Monday, January 31, 2011

Houston Marathon Race Report



There they are, my results.  In black and white. Here is how they came to be.
Jeff and I woke up at 4am, had a little coffee and my normal pre race breakfast of a whole wheat bagel and peanut butter.  Two of my friends were riding down with us.  They got to our place, we snapped some photos and then left the house at 5am.  We got downtown and parked about a mile away from the start. Walked on over to the start, hit the bathroom a couple times, checked our bags, and before I knew it it was time to run!

I had planned on running with Beth, who I trained with and who I ran the San Antonio half with (which to date is my half PR).  I was slotted in the second wave, and she was in the first, so I just jumped up with her.  We came up with a code/plan in case one of us needed to hang back.  Basically we were just going to tell the other one, go ahead.  Then we would stay together for another minute just to check then go ahead if the other one of us was sure.  Jeff said that seemed like too much talking, and we just needed a word like artichoke.  So that was our new code word.

So the gun went off, and we were off.  Our plan was to not go out to fast, and we were doing well with that.  Of course the crowding kind of made thats easy. With the sudden arrival of bronchitis at the beginning of the week I had adjusted my goal and was shooting for a 4:30:00 time.  The first half of the race went well and we were right on track.  At the 13.1 mark I was on track for a 4:20:00!  I might want to mention that around mile 7 my left calf was twinging a little, but I could still deal.  At the halfway point, my calf and hamstring were cramping a bit, so I stopped for a quick stretch.  Right back on track.

Then we hit mile 15, which was a huge hill/overpass.  I mean really, I thought Texas was flat!!  Running up this  hill was just a bit too much for my lungs to handle.  Beth was right in front of me, but I had to slow down a little bit to try to gain control of my breathing again.  I tried to keep for the next couple of miles, but finally at mile 17 I heard myself saying........ARTICHOKE.  Beth double checked with me, I waved her on and she was off.

After that things kind of went down hill for me, as far as my race plan went.  My left calf, hamstring and quad were all cramping.  I feel like my nutrition and hydration were right on track.  It was very humid, and with the bronchitis I am thinking the lack of oxygen played a role.  All this cramping in my left leg lead to my left knee feeling like it was being squeezed by a vice grip.  I wanted to quit.  I stopped at a medical tent for some biofreeze.  I wanted to quit.  I saw my amazing husband at mile 19.5, so I kept on going.  I walked more than I wanted to.  When I ran it hurt unbelievably bad.  But I knew if I walked I would not beat my time from last year.  I had to finish, and I had to beat that time.  So, somehow, I dug deep and kept on running.  The last 4 miles were brutal.  At that point it was really a mental game.

I crossed the finish line 10 minutes past my goal time, and 21 minutes before I finished my first marathon last year.  So I guess I got a PR!

During this race I learned that I need a shorter training time (this plan was 22 weeks).  I am thinking an 18 week plan with more miles will work for me.  I also didn't run with my ipod, which I was unsure about.  However, I think that not having it made me tune into my body more, and is actually what kept me going at the end.  I think having it would have given me an excuse to not focus, and slow down even more.  So, I will use music for training, but no longer for races.

A quick note on the retail I shared, the company I work for went out of business.  My store was suppose to be open until the end of February.  When I was home sick on Tuesday I got a call that the last day we were going to be open was Sunday.  The day of the marathon.  We were expected to stay open, and box up all the clothes that were left to be shipped to another store.  I was racked with guilt for not being there, but  my awesome team told me to go have a great race and not worry about it.  I am so grateful to them for taking on that burden and allowing me to put all my hard work to use!  So now I guess the real hard work begins.  Job hunting...........


  1. Nice work!!! way to DigDeep with your knee in a vice grip and PR!! you did great! especially just after being sick

    overcoming Calf, Hammy, and Quad cramping in a marathon is a big deal.

    great performance as well as some good lessons for the future. Most of all it seems you enjoyed the experience:)


  2. Great run and congratulations on the PR! Good choice about the music. There is nothing better than tuning in with your body in a long race. Rest well!

  3. You are awesome Annie!! Congrats on a fantastic marathon finish! You toughed it out and it worked like magic! PRs are the best:) Good luck job hunting and get some well deserved rest!

  4. Great job Annie! PRs are awesome and I am really impressed by your tenacity.

    Good luck with the job hunt! Let me know if I can help out. I have some family in Houston and they may know some people.

  5. I hope you aren't disappointed with that run, because you did awesome! :) And I love that your "word" was artichoke. Going to have to try that next time! :)

    Enjoy some down time... you deserve it!

  6. You. Did. Freaking. Awesome.

    I'd so loooove to run with you one day!!!


    Man how I wish you lived in AZ. I'd soooo love a retail runner co-worker.

  7. Congrats!!! Still running it after getting over a nasty cold the week before!!! You are such a rockstar

    When you saw Jeff, was he eating the sausage on a stick?

    Good luck on the job search, i will talk to Jeffery on laying off the tri toys for a bit (dont expect much luck with this)

  8. Great job on the race! Bummer about the gig but let the job hunting begin in earnest.

  9. Thanks everyone.

    @BBD, guess he haven't talked to Jeff yet. He's talking about new bike shoes!