Monday, January 2, 2012

Texas Half Marathon Race Report - 3rd Place Overall

New Years Day - 1/1/2012

Annie and I had decided to run in the Texas Half Marathon early in 2011 after a few of our friends had raced it. The race is in our hometown of Kingwood and only allows in 650 racers (300 Marathon, 350 Half Marathon) so we signed up early as it always fills up.

One thing we did not think of when we signed up was that we usually celebrate New Years Eve with a group of friends and this year it was at our house! Everyone showed up with tons of food. We ate like it was our last meal. I was out of control with my food consumption but that was okay because I washed it down with beer. Every so often one of my friends would remind me that I had a race in the morning, my response was to eat another cookie!

Then around midnight the real fun began:

Just a small sampling of our Fireworks!
Then my cul-de-sac morphed into what looked like WWIII:

After all the festivities and clean-up Annie and I ended up in bed just shy of 2am.  The 5am alarm came rather fast.

Annie and I slowly woke up and got ready to go run. I jumped on the scale and my weight was showing 162.2 lbs. I had weighed in at 155 lbs the morning before!! This was going to be a long morning!

We drove over to a grocery store about a mile from the race start and met up with some friends. The plan was to do an easy run over to the race start - we all slowly walked!

A few minutes before the race Dave, Bobby and me went for a brisk 1.2mi run to just loosen up a little and my legs were actually feeling better than I had guessed. A positive sign?

The Race:

Dave, Bobby, and me lined up in the front row and decided to go out hot and then just hang on for as long as possible. I really wanted to practice running even splits and decided to go for around a 6:45-6:50 pace.  Bobby wanted to break his PR of 1:42 and Dave wanted to break his PR of 1:40. My goal last week was to beat my 1:29:30 PR but as of this morning that goal changed to just not pooping myself.

The course was a 6.55 out and back that we would run twice. The marathoners had started 15mins before us and had to do the out and back four times. The course was on the paved greenbelt trails so my biggest concern was that once we caught the marathoners the course was going to get quite congested as  the trails are about the size of a normal sidewalk.

The gun went off and two skinny fast guys jumped out ahead of myself and Dave. They looked the part of fast runners and the opening mile proved just that! Dave had decided to run with me for as long as he could as he sometimes has trouble with pacing on longer runs and would let me and my garmin help him. My goal was to settle in after the first couple of miles and save something in the tank for a strong finish.

We were about two miles in and Dave and I were running next to each other, he was setting the pace, and we were in 3rd place. I looked down at the Garmin and we were averaging 6:00min/mi. Here is how the conversation went:

Jeff: "Umm, Dave, you know we have to do two loops right?"
Dave: "yeah?"
Jeff: "Well, we are averaging 6min miles, that is unsustainable buddy!"
Dave: "Maybe we should back off a little?"
Jeff: "Maybe."

It was at about 3mi in we started to catch the BOP marathoners. Dave and I ran single file from this point on and took turns pulling.  A short little out and back and then another turn around put us in the heart of the marathoners and things started to get tight. We went through one rather large pack yelling, "passing on your left". After we got through it Dave looked back at me and said he felt like Jerome Bettis going through tackling drills!  It was quite the apt description!

At one point we went around a lake and started our way back towards the finsh line/turn-around point. They had a water station setup here and right after that you made a 90 degree turn. It was at this point a young handicapped girl in a wheelchair pulled out right in front of Dave and I. He was in front of me and I saw him jump before I even saw her. He literally went right over top of her and, luckily, landed safely without making any contact with her.  My reaction was to take a large side step behind her and while doing this I actually spun in a circle as to keep my balance missing her by a hair. When I landed my left quad got a shooting pain and it hurt like hell. Dave and I both immediately turned around and saw that the young lady had made it through unscathed, in fact, we think she didn't even notice us. Disaster averted! Whew!

My quad loosened back up and we sprinted back to the turn around to begin out second loop.  We were still in 3rd and 4th place as we started the second lap.

The remaining miles were pretty uneventful as we pretty much just zig-zagged in and out of the other runners.  For the most part the slower runners were very respectful of those of us going faster and stayed to the right. A couple of times I made some contact while passing but none of it was intentional or purposeful.

By mile 9 I could tell Dave was starting to tire just a little so I told him to just hang on my shoulder as long as he could. We hit the little out and back section and I saw the guy in second and we had made up some serious ground on him. It was at this point that I decided to give all I had left and really kicked it in for the final 5k. Dave told me to just go and a started the chase.

The last 2 miles hurt pretty good but I just kept pushing.  I never caught the guy in 2nd but ended up finishing with a new PR of 1:27:50 and in 3rd Place Overall. He finished about a minute in front of me.

Dave came in at 1:30 smashing a new PR by 10mins and Bobby came in at 1:36 which was a fantastic  6min PR.

After I hit the finish line I continued along and was presented with the biggest and best finishers medal you will ever see:

1.5 Kilo Texas Marathon Finishers Medal!

Just how big is 1.5 Kilos?

Next to a Garmin 310xt!

Making the Ironman Texas Medal look like a nickle!

Dinking Bailey the Pug who is 27lbs!

This race was my type of race: Small (650ppl), local (5mi from house), Unique Swag (Medal and Pig), and very laid back. The course was technical but extremely well marked and organized. Annie and her friend Jenn took it easy for the 1/2 distance and had a great time too. We plan on doing this one next year again!

Thanks to Steve Boone for putting on a wonderful event and a huge thanks to Metal Sawing Technology (local company) for sponsoring the race and providing us with the awesome medals!

Final Results (Not posted yet, will update when they are up):

Jeff Irvin
Texas Half Marathon 
January 1st, 2012
6:42 Pace
3rd Place Overall

Every year at this race they have a different animal for the theme that they place your finishing position on! This was the year of the Pig:

Thanks for Reading,



  1. That is some sweet bling!! Nice job!

  2. Great job Jeff, very proud of you!!

  3. Nice. Sounds like you made both your revised and original goals. Perhaps you have found the key to pre race nutrition? It seems counterintuitive but the results speak for themselves. I kid. Congratulations on the PR with regard to the adversity created by the prior night.

  4. Great start to the year, maybe you could donate the medal to a small family for shelter.

  5. Wow dude, you blew your "just hoping not to poop" goal right out of the water. Congrats, that is stinking fast. I bet you were sweating beer like crazy.

  6. To think, one more beer the night before and 2nd was yours!! Those extra carbs were all you needed.

    And you know your description of the start "The gun went off and two skinny fast guys jumped out ahead of myself and Dave", is exactly how we talk about you...

    Keep it going, you are motivating me to get down into "skinny" territory...

    Congrats on the bling

  7. This is such a stark contrast to the pessimistic/control freak folks who break a shoelace and figure their odds of a good race are over!! I love a good unconventional approach and great attitude!! Amazing race, that is just phenomenal!!

  8. Nice, congrats! I'm always jealous of you Texans & your fireworks. They wont let us in CA. :) I've had some of my best races when I haven't taken things too seriously the day before. good for you!

  9. Woohoo! You did sooo awesome! Congrats on your 3rd place win! Maybe eating tons of food and drinking lots of beer is actually a great pre-race meal?? :)

  10. Holy crap! Smokin' fast and with a hangover. I am so impressed! You do know you have that BQ just waiting for you, don't you?

    And when you run for prez, get that pocket thing done and you're in!

  11. ha! It wasn't as much the beer as all the crappy food I ate. I probably had an entire bag of little smokie sausages in BBQ sauce and a gazillion cookies! And the pie and bacon scallops and meatballs and ...

    Just went on and on!

    Had a really good time with good friends. I got lucky it all didn't hurt me too bad during the race. Now that evening was not pleasant - lots of Pepto and water!

  12. Awesome job Jeff! 3rd overall is really impressive as is your super fast PR. On top of that, the finisher medal is one of the coolest I've every seen.

  13. Sounds like the party was AWESOME! And the race pretty much, too :)

    Congrats on a great race and the new PR!

  14. 7lb weight gain in 1 day??? That has to be a PR right??? Two PRs in 24 hours... nice!

    I can't imagine doing 4 out and backs for the marathon. I'd rather run on the treadmill (OK, maybe not that)

    How were you even holding a coversation at a 6min/mile pace? For me, it would have been ""Umm, (gasp) Dave (gasp), you (gasp) know (gasp) we (gasp) have (gasp) to (gasp) do (gasp) two (gasp) loops (gasp) right?"

    So Dave hurdled the girl in the wheelchair? That is just plain awesome.

    That hardware is just plain ridiculous!

    So Bailey weights 7.5 medals. That sounds better than 27 lbs.

  15. sweet!! great way to run into the new year
    congrats :) and that is one awesome medal!!!

  16. What an incredible race! That medal is crazy huge! Holy Cow! Way to go on the three of you setting PR's. You guys are beast. Boston is gonna be great for you and Kevin!

  17. I don't know what I'm more impressed with... your finish time or the fact that you didn't poop yourself! :) You are amazing... what a way to start off the year!

    And that medal is AWESOME! I know I make fun of Texass a lot, but I will give it up for the swag at that race! :)

  18. congrats on your PR!!!!
    that medal is REALLY nice!

  19. Congrats on a great race. That's some serious speed! Congrats to your buddies as well for some awesome PRs. A great start to 2012

  20. That is just AWESOME! Man, I can't even wrap my head around how fast you run. Third overall. Ok, I am going to make a prediction... you are going to be in the top 10% overall of an Ironman soon. Remember, I predicted that you would do an Ironman before you even considered it.

    Btw, I like that Texas size medal!

  21. Hell yeah, dude. Well done. All your hard work in those super plush overly cushioned Hoka One One shoes is paying off. Take that minimalists!

    Seriously, well done. That's a rad accomplishment.

  22. Congrats on taking 3rd!! I love that medal as well, thats how they should all be

  23. Nice work! I can't believe you did that on a heavy stomach and 3 hours of sleep! You are a rockstar!

  24. Holy shit dude! You beat me :)

    NOW, the BQ taste is so heavy in your mouth... You have got the BQ no fricking problem now.


    That had to be mayhem having everyone on the same course for 4 laps... the poor marathoners dealing w/ everyone that much. Aye!

    Loved the medals, actually jealous of them haha, I wish Ohio was cool and made big medals :(

    Swim for recovery?

    Keep up the great work man... seriously, its soooo close!

  25. Wow, you are freakin' awesome! Congrats to everyone on their races!

  26. Congrats on a great race and PR!! :) That is an awesome medal. :) Way to go!!!

    P.S. - I love your dog too - so cute!

  27. Man, and I thought my medal was big for the New Years Double... and I had to run 2 marathons to earn that thing. This race might have to be added to my bucket list!

    Congratulations on the great finish!!

  28. That medal is ridiculous. I did not get the full feel of it on Twitter but here it really shows just how large it is (TWSS)

    Keep up the great work. Two months away from that BQ and I have no doubts that you will get there.

    Great job by your buddies to. Getting a 10 minute or 6 minute PR in a half-mary is incredible.

  29. holy medal crap! wow! congrats!

  30. The lack of sleep is what kills me about this!! I HAVE to have 8!! :) Good job!


    way to go my man

    1st off congrats on not pooping yourself!

    2nd - hats off to an excellent performance and overall podium. What a time! Especially given the circumstances

  32. heck yeah jeff! amazing way to start the season!

  33. Holy sh*t, dude !!! That is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  34. WOW!! That is awesome!! Not crapping your pants is such a great way to start the season!! ;)

    Congrats on the 3rd AG!!

    That medal is huge. Holy crap.

  35. Congrats man! You keep clicking off PR after PR!

  36. Holy crap Jeff, that is one huge piece of bling! Congrats, you did really well and deserve to drag that thing around for a few months! Bravo! And happy 2012!

  37. That metal is HUGE!!! Congrats Jeff - that is some stellar work!

  38. Jeff, belated congratulations on your 3rd place at the half. After viewing the size of the race medal, I have come to the conclusion that Texas is overcompensating for the collective small penises of its male population (you notwithstanding, of course). I am going to leave it at that to avoid any potentially embarrassing homoerotic comment that we might both regret later when we are running for public orifice, oops, I mean office.