Sunday, January 10, 2010

Week Four, Day Seven: USA Fit Half Marathon Race Report

Here are the stats from my Garmin:

13.18 miles
Avg Pace 8:43/mi
1610 calories
155 avg HR
Mile 1 pace - 9:28/mi
Mile 12 pace - 8:01/mi

The official times have not been posted yet so we will go by my Garmin until that happens.  As many of you know I was going to treat this race as an easy training run and try to fight off the syndrome of meat-headedness that I am a frequent sufferer from.  Well, I did a pretty good job of this.  I stuck with Annie for the first 7+ miles or so and then some mini-meat-headedness struck me.  After this moment I started to run a little harder and considered pushing to a 7:30ish pace.  But I backed off to an 8:00-8:15/mi pace and my legs are happy I did!  Below is the Race Report that I posted on and below that is some pics from the event.


Pre-race routine:

This was my wife Annie's first race over 5 miles. She is training for the Austin Marathon in Feb and we thought this would be a good race to try to help prepare. I agreed to try and pace her for most of the run and fight my normal meathead urge to race. We stayed at the Town Center Marriott and had a nice dinner the night before at a Japanese place right across the street.

For breakfast we each had a banana, some coffee, and a zone bar to get something in out bellies! And then headed out to the frigid morning.

Event warmup:

None. It was 25 degrees and absolutely freezing. My best split of the day was my run from the car to the timing chip booth and then back to the car! After a prolonged wait at the porta potty line we barely made it to the starting line to hear the gun.

Run Comments:

We started out at the back of the pack. As we were jogging to the start line we heard the gun go off - not very well planned by us! It probably took 2-3 minutes for us to get to the timing mat. My guess is that about 1700-1800 people were participating.

We zigged and zagged and after 2 miles found some open road and it was a nice easy run from here. Around mile 3 Annie was struggling with her breathing due to the cold weather. Us Texans are not used to sub-30 degrees - don't laugh you Yankees because we would smoke you in 90 degrees with 80% humidity (-:

She started to feel better and get control of it when the sunny came up shortly after. At mile 6 I had to find a porta potty and unload some Gatorade. I told Annie to just keep running and I would catch up. This gave me a chance to stretch my legs a bit and it felt really good. I caught up to her right before mile 7.

At mile 7 I was still feeling really good and told Annie I wanted to run a little harder, she agreed and I upped my pace to 8-8:15/mi right around the 8 mile mark. At this point I passed a ton of people and bumped into a couple of guys I did the Texas Trail run 50k with. They were doing the full marathon. We talked for a few minutes and then I took off again.  I thought about pushing to a 7:30/mi pace for the last three miles but decided against it as to not tire my legs out too much for my upcoming training week and figured a couple of minutes off my finish time was not worth the recovery - meathead moment avoided!

According to the Garmin my finish time was 1:55:05. I had forgot to turn the auto-pause off and it probably paused when I made the bathroom pit stop so it might be a minute or two off.

Annie found a second wind and finished really strong at 2:02:33. She had a big smile on her face crossing the finish line and I was really proud of her. She did awesome and is ready for the Austin Marathon.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing really, except get our pansy butts out of the heated car sooner and get to the starting line in time. But it was sooo warm in the car!

Post race Warm down:

Got our finishers medal and long sleeve tech tee and headed back to the hotel for a warm shower and an awesome brunch. We chowed at the brunch!!

What limited your ability to perform faster:


Event comments:

Overall the race was good for it only being in it's 2nd year of existence. They had an awesome group of volunteers and the police were everywhere controlling traffic. The hotel we stayed at was the "Host Hotel" and we paid a couple extra bucks to stay because we thought a shuttle was available and a pre-race breakfast. Well, the shuttle didn't provide service to the race and the breakfast didn't open until 7am which was the start time of the race. Would have stayed at a cheaper hotel otherwise. But still had a great time!

Annie and I pre-race in our base layers - not sure if we are going to run or heist some jewelry!

This is after the race with our finishers medals.  It may look sunny but it was freezing!

Here is a close up of the finishers medal - it was a nice touch by the race organizers.

Thanks for Reading,



  1. Wow Jeff, congrats to you and Annie for stellar performances. Running in that weather is not easy, especially if you're not used to it. I tip my microtec balaclava to you both for a tremendous job.

    But you know what bothers me about your post? Your freakin' hotel! Whassup widdat? Are their names on the t-shirt? Entry form? I'm peeved and I didn't even stay there!

    Anywho, great race report and glad that you kept your meat-headedness in check. You came out of it with fresh legs and a load of fun.

  2. What's up dude? Thanks for all this constant tri-talk when we speak. you got me off my ass to start training for a half-marathon and potentially a tri of my own someday.....

    My blog is back up and running due. Call you tomorrow!

  3. Steve - that microtec balaclava is no joke huh? I saw on TWC that the ATL was 5 degrees this morning ... just unreal.

    Okay, initially I was upset with the hotel but my conversation with the manager made me upset with the race organizers. Being that I am a Marriott Gold member (one if the few perks of excessive business travel) they did everything possible to make me happy, including a much more than needed explaination - but as the hotel manager told me the race organizers had big plans for the hotel and never followed up. They placed calls to the organizers about shuttles, breakfast, ..etc and never received calls back.

    We were upset on Saturday night but by Sunday morning we both were happy we had our car with us instead of a shuttle because we would have had no place to wait for the race to begin and it was cold!

    But we probably would have stayed in a courtyard or fairfield inn if we knew this ahead of time and both of those were a few dollars cheaper. Live and learn.

  4. Saw your post on BT! Great blog and congrats on the race. Running in fiercely cold weather can be a blast, in a literal way! Any way good job and cheers!

  5. Mike - Good to have you back. Take care of that hip flexor and don't push too hard too fast.

  6. Thanks Jennifer - I spent the first 29 years of my life in PA and MD so you'd think the cold temps wouldn't bother me but after 5 years in Houston I can no longer handle it!

    Good to find another BT Blogger!

  7. Awww... congrats to you and your wife!

    And love the picture of you two in your robbery.... I mean running... clothes!

  8. Wow, what can I say! You are impressive my friend. You made a great time especially since you were being a meat head for much of the race. You even did pee pee stops!

    Annie's time was impressive too! Its cool that you both have an interest in running.

    Thanks for the cool photos!

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