Last week I posted my open and honest feelings about training for my second attempt at the marathon distance. I woke up Sunday morning feeling mentally positive. I was ready to get out there and conquer the distance that I had trained 5 months for. That's a lot of miles. Chandra spent the night, so we had to take some pre-race get pumped pictures!
After some sweet pics, we were off to pick up Melanie which of course required more pre-marathon snaps! Then we were off to George R. Brown!
Of course more Runner's High pictures were taken inside George R. Brown, good lucks were exchanged and long port-o-potty cans were endured before we were officially off! And when I say long lines, I mean long. Note to runners: If you know there is a line, don't form a new one. All it does is make those of us who have been waiting almost late to the race! We literally had to jog to catch up to the end of our corral. Call it a mini warm up I suppose!
This year's Houston Marathon was on a brand new course. The last several miles were the same, but the beginning was very different and I LOVED it! Once we cross the start line, we were on our way through a 26.2+ journey. The first few miles we tried to reign in our excitement and adrenaline. Our plan was to start with a 9:30 then 9:15 pace for the first two miles. We ended up with a 9:20 and a 9:10 which isn't too bad. By mile 3 we were still feeling amazing and on a runner's high, so we picked our pace up to low-mid 8:50's for the next several miles as planned.
Around mile four we saw Michael and JP, camera ready and decked out with signs and all! Unfortunately, girlfriend in the pink with the black socks photo bombed but you can see Melanie just on the other side!
The first half of the race went exactly as planned. We paced well and felt strong. The spectators were beyond amazing and truly kept us going. We started to tally how many awesome, random strangers called out our names! I think it's great that our names are on our bibs, so spectators can give you the boost you need. And trust me, sometimes, you NEED it. You know what's even better? Seeing people you know on the course. Non-runners don't understand just how much their support means. You know what's the best? A surprise visit from one of your best friends at the top of the Montrose hill on Allen Parkway at mile 24! Oh and she made me a pink and sparkly sign...y'all know how I feel about all things pink and sparkly :)
Unfortunately the halfway mark as far as distance goes, is far from the halfway mark mentally. I slowed the pace down to about a 9:00/mile around mile 15 and began walking through water stops to give my joints a break. Chandra, Melanie and I stayed together for about the first 17 miles. Chandra felt great and pulled ahead and I knew that I wouldn't be able to hold that pace. I saw my co-worker Caitlin at mile 18 and that kept me soaring for about a mile! I was still feeling pretty solid despite the rising temperatures until about mile 20. That's when the pain started to really kick in. My left hip felt this sharp pain that I couldn't seem to shake. I started having to walk a bit more but got another pick me up when I saw my friend Eric at one of the Gatorade stations on Memorial!
As always, Memorial leads us to the dreaded Allen Parkway...or should I say Allen Walkway. Runner's get to go down and up all the under passes which means rolling man-made hill miles 22-24. Ouch. My goal was to run up each one of those hills. I would give myself a walking break if needed at the top of the hills, but there was no way I was going to walk up those hills. I stayed strong mentally and ran up each one. The best part was seeing my sweet hubby at the bottom of the last hill ready to run up with me and help me finish strong!
Andrea snapped this just a bit after the last hill during a quick walk break with my hubby! I'll admit, I was fakin' it in this picture because I was HURTING! The last two miles were bad. My hip was shooting pain causing my glutes and low back to cramp up, but I wasn't going to quit. I was beyond thankful to have JP by my side. I think he helped me stay strong mentally. Despite the pain, I kept my walking breaks to a minimum and was able to run a majority of the last two miles. For that, I am SO PROUD.
Four hours, three minutes and thirty nine seconds after I crossed the start line, I completed my second marathon with my hands in the air, a smile on my face and pride surrounding me. I may not have come in under four hours and once again I was so close, but I did exactly what my body needed me to do. More importantly, my body and mind allowed me to accomplish this distance once again! The human body continues to amaze me.
Naturally post race was rough! I grabbed my medal, finisher's shirt, mug and snacks and waddled through George R. Brown to find the rest of the gang. Thank goodness JP crossed the finish line with me so I had a human shopping cart to carry all my SWAG!
After a shower and lunch, I was on my bum for the rest of the day. JP made me a congrats mimosa and I was good to go after just one :)
Of course I had to post a picture of my medal! So beautiful and marathony!
I'm proud to say that not only did I meet my B goal (sub 4:10 finish), but I met my overall goal with fierce pride. I kept strong mentally. I knew how bad my hip was hurting and I pushed through without making it worse. I ran up each of the hills while others were walking. I ran a majority of the last two miles despite my body physically telling me to just stop. I took 3 stretch breaks for my glutes and back in the last 4 miles, but they were quick and other than that I didn't stop.
Above are some fun facts about my finish! I can't believe only 37% of the finishers were female and that I beat 60% of the males! Overall I was in the top 34%...yeah...I feel pretty awesome and so proud of that finish!
As for today, you can find me yet again hanging out with the foam roller and walking around the track at my gym. My hip still hurts but I'm hoping it will start feeling better in a day or two!
Last, but not least, I'd love it if y'all could take a quick second and vote for me to win a trip to Napa for the Zooma Women's half marathon! You can vote once a day and I would love it so much if you could help!!!