Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Houston Marathon race report

One thing I've noticed about marathons is that it is very easy to complain about race conditions (i.e., the weather), and use that as an excuse for not having a good race or  achieving a goal time.  And there is a very small window for ideal race conditions when it comes to the marathon.  We're talking temps in the upper 30s to lower 50s, calm winds and low humidity.  Well I haven't had those conditions the last several marathons I have run (esp the ones that come at the tail end of an ironman)...but the weather in Houston this past Sunday definitely fell within the window! 

So after that little preface, I shall go into more details of my race at Houston.  Not only was the weather perfect for the marathon, but I had put in the training that I needed, tapered well, carbo-loaded at the Spaghetti Warehouse the night before...so in the words of the Dixie Chicks....I was "ready, ready, ready - ready to ruuuun".  Here's a pic of Kimbo and I before the race start:

My hair was ready to go - and so was Kimbo, she would go on to run a 3:41! (PR by 7 mins)
Seth and I worked our way to the front of Corral A, emptied our bladders as discretely as possible, and lined up.  The gun went off, and as is usually the case at the beginning of a marathon, I had to rein myself in, because my legs were wanting to go.  My super-optimistic goal time was sub 2:30, and I knew that I needed to average 5:43/mile pace to achieve that.  Mile 1 was a 5:31...a little too fast, but that's to be expected on the first mile.  But I continued to push the pace perhaps a little harder than I should've, and started clicking off 5:37/miles.  At mile 10, I was just a hair above 56 minutes, and was still feeling great.  I was taking gels every 30 minutes and drinking gatorade at every aid station that I didn't take a gel - and was handling my nutrition with no problems.  But, the pace started to take a bit of a toll right before the halfway point...at mile 12, I thought to myself "this is probably about how I should feel at mile 16".  A little too much pain to be in before the halfway point.  Nevertheless, I continued pushing, and crossed mile 13.1 at a little over 1:14....so I had a bit of a cushion for breaking 2:30.  Here is a pic my sister, Maggie, got of me around mile 14 or so:

Note, already throwing my head back a little...prob not a good sign

Miles 14-20, I kept my pace where it needed to be to break 2:30....I was clicking off 5:45-5:50 miles, so my average pace was still below 5:43.  But the pain got worse and worse, and so did my form.  Mile 21 was done at a 6:02 pace, and so was mile 22, but my calves were starting to seize up, and I knew I just couldn't keep pushing like this without some kind of leg failure that would result in me having to stretch and walk...and stretch and walk, etc, etc.  So my last 4 miles were in the 6:15-6:20 range, and my form was completely gone...but I crossed the finish line with a time of 2:33:06, and was very happy with it!
I knew going in that 2:30 was probably unattainable for me, but with the weather being so great, I went for it.  And although I slowed down the last several miles, I still salvaged...no, managed, a great race.  My time was a PR by 8.5 minutes!!  The volunteers were great, and so were the estimated 250,000 spectators!  One of the fun things about being a good ways behind the elite marathoners, and a good ways in front of the masses is how empty the course is, and how every single spectator sees you, and cheers for you!  It really is uplifting, and I've noticed that not many of the people that are in front of me have acknowledged the crowd at all....well a smile and a wave go a long way, and the reaction that you get from the crowd is totally worth that little bit of extra energy.  Here is a group picture inside the convention center after the race:
From left to right: my dad, my mom, Kimbo, Danielle Herd, me, Allie Garcia, and my sister, Maggie.  Kimbo, Allie and Danielle all had great races at Houston too! 
Another thing that is worth noting...I had zero blisters on my feet after this race.  This is a marathon first for me (and I've done about 10 marathons).  This was also the first time I've raced a marathon in Swiftwick socks....thus, I highly recommend their product!  Check out this pic of my feet from the Dallas marathon a few years ago:

My feet are blister prone!  But no more....
So now that this marathon is over, I shall be shifting my focus to the bike!  But this week, I'm giving myself a bit of a break, as evidenced by the castle that Seth and I built last night:
Note the empty mugs on the table...
Next blog will most definitely be "plans for 2014" type blog!
Until then.....

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.


No comments:

Post a Comment