This past weekend I ran in the Houston Half Marathon.  I was signed up for the 10k last year, but the race was called due to Tropical Storm Patricia that dumped massive amounts of rain on Houston.   The organizers had offered a nice discount code to everyone that was registered for last years race.

Race day eve found me resting for most of the day, I was still exhausted from my minor surgery and the antibiotics.  I had my usual salad for lunch and made a pasta bake for dinner.  I got to bed reasonably early, only to have heartburn once I laid down.

Race day morning came pretty early! I woke up at 3:15 for my pre-race breakfast of a piece of toast with almond butter and half a banana along with a cup of warm water with lemon.  I showered, got dressed and was on the road by 5am with a cup of yerba mate for some wake-up energy. I jammed out to Green Day on my commute to downtown Houston.

[caption id="attachment_1784" align="aligncenter" width="300"]wp-1478094255509.jpg Flat Vicki ready to race![/caption]

It was a balmy 70 degrees with 94% humidity and lots of fog when I got to the race location... I was really hoping for cooler weather.  I used the port-a-cans in the dark, walked around and essentially waited for the race to start.  The hubs called and wished me luck (yes, he is still at the deer lease). I headed to the port-a-cans one last time and headed to the starting line.

At the start it was crowded, still dark and foggy!  There were about 4,000 people running the race.  I lined up near the 2:10 pacers. The Star Spangled Banner was sung, and we were off shortly after and on time.

[caption id="attachment_1789" align="aligncenter" width="300"]houston-half At the start... dark o-clock still at 7am![/caption]

The race course started near Sam Houston Park, went through downtown for a couple miles, then headed out to Allen Parkway, on to Memorial Drive, through Memorial Park and back to Sam Houston Park.  It was a relatively flat course, except for the underpasses.  There were water stops at about every 2 miles (it seemed to me that they were more frequent).  They were well manned and well stocked with Gatorade Endurance and water.

I started out at what seemed like a comfortable pace for me, I was a little surprised when my watched beeped at the 1 mile split and my pace was 9:34! Whoops, so much for a negative split race. At that point I felt good ... the pace felt comfortable ... I was enjoying listening to the Hamilton Soundtrack ... and the miles were seriously flying by.  I slowed down at each aid station for a couple sips of water.  At some point during mile 6 my hip started aching!  I opted to keep running and dig deep until the next water station where I would walk through it, take some Advil and start up again.

After my walk break, my hip immediately felt so much better... it still ached, but at a level that I could ignore.  Weird, maybe I had adjusted my form a bit after the walk break.  I kept going and maintained a comfortable pace for me.  As the miles went on, I noticed I was slipping into the 10's and I was ok with that.  The fog didn't lift during the entire race, but the miles seemed to fly by.  During mile 11, my hip started aching again... so I took another walking break. But once I got to the final mile, I tried increasing my pace and made sure to kick it in for a strong finish.

[caption id="attachment_1790" align="aligncenter" width="230"]houston-half-finish Finishing strong... even smiling![/caption]

I finished at 2:11:25 and managed to keep up a 10:00 average mile pace, my splits were all over the place (9:34/10:13/9:37/9:59/9:56/9:37/10:23/10:11/10:09/10:11/10:11/10:20/9:57).


After getting my medal, picking my bag from the bag drop, changing into my Oofos, and drinking my recovery drink,  I headed over to enjoy the after party.

[caption id="attachment_1791" align="aligncenter" width="300"]wp-1478115557961.jpg The fog finally lifted after I finished[/caption]

It was fun with beer from Karbach brewery (including my new favorite Octoberfest) and tacos!  I was pleased that they had black bean and rice tacos. I even ran into a couple friends from InstaGram @jenheartshouston and @run_pattie_run (blogger fail - I neglected to get a picture), it was very nice to meet them in person! There was a band rocking the tunes (A Sure Thing)... it was a very festive after party.

[caption id="attachment_1788" align="aligncenter" width="300"]wp-1478098075549.jpg mmm... tacos and beer![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1787" align="aligncenter" width="300"]wp-1478097955407.jpg Enjoyable band... played covers of many decades of rock[/caption]

After I found my car in the parking garage, I was pleasantly surprised to have FREE parking (thank you Smith Street Garage)!  I made my way home... jamming out to Green Day again (have I mentioned how much I like their new album, Revolution Radio?). I wasn't really hungry, so I foam rolled, took a shower and decided to rest my eyes for a bit... I woke up over 3 hours later! I opted to order Indian Food delivery for my reward meal - Aloo Gobi Masala, Garlic Naan, and my favorite Indian dessert Rasmalia - needless to say, I scarfed it down.

Bottom line - the Houston Half Marathon is a great race!  It is very well organized... packet pick-up is a breeze... great updates on social media. I seriously was amazed with how many volunteers were at each water stop. I would definitely do this one again, and recommend it to anyone looking for a fall half in the Houston area.

Like I usually do, I made some goals for this race... here's how I fared against them:

  • Start out slow... run a reverse split race - this didn't happen, not even close.

  • Be confident, trust in training - I felt confident, even after miles 6 and 11.

  • Time goals ... I have an A, B, and C goal.  C goal - 2:11; B goal - 2:09, A goal - 2:07- while I didn't meet my A or B goal, I did meet my C goal, which was still my fastest half this year.

  • Execute on fueling and hydration strategy used during training runs - nailed it.

  • Have fun! - definitely met this one.

I'm linking up Nicole, Annmarie, Jen, and Michelle for Wild Workout Wednesday.

wild wednesday