Aramco Houston Half

Second half in the books!

After the Houston Half in October I was ready to take a break from long runs.  I really like to run a 6 or 7 miler once a week and it's usually a weekend thing.  When I have to run more than an hour though, it takes a lot more effort and often I'll want need a nap after...it just takes more from my day than I'd like.  So, I took a two week break in November and then casually ran a few times with Mr. PnP until Thanksgiving.  That week I won a free bib for the really big Houston half in January.  Sweet!!! I love free stuff, and this is a pretty expensive race to begin with.  The only problem was getting back in shape! :)

I immediately mapped out my long run plan.  That gave me just about two months, if I started that weekend (I did), and even have proper tapering time.  My overall training was a little lackluster...not as much speed work or weekly miles as the October half, but it was still nice to be training for something.

Almost done!

The race.  The day was perfect (1/19/14). It was easily shorts weather as the start, even before sunrise.  It's kinda weird now that I think about it.  Most Houston races start in the dark.  Everyone trains in the dark too because it's so freaking hot out the majority of the year.  It's also probably due to the shorter winter days during race season...Now I'm off track!   

The race started, and we were off.  My first 5k was pretty fast.  I had a group of girls in my sight and hung on to them for almost 4 miles.  They had bright pink shorts and were easy to find even a few meters back.  By the second 5k I was more settled into my race pace and was feeling mostly good.  I completely missed the water station at mile 2 so I was really thirsty at 3.5 where the next one was.  I had a gel just before that water station and overcompensated with three waters.  That left my stomach a little sloshy for a bit.  After getting over that, I felt pretty good during those middle miles.  Then a "fun" side ache hit around mile 9/10.  Boo...  I never quite shook it off either.

Fortunately, when I turned for the last long stretch through downtown, the sun was bright, and directly in my face.  Now, this would be super annoying most of the time, but I used it to zone out and just push.  I couldn't see very far ahead, so it was easier to motivate myself through each small goal.  The next intersection, the next skywalk, etc.  It also helped that the crowds had grown and everyone was cheering.  Our race bibs had our names on them, so I even heard a few "go Amy's."  As cheesy as it sounds, it really does help me go faster (or maybe just give up less).

Running with my eyes closed...
I seriously did this for a few seconds at a time to get over myself.

All in all, I finished in 1:54, which I am mostly happy about.  I always want to do better, but it was solid for my effort.  I think there will be more halfs in my future, but for now I'm going to do more 5/10k training and see where that takes me.

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