Vintage Park Half Marathon Recap
I ran the Vintage Park Half Marathon on April 9. I was lucky enough to score a free entry as part of my ambassadorship with Amstel Xlight. This was part of the Bayou City Half Marathon Series, there were several people there that had ran the prior two races.
I had ran a 25k trail race the day prior, and I took it easy afterwards, getting in a nap, foam rolling and finally ordering some pizza for dinner. I prepped my things for the morning, and headed to bed early… it was going to be another 3am wake-up call!
On race day morning the alarm went off at 3:00 am. I got some warm lemon water in me and made my toast/almond butter/banana. I showered, got dressed, and made a cup of matcha-maca latte for the road, and was out the door by 5:15 am. The race director had sent an e-mail advising of the road closures near the start and advising everyone to be there by 5:45 am. Vintage Park was about 30 minutes away from the house and I wanted to get there before the roads started to close.
The race started and ended at the Vintage Park shopping center. There was ample parking in the shopping center and also at a few other lots that were a few blocks away and very convenient to the start and the festivities. There were a couple lines of port-a-cans, which seemed plentiful when I used them (no line), but as it got closer to the race, the line seemed to stretch to infinity.
Weather conditions that morning were cool, in the low 60s, but pretty humid, but there was a nice light breeze. I met up with my fellow Amstel Xlight ambassadors and we got a picture. We watched the elite wave take off, then proceeded to line up for our start at 7:05.
The rest of the race started promptly at 7:05, right after the national anthem was sung. Since I had just rant the 25k the day before, I had set my race strategy to walk .10 miles for each mile marker I crossed. I set my finish time goal to be somewhere between 2:20-2:30.
The course ran through the Vintage Park Preserve, we looped that part twice before heading out to the suburban roads that surrounded it, and then came back for another loop around the preserve. I really wasn’t looking forward to the loops, but there was a lot of crowd support during them due to the close proximity to the start/finish.
Aid stations were plentiful and well manned by very enthusiastic volunteers. I carried my handheld with Nuun and took my Huma gels as I had practiced in training, but stopped for some water to pour on my head/hat (as per the advice Meb had given me during the Houston Marathon) as well as down the back of my neck… it was really getting warm as the morning progressed and a lot of the course that wasn’t in the preserve was in full sunlight.
I finished at 2:24:07, I really didn’t struggle much, I followed my strategy to the tee, and even had a little kick left in me at the finish.
At the finish, they handed out finishers medals and cups of water, iced towels, and headsweats finisher hats (or visors). I quickly found one of my fellow Amstel Xlight ambassador and we took our medal finisher pictures, then headed into the food area.
The food was catered by Peli Peli and looked good, unfortunately they didn’t have a vegetarian option so I got a banana and some peanut butter filled pretzels.
I made it to my car (which was parked along the finish line), and cheered on some of the finishers before making my way home.
I made a few goals prior to the race weekend– let’s see how I did in the first race of the weekend:
- Have fun!! This is the most important goal… I mean seriously, why do it if it isn’t fun? Met – had an absolute blast.
- Run smart… listen to my body… don’t be afraid to take walking water breaks and slow it down if necessary. 28+ miles is a lot over 2 days. Check – while the day before I hadn’t set a clear strategy, I did listen to my body… I think my strategy for this race made sure I got over both finish lines feeling great.
- Don’t get eaten by an alligator. There are a ton of gators at the park… someone ran the 10k course yesterday and counted 14 gators. I need to pay attention and be sure not to fall! I’m still here! I only saw one alligator after I was finished running and it was in the lake.
- Meet up with my fellow Amstel XLight ambassadors. My entry was comped due to my relationship with Amstel XLight (the race sponsor). I did see the one fellow ambassador who was running the 50k, I gave him a shout on the course. Met up with all 3 of them and got a photo – win!
- Recover well … foam roll, refuel, etc. I brought my stick and rolled out my calves after my run, and made sure to do a thorough rolling once I got home… continued rolling out on Sunday after the race and even took a nice Epson salt bath.
The Vintage Park Half Marathon was very well organized with plentiful perks (swag, free race photos). It was an inaugural race and hopefully if they work some kinks out (packet pickup, vegetarian food options), it can become a Houston favorite.