2006/01/15 – Houston Half Marathon

Location

George R Brown Convention Center

What Is It?

The Half Marathon is, well, half a marathon. 13.1 miles of running.

Team Mates

No team mates in a marathon.

Category

25-29 year old male.

Placing

My timings were:

  • Clock time: 03:10:21
  • Chip time: 03:06:46
  • Pace: 14:14

My Placement was:

  • Overall: 6537 out of 7339
  • Gender: 3147 out of 3287
  • Division: 370 out of 381

Experience

That was quite the experience! Very painful too say the least (to be explained later.)

It started off with getting down town Houston to the George R Brown Convention Center (GRBCC) by 6am. I left the house at 4:15am to try and make it before the rush of people and find a decent parking spot. I managed to get there and be inside the GRBCC by 5am. Plenty of time, to start taking it all in.

There were banners around for the various clubs that were meeting up before the race, and my club were going to meet under the Houston Fit banner. So I stayed close by to keep an eye out for them and watch all that was going on. Teams hooking up, families helping out those were getting ready to race, people getting in some last calories before the race.

Around 6am a flood of people started filling up the GRBCC as they all came looking for their teams to meet up with. Lines formed for the washrooms that were very long considering there were many many portable toilets there. The meeting groups grew quickly, and it became harder to see single individuals in the mass of people. But luckily the people I was looking for walked within 5 feet of me and I found them quickly.

At about 6:30am we headed over to the half marathon staging area. We were going to start in the back since some of us weren’t allowed in the front (based on estimated finish times.) So we walked for 15 or so minutes to finally get to the starting area. Then stood around waiting for the start.

With the boom of the cannon we were off and walking slowly… It took us 4 minutes to actually get to the start line of the race. And even then it took some walking to get out to where we could start jogging as there were just so many people all around trying to get going.

My plan was to walk the first mile or so just to get warmed up. Then to slowly speed up. But needless to say, like most plans, that got shot down within the first couple hundred yards. I couldn’t walk slow enough behind the people, so I moved towards the edge of the road, and started to run a bit to pass the people that were going really slow. Then I found a nice rhythm and stuck with it. Only to slow down when I had to wait for a chance to pass people in front of me, then I would sprint ahead of them and go back to running my own pace.

This worked out well, until I found out I was running much faster than I had anticipated. Around mile 3 or 4 I was doing a sub 8 minute mile. Which, for me is *way* too fast. I shouldn’t be doing anything faster than 9:30 I figure. And around mile 5 I figured out I was on my way to a sub 2:30 race, maybe even creeping up on the 2hr mark.

I figured I should slow down so I walked for about a mile to recoup and then started running again only to have a major problem conspire against me…

Just before the 8 mile banner, both of my knees blew out. This caused me to slow right down to a slow walk. I couldn’t run anymore and it hurt to just walk. I had 5 miles to go still and it was going to be a very painful 5 miles at that. But quitting never crossed my mind beyond thinking “I am not going to quit now.”

These last 5 miles were a bit of a blur from trying to suppress the pain. I remember walking and kind of staggering around as my legs couldn’t really hold me up anymore. But I just kept going. Making that last turn and seeing the finish line banner didn’t help much, I could only think, “Oh my God, that’s a long ways away.” But I continued, I didn’t want to be that person that made it this far and not be able to finish. So Finish I Did.

Apparently, they were showing the finish line on line and Denise could actually watch me cross the finish line. Later she would tell me I didn’t look too happy about it, but believe me I was! After the finish line we were herded back in to the GRBCC and they had people lined up for removing the chips we had on our shoes for timing us. Then we stood in a line almost the length of the 1/2 marathon itself to get our finishers T-shirt. All I really wanted to do was go sit down, but knew if I did, I probably wouldn’t get back up.

I got my shirt and decided to try and get back to my truck so I could sit down and ponder how to get home since most of the streets in down town were shut down because of the Marathon. But, once I got into the truck and sitting it felt really good and I just left and drove home, managing to find my way with out problems.

Once I got home, I showered, changed and plopped down with ice on my knees and 800mg of Advil in my system and felt good. The race was over for me, I was home safe and sound, and starting to mend.

Pictures/Video

I will post pictures as soon as I get them. There aren’t many so don’t get your hopes too high up!

I do have a video of me crossing the line here. Can you guess which one is me? Steve crossing the finish line

Final Thoughts

About half way home, it hit me what I had done. I had accomplished a goal I had set out to do last October/November. I had gone further on foot, trying to run it all than I had ever done before. I had over come the pain of my knees to finish the race. And it all felt good, and worth it. I was glad I had done it. And I have no idea if I will ever do it again, but I did it at least once.

Day Later… (2006/01/16)

Had a great nights sleep last night. I have a couple blisters on my feet, I think caused by my shoes. Which means time to buy new shoes! My knees don’t hurt much at all today and overall I’m feeling great.

I still don’t know if I will ever do it again, just because of the massive amount of people out there. But don’t be surprised of I do sign up again next year.

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