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Houston Marathon - RunMarathon

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Houston, Texas
United States
Houston Marathon Committee
Total Time = 4h 04m 36s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Background History:
This was probably the most mentally prepared and confident I have ever been going into a marathon. For the past 2 years I have been trying to break 4:15. After failing to do so with my past 3 marathons, I was more than determined to make it happen. I was so frustrated with my running that I knew I had to try something new to see if it would work. So my marathon training for Houston was purely experimentally and I was trying to figure out what my body needed to improve for the marathon.

I changed a few things with my marathon training and got more serious. I upped my long run distances and did what everyone says not to do- not to run more than 20 miles. Well this time I did, and I managed to pull of three 20 milers, two 22 milers, and one 24 miler. I also ran the majority of my long runs at my PMP. In the past I've always run my long runs 20-30 secs than PMP and never had any luck on race day getting my legs to move any faster. I only tapered for 2 weeks instead of 3 weeks- last time I think I lost too much fitness on a 3 week taper. I also biked more since I was on the FIRST to FINISH plan and even swam during my marathon training. I also lifted weights for legs- which over the course of marathon training I noticed I had gained a lot of leg strength. I was hoping that having stronger legs this time around would really help me hit my goal- which was 4:05. I'm not saying that everyone should train how I trained, but it worked for me and is exactly what I needed to finally reach a marathon goal time. Fast forward to the morning of the race...

I woke up at 3am to drink an Ensure. I didn't fall back asleep for about an hour- pretty much I just tossed and turned. I wasn't nervous but all I kept thinking about was that I was going to be running a marathon a few hours. I finally fell asleep and then another hour later, we got the wake up call. And shortly after that the alarm clock went off. No matter how many races I do, I'm still paranoid about not waking up on time so I always like to have a backup alarm.

Anyways, after receiving the wake up call I immediately got out of bed and showered (it helps me wake up) and got dressed. I had laid everything out the night before so I didn't really have to worry about getting anything together. I ate a small bagel with peanut butter and drank some green tea. I was worried I didn't take in enough cals, so I had another 1/2 of the small bagels with peanut butter. For my long training runs I would usually make whole wheat waffles. Since I wasn't able to eat one before the race since we flew and are staying in a hotel, the bagels had to do.

For my race attire, I wore my pink cheetah running skirt (that thing is so darn cute and I LOVE It!) with a black tank top. After much debate, I decided to wear my Iron Girl hat. I'm sooo glad I wore a hat, because it got sunny and the course had little shade in certain sections. I'm not sure how I could have survived without a hat. Anyways, I put on my "ghetto" pace band. I made myself one and made one for Jon. I just printed them out from an online site and then we taped them (to waterproof them from sweat) and pinned them around our wrists. they were ghetto, but definitely had character. Jon was pacing me and wore my Garmin, but for some reason- I had to have my own pace band to still feel in control :) It's the Type A in me I guess. I wore my new Timex watch I got for Christmas and I was going to run off my run splits, since my Garmin gets funky in some races and I have to guess at my pace and all.

The race started at 7am so the plan was to leave the hotel at 6am and walk to the start. Jon and I pretty much left on time to leave the room.
Event warmup:

Nothing- besides walking and pooping :) It was actually the perfect warm up, if you ask me. We just walked about a 1/2 mile to the Convention Center from the hotel. We dropped off our bags, and then waited in a really long line for the porta potties. My stomach was bothering me and I'm glad I decided to get in line because I had to go and it was not good. I felt bad for the person going in after me. After that I was worried my stomach would upset me during the race since it usually does and it was acting weird that morning. Anywhoo, by that time we had about 15 mins before the race started. I took a gel while we were seeding ourselves at the start. We found the 4:00 hour pacer and stood a ways back from him. Heard the wheel chari athletes start as well as the elites. Then it was our turn. We were in the first wave for the marathon- the red wave. I hope since I made it into the red wave that meant I was going to be fast, because everyone knows that red is faster :)
  • 4h 04m 36s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 20s  min/mile

I usually write really lengthy race reports, but I'm going to try to keep this one short and brief.

The first few miles were pretty congested, although our first mile wasn't too bad. I think it was around 9:40ish. The only thing I didn't like was that the running crowd seemed to come to a stand still on the first 2 overpasses. It was really hard to pass people. I'm not a huge fan of running hills, but did make sure to incorporate some in my training. I was glad I did because I really didn't feel the uphills at all.

For the first 9 or so miles I was running under my PMP. After taking my split at every mile I'd compare my time to my pace band and pretty much had about a full minute banked. I felt good and was going with the pace. Although in my head I kept telling myself to slow down some because I would burn out at the end. And then I remembered all my long runs and that I usually was able to hold a steady pace throughout those. So then I said screw it and ran slightly faster than PMP because I felt ok with it.

Within the first 5 miles I realized that I had to use the bathroom- I had to pee. The porta potties were all taken and there was no way I was going to waste time waiting in line. I figured that I'd just keep running and if I had to go later once the half marathoners split off then the porta potties would be more free.
Post race

Last updated: 2008-04-10 12:00 AM
04:04:36 | 26.2 miles | 09m 20s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
From the race website: Time: 04:04:36.500 Pace: 09:20 min/mi Ranks: Overall: 1636 Female: 448 F30-34: 84 Last Chip Read: 18-Jan 11:04:59 Checkpoint Course Split 6.2 miles 00:57:39.500 09:17 00:57:39.500 09:17 13.1 mile 02:01:35.000 09:17 01:03:55.500 09:17 18.6 miles 02:53:11.000 09:17 00:51:36.000 09:19 Finish 04:04:36.500 09:20 01:11:25.500 09:27 Unofficial results. Last updated 18-Jan 11:52:28. Watch Splits: 1= 9:24 (I think it was actually 9:40, I took the split too soon based off the 1/2 marathoners mile marker- oops) 2= 9:28 (this was a little slower than I actually ran due to taking the first split too soon) 3= 8:53 4= 9:26 5= 9:16 6= 9:04 7= 9:11 8= 9:13 9= 9:18 10= 9:23 11= 9:19 12= 9:16 13= 9:24 14= 9:07 15= 9:24 16= 9:20 17= 9:19 18= 9:26 19= 9:18 20= 9:19 21= 9:28 22= 9:30 23= 9:19 24= 9:32 25= 9:40 26= 9:19 .2= 1:47
Course: Started out near the Convention Center. Ran over a few overpasses early one in the race. After that we had a few small hills and it flatten out. Another overpass or so (I don't really remember) and a few small hills. Ran through Memorial Park (this section had very little shade and I was getting pretty hot) then back downtown to the finish line.
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2009-01-27 6:48 PM

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The Original
Subject: Houston Marathon

2009-01-27 7:32 PM
in reply to: #1932524

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Waller County, TX
Subject: RE: Houston Marathon
Great job setting a goal, working to attain it, and following through with your race plan.

It's very satisfying to do something like that, so enjoy every minute of it.

Many more good miles in your future!
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