What a difference 35-40* makes!!! ; As a compulsive type-A runner, I’ve been stalking wunderground for the past week to see if we would finally have some good running weather this weekend. ; Turns out, the answer was an overwhelming YES! ; It was ~45* at the start and only warmed to about 48* by the finish. ; I think I was smiling most of the race just over the weather alone.
The Houston Half is the first race in the Marathon Warm-Up Series and it’s where I set my 1/2 PR last year and is a single loop course following some of the marathon course- including the dreaded late race Allen Pkwy underpasses. ; After leaving the house around 5:45am, Batch and I had a little trouble with parking downtown this year. ; Last year, it wasn’t an issue so I’m not sure if the race is just more popular now or if taking a different exit really messed us up. ; It all worked out just fine and we headed to the start in time to get some business done and hand our stuff over to bag check. ;
B and I lined up semi-close to the front, but in the middle to use people to block the wind before we started running. ; (side note: Oiselle arm warmers are the bomb diggity- perfect for today’s temps!) ; B was in charge of pacing today- no mental games- aka psyching myself out. ; In the interest of my NOT knowing pace, every time we’d pass a checkpoint where they were calling out pace, he’d start talking and/or singing (lalalalala) so I wouldn’t pay attention. ; I had a general idea, but I tried not to think about it too much. ; A HUGE thank you to Batch for keeping my running strong!!
Miles 1-2.5 are a loop through downtown Houston. ; It’s good for spectators and is a nice flat start, but it’s terrible for the Garmin. ; You really have to know yourself and your paces in this section (B’s Garmin read anywhere from 5:55/mile to 11:00/mile). ; ; Around mile 2.5 you pass back through the starting area (again, good for spectators) and head on an out and back loop of Allen Pkwy/Memoral Park.
I had intended to take a Clif Shot around mile 4, but since I wasn’t carrying water, and I didn’t see the aid station coming, ; I missed this chance. ; I felt ok and didn’t let it worry me too much. ; When my stomach started grumbling around mile 6, ; I opened my gel and decided to start taking little “pulls” from it even without water. ; This strategy worked well and I was able to get take 1/2 the gel then get water from the aid station around mile 6.5. ; I took the rest of the gel around mile 8 which is also the “turn around” point.
I love that once you turn around, you only have 5 miles left- it’s not completely back the way you started. ; I started struggling a little around mile 9, but Batch just kept reminding me to breathe deep and slow and relax my shoulders. ; I also took this time to start praying- remind myself how much of a blessing it was to be out there running. ; I prayed for Monika (#MilesforMokie) and Ms. Sherry (Go Team Sherry). ; I prayed for those running MCM. ; When we hit mile 11, Batch asked if I was ready for the next gear. ; I told him no, but he just smiled and encouraged me. ; I truly struggled the last 1.5-2 miles. ; I really wanted to find that super extra gear and tear through those miles. ; It just wasn’t there today. ; I felt like I was giving so much effort and didn’t feel like my legs were responding. ; Turns out, based on the Garmin results below, they were. ; Not faster, but not slower either. ;
Hello close to even, but slightly negative splits! ; I’m also VERY proud there are ZERO miles over 8min pace. ; When I ran this race last year, my avg pace was 7:56. ; I wanted a PR today, but wasn’t sure it was realistic. ; Last year, I was in 1/2 IM shape going into this race. ; This year, I still feel like I’m playing catch up from my injury. ; My work isn’t done by a long shot and I’m not going to get complacent, but WOW, this felt good!!!
TOTALS: 13.1 (13.3 Garmin)/1:41:25 (1:41:27 g)/7:44 pace (7:38 g)/13 of 233 AG
Final thoughts, I got my Oiselle Team racing kit yesterday!! ; Talk about perfect timing- I do think there was some singlet magic in today’s results. ; I also cannot tell you how awesome it’s been to feel the love from my tweeps all day today! ; THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! ; This community ROCKS!