Houston Marathon Recap

1/21/2022

Hi friends! I returned home from Houston on Monday, and had some time to write up a post about my latest running adventure: the Houston Marathon!

Short version:

I prepared to get up early and run really far by eating lots of carbs and resting. I finished running really far in 3 hours 13 mins and 41 seconds, and was then rewarded with a medal and 12oz of chocolate milk.

Long version:

More details in this one, but you can also hear about my solo travel experience 😎 I ventured to Houston alone, as in without a running friend or Tim. It made me feel uncomfortable at times, but mostly I was just really proud of myself for navigating the city and this trip all by myself. Although I definitely prefer company, it’s comforting to know that I can hack it on my own!

So anyway, I flew in to Houston on Friday and took a bus to downtown, then another bus to Montrose. I’m familiar with Montrose, so I felt safe staying in an Air b&b there.

View of Texas from the plane ✈️

The air b&b was VERY Texas. Look at all this cow:

Yeehaw

On Saturday, I went to the grocery store to get a few things I needed (mostly carbs). Then I went to grab my race bib from the Race Expo in the George R Brown convention center, or as I like to call it, the S.S. Houston because of its architectural design.

The Convention Center in all its nautical glory🚢

The Expo is like a scientific conference, except that everything is running-related. Also, you can get massages from your colleagues instead of presenting a poster to them. For real though: there were a lot of folks selling these muscle massage guns; I tallied 3 free massages. I would never buy them because they’re a little pricy. I was told by each vendor how their $299.00 massage gun was a special deal because MSRP is $800.00. Like, OK…

I had run from the Airb&b to the Expo, and walked/Lyfted home. Other than that, I didn’t do much besides eat carbs and rest to stay off my feet. I saw Tim’s parents in the driveway and we had a brief, socially-distanced hangout. It felt weird to be taking so many precautions, but Tim and I really don’t want them to get sick.

Also it’s interesting that leading up to the trip I was sad to leave Abbie because I would miss her, but I didn’t think I would miss Tim that much. I missed Abbie the first night, but then I pretty much forgot about it. I missed Tim more as the trip went on though. Especially after the race, because crossing the line without him there felt sad and like something was missing.

Takeout spaghetti and meatballs from Paulie’s

Ah ok now about the race… I did say this was the long version. Here is the rundown of the hectic morning and then a race recap mile by mile-(ish):

Hectic morning:

4:30am – wake up and eat breakfast/coffee. Two slices of sourdough toast with PB& banana.

5:20am – Walk to bus stop

5:22am – Bus fails to stop at bus stop and zips past me. I call Lyft instead.

5:50am – arrive at convention center and hand off my bag at gear check.

6:35am – jog over to my corral to start… It was cold (34 F), so I tried to leave the building as late as possible for my 7am start time. I stayed warm by literally dancing/bouncing in my corral 🕺🏻

7am- start! WOO!

Near the start line after I felt fine enough to ditch my mask

Race recap:

Mile 1-2: I’m so happy to just freakin be here!

Mile 3: Oh wow- that’s a very cool sunrise

Mile 4: Hi Anderson Fam!! Oh crap I’m probably going a little too fast…

I’m in the navy long sleeve

Mile 5: Met Lisa, a 60-something year old blind runner. It was her 10th Boston and 26th marathon!

Mile 8-22: Still running too fast. But maybe not? In the River Oaks neighborhood, there was a priest dousing runners with holy water as they passed. Another runner shouted, “it burns!” I started running with that same runner, Miguel, around mile 9 and stayed with him until he dropped me around mile 22. Very interesting guy. 9.3/10 conversation. Apparently there is a fun desert party in California I “have to” go to (Burning Man festival).

Mile 23: supposed to see the Anderson’s, but I’m WAY ahead of the time I told them to be there so I miss them

Mile 25: so close that it hurts. Really, it hurts.

Mile 26: Man, this 0.2 stretch is killing me.

Mile 26.2: DONE! 3:13:41. Yeehaw 🤠

I felt really awesome after finishing the race (naturally). But what I thought about the most was the LACK of pain in my hips. My hips hurt REALLY bad after the last official marathon I did in Atlanta in 2020, because they were weak. Leading up to this race I did hip and glute strengthening exercises every other day, and I think that made a difference in how my legs felt after such a long hard effort.

Highs:

⁃ Meeting interesting folks along the course and having some fun conversations

⁃ Finishing a marathon (my 4th official and 6th ever!)

⁃ Running 3 minutes off my PR (which is 3:10:28) when I quite literally could not walk in October due to my glute/sacroiliac injury.

⁃ Having Tim’s parents see me run at mile 4

⁃ Velvet taco for dinner after the race was 👌👌

Three very scrumptious tacos

⁃ Lots of free massages at the Expo

⁃ Feeling capable and independent to travel solo 🕺🏻

⁃ Being part of a race where the women’s American Record was broken for the full (Keira D’Amato, 2:19:12) and half (Sarah Hall, 1:07:??)

⁃ The air b&b had my favorite scent of Dr. Teals Epsom salts (spearmint and eucalyptus) for a bath after I got home from the race.

⁃ Buying cool headbands and a scrunchie at the Expo

⁃ Walking around in Montrose. It’s very convenient and walkable

⁃ Visiting the Science Museum to see the Body Worlds exhibit after the race. I didn’t think I could be more in awe of what my body is capable of after running a marathon, but I was wrong. Bodies are so cool!

Limber gymnast with organs

⁃ The gemstone/Russian Tzar heirloom exhibit in the museum reminded me of when I saw the play, Anastasia, with Laura. It was a nice memory!

Two beautiful crystals. I don’t remember the names and failed to record them. Darn.

⁃ House-made Spaghetti and meatballs at Paulie’s on Friday, which was picture above

⁃ Not getting my period also rocked. I am supposed to today, but there is always a chance it can come early, so PHWEW! 😅

⁃ The Time magazine book in the Air b&b

Lows:

⁃ The worry of probably having contracted covid (PCR test scheduled for Thursday, rapid test ready for when I get home)

⁃ Awkward interaction with Keira D’Amato the day before the race where she waved back at me and said good luck and then I RAN AWAY because I was star struck 🙃

⁃ The H-E-B carrot cake

3/10 carrot cake.

⁃ Seeing expensive running gear just tossed in the middle of the road near the start line.. It’s a reminder that running is not a sport “anyone can do, you just need shoes!” Running marathons (at least road races) requires time affluence (the training, and the traveling cost a lot of hours!) and money (the race entry for Houston was $200). I feel like I’m lucky to have a job that gives me both of those things because I know it’s not true for everyone. So, I felt a little bit sad seeing other folks toss away their running stuff.

⁃ A few uncomfortable interactions with folks on the bus and a homeless dude who kept complimenting my legs. I walked across the street to get away from him and stand near another man who was talking in the phone.

⁃ The flights could have been better. There were crying babies behind me on both flights. The departing flight had a shorter duration of baby crying, but there was also someone farting the whole time. The return flight did not have a fatrter (yet… still haven’t actually landed), but had the worst baby ever. It could be an endurance athlete too if crying was a sport.

So anyway, that’s my trip summary! I hope you enjoyed reading!

My next marathon is Chattanooga, TN, where I will be part of the pacing team. After that, Boston with Laura and Erin!

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to ones courage

(Post-grad) races:

May 29, 2017: Buffalo Half Marathon (Buffalo, NY) — 1:29:53

October 14, 2017: Empire State Marathon (Syracuse, NY) — 3:31:38

May 5, 2018: Taco de Mile (Rochester, NY)– 00:7:30  

May 27, 2018: Buffalo Marathon (Buffalo, NY) — 3:18:36

September 23, 2018: Rochester Half (Rochester, NY) — 1:34:30

October 6, 2018: Castle Rock Trail Half-Marathon (Castle Rock, CO) — 1:55:17

January 4, 2020: Winter Warrior half marathon (Rochester, NY) — 1:33:37

March 1, 2020: Publix Atlanta Marathon (Atlanta, GA)— 3:10:28

June 28, 2020: Probably Humid But Still Cool Covid-19 Marathon (Rochester, NY) — 3:27

November 10, 2021: Dirt Cheap Trail Stage Race day 1 (3 miles; Rochester, NY): 27:23

November 11, 2021: Dirt Cheap Trail Stage Race day 2 (5.5 miles; Rochester, NY): 39:01:41

November 12, 2021: Dirt Cheap Trail Stage Race day 3 (11 miles; Rochester, NY): 1:38:51

November 21, 2020: Turk-a-thon Marathon (Rochester, NY) — 3:19:30 (ish)

May 23, 2021: Lilac 10k (Rochester, NY) — 41:19

January 16, 2022: Houston Marathon (Houston, TX) — 3:13:41

March 6, 2022: Chattanooga Marathon (Chattanooga, TN) — 3:28:23

March 18, 2022: Shamrock Half-Marathon (Virginia Beach, VA) — 1:31:37

April, 19, 2022: The 126th Boston Marathon (Boston, MA) — 3:12:40

June 4, 2022: Running of the Bulls 8K (Durham, NC) — 00:33:45