Monday, January 31

Chevron Houston (half) Marathon Recap:

The Morning:

I woke up at 4am because I wanted time to shower, calm my nerves and warm up my muscles. I know, shower before a race??? I wanted to make sure my body was good and awake. Which really wasn't necessary since I had a restless sleep. I began my morning ritual as any other morning before a training run except I had some serious intestinal issues. I'm not sure if it was nerves but I knew this problem spelled disaster for my race if I didn't rehydrate. The temperature outside was a balmy 64 degrees with 80% humidity. Both my husband and I were pretty concerned about me getting dehydrated because of the severity of my bathroom issue. It was at this point I made the decision I was going to need to stop at most of the hydration station on the race course. I knew they would be segmented every 1.5 miles. I also knew this would affect my time but between the humidity and a serious intestinal case I would be in trouble. We got the kiddos up and left the house about 5:15ish. I had packed a bag (forgot to tell my husband that's where the camera was)of goodies and drinks for them the night before so heading out the door went very smooth. My husband is the greatest navigator and managed to secure a parking spot no more than 2 blocks from the convention center. The convention center was a buzz of anticipation and port-o-potties=) I made another quick stop to the bathroom and headed to the start line.

The Starting Line:

I was not too thrilled about the marathons suggestion to line up at 6:15 knowing that meant I would be STANDING in line for almost an hour before my race. Who practices for that?!?! Standing shoulder to shoulder with people an hour before you actually start running??? Fortunately this did allow me to get really close to the start so I knew the time on my watch was going to be close to my actual chip time. God provided a really chatty lady for me to talk to and before long another joined in on our conversation. We talked about everything and the hour passed quickly. The cannon went off and I started my watch when my foot hit the pad.

The Course: The rain had started before the race so the roads had a pretty slick feel. I saw one guy wipe our pretty bad. I was pacing myself pretty conservatively because of the roads and hills that I knew were over the next 5 miles. The first hill was less than a half mile into the course and seemed to go on forever. At the first hydration station I grabbed a cup from a friendly volunteer and kept on running. I don't like to stop and drink, too hard to get going again. The second water station was a different story. Being in the second wave of runners the first wave had completely wiped out the station. YES! there was nothing to drink not a single cup on the table! After a few minutes of looking I was handed a cup while this sweet slightly panicked volunteer filled it with Gatorade. This was the scenario that played out over the next 3-4 hydration stations. This really affected my time. Around mile 5 I saw my family. Oh what joy this brought me! They had made such effort to get out there and stood in the rain to cheer me on. I stopped hugged and kissed each of them. From mile 5 I just tried to stay focused and not trip or slip over something. Thankfully throughout the remainder of the race most of the water stations were full and I was able to pick up a couple of cups each round. The Chevron Houston Marathon is the largest race the city puts on and there were an estimated 18,000 runners that day. A race this large means I was never alone. I was constantly running alongside a big group and the crowd support was amazing. It was not difficult to pat someone on the shoulder as you passed and offer a word of support or high five spectators, all of which I did. I knew I was not going to achieve some great time, I'm not there in my training nor was this race about that. To my surprise the heat and humidity didn't bother me that much and the slight drizzle kept me feeling good I never felt overheated. My sweet family managed to make another appearance around mile 9. Again I stopped and fueled up on hugs and kisses. When I took off after seeing them I looked down and I was clocking a 7 min pace!!! Ha! I had to cool the jets and get back into a zone. By mile 10 I knew I could finish this race. I had run a smart conservative race up to this point and I was happy. The last 3 miles were really hard, harder than I thought they would be. As I turned into the downtown area the wind had a tunnel affect and it was against me. I saw a lot of people walking and for a few minutes I though I was going to have to stop. I saw the 12 mile marker flag ahead and that gave me some hope until I looked down at my watch and it was already showing 12 miles! That messed with my head a little but I just kept going. There was one last hill and it was pretty BRUTAL. When I made the final turn and saw the finish line the tears just started flowing. I had done it! all the emotions of the past, the heartaches, the losses, were now symbolically behind me as I was seeing the finish line up ahead. Even now the tears flow... I didn't know my husband was at the finish line and could see me crying. He told me later he was choking back tears himself knowing what this race symbolized in my life. I crossed the finish line at 2:27. My Garmin show my distance was 13.27. I'm sure the course is accurate, I'm kind of puzzled about that though.

Post Race:
After crossing the finish line I saw my family right away. I gave my husband a big thank you and kiss for being such an amazing husband, spectator and supporter. I would not have made it through this race without his love and support of my running and training! The kids had big smiles and wonderful attitudes considering they had been hanging out in various circumstances for hours. I feel so loved. Kudos go to the Chevron Houston Marathon organization for putting on a well organized race and for giving the average runner like myself a very special feeling. On the way home we picked up some eats at Chipotle while I rehashed the entire 13 miles to my husband who just kept telling me how proud he was of me. I called my folks and got to talk to my brother also. I have an amazing supportive family. And to those of you who have offered your prayers, support and encouragement thank you, thank you, thank you – a MILLION TIMES – for all of your support. Finally I want to acknowledge my Lord and Savior (It sounds like I'm receiving some kind of award-dorky, I know-lol) but seriously without Him I am nothing. It is by His mercy and grace that I have a race to run at all. I owe Him my life and I am so grateful for the race He gives me to run everyday. I offer Him my every breath in praise for His greatness and faithfulness.

The Road Ahead:

I'm already registered for the Dallas Rock-n-Roll half on March 27th. I hope to begin doing some hill work and loose that stubborn 20lbs before then. Ultimately my goal is to run a half in under 2 hrs. Dallas RnR is another big race, so it will be interesting to see how much time I can shave off. I am looking at a smaller half marathon in May as a potential race to see some dramatic time improvements. I'm familiar with the area as it is in Oklahoma as well as its a very small race. Until then I am keeping my eyes on the real prize which is Christ Jesus and running His race to win!


Tina @GottaRunNow said...

Congrats on a job well done! Have fun training for your next half. Well, as much fun as you can have doing hillwork!

Wendy said...

Congrats, Terri! Great job!

Mary Ann said...

Proud of you! I teared up just reading your account of the finish line.

Kate said...

my heart swells for you! i know exactly how you feel - leaving it all on the course. i love how some races and some runs can just be so symbolic. love it! keep your eyes on the prize and it will all fall in line in due time. :) so so proud of you! you did it!!!

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

I'm so happy you had a good day. Sweet of your hubby to support you.

I really like smaller races if I'm going for a fast time. The crowds seem to "get in MY way" if I'm running for a PR, (I'm running for a PR most of the time).

Do you run the tangents in a race? If not, that's where the .27 comes from.

Terri said...

Ginny I didn't think about how many curves there were in this race until you mentioned them. I didn't straight line most of them. That has to be where it came from.

Kim said...

Sounds like a great race! Love how fun it was seeing yur family. Great job!!!

That Pink Girl said...

Congratulations on a great race!!!

to dream the KIMpossible dream said...

Sounds like you had a fantastic race!!! Congratulations!

When they calculate the mileage, they usually do it by bike cutting the sharpest corners on turns. With the crowds, it's almost impossible for anyone (other than the elites) to do this. 13.27 means you weren't playing the weaving game (this is something I'm working on).

I only hope to someday be able to achieve such a wonderful time! =)

I'm running Dallas RnR, too! =)

Much Ado said...

Congratulations Terri! What a proud moment for you, you did amazing. Loved reading your recap and would loved to have been at the finishing line there to cheer as you crossed the line.

I was going to say the same about weaving - going to get water etc....for the mileage thing.

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