Houston Half

Done and done.  My second venture into long distance running was a success!   I had a few different time goals of various degrees of difficulty and I just barely beat my middle one.  1:50 would have been awesome, 1:52:30 on target and 2:00 at the slow end.  I had 9 seconds to spare from missing my target, so I guess that just means I’m good at guessing my talent? :)

The day of the race was ridiculous.  It was pouring in downtown Houston as we drove in and there was some lightening in the area.  I had planned to stop at the port-o-potty just before the race, so around 6:45am I braved the storm and ran for it.  It was basically pitch black out and raining.  A bunch of people were still just standing under their tents, so after my pit stop, I asked them what was going on.  The race was delayed one hour.  After looking at the radar we figured the heavy storms were going to pass over by then, so I decided to wait it out. 

Then, at 7:50am, I got out of the car again and got in another port-o-potty line…there were long lines now.  It was still cold and rainy, but the major storming had passed.  I stood, shivering, in the potty line pretty sure that I was going to miss the start of the race. 

The pot-o-potty set up was terrible because the lines had built up over the start of the race course.  The race organizers kept telling us to get out of the way, but I sure as heck was not not relieving myself before a 2 hour race.  Not happening.  Anyway…some people started bailing from the line, but even so, I started the race almost 10 minutes late!  It was crazy.  For about 5-6 minutes the stream of runners was constant, but the race organizers had already dropped the starting blow-up gate by the time I got there.  A volunteer had to hold it up as I ducked under to just get on my way!  :/

So I was off, really really late and kinda pissed at myself.  My original plan had been to start a little slow to loosen up from the cold, but I started soooo late, that I just had this fire to get caught up to some runners at least.  My first mile was under 8 minutes.  That is not crazy good, but it was pretty fast considering what I had left to do.  My second and third miles were pretty speedy too.  I was constantly dodging in and out trying to get around the other runners.  The first half of the race was a solid 54:21, and I just went with it.  I knew it was unsustainable, but I also felt really good and was enjoying myself…Side note:  I ran this portion almost as fast (miles/min) as Crazylegs that’s only 5 miles).  That’s how I knew it wouldn't last.  I was certainly trained and in better distance running shape, but none of my long training runs had been that fast.

This is the best picture I could find...meaning, I don't look totally exhausted.
You can even see the rain falling.

The rain continued all race and I kept slogging along.  By around mile 8, I slowed down and stopped really passing people…I had finally found some other runners to just hold on to and kinda stay with.  At this point, my legs were feeling those early miles too.  The best motivation I had was my goal time.  It really helped me stay focused on just putting one foot in front of the other, and powering up the tiny Houston hills (which are from over or under-passes).  The other thought that helped push me was that every step I took, would bring me that much closer to the finish.  "The faster you run the sooner you're done"  sums it up pretty well.

Finally, around mile 12.5 I could feel the end in sight.  I happened to be running near a girl who had a friend join her for the last mile for encouragement.  The friend was telling her how close she was to finishing.  It was something like, "just reach those over-passes and the finish is right there."  That really pushed me to finish out strong (well…kinda strong after that distance).  Then it was over in 1:52:21. J

I wasn't tearing up or anything, I was just glad to have accomplished it and ready to be dry again.  I made a quick trip to the St. Arnold’s tent for a beer and then picked up some food.  The race had donuts in the food tent, and the fried smell was just gross.  Call me crazy, but beer just seemed like a better reward than a donut.

Once I stopped running I realized how freaking cold it was with the wind and rain.  Luckily, my very, very, extremely supportive husband was waiting with car just a couple blocks away.  I hopped in and we were off for home once more.  

Super cool medal with stained glass look.