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!|
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?
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?"
Jeff: "Well, we are averaging 6min miles, that is unsustainable buddy!"
Dave: "Maybe we should back off a little?"
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):
Texas Half Marathon
January 1st, 2012
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,