This weekend we headed to Houston for my third Houston Marathon! I love that we live so close that it’s just a few hours away, instead of having to deal with all of the airport shenanigans (so draining, does that make me sound old?!).
Anyways, we kicked off Saturday with a trip to the expo. Houston is a smaller race, but they sure do put on a good expo! It was a lot of fun and I liked visiting all of my favorite brands. I couldn’t resist getting a super awesome Skechers trucker hat and sweatshirt (it had thumbholes. I can never argue with thumbholes.).
The BEST part of the day was attending a Skechers event to meet Meb! Now, as you may know, I’ve met Meb a few times…
It was a great event at The Grove (super cool place in downtown Houston!) and it was fun to see all the other runners and “important” marathon people (like a guy from USATF)… and of course, hang out with Meb!
We headed to Chipotle for my usual pre-race dinner (but now, questioning whether that’s the best place to fuel) and before I knew it, it was time to get some sleep before #18.
The next morning, I was dropped off at the start about 45 minutes before — I think I cut it a little close this time around. I was going to go to the bathroom before the race, but the lines were ridiculously long. So long that some girls were just popping a squat in the middle of the street when the gun went off (gross, gross, gross… sorry, totally judging here).
Anyways, I was feeling good! Even though I had said I had no goals, I really wanted to be around 3:45ish… and well, since I felt good, I thought I’d go after that untouchable 3:30.
I felt GREAT, until mile 4 came around and suddenly, my gut was NOT happy. Ugh. I debated about whether or not I should head to the port-a-potties up ahead and at the last minute, started cutting over (heard some guys say “Man, she must really have to go!” … thanks, guys). And then I felt fine, so I was like OK, that’s only a minute, I can catch that up.
Around mile 6 — I had seen some pace balloons in front of me, and they told me it was 3:30. Woo! PUMPED UP. Here I come… finally.
I kept at it, and my Garmin was telling me I was running around 7:45-7:55… not bad.
And then, the gut hit AGAIN. I was a little like “ugh,” but figured it would be better just to go… again.
So, I went. And gone went another 2-1/2 minutes. I was starting to feel a little defeated because honestly, this has NEVER happened. I’ve had to make one or two restroom stops, but not TWICE without being barely 10 miles into it.
So then I was like, maybe it’s the Gatorade? I only drink Nuun during training… so maybe the sugar is too much. I decided to stop drinking it.
At mile 11-ish, still felt pretty good and was on track for a 3:35 finish. Not bad.
Oh, but my gut wasn’t done.
At mile 18, it got REALLY crabby. REALLY crabby and I had to stop AGAIN.
By this time, I was kinda pissed. I probably made the worst decision: I told myself fine, forget it, I am DONE fueling you.
Yeah, not the smartest when you have about 7.5 miles to go. I skipped a few water stations, finally got a sip around mile 21, and kept my last gel in my pocket.
But then I started to feel really hungry and my gut started to get angry (not the bathroom angry), so I decided that I would try half a gel around mile 23. Saw the fam at mile 25 and almost thought about not waving, but thought they would get worried, so managed out a half of something that I guess you could call a wave.
The last mile was spent with watery mouth and wondering if I was about to throw up. So not cool. And a feeling that I’ve never had before.
AND I ended up not getting sick as I walked through the chute to finally get my post-race goodies.
Just weird. WEIRD.
But back to the post-race goodies: the thing I love about Houston is the finish is quite the celebration. I mean, would you expect anything less in Texas? But after you get your medal, you go to pick up a glass and finisher shirt (in addition to the shirt you got the day before), and you can hit up this monster buffet too.
Obviously, this is one of my favorite marathons so I will be back next year! But if you want to head there, what you need to know:
- Registration is NOW OPEN. They are no longer doing a lottery system for the marathon because they expanded the field. So, if you want in for 2015, you can register today! I am going to register as a time qualifier (under four hours for women) in May.
- They don’t give heat sheets at the finish. This is the one thing that I hate about this race and don’t understand how they don’t do this?! This year, I brought mine from NYC to wear and it was a lifesaver.
- Weather is generally perfect this time of year for a race in Houston. It gets a little warmer towards the finish… but the start is usually pretty good.
- Skechers has taken over sponsorship for the race and they are doing an AWESOME job with the race gear. 1000x improvement over previous years!
- Even though people say that Houston is all concrete and nothing interesting, it’s not true! I feel like the course really shows the BEST of Houston and all of the beautiful parts.
Have you ever run Houston Marathon? What did you think?
What makes you LOVE a race?
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