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Houston Half Marathon - RunHalf Marathon

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Houston, Texas
United States
Houston Marathon Committee
Total Time = 00m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Drove to Houston Friday afternoon after Jen got off work. Stayed at the Residence Inn which is about 1 mile from the convention center. Highly recommend this hotel because it was a full-kitchen and free HOT breakfast!

Saturday morning: got up, got FREE breakfast and then off to the Expo to get race packet and other goodies. Went to see Pan's Labryinth. Great movie!!

Saturday evening: went over to LukeTX04 and kriley's for a BT carboload dinner. It was nice to meet other BTer's. I have pictures uploaded in my photo album of the dinner and a group picture. I almost had to go for a BodyGlide hunting trip as I had forgotten where I had packed mine. Mrs. Fish was filling us in about her friend, otrain4 who is known for having 2 of everything and being ready with items that people have forgotten. Of course when otrain4 got to the party, we had to ask if she had an extra BodyGlide on her......and who knew, but she thought she did! After she good naturedly offered the BodyGlide (if she had it) for $30 or the highest bid, I ran out to the car to check one last spot and lo and behold....BodyGlide! So crisis averted! Left the party around 8:30 p.m. to get back to the hotel to get some rest.

Slept poorly really. Woke up at 1 a.m. to pee and couldn't get back to sleep, but must have drifted off until the alarm went off at 5 a.m. I had already packed my bags and got my race clothes out the night before. It was hard to tell what the weather was going to do because of the cold front that was stalling and then not stalling. I had packed everything, but the kitchen sink for this trip because of the fluctuating weather forecast (from sleet to rain).

Ate a banana and half a bagel and just a swallow of coffee. Ate an orange while I walked from the hotel to the convention center (start). It started to drizzle just as I got to the convention center. I had bought a garbage bag jacket top thing from a vendor for $7 at the expo yesterday. Very lightweight and I had that on to shelter me from the elements. Temps at that time was probably hovering around 45-50 degrees with a slight breeze and very foggy and humid.
Event warmup:

Went in to see if I could hook up with Mr. Bear and Mama Bear. We had arranged a meeting spot beforehand last night. Dropped my bag off and then went to look for them. Luck would have it, we found each other. Yay!!

They taught me the potty shuffle....that's where you wait in line for the potty even though you don't have to go, so that by the time you have to go, you're at the front of the line. We potty shuffled 3 times. We did run into Mrs. Fish and otrain4 during the shuffle.

Only thing about the shuffle was that at the end of the last shuffle, we realized that the race was about to start (7 a.m.), so we left the convention center (the PA system was rather soft at times) and saw the crowds making their way to the starting corrals. You were put in colored corrals based on your estimated pace. I was in the Black corral along with MamaBear. Mr. (the) Bear decided to go there with us (he was in the Green). There was a massive crowd of bodies and we just followed them, not really knowing where our corral was. I was getting a bit nervous because the start was coming and we were nowhere near our corral. We approached some race volunteers who had white jackets on that said "START" and I asked where the Black corral was....they said, "I don't know." Oh, real helpful!!!!!

Then we heard the announcer say something to the effect of "good luck runners, go!" and saw runners ahead of us running. So we took off in that direction and after a few nervous moments (for me), we finally found a way into the start chute and whew, we were in the right area and I could see the start for the half marathon. Thank God!!!!!!
  • 2h 38m 7s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 12m 04s  min/mile

Started out with Mama Bear and Mr. Bear. We ran to the start and then ended up walking until we cross the start (timing mats). That's when the weaving began. Mr. Bear was walking the course and he walks about as fast as I run...scary, huh? So here he is, walking and weaving through the crowd and I just follow him. Did the weaving bit for about 1 mile. Some people were walking 5 abreast in the middle of the road! Oh well...just broke them up and kept going! I said "excuse me" after Mr. Bear paved the way! LOL!

I think we stayed together for at least the first mile and then I picked it up and went on ahead.

The weather was amazingly good for all of the forecast predictions of first sleet and then rain. It was around 50 degrees and a bit breezy and a lot humid and very foggy. I took my light jacket off and tied it around my waist before the start (we were running to get to the start and I was already warm!) Thanks for all the prayers and positive thoughts for good weather (and for the non-rain dance that my Dogged Pack mentor group did...I know it helped!!).

I felt really good for the first 3 miles. They flew by so fast and I was keeping a good pace...about 11:15 min/mile according to my Garmin. I could hardly believe it.

My plan was to hydrate well and make sure I took in enough fuel. My longest run until this morning was just 9 miles and it wasn't pretty. I did take Mama Bear's advice to take water but not gulp it down, just a few swallows. There was water at around every 1.5 miles and porta potties. Didn't use the potties...I think the potty shuffle worked!

Got to mile 5 and decided to take some Gu as my legs were starting to tire. By mile 7, my toes were starting to hurt. Weird, huh? I decided to fuel again around mile 9.5, timing the Gu with the water stops. Did take in Gatorade as well to help with electrolytes.

When I passed mile 9, I mentally checked off that this was going to be longer than what I've done and this is where I might feel it. Felt good until about mile 11. My calves started to get really tight and I felt like I was starting to cramp. Oh no! This is not good. I was so worried that a cramp would force me to walk. So I decided that my next water stop with be for Gatorade. Got the Gatorade and walked for about 30 seconds. Started back up again and legs felt much better. My pace definitely dropped from mile 10 onwards. I know my pace at mile 11 was more than 12min/mile pace. The Garmin was actually working under those cloudy skies and I worked hard to get the pace back up as much as I could.

Mile 11 was also where the half marathon and marathon return route paralleled. It was cool to see the marathon runners run their way back. Very humbling to see their 24 mile marker close to my 11 mile marker!

With the cramping averted, I focused on telling myself that I only had about 2 miles left to go and to just focus on getting to the finishline. I was determined that I would cross the finishline running. I really want to run, not have to walk the finish.

It was also at this point that I had a brief moment of "aha"....Mr. Bear is one of the BTers whom I highly respect and have had the privilege of doing a couple of triathlons with. I had seen him at the 9 mile turnaround a few minutes behind me. I forgot to ask why he was walking the half, but it occurred to me at this point of the race that I might actually finish this half mary ahead of Mr. Bear! I might actually be able to say that I had a faster finish time than Mr. Bear for the first (and probably only) time! Isn't it funny what comes to mind when you're doing a race? Okay, so it's his walking time versus my running time, but hey, a faster finish is a faster finish! LOL!!!!

It was amazing to finally see the downtown skyline and get on the downtown streets....the end is coming up! I can't believe I've already run 12 miles and only have 1 mile left to go! Legs, don't fail me now! The Garmin was not working too well at this point, so I just paced myself off the runners ahead of me, making sure that I was still running and not slowing down.

It was so cool to run towards the finish and having spectators and volunteers cheering us on. And loudly, I might add.

I can see the finish!!!! I start to pick up my speed, oh please, don't cramp!!!!!

It was so cool, spectators lined both sides of the street and they were cheering and yelling and it was loud and almost deafening (okay, not really, but it was cool). I almost felt like I was running at the end of an Ironman! Well, this is my very first large race (non-local) and just to have that type of support at the end was so awesome. People were yelling and cheering and that just helped me propel my legs forward.

I crossed the finishline and it was almost sad! I couldn't believe it was over!!

They made us walk into the convention center where we got our finisher's medal, finisher's t-shirt and food.

I actually ran into a runner from my tri club and saw another tri club member who was jockstrapping on the route.

After I crossed the finishline, my legs immediately started to cramp and get really tight. Walking was a bit awkward! Anyway, I got all my finisher goodies and actually ran into Mr. Bear and Mama Bear again. We took a group picture, got some food and I actually left them to make sure I met up with Jen, who was waiting for me outside of the runner's only area.

It was funny. I had overestimated my finish time and told her not to bother coming to the finish until at least 2 1/2 hours after the start. She was on her way to the finish when she got the alert that I had already finished the race! But we did find each other and all was well.

Walked back to the hotel, took a very cold ice bath, then a hot shower and left for Shreveport.
What would you do differently?:

I think I did pretty well for my first half marathon. I think I would give myself more time to get to the start. I was so anxious that my stomach cramped for the first 2 miles. Luckily that passed. I think I hydrated and fueled well. I definitely need to figure out what to do about tight legs at the end of a run. I'm not sure what it is...lactic acid? Probably just that the legs were tired and I'm not used to the mileage.
Post race
Warm down:

Oops..guess I did that above already. Probably should have stretched. Sitting in a car for 4 1/2 hours (drive back home) was not helpful. When I got out, I could hardly walk. But how else are you going to get home?

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Run more, get more mileage in.

Event comments:

This was my first half marathon and what a great way to start! I never thought I would say this, but I can't wait to do another one! I might enjoy running yet!

The weather held off and it was just amazing and such a God send. The spectators and volunteers were great and so wonderful in encouraging us and cheering us on. I think there were fewer spectators this year (Jen said it was mentioned on the live broadcast of the marathon) because of the weather, but those who showed up were great.

There were spectators who had music playing outside of their houses, this one guy was banging a large pot as he cheered us on. Lots of signs. There was one guy around mile 8 that was standing on the sidewalk and singing the Rocky theme...the entire time!!!!! He kept going and when I did the turnaround, he was still going! Way to go, dude! Thanks!!

Funniest we were coming down a hill at around mile 3 or so, there was a huge grassy clearing to the right of us and a large bamboo circular hedge in the middle. I had to do a quick doubletake (or not so quick)....there were at least 7 men peeing right there....and it was just hilarious! I wished I had a camera. What made it funnier was that even as us girls were laughing and talking about it, more men ran towards it! There were wolf whistles and lots of chuckles. Fun!

Overall this was an awesome first half marathon experience for me. It was wonderful to meet up with other BTers and it was aweomse to have the experience of Mr. Bear and Mama Bear to help me through my first half mary. Thanks Mama Bear for the great advice about the water...I wasn't drowing in it!!

I was amazed at how I did. I felt good and well, did slow down in the end, but my pace at 12:03 (according to the results) was something I definitely wasn't expecting. It was the adrenaline and being in the moment, I guess. I wasn't even thinking about the mileage at all, just focused on getting it done and it was just such a great experience!

I am hooked and I can't wait to run in yet another one!

Last updated: 2006-10-19 12:00 AM
02:38:07 | 13.1 miles | 12m 04s  min/mile
Age Group: 399/
Overall: 5057/
Performance: Good
Didn't wear my HR monitor. Worried about chafing.
Course: Through downtown Houston and neighborhoods. Mostly flat. Had a couple of hills going out, but nothing major on the way back.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2007-01-14 6:12 PM

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Extreme Veteran
Northwest Louisiana
Subject: Houston Half Marathon

2007-01-14 6:17 PM
in reply to: #654289

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Extreme Veteran
Northwest Louisiana
Subject: RE: Houston Half Marathon

There are photos uploaded in my album.




Edited by Sharona1973 2007-01-14 6:17 PM
2007-01-14 6:28 PM
in reply to: #654289

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Extreme Veteran
Cary, NC
Subject: RE: Houston Half Marathon

Congrats.  You did EXCELLENT!  You should be very proud of yourself.



2007-01-14 6:37 PM
in reply to: #654289

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Extreme Veteran
northeast Ohio
Subject: RE: Houston Half Marathon

Fun, fun, fun!!!!!!!!!!!!  I was following along on the tracker this morning and got worried when the internet map had you stuck at mile nine.  Went to do a few things around the house and the next I knew you were done!       

Awesome awesome way to do your first half mary!

2007-01-14 6:44 PM
in reply to: #654289

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.
2007-01-14 6:56 PM
in reply to: #654289

Carencro, Louisiana
Subject: RE: Houston Half Marathon



You did GREAT today!  It was nice meeting Jen.

2007-01-14 7:17 PM
in reply to: #654289

Fort Worth, Texas
Subject: RE: Houston Half Marathon
Great JOB on your first half mary! I am running my first half next month and really enjoyed your RR. It got me excited for next month.
2007-01-14 8:15 PM
in reply to: #654289

Subject: RE: Houston Half Marathon
Way to go!! Congrates!!!   You did great I'm proud of you.  Now suck water and elevate those legs..

Edited by dexter 2007-01-14 8:16 PM
2007-01-14 8:20 PM
in reply to: #654289

Subject: RE: Houston Half Marathon
2007-01-15 7:52 AM
in reply to: #654289

Houston, TX
Subject: RE: Houston Half Marathon
Great job Sharon! It was great getting to meet you and Jen and we're sorry we didn't get to see you on race day! Great race!
2007-01-15 9:03 AM
in reply to: #654289

Subject: RE: Houston Half Marathon

Great job!  Your time is almost exactly the same as mine from last year.  Except I'm sitting here thinking, "the downtown skyline?"  I guess by that stretch I just keep my head down and run!

Glad to hear you had such a great experience with Houston and the BTers.   

2007-01-15 9:19 AM
in reply to: #654289

Subject: RE: Houston Half Marathon
I truly enjoyed reading your race report, and I'm thrilled you had such a wonderful experience.  (I'm hoping as long as I keep reading these I won't be so nervous when it comes time for my first event.) We loved the pics, too.

Edited by LLP1970 2007-01-15 9:20 AM
2007-01-15 9:59 AM
in reply to: #654289

Resident Curmudgeon
The Road Back
Gold member
Subject: RE: Houston Half Marathon

Woooohoooo! Great job completing your first half in fine fashion. Thanks for not pointing out how badly you left me in the dust once the crowd cleared!

2007-01-17 3:15 PM
in reply to: #654289

Katy, TX (west of Houston)
Subject: RE: Houston Half Marathon
Congrats, Sharon!  I'm so happy for you in beating your goal by over 20 minutes.  We look forward to seeing you and 12,999 others on MS-150 in April.  Keep it up!  It was great to meet you and Jen, I hope we inspired her to join in the fun
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