Thursday, January 24, 2019

Race Re-Cap: Houston Chevron Marathon 1/20/19

Woah! I can't believe the marathon I've been training for for a little over 15 weeks has come and gone, and I'm left with some difficulty squatting, an AMAZING medal, and so many happy memories. I guess time DOES fly when you're having fun (running for 5 hours), lol! I had a truly amazing time this last weekend. 

The Chevron Houston Marathon is a marathon, half marathon (both Sunday) and 5k (Saturday) held every year in Houston, attracting some of the biggest names in running and closing down the streets of downtown, River Oaks and the Galleria area until 2:00 PM.
For several years I volunteered as part of the Houston Marathon Race Crew. I was in charge of the mile 8 "mega" station and ran the online volunteer board, set up, coordinated and trained the other volunteers, made sure things were running smoothly (no pun intended), and helped with station break down. From my time volunteering I learned how much goes into something as simple as a hydration station, for months in advance, and I am forever grateful to all the volunteers out there last weekend. Thank you all so much for doing what you do! You are AMAZING people!!!

My boyfriend flew in from out of town to cheer me on (yep, he's the best!), and to avoid having to drive in and wait in the freezing morning temperatures on race day, we stayed at the Aloft downtown, which was walking distance from the starting line and the George R. Brown Convention Center. Saturday we went to the Expo in the Convention center. It was really huge and full of things to do inside! We picked up my packet, took some pictures, tried out some new running products and got some cool swag.

Right about that time I felt the hunger kick in, and we left to go grab some yummy pre-race dinner. We also walked around a bit downtown and saw a bunch of other runners as well. We also got to go check out Smither Park. This park is made of different mosaic sculptures, and the letters spelling out "Smither Park" were donated by local artist Kiki Neumann (another artist did the mosaic inside), Kiki is one of the nicest people I've met and I love to talk to her whenever she drops by. If you get a chance, check out her art HERE.

The day of the race I woke up at 5:30 AM, had a Cliff bar, water and a Honey Stinger Waffle, bundled up and headed out to corral C with my boyfriend.

It was going to be a cold morning. I was REALLY glad for all this - especially the hand warmers I found at Fleet Feet the day before.

After a wait of about 30 minutes, we said goodbye and I was on my way. The course was very flat and fast, but I kept my pace intentionally slower since I had never ran this distance before. After about two miles I peeled off my neck gaiter and windbreaker. I don't like to do throwaways and the windbreaker was super thin, so I tied it around my waist and kept going. It stayed there the entire 26.2 and gave me NO issues, which I'm really thankful for! Everyone was so nice it totally made the early wake up call worth it. Right around mile 8 the path diverged; the marathoners turned to the right and the half marathoners stayed straight. After we all broke off to the right there was a lot more room to run and everyone spread out. I also thought it was so cool how people started recognizing and greeting each other.

The weather turned out to be absolutely perfect, and I think I saw more of Houston last Sunday than I ever have in my many years of living here!

I'm so proud to say that I never hit a "wall", I think due to eating oranges, a beer and GU gels along the way and keeping hydrated, and I had a great time up until the very end. Even after the end I had a great time because I found $$ on the ground, got to get food, a finisher's shirt, glass mug and my medal! I also loved the sweet text messages my boyfriend sent me along the way as he tracked my progress, the awesome poster Robyn made me at mile 22 (no one has ever made me a poster before so that really touched my heart), and my friends and family tracking my progress along the way and cheering me on. I really enjoyed having great people around me cheering me on for my very first marathon. All in all it was a great feeling to know I was so supported.

Finish line feels

Feeling goofy and happy

My face when someone tells me I'm almost there

I read before I started that the first 20 miles is your legs, and the last 6 is from your heart, and I truly believe that. By mile 22 my legs were shredded and I just kept on going, even when I had to run/walk it. My IT band started hurting at around mile 18 (but luckily completely went away by the next day). The biggest issue I had was with my shoes. I LOVE the Brooks Launch, and they have never given my problems at the half marathon distance or less, but the Chevron Houston Marathon definitely gave them a challenge. By mile 18 ish, my feet felt like they were slapping the concrete with nothing in between. I will definitely be looking up the Ghosts or the Glycerine soon.

I'm so glad my first marathon got to be the Chevron Houston Marathon! It was run SO well and so smoothly, and I have so many great things to say about this race and their Race Crew volunteers.

The funniest thing that happened out there was the crazy booing guy. In the Galleria area, everyone was cheering, and there was a man who appeared to be homeless; he had ear length hair that stuck up in all directions and was walking across one of the parking lots. Every time someone would cheer, he would go BOOOOO! really loud. That made me laugh so hard.

Such a beautiful medal!

Truly thankful for so much support that made this day possible.

Post race grub. Nothing goes together like wine and okra lol! 

The next day we checked out more of downtown and the tunnels before we had to leave. It was fun, and I'm proud to say that I avoided stairs at all cost lol!!! Well, mostly.

All in all, this is one race I would love to run again. If you have never run the Houston Marathon, I highly suggest it!

No comments:

Post a Comment