This year I decided to do the 1/2 marathon again on New Year’s Day. What a great way to start the new year! Unfortunately, this year it was a bit rainy. However, it did make for almost optimal running with the cooler temps and no glaring sun!
Last year was the year of the pig. This year was the year of the rat. Nice, right?! They did have a cute inflatable rat in a trap though. It looks all shimmery but that’s just because it was raining.
My running coach, Liz, was there to cheer us on this year! I also met Sandra and Ruth (Sandra in middle) who will be part of our 4 man Marathon relay in March! That was a pleasant surprise.
We all gathered around the starting line trying to stay warm as we waiting for the sun to rise. The park is closed from dusk to dawn, so we had to wait for the dawn to move in!
At 8 AM, it was officially start time for the Marathon. I had originally signed Mike and I up for the 1/2 Marathon, but Mike decided he was going to run the full. Yep…not training…just jump in with both feet! Doesn’t he look excited?!
They counted down the seconds then the Marathon group took off. We 1/2 Marathoners were left to wait 15 minutes to give the first group a chance to spread out some.
This year I had completed all of my training and came through without any injuries, so I was feeling pretty good! When 8:15 AM hit, I was off like lightening! So fast, I’m nothing but a blur!
Ok, so I wasn’t that fast but I was going faster than I should have been that early in the race. My adrenaline always gets the best of me. I tried to slow it down a bit but I was already starting to get some shin splints. Thankfully they were gone by mile 3. Normally they have signs posted on the trees with everyone’s name, but since it was raining they didn’t have them this time. However, it was still a nice run.
The loop goes along the greenbelt trails behind and among houses then wraps around Lake Houston. This is one of my favorite parts because you can always see ducks and other birds hanging around.
There’s a man-made lake that we also run around after the turn around and on our way back to the start. That’s a nice little loop as well. For the 1/2 marathon we get to go around it twice! This is where Liz was waiting to cheer us on. More cowbell please! This photo was after the first loop. I was a bit more fresh that time than the second.
I passed Mike several times, as I did many other runners. Since the Marathon people go around the loop 4 times you’ll see them going and coming! I was passed by the two lead Marathoners before I finished my first loop. They were hauling. I believe first place finished in 3:10:00.
When I made the first turnaround, I decided I was going to run until I just HAD to walk. It was too hard to do intervals with all the stopping and starting. Once I stopped running it was very hard to get going again. So, I ended up running (albeit slowly) the last 10 miles of the race! I was hurting toward the end. Mike passed me the last time and made the comment that he was hurting at that point too. Unfortunately, he was just heading out for his last loop while I was about a mile and a half from the finish!
I crossed the finish line with an official time of 3:14:43 which put me at a sub 15 pace (14:52) and was a PR (205 out of 259)!! I was about 9 minutes faster than the year before. I was hurt last year though, so it makes me wonder a bit if I hadn’t been hurt what I could have done. *shrug*
The race photos were kinda funny this year. I looked way too happy (first loop…again!):
And Mike looked just flat out bored!
Liz, Sandra, and Ruth were at the finish line. It was nice to have people cheering me on at the finish line! I grabbed a slice of pizza, a couple of chocolate chip cookies (Hey, I earned it!), and some water while Liz and I waited for Mike to finish. He had a goal of finishing in 4 hours or less. His official time was 4:02:43 (9:16/M; 51 out of 248). That is outstanding for someone who didn’t run any further than 10 miles leading up to this! You could tell he was hurting though as he crossed over.
I was, and am, very proud of him. We grabbed our medals and headed home. He was so cold afterward he was shaking and just couldn’t get warm. We had the heat up full blast in the car and when we got home I bundled him up in flannel pants, a blanket, and my space heater! This is one reason why we train people!! You have to get your body used to the distances. Mike swore he’d never do another marathon but a few days later he was already calculating how to beat this year’s time!
Even though I said I wasn’t going to, that this 1/2 was going to be my last long run, I signed Mike and I up for the FULL Marathon next year! Afterall, what better year to do my marathon than the Year of the Elephant!