Last May, I put my name and previous race marathon time into the lottery to test my luck and see if I could once again run the Chevron Houston Marathon. Since I had run it twice before at almost exactly a 4:00 finish time, I was in! As August 1st rolled around, it was officially time for training to begin. I was up in Denver/Golden, CO visiting my brother and attending a wedding, but I still got my first run done.
Once again, I stuck with my same awesome running club, Runner's High and this year joined the 3:45 marathon group to challenge myself. Last year, Chandra, Melanie and I were usually at the front of the 4:00 pack and our coach recommended stepping it up, so we did!
Summer runs are always the hardest in Houston. August and September are particularly killed with the heat and humidity. Luckily, I work at a gym with an indoor running track, so I was able to get several of my weekday shorter runs done indoors.
August and September were also filled with traveling for JP and I. We were in Chicago, College Station a few times, Dallas once, College Station some more...hello football season! Most weekends we were able to run with the club and then make the trek to College Station, but one weekend we got to run up in Dallas! We took the trail behind my sister-in-law's apartment that took us into downtown. It was sweaty, but just a tad less humid then Houston and we killed it.
October rolled around and I started to second guess my decision to run the marathon. I didn't feel like it was the right race for me to run with my busy schedule and the physicality of my job. I teach 5-6 classes per week. Strength, cycling, kickboxing, etc. I also have a running club that I run with on Tuesdays (outdoor tempo runs) and Thursdays (indoor track/speed sessions). It was great that I was getting my runs in at work, but with everything else I was pushing myself to the point of exhaustion. Not to mention, on Tuesdays, I wasn't getting runs in at my pace as I was coaching and helping others.
I decided to continue on with my training until the Houston Half Marathon at the end of October and make my decision. Luckily marathon training coincides with this half, in fact, it's recommended to run it as it's a part of the marathon warm up series. Chandra, JP and I had a blast and dressed up as The Incredibles since it was just a few days before Halloween! Here's a full race recap if you're interested, but we ended up running really well! I finished in 1:53 and Chandra a few minutes fast then me since well...she's a little bit faster than me. Crazy, I know.
After the race, I knew that the marathon wasn't in my cards. I know that I ran a great race, but I put in a lot of effort leading up to the half and I would need even more to get to a point where I was confident in running the full. I didn't know if I had 16 and 20 mile runs in me for Saturday mornings. It was a really hard decision, but for the best. After I decided, it felt like a weight lifted off of my shoulders. My runs were easier and I wasn't stressing.
However, I think I may have taken not stressing and feeling relieved a little too far. Since the Half in October, my training has been sub par. I did travel a lot. Like a lot, a lot. More trips to College Station, Disneyland in California, Thanksgiving, Boston, Christmas and New Years! Yikes. Maybe I was burnt out? I don't know. I still kept up with my runs and even ran a pretty solid 5K at Thanksgiving in College Station!
Don't get me wrong, I've still been running. It just hasn't felt like I've put my heart, soul and energy into training as I have before. I miss the camaraderie of running with my running buddies, Chandra and Melanie. I think that may be part of it. I've also dealt with being sick quite a bit and crummy weather from Christmas on. I'm sure that didn't help. Luckily, I've had a few good runs the past week and I'm feeling confident that I will run this race, have fun and enjoy myself. This is a no pressure half!
I get to run it with my hubby and maybe, just maybe, we'll cross the finish line together for the first time. We'll see! Wish me luck on my 5th Houston Marathon weekend race and I'll let y'all know how it goes on Monday! I'm excited!!!