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Chevron Houston Marathon 2012 Recap

January 18, 2012

Marathon #2 in the books!

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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.

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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 Smile

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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.

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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.

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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.

I was still feeling awesome through miles 16, 17 and 18. I was taking fuel (clif shot gels) every 4 miles and a cup of water from every aid station. 402093_10100440706497737_29608258_49894532_1192627195_n[1]

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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

brittsig

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2012 11:03 PM

    Girl you did an AMAZING JOB! Congratulations on an incredible marathon #2! And you looked cute doing it – I approve of all the pink!
    No, those signs were not helpful. Puhleeze….I want to hear something inspiring, not defeating!
    Way to go on a great race. Hope you are enjoying some down time for recovery as you plan your next race!

  2. January 18, 2012 11:04 PM

    Congratulations! Sometimes I think a second marathon is harder than the first – you know what’s coming.

  3. January 18, 2012 11:18 PM

    Congratulations!! Holy crap- that’s an amazing time! I can only dream of running that fast. You should be so proud!

  4. January 19, 2012 12:31 AM

    I can’t wait to run this marathon one day! & way to go you guys for sticking together for 16 miles! That’s still awesome! It also really helps to keep your pace when you have a buddy haha 🙂 Way to go girl! I couldn’t wait to read this and I’m so proud of you ❤

  5. January 19, 2012 11:11 AM

    Wow! Congratulations Britt! Your re-cap made me feel like I was there and congratulations on a great (and speedy!) marathon!

  6. January 19, 2012 12:47 PM

    WOW! You are a running rock star, Britt! Love how you pushed away the pain and just kept doing what you set out to do! A HUGE PR must just bring the biggest smile to your face! So excited for you!!! =)

  7. January 19, 2012 3:09 PM

    Congratulations on finishing! Looks pretty exciting. I can’t wait to do my first marathon.

  8. January 19, 2012 4:54 PM

    Nice work – congratulations!! 🙂

  9. January 19, 2012 6:58 PM

    I hated all those signs at mile 18-20! They were for Houstonian club that had a water/snack station right before you went under 610. That is an incredible time & very impressive for your 2nd race!

  10. January 20, 2012 12:26 AM

    Great job, love the race report and photos. I too set many alarms! Also, love your pink shirt.

  11. January 20, 2012 9:03 PM

    It’s so inspiring to hear how you talked your way through those last miles! Congratulations!

  12. January 23, 2012 12:14 PM

    I drove by the marathoners on my way to the gym to do my sad little 3 mile treadmill run. I am a newbie runner, so posts like yours are super motivating. Great job!

  13. January 28, 2012 10:30 AM

    What a great recap! You are so mentally tough to stay strong in those last few miles, I died in the last 6 my first marathon, so I hope on my second one I will dominate! It’s interesting to hear that the course was confusing. When I was handing out medals there were tons of marathoners who accidentally took the half marathon route. They were so upset, but I can understand why. I loved your race recap and I hope to run Houston next year!

  14. April 24, 2012 4:58 PM

    Britt! It’s been so long since I’ve dropped by, but I just did, and WOW! Congratulations on the marathon! What a super speedy time. I’m so impressed with everything you did and how calm you were. You did wonderfully. Congrats again. 🙂

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