So it’s done, my last pavement race of my career (as far as I can plan at least). I signed up for the Houston 1/2 Marathon approximately 1 month before I started trail running, I made sure to procure my health in order to run this race, unfortunately, that meant quite some time off. The rest certainly caused some muscular suffering, I will get to that later.
After 6 weeks off from my injury my running was light, despite one long run in Chicot with some friends. I hadn’t actually run since December 31. Race morning arrived and I felt pretty good. All preparations were met and my nutrition was almost spot on, missing only my PBJ. My host only had almond butter… never again… I walked to the start from where I was sleeping checked my bag and off to the start line. I was feeling really good so I walked up to the 8 minute pace coral (yeah, I felt that good). The gun sounded and we were off.
The search began, I needed a carrot (as my friend Former Big Mike would say). I searched and searched passing everyone that qualified based on appearance, finally I found it, my carrot had appeared. Long dark legs, short shorts, long sleeve compression top, and a ball side fade? It was a guy, and he was gorgeous. His posture was perfect, shoulders back, chin high, stride perfectly organized, it looked effortless for him to keep this pace, so I grabbed his heels, content to be lead by this Prometheus of my morning.
Due to my lack of training I needed a consistent partner so I opted to run with my Garmin 405 Forerunner, an item lost to my training over the past few months. I found myself checking our time every 1/2 mile. We stayed at 8:30 for the first 10k and at mile 7 I felt goody enough to lead my own way. I thanked Prometheus for dragging me along his epic battle but I would fend for myself from this point on… well I thought that, I was actually in no position to speak, needless to say, I was suffering, but I had a date and I am true to my word. I needed to break that 1:55 half marathon time and all hell was coming with me.
I pounded the pavement solo for quite some time, ignoring all potential pacers and trudging along. It was the turn around (mile 9) that did me in, my pace immediately began to suffer, so much that I stopped. I walked for about 30 seconds, then it hit me, “get off your ass and get moving, you can rest when you finish, NOW GO!” I went, my inner soul reaper, Old Man Zangetsu had arrived to help me. He coached me for the next 4 miles. I staggered a few times, convincing myself that I wasn’t well enough prepared and I should stop, so at mile 11.5 I did and there it was again, “Come dawg, we almost there! Grab my heels let’s finish together!” It was my Prometheus! We ran alongside each other for a great distance, no words spoken, only the sound of dissonant breaths and syncopated footsteps. At the 20k marker the unspoken commitment to higher speeds grabbed us both and lead us on, full force, at the 500 meter mark we were off, in what was left of a dead sprint for the both of us. We rounded the last corner and the finish line came to us, the lead weights in my legs were forcing my in to a stationary position and an acute feeling of rigor mortis had burdened my quads, I checked my watch 7:10, it all made sense at that point. I check again 1:54:56 and the clock struck 12! The day was done and so was I. I engaged a handshake/hug with my pacer whose name I still do not know although I am eternally thankful for his diligence. The breakdown is as follows:
Finished 2146th place overall (Top 23% of the entire field)
Finished 1406th in my Male Overall (Top 34%)
Finished 168th of my Age Group (Top 36%)
In the last 3.8 miles I passed 45 runners and 175 runners passed me.
1st quarter I averaged 7mph
2ndn quarter 6.9
3rd quarter 7.5
4th quater 6.2
Topical breakdown can be found here
You will notice I am not wearing a medal in my picture. I don’t like medals! I throw my medals away for events like this.
I had good fun with great friends. I beat my target goal, not by much, but I beat it. It feels really good to be back running strong. My favorite poster was one that read, “You training for this race lasted longer than Kim Kardashian’s wedding!”