OMG...Houston Marathon 2009!
I just ran a 3:52. Wow.
And I didn't walk! Even more wow.
More later....congrats to all who finished, PR'ed, first-timed and a special shoutout to Coach Gilbert who helped me reach my marathon goal this year!!!!!!!
Wow is seriously all I can keep thinking.
3:52, 3:52, 3:52.
I didn’t walk, I didn’t walk, I didn’t walk.
Both are huge accomplishments for me. First of all, I never thought it was possible to run a marathon without stopping. I know top-notch runners who walk during marathons, for crying out loud! (no shame in that, at all…I’m just saying). So for almost 4 hours, I kept doing the only thing my legs wanted to do, and that was run, run, run.
Pre-race I felt a slight scratch in my throat and tiredness in my legs. I worked a trade show earlier in the week and got straight off the plane on Saturday from LAX to the race expo. Yes, I am crazy, and some even say I am hard-core!!! Haha. Anyhow, I ate a huge carb-y dinner (big portion of spaghetti following by a twice-baked potato and an ice-cream bar!!!) No point in going to bed hungry, since the past year’s marathon I struggled with being hungry during the race…I was also good about drinking two huge carb-y Ultra Fuels earlier in the week. Yumm…pure sugar and carbs! I was asleep and not at all nervous by 8pm!!! Perhaps a little dehydrated though?
Woke up at 4am, showered, ate a big breakfast (1/2 bagel with peanut butter, cup of oatmeal, large banana, large Gatorade) and got dropped off by 5:15am at the convention center. Did the normal pre-marathon ritual, listening to loud DMB and Green Day while singing, pinning my number on, stretching, reading and eating a bit of clif bar…drinking, drinking, drinking. Needed to use the portalets at least 2 times before the race. Looked for some Striders at the Hilton after bag drop off. Really warm outside. 62 degrees is what the digital billboard says. Def. not a 3:45 day.
Found my friends, we waited for the potties and talked. Running late to the start, Strider Amalia and I miss the start of the first wave. For some reason though, this might have worked to my favor. Not having to weave through anybody (literally 50 people in front of me) was nice. We were both out for 3:50, but after sticking to her even pace for a few miles, I knew 3:50 would be a struggle today. I slowed down a little but would catch her around mile 6 or 7. Popped Tylenol and a salt tablet. Nothing exciting really happened for quite a while, the ‘donut guys’ weren’t there this year. Lots of smiles though in the crowds. Awesome, awesome crowd support as always. It was exhilarating.
Didn’t see my brother or his finance at mile 7. At mile 8 we bid farwell to the half-marathoners. Saw Strider Janet turn-around. Looking good there! It was quiet until we turned into West U and I was already getting hungry!!! Got blessed by the holy water as normal and hearing the church bells, began to cry thinking about Dwight and the fact he is still in ICU. I had to regain composure though because I found myself unable to breathe. West U is my favorite part of the course. The crowd support is simply amazing. People are drinking mimosas in their front yards. Kids handing out bananas, candy and high-fives. SIMPLY THE BEST.
Up the Westpark hill…piece of cake for me now that I am in Austin and train on hills every day (love them!) I was starting to feel slightly tired by mile 10 though. But not going to walk, just slow off the 3:50 pace slightly. Passing people left and right. Lots of people shouting I looked good. Striders cheering for me. Onwards though the Galleria, and my Houston home for 5 years. I always get sentimental here for some reason. See Wes (my best friend) at mile 17 and Kiki (guy I’m dating) at mile 18. I know this is mentally a tough part of the course. Physically, I haven’t walked yet. Both guys say I look great. I feel…strangely good?! Popped Tylenol and a salt tablet and was chewing on a yummy clif bar Wes gave me and a super strong and tasty Gatorade in my little bottle.
Mile 19 brings the notorious bellydancers (love those ladies!) and usually…the WALL. Not for me today. I keep running. I feel unusually strong. I actually speed up a little. Through Memorial Park, past the beer tent (yes, I drank a beer again!), towards the Houston Striders (love ya’ll!) and then towards HRTC (love you all too!) and the Houston Hashers. I am having fun, waving to people I know. Laughing and smiling. For some reason, although I feel I should be walking, I start to feel more spirited and alert. Determined to finish….knowing I will. NOT WALKING…I know if I don’t walk, I can still do 3:52 at this point…
Don’t remember much after mile 24. I think Kiki met me around mile 25 and ran with me towards to finish. I told him I wanted a Vodka/Vicatin and no tonic before I finished. I think I was really really ready to be done running. I don’t know how I was still running actually. I couldn’t feel anything at this point. No pain, nothing. Just one foot in front of the other…
The finish line finally came and as I was crossing the finished, I started screaming and looking up towards the sky, instantiously crying and yelling “Dwight, this one was for you!” It was absolutely the best feeling in my life, up to that point. I cried for a long time. Totally elated. 3:52. So what, I missed 3:50…but knowing I had a 10 minute PR on a warm day, who am I to complain?!
Next year…hmmm. 3:40 I think. Anyone want to run Boston with me next April?! :) Another fun voyage is totally in store…