Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Aramco Houston Half Marathon: “I double dare you …”

The Houston Chevron Half Marathon was on January 17, and although it came with its challenges it was totally awesome. I haven’t been able to write up a post race report until now as I just didn’t really know what to say.

55422-1756-013fOne of my kids got sick the day prior to the race and I spent the night before up taking care of him. I was exhausted to say the least when I met with some of the running club members early on the Sunday morning to catch a lift into Houston. My family weren’t going to come in to try to watch parts of the race anyway, having one sick just confirmed this for me. I was understanding, but a bit disappointed – but my husband has pointed out that my training had waned and that maybe I wasn’t that much into it anyway.

Some of the running club members were putting unrealistic expectations on me for this race. They were certain that I was going to run under two hours. My husband was right – my training had been non-existent for most of December and for the two weeks leading up to the race. There was always a chance that I could run under two, but I didn’t think so and told these people accordingly.

Lack of sleep didn’t take away from the excitement pre-race. I got to tweet up with some friends pre-race which was totally awesome. I also was able to get in a great position for the start – at the front of Wave 2. Based on how I was feeling I adjusted my race plan to go out at an 8.40 pace and try to maintain it for as long as I was physically able to. Discussions in the car on the way to the start confirmed that a 9.09 pace was all that was needed to hit the 2hr finish. Some of the other club members were aiming for that. I knew that I would tire out before the finish so I thought that if I went out strong and then just held the pace below a 9.30 I could finish with them.

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After the gun went off, I looked down at the garmin and saw that I had run the first half mile at a 7.50 pace. Stupid! I slowed it down and kept it in the targeted area for the next 9 miles, slowing only to GU at mile 4 and 9. At mile 10 I was tired but ecstatic – I was really thinking that somehow I would be able to run 2hrs!! I slowed a bit between mile 10 and 11 and hit mile 12 at 1hr50! I knew that it would be close but I thought if I could just hold in there I might be able to finish this thing off.

All of a sudden total exhaustion overtook me along with a nauseating sensation. I felt like I was going to throw up! I stopped to catch my breath and had to steady myself as I lost my sense of balance. I was staggering on the road not unlike a drunk. The feeling passed and I started up a jog slowly. Half a mile down the track the urge to throw up almost took over my senses. I stopped again and took a few deep breaths. Slowly but steadily I started running again intent on at least finishing this race. The time was not important – I had all but forgotten about the time; I just wanted to get the race over with so I could curl up and sleep.

Fighting the surge of emotions that were bubbling over making me want to cry, I finally crossed the finish line in a time of 2hrs 04 mins. A PR by 4 minutes and the third fastest time (I think) for our running club. I didn’t make the NYCM qualifying time (by a long shot) and I didn’t break 2 hours. But, what I demonstrated was that although I wasn’t physically prepared for this race (through lack of lead up training and sleep) I was ready to give it my all and not give up. I am glad that I dared to try..

Two hours smouwers! There will be another race. And, I know with total certainty that I will do it.


jenna is awkward said...

oh man! wow, way to fight through it! i've had runs like that that make no sense why you're feeling ill, but you just do. you were a real rock star and pushed through! way to go!

That Pink Girl said...

Wow! What a dramatic way to PR - you are hardcore! Congratulations!

Jocelyn said...

Wow, what a tough run! But you finished and that is the most important thing ever! You PRed too! You are amazin

Mark said...

Way to stay in there! Congrats on the PR!!!

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