Don't Mess with Texas
Amazing what the mind can do for you. Honestly, I had no business doing this half marathon. Sure, I’ve kept my fitness level up but nothing can ever replace running to train for a race. So, I should preface my report with: Don’t do what I did if you can help it:-p
Texas was an experience to say the least. I ate food until I could eat no more which included the best flan (+mole!) I’ve ever had, Venison chili in a completely decked out BBQ joint, and of course pre-race cookies from Pink Monkey! She definitely named the bag correctly by calling us the Speedy Bagels rather than Beagles (well except for AB, who was actually ready to run!). Friday, we headed off to Austin (state capital) for the night. I learned that Texas has a state dinosaur, seashell, not to mention a small/large/flying mammal. Who knew? It also has the third tallest state capitol building in the country behind Louisiana (which is actually a tower not a dome) and Illinois. We explored 6th street that night, which is world famous for music. It rained and decided to rain the hardest as we headed back to the hotel for the evening. The morning brought water rescues just a few blocks away and off we went back to Houston as fast as we could. The temperature had dropped 30 degrees overnight in Austin but when we arrived in Houston it was still 70!
Saturday we ate at Fuddruckers (based out of Texas!) before heading to the convention center to pick up our numbers. For whatever reason, Houston decided to make everyone feel like an elite runner as our first name was plastered on our bib! We also found out we get to keep our chip as it is the 35th anniversary. I got to see the Butterfly exibit at the science museum which was cool before heading back to Sempre Libera’s house for some pasta before the run.
RACE DAY! 5am brought wakey-wakey time. The weather had remained warm and oddly enough, I had packed every type of clothing but a tank! However, I figured the short sleeve shirt and shorts would be fine since I had no intentions of anything terribly speedy (for me). In the car, I ate my staple pre-race meal of peanut butter on bread and tried to catch a few more zzzzz’s.
As Brooklyn astutely mentions, the start was a giant clusterf**k. First, it took us a good deal of time just to find the half marathon start. Second, there were only two starts according to t he color of your bib. There were not any pace markers posted either so it was just everyone in one gigantic cluster. When the horn blared, the inevitable occurred. There were many “runners” ahead that had no business being in my starting corral. The first mile was spent trying to maneuver around walkers spread 5 abreast. My first mile? Almost 10 FREAKIN’ MINUTES!?! I was not too happy about this since the only real goal I had was to finish sub 2 hours. Running a 10 minute first mile definitely would not be of help. Fortunately though there were no rumblings in my leg. After mile 1 things calmed down and I was able to resume running under 9 minute miles.
The first few miles were a bit faster than I wanted to run but I think I was just excited to be back. Most of my miles were within the 8:45-8:50 range. Another observation: the 10th mile and 15k mark were switched. I knew I didn't run a 2:25 mile:-p It was relatively easy for me and I had no difficulty with breathing. The only troubles came in the last 5K when my right hamstring cramped up. I bet running only a 7 miler as a long run had something to do with that. SL's parents waved a gigantic Mexican flag (no she wasn't kidding!) and screamed like crazy as I ran by. Not to worry, I was just as obnoxious back to them:) I'm sure the photos will show this.
Though it was hard to watch as people passed me at the end, I knew today was not my day to push it. I just kept telling myself that.
So how did pacemaster fare?
First 6.2 miles @ 8:48 pace
Next 2.8 miles @ 8:46 pace
Last 4.1 miles @ 8:51 pace
After the race I found Sempre Libera and AB to share war stories. AB had a fantastic race and it's too bad the first mile was so congested. As mentioned prior, I finished with a 1:55:25. I'm satisfied. Considering I did this on zero running, I'm quite certain that time would be quite different with proper training. So now I am continuing to get my training base back and hopefully returning to speed in two weeks. Of course, there is motive to getting that speed back. Yeah, there are some races but the race of February is of the utmost importance: The Cherry Tree Relay! The Speedy Beagles return and hopefully I'll be more like a beagle by then and not a bagel:-p
The trip home was quite the ordeal. I think an email that SL sent tells the story pretty well. It should be told that Houston was expecting ice storms at some point so we wanted to get out ASAP!
our flight was scheduled to leave at 6:55
then it moved to 8:30
then 9:40 and i thought hey, at least it's being delayed in smaller and smaller increments
then 11:15 and we thought, oh crap. sleet forecasted for late night in houston, first flight out tues morning cancelled, we're never getting back to NY
then at 7:55 they said we had an 8:30 window to leave and if we hauled ass we might make it
so at 9pm CST or so we took off .
i went to bed way, way too late.
but at least i made it!
Air travel is absolutely amazing, isn't it? So that is a synaposis of my journeys to Texas. Fun trip overall:-)