RACE PACKET PICK-UP & EXPO – Since this race was here in my hometown, I hadn't planned on spending much time at the Race Expo. But it turned out to have plenty of vendors and I will use any excuse to shop. The packet pick-up was very well-organized and I had no trouble getting everything I needed for two races. And I got a great deal on the gels I'm currently using for my half marathons – the Honey Stinger Gold Energy Gel (I like it because it has electrolytes and B vitamins but mostly because it tastes like honey).
ABB 5K ON SATURDAY – My 5K race was actually pretty great. Since it was only 3.1 miles, I didn't try to pace myself and I was happy when I ended up running about 9 minute miles. For me, that is fast. The weather was gray and overcast but not too chilly. So it was definitely enjoyable. And since I usually do some short little run on the day before a race, this was an easy way to get another medal to add to my collection!
But, the big bonus was that we had a celebrity starter for this race – none other than U.S. marathoner Meb Keflezighi! You might recall that I saw Meb at my Las Vegas Half Marathon last month (I posted about that here – Las Vegas Half Marathon – Race Review). Among his many running achievements, Meb won the silver medal in the 2004 Olympics and finished first in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon trials here in Houston. He was running the Houston Half Marathon the next day (just like me!) but came out to kick off the 5K. Here is a really great photo I took of him on the starter's podium:
Right after I took this photo, I went up and high-fived Meb! So maybe that is why my 5K seemed like such a breeze.
HOUSTON HALF MARATHON ON SUNDAY – My half marathon the next day was another story. See that photo up at the very top of this post? Those are someone's shoes sloshing through rain-filled puddles and getting totally soaked during the Houston Half Marathon. While those aren't my shoes, my shoes went through the same experience. My shoes, my socks and my feet were completely soaking wet by the time I reached the 1 mile marker of a 13.1 mile race. Have you ever run in sopping wet shoes, where you can hear and feel the “squish” with every step? That's what my race was like – not fun.
Now, before I go any further, let me say – I am a total baby about running in the rain. And I am an even bigger baby about running in the cold. Put those two things together and I am completely miserable (in my defense – at least I ran the race, 40% of those registered did not!). Other people, however, people I know, ran in the same rain and cold and did great – setting personal records left and right. But not me. I ran my absolute worst time ever and swung back and forth between being unable to run because of the pain in my left knee and hip and being unable to walk because I needed to run and get out of the freezing cold as quickly as possible.
And all of this might have been tolerable except for the fact that I was doing it while wearing the equivalent of a dry cleaning bag. Check out this photo of my fellow runners:
While that is not me, that's kind of what I looked like. For this race, I wore a tank top, a long-sleeved dri-fit top (sleeves got wet), a pair of running tights, a pair of yoga pants, throw-away cotton gloves (which became soaked and had to be thrown away), a dri-fit tennis hat, and topping it all off, a clear plastic poncho. Lovely. Basically, I ran in a dry cleaning bag for 13.1 miles.
Conclusion – For me, personally, my biggest achievement in this half marathon was that I even got out there and participated. Timewise, this was my worst half marathon ever. I'm not even going to tell you my time because I don't want to think about it. But – don't let that stop you from running the Houston half marathon or marathon. The course is very flat (probably why its often used for Olympic trials and will be again in 2014 and 2015) and the weather is usually good. Great even.
Next up – Fort Worth Half Marathon in February. I will have my dry cleaning bag ready.
If you have tips for running in the rain/cold, let me know. I could really use them!
© Kim Selzman 2013 All Rights Reserved