Last weekend I ran my third marathon… the Houston Marathon. This is my 2018 Houston Marathon Recap!
I ran the Houston Marathon last year, it was my very first marathon. It was such a fun time, I signed up again as soon as early bird entry opened up.
I chose to run the ABB 5k on the day before the marathon. I figured since I had to be in Houston to pick up my packet, I might as well use it for my shakeout run. The temps were mighty chilly that morning. I bundled up and headed in early to pick up my packet. After I dropped my bag (and jacket) off at the bag drop, I was very happy to see the convention center was open to wait in.
15 minutes prior to race start, I headed out to use the port-a-cans and line up. I chose to line up with the 11 minute mile group in an attempt to keep my pace super easy. They sang the Star Spangled Banner and we were off right on time!
I had to do a bit of bobbing and weaving as there were several walkers who lined up ahead of me. Within a half mile or so I was in the zone and going at an easy effort. There was one water stop a little past the halfway point, which was well stocked. I grabbed some water and continued on my way.
At the finish, I was handed a baby bottle of water and my medal. I made my way to bag drop and picked up my jacket and swag bag. They handed out Cliff bars and bananas at the food booth. I didn’t stick around much afterwards, as I was freezing.
After changing and eating my banana and a GoMacro bar, I headed to the expo. First off was retrieving my bib, then the registration shirt. The expo seemed smaller this year. I had brought some old shoes to turn in at the Waste Management booth. Then I set out to shop the official race merchandise and got a tank and checked out the rest of the stuff to keep in mind for the next day (last year they had everything 50% off on race day).
I planned the rest of the time wisely. Calum Neff was presenting at the Memorial Herman stage. He holds guiness world records for fastest marathon and half marathon with a stoller. In addition he’s an athlete for Trail Racing Over Texas.
Meb was at the Aramco booth and I couldn’t pass up a chance to see him!
Next up, Carl Lewis was speaking on stage. During the presentation, he needed a volunteer to help demonstrate running form and the next thing I know I’m up on stage.
Shortly afterwards, I headed home to get ready for the next day.
2018 Houston Marathon Recap
Like most race day mornings, my alarm went off bright and early. 3:00 am early…. I’m not much of a morning person and really need a little extra time to wake up. I drank some coffee, ate my typical pre-race breakfast, hit the shower and was out the door at 4:30 am.
Houston traffic is amazing that early on a Sunday and I arrived in ample time to leisurely make it to the George R Brown center. I opted to head to the Skechers booth to see if the official merchandise was 50% off like last year. It was, and I picked up a jacket and a long sleeve tech tee. I then dropped my bag and headed for the port-a-cans. The lines weren’t too bad and I had some time to enjoy relative quietness and get my head in the game.
Pretty soon it was time to head to the corals. I donned my throw away robe and headed out. On the way to the coral, my stomach gave a little lerch. I started hoping that there were port-a-cans in the corrals. Lucky for me there were and I made a little pit stop then lined up with the 11 minute mile group.
The Early Miles
I was in corral C, and made it across the start line around 7:30. The crowd was electric. I had music on, but kept it pretty low. The first few miles flew by. At mile 2, I started looking for Rob (the Race Director for Trail Racing Over Texas)… he was going to be there in his shark suit. I found him and got a high-five and carried on.
Enjoying myself and kept minding my pace. At mile 6.5 there were some fellow TROT ambassadors working the water station… I waved and kept going. Before I knew it I had passed the point that the half breaks off from the full. I stopped around mile 10 to refill my water bottle.
The Mid Miles
At the halfway point I started getting hot, we were running in full sun and that black was taking in all the heat. I pulled over and stripped off my singlet, took off my l/s shirt and wrapped it around my waist and put the singlet back on. Soon after, my music stopped – for some reason I lost connection with my bluetooth headphones. I slowed to a walk and fiddled with it for a bit, then gave up. I took off my headphones and crammed them in my belt.
Miles 14-18 were pretty much a blur. I ran past the point where the wheels fell off last year and kept going. After making it to that poing, I was so happy that I felt great! I started to get chilled and stopped to make a wardrobe adjustment again.
The Final Stretch
The next two miles went by fast and then next thing I new I was heading into Memorial Park, with 10k to go! I stopped to fill up my water bottle around mile 20. By the time I turned onto Allen Parkway, I was ready for those hills. Before I knew it I was making the turn into downtown and only had 1 mile left. In the end, I gave it all I had at the finish and was happy to see that I had PR’d.
I proceeded through the finish chute where volunteers gave me my medal, a bottle of water, and a banana, continuing to the GRB. A few happy tears leaked out, as I was very pleased with the way I ran the race. I didn’t have to take many walking breaks and I felt good coming into the hills at the end.
After posing for some finish pictures, I made my way to pick up my finishers shirt, mug, and my Houston double medal. I grabbed my bag and headed to the changing area to roll out a bit and change into come comfy clothes for the ride home. Afterwards, I made my way to the food court hoping for something besides a banana, but was a little disappointed. They were serving up egg sandwiches with sausage (bleh), but they did have coffee!
Houston Marathon Goals
As with every race, I set some goals to meet – here’s how I did again
- Take it easy at the 5k, very easy. I ran it a little faster than planned… but it still felt easy.
- Resist temptation to wear all the clothes, and choose wisely race day outfit. I should have went with a regular long sleeve instead of a thermal long sleeve.
- Start out slow and relaxed. I seem to start out faster than I think and end up slowing way down in the second half. Achieved… my back half was slower, but not as drastically slower than before.
- PR … I just want to run faster than my last marathon which was 5:19:33. Achieved – 5:17:04!
- Have fun!! Why do it if it isn’t fun? I had a blast!
Course and Parting Thoughts
The Houston course is mostly flat… the hills being overpasses/underpasses. I think it highlights the best parts of Houston. The city really comes out for it… and this year the city seemed to really be out in force. Maybe it was because of Harvey, but the city really came together. I didn’t see as many signs as last year, but I think there were more people out cheering.
- Great course
- Amazing crowd support
- Flawless organization
- Post race food
- Allen Parkway hills
Would I run this again? YES! However, I’ve decided that next year I will volunteer.