Chevron Houston Marathon 2012 Recap
Marathon #2 in the books!
I’d say that’s a success.
I woke up Saturday morning to no alarm clock. I really debated going downtown early to watch Meb and Shalane kill it in the time trials, but I decided it’d be in my best interest to not make an early 45-minute trek downtown, sleep in, and walk as little as possible the day before the marathon.
Rachael and I headed to the expo around 10 am and picked up our packets and some goodies. By goodies I mean ridiculously expensive headbands. Oh and Rachael’s 26.2 sticker
We had lunch at Panera Bread and chatted about how nervous/excited we were about the marathon. I don’t really recall what I did for the rest of Saturday besides finalize my marathon playlist on my iPod and make homemade pizza (my go-to pre race dinner).
Surprisingly I slept really well Saturday night. I almost forgot I was running a marathon until all my alarms when off at 4:15. I was so paranoid about waking up on time I set 3 alarms, anyone else do that?
I had no problems waking up due to my excitement and race-day adrenaline. I had my usual coffee, PB toast, and put on my carefully picked out race outfit.
I arrived at the George R. Brown at about 5:45 and promptly found Rachael. We checked our bags, found the port-a-potties, and headed to our corral. We ended up being able to line up at the very front of corral 2 which worked out in our favor. The weather was perfect and I was able to ditch my throw away sweats and gloves before the race even started.
Everything went by in a blur and before we knew it the National Anthem was sung, the gun went off, and it was our corrals turn to go.
Pre-race Rachael and I had a race plan to try to maintain an 8:30 pace for the first 6 miles and see if we could increase our pace from there. I was all smiles (except for a slight mishap with the race course being mismarked and runners being unsure where to go) for the first few miles as the realization that I was finally here running the marathon I trained for for the last several months.
With some weaving and a few elbows here and there we were able to maintain an 8:30 pace for the first 6 miles pretty painlessly. My garmin was being kind of weird placing my pace all over the place from 7:45-9:30/mile, but at each mile marker I could gauge we were on target with pace. At mile 4 I spotted my Hubby which was a nice surprise I wasn’t expecting until mile 6.
Miles just ticked by so quickly and I, pretty rapidly, determined I was feeling awesome (must have been the iPod playlist). I kept feeling myself speed up from miles 10-on once the half marathons had split from the full and just went with it. Rachael and I trucked along listening to our iPods (I’m probably the worst running companion as I made no conversation and didn’t want waste my energy talking- Sorry Rachael!).
The half mark came up pretty quick in around 1:50:27. Close to my PR-Woo!. I saw hubby again at mile 14 and the worst hill of the course came (not many hills in Houston)which was pretty challenging. Once I passed that point I was still feeling great. I kept trekking along. Around mile 15 Rachael and I started getting a little farther apart and eventually we split up.
Around mile 19 the distance started to hit me. There were all of these random signs (I think they were advertisements for some supplements?) along the course that said “Welcome to the Wall” and “Are you Tired” which psychologically made me realize, um yes I was tired. I started to struggle to keep my pace up and mile 19 I slowed down to an 8:40 pace. I realized I was hot and tired around mile 20 and started to bargain with myself that I could certainly finish a 10k in 55 minutes (that seemed like an eternity). My stomach starting rejecting the sports gels after mile 16’s gel, and I grabbed some frozen grapes from a spectator at mile 20. Best. Thing. Ever.
Mile 20 is the part of the course where you start to see people fall apart. People begin to walk and cramp up and things can get scary. I told myself there was no way I was going to walk. My quads knees, ankles, toes, everything just didn’t want to move. I focused on just keeping a 9:00/mile pace and looked forward to seeing my Mother and Father in law waiting for me at mile 22. Let me tell you, seeing them was a boost I really really needed. Thank you guys for coming out to support me! Having family along the course is so encouraging and truly motivates you to keep going.
Someone handed me a bottle of water around mile 23 which was such a blessing (bless you whoever you are). I kept my 9 minute pace and at this point was just ready to be done.
I started thinking about all the people from home, friends, and family that had been cheering for me through Facebook, text messages, phones calls, and twitter and I used them as encouragement to not budge from my pace. I never walked once.
Once I hit mile 25 and started to see the buildings of downtown approaching I started to get excited. Marathon #2- you are mine! I tried to pick up the pace but my legs felt like molasses from holding such a quick pace (for me) for the first 20 miles (8:25). I sure felt like I was sprinting.
Making that left turn to face the finish line was just as exciting as the first time. In the final stretch I couldn’t see him, but I could hear my hubby yelling my name. I felt so accomplished and so relieved approaching that finish line. All that hard work: tempo runs, stress, long runs, blood, sweat, tears, races that had disappointed me in the past, were behind me. No matter how hard it got approaching that finish line I never ever gave up.
My final finishing time was 3:45:56! I beat my first marathon time by nearly 9 minutes. I left feeling like I couldn’t wait to run another marathon and motivated to improve my time even more!
Thanks for listening to my lengthy recap and thank you all of you who read my blog who always provide me with encouraging words of support and advice. You are all greatly appreciated and I don’t think I’d be as motivated without your support.