I have to say 2018 is off to a great start as far as racing goes. My first official race of the year was the Houston Half Marathon. I was really excited to run a new race course! Most of the races I’ve ran in the last year or so have been on courses I’ve previously ran, so there was an added excitement with this race. I have a marathon in 6 weeks, so this half was going to be a good indicator of my fitness.
I didn’t want to get overly nervous or anxious about this race, and I actually wasn’t even sure If I was going to be able to run it because my husband had a business trip planned. I went into the race just viewing it as another training run so that I could keep my pre race nerves in check.
I definitely had a goal to PR which meant running sub 1:33. But I really knew I could get closer to 1:31.
Race Day : Sunday January 14th, 2018
4:15 am: Wake up time!
4:30 am: Breakfast – English muffin with PB and 1/4 banana
5:00 am: Out the door to drive to the race
6:00 am: arrive at race – the awesome perk of this race is athletes and family can all hang out INSIDE the convention center before, during, and after the race! This year the weather was especially cold, 34ish degrees at the start, so being able to stay warm before the race was amazing.
6:15 am: Pre race warm up run – about 2.5 miles – Also each coral had multiple ports potties and no one was outside in the corals yet so I took the perfect opportunity to make a stop!
6:50 am: walk to coral – I was in coral B, which was actually my only complaint with the race day. By the time I got to coral B it was so full of people I couldn’t walk any further than the 9:40 pace group! I started to panic and worry that I just sabotaged myself because of how far back I was going to start, and how much weaving I was going to have to do. In order to calm my panic, I reminded my self that I cannot control how far back I’m going to start, and I just need to concentrate on what I can do once the race starts.
7:00 am: race start – but I actually didn’t cross the start line for another 8 mins…that is how far back I was!! Seriously no joke!
Miles 1-4 (7:20,7:06,6:59,7:00)
First mile was all about getting around people. There were times I would have to come to a complete stop because it was so packed and people would just slow down or stop right in front of me. I was a little concerned when I saw my first mile come thru at 7:20 because my goal average pace was 7:05. However, I wasn’t too concerned because I almost always start off slow in races, which is funny because a lot of people have the opposite problem. I steadily increased the pace, and when I saw a 6:59 mile I think I got a confidence boost and started thinking maybe sub 1:30 was possible. That goal was always in the back of my head even going into the race.
Miles 5-8 (6:53,6:44,6:49,6:49)
I was feeling pretty good thru these miles, as good as someone whose goal pace is 7:05 , but they are running sub 7 miles can feel. I was definitely pushing the limits, and knew that I could blow up badly at the end, but I also really wanted to get my PR and see just how big of a PR I could get. The bigger the risk the bigger the reward?!?!?!
Miles 9-12 (6:52,6:51,6:51,6:50)
This was the point where digging deep had to really start. I think miles 9 and 10 are the hardest during a half marathon because there are still enough miles left at this point to feel overwhelmed, and the mental toughness really comes into play. Once the last 5K mark comes there is light at the end of the tunnel, and I usually get a mental and physical boost.
The Last Mile (6:28) and .25 (5:45)
The fact that I had a really solid kick at the end shows that I may have been able to push it a little more during a few of the last miles, but overall I cannot complain or be disappointed with how this race went. I didn’t get the sub 1:30, but I am confident I have it in me.
I loved this course. I think it’s a super fast course for a half, and the full and half course is the same for the first 8 miles, and now I know at least part of the full marathon course. The Houston Marathon is definitely on my bucket list. I haven’t figured out my fall/winter schedule, but I would love to either run the half or full next Jan! So many amazing runners where at this race, but highlight was meeting an true inspiration of mine – Sara Ibbetson.