Friday, January 29, 2010

Houston Marathon 2010

Can't believe that it has taken me this log to put a report together. Here it goes as much as I can remember.

I went down to Houston with Kim on Friday and got in late like we normally do. I was trying to lay of caffeine as much as I could the week before the race so I was exhausted by the time I hit the bed. The next day we went to brunch and then Kim and I went down to the expo and packet pickup. We hit all the usual stores and I picked up a new pair of shoes, Newtons. They are supposed to change the way you run to more of a forefoot striker so you can run faster. We will see how that works...

Anyway the highlight of the day was meeting NYC Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi. He was a super nice guy, taking pictures with everyone and joking around.

That night I had a great spaghetti dinner (the usual) and then headed down to my sisters condo (since it is right near the start) and I crashed out again. The morning came really early. I don't really function well at 4:30am. But I got out of bed and took a shower to wake up. I grabbed a bagel with peanut butter for breakfast and next thing I know my sister was dropping me off at the expo center. I did forget my Gatorade that I was going to drink before for a few extra calories but no big deal.

After a little stretching and bathroom pit stops done I headed to the start line. It was kind of chilly (about 40F I think) but I warm up pretty quickly and I knew my shorts and t shirt would be fine. I went into this marathon a little nervous. My long runs really hadn't gone well at all. In fact my last one was an 18 miler that I was absolutely dead in. My shorter weekday runs all went great but I was nervous about how I would respond after 15 miles or so.

The starting gun finally went off and we were on our way. This year I was in the first wave so I didn't have any problem getting around the groups of walkers that for some reason like to start at the front and get in everyones way. I settled into a pace right in my low heart rate zone and I was surprised that it was about 8:45/mile. I was a little nervous with that pace but my HR was ok so I forged on.

My pace was pretty even the whole time. All I was trying to do was keep it even as long as I could and then not slow down too much at the end. I hit the 10k mark at 56 minutes which was on what I wanted.

I was feeling strong at mile 8.5 when I saw my family the first time.

The half marathon came at
1:56:17 (~20 minutes faster than my first half marathon by it's self). I knew I had a shot at 4hrs right there. I had 4 minutes in the bank so that eased my mind. The 30k (~18 miles) mark came at 2:46:17. Just a little longer and I could do it. I started feeling it around this point and then out of no where there was an older man down and he was stiff as a board. He had a few people around him and the cops were running up calling for the ambulance. It seemed like there was a phone tree type thing going on where people were yelling from behind for the people ahead to get the medics. Not long after that we saw the medics running towards the man with the defibrillator. He turned out to be ok so that was good to hear afterwards.

I hit the 20 mile mark and I just kept telling myself just a 10k more. I wanted to walk really bad but I told myself just run to the next mile marker and then think about it again. Over and over and over. Then you are at mile 24 and seeing downtown get bigger and bigger. So close but forever to go.

Finally the finish line was in sight. It wasn't far but it seemed like the longest stretch of the race. At this point I was pretty sure that I would beat my old personal best time from the NYC Marathon (3:58) as long as I didn't cramp up. Right at that point I saw a guy jump was seemed like 3 feet in the air, clutching his hamstring. It was so close he just kept going with one leg stiff as a board. I attempted once to "sprint" to the finish but my legs said no way. All of a sudden I saw my family and friends for the last time right before the finish and couldn't help but smile again.

I crossed the finish line in 3:55:51 a new PR by a couple minutes. I was estatic, tired, hungry, tired, thirsty, tired and wobbly. I took a finishers picture then headed in to meet my family. It really meant a lot and really helped my spirit every time I saw them, and I couldn't believe how many times I saw them. I grabbed an ice cream, a banana and a water and plopped down. Man that felt great just to sit and not move. When my family got to me we hung around for a little bit before heading back to my sisters place for a shower and then to mexican food and a beer. I think I ate about 2 baskets of chips, 3 enchiladas a taco and I don't know what else. And that is why I run. :)