Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Houston Marathon Recap + Pictures

I believe this is a great format to everyone to post their experiences and comments about the Chevron Houston Marathon. So I guess I will start.

I was a bit disappointed in my time this year. Maybe being sick at Christmas slowed me down. Some of you saw me at my worst at the John Phillips LOOONG Run, but I felt pretty good the two weeks before the marathon.

I know that many people would love to run the marathon in my time of 3:43, but everything is relative. This was one of the strangest marathons I have run. I started out great; I felt great. I was running easy and comfortably for the first five miles. I was confident I would have a good race.

Then at Mile 6 as we were running up some hills, I started to have trouble breathing. Since I needed a bathroom break anyway, I stopped and thought that would aid in recovering my breathing. I ran easily for about a mile and still had trouble. I really was beginning to worry about finishing. I stopped 4 times between Miles 6 and 9 and finally felt better and ran very comfortably up to Mile 21 where I started to hit "the Wall" with cramps and slowed down. At that point I ran from water stop to water stop. With about a mile and a half to go, I saw Linda cheering the runners. She asked me if I needed anything and I told her, "I need to be at the finish line".

Two minutes after the race, I was relieved to have finished. Two hours after the race, I began to wonder if maybe I should scale back on running marathons and now two days after the race, I'm thinking about how I will do better at my next marathon, probably sometime this fall!!

That's my story. I want to hear your story by adding your comments.

I am including a slideshow of some pictures I took before the start of race and after finish. Enjoy, :-)


  1. I had a great race. After having ran so many warm marathons recently the
    conditions were to my liking with humidity dropping and clear skies.
    I had not been all that keen about this years' race. I thought I really
    just went through the motions in training doing the usual long runs but nothing at what I would call a fast paces so my result was a big shock to me. Looking at my splits I was surpried at how consistent my pace was and
    that it was almost identical to my past 'thons. My year round mileage paid its dividend. All in all always great to have people cheering you and seeing BCRR faces anywhere and everywhere. I must have ran hard because I have some really bad beaten up quads today, but's its a happy pain-:)
    Avi Moss

  2. Here I go:
    This was my first marathon. I went into it with a game plan. I wanted to do 3:30 and my plan was to do even splits. At the same time, I also wanted to enjoy the marathon and not get lost in numbers.

    I think I achieved both of them to some extent. I started with 3:30 pace group. I waved at the crowd, clapped in their appreciation and had so much fun. Few friends came out to cheer me up at mile 11, 13, 15, 21 and 22. I am very grateful to them.

    I was right on my pace till mile 22 while still feeling strong (2:56:17). Within next 200 yards terrible cramps appeared in both legs and stomach. I was trying to drink enough water and Gatorade but probably not enough.

    I limped, walked, stretched from mile 22 to finish. The cramps were so bad that I had to stop and stretch while finish line was in plain sight. I finished in 3:38:43 which is a decent time for the first marathon from my standards, :-)

    I think the best part of my run was from mile 15 to 22 when I ran very strong and running felt really good.

    Here are my splits:
    10K 0:49:42
    Half 1:44:45
    30K 2:29:16
    22 mile 2:56:17
    Finish 3:38:43

  3. Gary Wood

    I did the half again this year. I wanted to better my time of 1:45:30 from last year, but had to settle for a 1:46:55, good enough for 3rd in AG, or 2nd if you go by gun time. Pretty bummed out to be beaten by 8 seconds by a guy that crossed the finish line 1.5 min. after I did. Felt OK for 1st 9 miles, but struggled somewhat toward the end. Very ungraceful at the finish line, stumbling off to one side. Maybe it was the switch to the size 14 shoes from my dainty size 13 that tripped me up.

  4. Hardeep Thind and I started out together when he found out I planned to run 4:15. I told him I wouldn't be good company because I was running with music. (Radio Margaritaville) He made te comment that I've been keeping a steady pace lately and that's what he was looking for.

    For the first ten miles, he kept looking at his watch at the mile markers and asking me to slow down, the pace was too fast. Maybe it's 'cause I had to pee like Secretariat! Somewhere along Main St. but before University, he complained about cramping and dropped back. I continued to The Village and made what must have been a 3 minute pit stop. I have a pretty big bladder! Anyway, when I started running again, I expected him to show up but he never did.

    As that other "over 40 victim of fate" rang tropical tunes thru my earbuds, Kathi Mahon stepped out of the WC near the halfway point. Sam was waiting for her and I left them both as I continued ahead.

    I almost missed Jay "the slower one" Byers as he called my name. I turned back, waved and knew the Westpark hill was just around the corner. Why is everyone walking? I felt fresh.

    I really didn't want to stop at the mile 14 Aid Station but I made such a big deal about how important it was to support your fellow runners, I felt obligated! I picked up my GU, had a PB&J and took off. The snack was good, but it made me real thirsty. The oranges and fluids I'd taken to this point may not have been enough but I was still feeling it.

    I got some more oranges in Tanglewood and knew the park and mile 20 were coming fast. When I got to the park, I noticed our Aid Station wasn't in the normal spot. It didn't matter to me 'cause I didn't drop a bag and really didn't fell I needed a break. I waved at Tim, Esme and Lauren...sorry if I missed anyone but I was on a mission. I never look at my watch but I knew I was doing pretty good time from the pace callers and race clocks along the way. I knew I was on target.

    Somewhere from the crowd in front of Biba's I heard someone yell "ACL?" refering to the brace. "Yep" I yelled back, "surgery in June." "Your a brave man, I had it done too and couldn't do what your doing" he praised me and I waved back in appreciation.

    Not long after that, I noticed Steve Hasson up ahead with Bruce Levy running him in. They seemed to be approaching me instead of the other way around! I thought about slowing down for some company but I didn't feel I needed it. I hadn't walked since the break at 14 but I felt great! Go figure!

    On to mile 24 and the first sign of trouble. Cramping in the groin area of the bad leg. I walked it off in about 50 yards and started slow jogging again. By now, I'd lost the guitar playing poet due to lack of charge. I was on my own now...until the Hash mile and Steve Conner on a lifegaurd tower calls my name and beers start coming from all directions! No beer for me. Get me to the finish! Rosemarie DeFoyd ran with me a little and told me I was looking great. I'd heard this in past races and knew they just wanted to be nice but this time, I really was feeling good too. I told her 'bout my bout with cramps a while back and she just urged me on.

    At 25, I greeted Kim Rose as she called the splits and kept pressing. Up ahead I thought I saw Priscilla Schneider but it couldn't be. This woman was walking and Priscilla must be long done with her race by now. As I passed and turned, I asked "are you OK Priscilla?" She recognized me and started to run again.

    Apparently she had problems early and just wanted to finish now. We ran in the rest of the way together and she helped me finish and slow down when the cramps started to come.

    I did it. Beat my time and was happy. To be honest, I never felt overheated during the race but decided to weigh myself anyway. I had stepped on the scale that morning in GRB and wanted to know how much water I should take next time. I had lost 5 lbs. during the race and the girl told me to visit the first aid if I felt dizzy or light headed. "For me, that's an every day occurence" I joked.

    Can't wait for the next one!

  5. I can't complain a bit and am so happy considering this was really my comeback season. I initially wanted to be sane and had a goal of finishing on or around 4 hours, since I have been on marathon sebattical since Houston 2003. My goal changed slightly at the Expo when the adrenaline led me to pick up a 3:50 pace band. During the race, I found myself oddly comfortable running with the 3:40 pace group much of the first half, even though I kept telling myself I ought to not be so stupid and should slow down!
    Around mile 15 a runner ("Tim") who was tailing me relayed he was running his first marathon, and had been following me for some time, as my pace was perfect for him. This truly inspired me try to keep my pace, as I didn't want to let him down.
    At the 30K water stop I reached back to grab my Gu and-- ouch-- face planted right into Woodway. Tim and another runner grabbed me up before I could even think. He walked with me until I got my bearings, and encouraged me by telling me this would just make me run stronger. It certainly did, as I ran pretty well until my wall at mile 23. At this point I had some inkling (I think I was doing math in my head constantly) that I just might be able to finish in 3:45. Things were very tough and I had to really drop my pace and walk at each water stop, until mile 25, where I got that final wind.
    I felt and looked like a zombie coming to the finish, but when I saw the clock, I wanted to cry! With God's help I achieved what I never imagined... my second Boston qualifying time. It wasn't a PR, but may be one of my most memorable races.
    P.S. Go girls! One of the best things I read on my results page comes from my graphic results:
    "For the record, you were ahead of about 78% of male finishers."

  6. bcrrblog.blogspot.com; You saved my day again.