had a lot of spectators and that was really cool. Funniest sign was once I topped the hill in mile 8 that a guy was holding up that said: Run Like Tigers wife is chasing you. I just thought that was funny.
In mile 9 I encountered a woman who was skipping. Yes.. Skipping. I thought how odd, but maybe thats her 'walk' in a run/walk or something, or maybe shes trying to get her mojo back, but she was just skipping along, arms flailing...so funny. And I just ran past her never giving her another thought, until later when she ended up behind me to get my gear and started talking to me and I realized it was her. She had SKIPPED THE ENTIRE HALF MARATHON...and actually did it in 2:19. Funny. First time she had done that she said, and we both figured she was going to have some aches and pains not normal to her recovery..She was from Louisiana and had done a full marathon in New Orleans just a couple of weeks ago. And I do believe she was older than me, and I thought...wow. I dont know that I could do a 1/2 2-3 weeks after a full. She said she didnt skip in the full marathon :)
All I know is that when I saw the 20K marker that final 1K was A LONG WAY IT SEEMED... but my Garmin registered at 12.18 (remember I missed the first mile on the Garmin).
Once I made it through the Finish, I had to make my way and make it QUICK through all the maze to get to a porta potty...I had to go!!! I felt some discomfort in mile 12 and I thought, oh hell NO...this is NOT going to happen...I made sure I grabbed a free Gu without caffeine in mile 11 that they were giving out, and I was careful not to drink anything but water, except a few times I did grab the Cytomax and it was fine. People always say how gross it is, but I liked it better than Gatorade to be honest...
I did stop at every station to grab fluids, and walked the 15 sec or so to get it in my mouth...so as I saw the splits each mile, I thought way cool man, my splits are still awesome with the min walk to drink. I do not regret this decision at all as I dont think it had ANY bearing on my overall time, but definitely helped me stay hydrated and upright and able to still run at a decent clip.
Once I finally got to gear check ( a loooong way away), I got my phone, then found MelK, Crystal and Tracey, and then Becki, we hung out a bit before trying to figure out how to get back...the Finish was 4 miles away from the Start...We started walking towards the DART, and this is no lie, after walking 2 more miles to get to the station, I finally had had it and was able to hail down a cab!!! We all had enough money to more than pay for the fare back and man were we happy! At the end of the day, we got in 16 miles, 13.1 running, 3 more walking...
I still had to wait a long time in the hotel for my roomie and she didnt make it back till about 1:30 and I was dying!!! I had showered but I was starving and ready to get on the road because I just wanted to be home!
MelK had a FABULOUS PR run even with falling at the end and ending up needed some bo-bo bands for her scrapes, and came in with a 1:48 and Crystal beat me by about 5 minutes...everyone else came in after me...I had lost Crystal after the 10K mark as she really picked it up and I wanted to stay right where I was. I kept her in sight for a while, but then she was just gone :) She was going for a PR as well and really wanted it! Heck we ALL did and we were all successful!!! And I definitely got the negative split and thats another think Coach preaches to us faithful followers.
This race, even without the perfect weather conditions was awesome. I dont really care for the 1/2 marathon distance when it comes to races but they might grow on me :) ... especially when done with so many wonderful friends! I will definitely go back next year for the same race.
The medal is awesome; nice and heavy...pleased especially since the Houston marathon medals this year were blah...small and light and big whoop that they have a swirly thing in the middle. :) Hopefully next year they will go back to the heavier, bigger medals :)
I am really proud of my effort, even if I am still second guessing myself today...I should have pushed when I felt like I was in great form from the beginning, but again fear kept me at arms length. Did I do the right thing? I dont know, and wont ever know. I am heavily considering the 1/2 out in Clear Lake in April but it will be a week of decision for me, as it can be very warm in April and the sole reason for thinking of doing it is to get closer to that 2 hour mark...so we'll see.
I have 3 shorter distance races coming up in the next few weeks and some into May even...I find out shortly whether I got picked for NYC again, and if I dont, then the next decision will be: Chicago or MCM. Either of those gives me time to recouperate and be ready for additional training for Houston in January...
I had today off so I have been laying by the pool, running errands and doing some Spring cleaning...Quads have a bit of soreness but not too much...I've been rolling my soles on a frozen water bottle a lot since returning home as the plantar pain was pretty painful after the race, but this morning no pain when my feet hit the floor...obviously I havent run today and I have trainer at the gym tomorrow...I might not run then either and just do the elliptical in anticipation of a loooong day at Memorial on Wednesday with a speed workout with KW and then coaching duties at PIM...
On a sad note: as I passed through the Finish line and gathered my breath, I heard a lot of commotion behind me and yelling of "clear the area for emergency personnel"...at the time I didnt think too much about it and continued on my way through the chutes, but then after arriving home I found out that a 32 year old man had collapsed and died after the crossed the Finish line; I am not sure if this was the same reason or not for the commotion, but still...I tell ya, even with 1 in 67000+ chance of this happening, and even if the odds of dying in regular activities are higher, it still makes you stop and just realize exactly what we put our bodies through on a regular basis that some just dont understand....and never will...
Next up: Splits (I havent even plugged in my Garmin to see), the Good and Bad of this race and the Pros and Cons of traveling to a race (when you are as crazy as I have become about my eating patterns and choices)...and yes it is doable with planning and a bit of negotiation between your head and your body :) How wonderful that you can travel and still be healthy and not fall victim to the horrible foods that litter the highways and by-ways of our great country!!!