Last year I did the 5k that is with the Houston Marathon and Half-Marathon. Seeing all those people out there was a huge motivator for me and I decided that next year, I was running the half-marathon. It's a pretty big deal here in Houston and you have to enter a lottery to be able to register. Well, I didn't get selected in the lottery so my other option was to fundraise for a charity to get an entry. In the 4 months of fundraising, I raised over $500 and was able to register for the race! I ran on behalf of the Houston Center for Literacy.
Side note- did you know that 1 out of 5 adults in Houston are illiterate? Crazy and scary!!!
I was so excited and a little nervous. 13.1 miles is a long way. Just looking at the race route made me exhausted! But I had committed so the training began. I ran the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day which was 6 miles. December was a horrible month and I didn't run hardly at all. After Christmas, I had an "oh crap" moment when I realized on January 13th I was running the race. So I spent about 3 weeks hardcore training. I did 2 longs runs (9 and 10 miles). Looking back on it, this probably wasn't the best way to train for a half-marathon. But I figured I knew I could run 10 miles so 13.1 wouldn't be so bad.
Race Day- all week long I had been obsessively checking the weather. The forecast varied all week from 30% chance of rain to 70% chance of rain and the temps were anywhere between 45 and 70. The rain would be horrible but 70 degree humid Houston weather would be worse. On Sunday morning when I woke up, it was about 45 degrees. A cold front was in the process of coming through. AND it was RAINING. It went from misting to drizzling to downpour. The race started at 7am and I went through the start line about 7:20am. By that time, it was pretty much a downpour. There was nothing I could do but keep going. It rained. A lot. For the entire first 5 miles (about an hour). I was drenched. My gloves were so wet I could wring them out. I lost them about mile 3 because it was just too uncomfortable.
Seeing the people cheering us on in the rain was fabulous. It brought tears to my eyes several times. In fact, I had to walk if I felt like I was going to cry. You see, I'm one of those ugly, can't breathe, criers so running and crying doesn't work.
The way the route was set up, I knew if I could make it to mile 5, I would be good to go. Thank goodness for me, the weather gods knew that also and at mile 5, the rain stopped. I was soaked and freezing but at least the rain wasn't pelting me in the face any more. At this point, I'd take what I could get from the weather gods. Mile 5-9 were awesome. I walked some but mostly ran. I felt good.
Then at mile 9, you turn around and run the other way on the same street for 2 miles. It was probably the most boring part of the run. And to make matters worse, I could see the race crews cleaning up the other side of the street so I knew I needed to hustle.
Once I got to mile 11, I knew I was on the home stretch. 2 miles is no big deal normally. My legs disagreed with me. I could not make them move any faster. I knew I was on pace to complete the whole thing in 3 hours (my goal) so I gave it everything I could. About mile 12, I saw my dad with our 2 dogs on the sideline cheering me on. It gave me the final push to finish! The last mile was amazing. People were lined up on the streets cheering you on. I was able to dig down deep and run the last mile. Once I could see the finish line, I had an overwhelming feeling of success. And to cap it all off, my mom was cheering me on at the finish line! I had set a huge goal and I couldn't believe I had actually ran 13.1 miles.
Crossing the finish line was the best feeling in the world. I all of a sudden forgot all the pain I was in and how tired I was. I took my race picture, got my food, and met my mom. All I wanted at that point was a warm shower and to get out of my wet clothes. It was about 40 degrees and windy by the race finish so I was miserable.
I finished the entire 13.1 miles in 3:03:38. I ran a 14 minute mile. Finished in 8,877 place (out of about 10,000 people) and 4,727 in the women's category. I was #877 in my age division. For my first race, I was pleased. I didn't finish last (by a long shot) and almost met my goal. I'm already planning for my next race and am excited to start training again!
And I haven't purchased the official race pictures but if anyone if interested in seeing how wet and tired I looked, here's the link: http://www.marathonfoto.com/Marathon/Houston-Marathon-and-Half-2013/offering/myMarathonfotos/RaceOID/26792013W1/Language/en