Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Run Houston! Minute Maid Park

As a new(ish) runner, there are lots of firsts. First race in a new distance, first PR, lots of better PRs, first podium, first travel to a race. Well, you get where I’m going with this. Last weekend was another first for me; I had two races back to back. Absolute lunacy? Maybe. Pure unadulterated fun? Absolutely! (Except for the little detail of two 4:30 am wake up calls back to back. Not gonna lie, those are the antithesis of weekend goals!) These last few months have been beyond busy with work, 2 bmx nationals, and 2 other half marathons. Back to the first of the weekend runs…

Saturday March 19th was the Run Houston! Minute Maid Park 5k with F. Since it was downtown, I was surprised at how easy it was to find the parking lot and walk over to Minute Maid. I really love the Run Houston! Series; the runs are well organized and always begin on time. Our 5k consisted of an out and back loop over two bridges. It was a very cold, windy morning, so that combined with bridges definitely made me work for it. We were expecting rain, but fortunately it decided to hold off. There were two water/Gatorade stations, since the 10k runners had to run the loop twice. I’m so glad F ran with me, and I ended up getting a PR of 27 minutes. Time to add in some hills and speed work to the training! We picked up our medals, water, and some El Pollo Loco and a fruit plate. What a way to start off the weekend! Not to mention best breakfast ever! If you are ever in the Houston area and have a hankering for a good 5 or 10k, check out the Run Houston series.

Sugar Land St. Patty’s Day Half Marathon

The second run of the weekend went off without a hitch. Sunday March 20th was the Sugar Land Memorial Hermann St. Patty’s Day Half Marathon with J and G, and was J’s first ever half marathon. The run began and ended in Sugar Land Town Square, and had about 800 entrants. Parking was in a garage normally reserved for an office building, and was a breeze to find. The national anthem was beautifully sung and we were off! I ran with J, and G took off up ahead. It was a nice crisp 45 degrees with no wind, a.k.a. perfect running weather. 

Alas, lazy summer days are approaching, so appreciate the cold when you can. The course was 2 roughly 5-6 mile loops surrounded by huge mansions on all sides, and a beautiful fountain close to the turn around. Since this race was St. Patty’s themed, we were serenaded by kilt clad bag-piping kids every few miles near the water stations. I thought this was a great touch, especially since in my wildest dreams I never thought I’d be running by fountains and mansions while bagpipers played to me/us all! The entire course was beautiful, sunny and flat, with people cheering us on when we most needed it. G and J ended up getting a PR, and we all got free beer, food, and a beautiful green and rose gold clover charm. Finisher Charms was there selling a charm for the event. It is an exact replica of the medal, but in sterling silver, and really good quality. I love charms, and am definitely picking one up in April!