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My First Marathon Race Report (Read 471 times)

    Race Report for the 2013 Chevron Houston Marathon

     

    I live 26 miles from Downtown Houston where the Houston Marathon takes place. My father-in-law and I left the house at 4:45 AM and the temperature was 62. As we approached downtown the temperature dropped to 50. We checked our bags and took care of business. At 6:30 we headed to the start. As we made our way to the start the temperature was still dropping and the rain started. It rained for about 15-20 minutes and stopped before the start. For some reason, I can pee a thousand times before a race, but always have to go right before the gun. My plan was to start as close to the front as possible. I was about 50 meters from the start and ran into a human traffic jam. Last year they were port-o-potties all along the start. I had to go pee bad and there were no port-o-potties in sight. I accepted the fact that I headed to the start late and will have to start further back. But, I still have to pee. The guy next to me had a trash bag over his body and he squatted and pissed in the crowd. I was not going to do the same. I looked around and saw 6 port-o-potties at the very front. I worked my way to the front and got to relieve myself. It took some effort get up to the front but I was rewarded with a better starting position.

    This is my first marathon and my goal was to complete it in 3:15. I plan to start at 7:45 pace then settle in 7:27-7:30 until mile 20 and then give it all I got.

     

    Mile 1 (7:42)
    At 7 AM the gun went off. I took off and tried to maintain a 7:45 pace for the first 2 miles. Half a mile in and I hit the first hill that leads to a very long overpass. The head wind was strong and the rain started to come down again. Living in Houston I'm always running with a puddle of sweat in my shoes. So the rain soaked shoes didn't bother me too much. I was getting passed by a lot of people and I started wondering if I would see them again. The first mile went well considering the conditions.

     

    Mile 2 (7:20)
    The wind was still in my face and the rain continued. However, I felt my pace was too fast. I didn't notice the water station and missed.

     

    Mile 3-6 (7:21, 7:28, 7:31, 7:28)
    I got to mile 4 and finally got my first drink. I wasn't feeling good during this portion. I started to feel like I was working hard. It was still raining and the wind was still in my face. I kept thinking I was running too fast and started getting scared that I would burn and crash later in the race. I kept telling myself to slow down.

     

    Mile 7-9 (7:20, 7:23, 7:20)
    This portion was great. The rain stopped and the wind was to my back. I enjoyed the crowd and all the music. I decided to try to make up some time since the wind was helping me. But, I didn't want to push too hard. The short hills were a breeze. Towards the end of this stretch, my left hip flexor started to ache a little.

     

    Mile 10-12 (7:26, 7:24, 7:52)
    I'm running past Rice University. The Rice Owl Marching band is playing awesome marching music. The percussion section got me fired up and I was feeling good. I made up lost time and I was about 20 seconds ahead of my goal pace. The last 45 minutes I had the urge to pee. It got worse during this section of the race. I'm telling myself to hold it. Maybe I can finish without stopping. I'm still feeling my hip flexor but it not hurting my performance. Finally, right as I approach mile 12 I can’t hold my urge to pee anymore. I jump in the port-o-potty and tell myself that it will be quick. The pee kept coming and coming. I thinking to myself, "When will this stop." Finally, after 30 seconds, I was out the door and running again. I lost 30 seconds and was behind my plan pace. What a bummer. I convinced myself that it's okay and not to sweat it.

     

    Mile 13-15 (7:32, 7:30, 7:29)
    The temperature is 45 and the wind is in my face again. Every time I pass the camera I try to give the peace symbols but my hands are cold and I can't open them all the way. The cameras will have to settle for thumbs up from this point on. After my piss break I couldn’t get back into the groove. My pace slowed a little and I was thinking I would be happy to finish in 3:20 instead of 3:15. This portion of the course was through a nice neighborhood. The residences were out but the crowd was thin. Mile 14 to mile 15 had a tall bridge. I had no problem getting over it. I made sure my training had hills and it paid off. Several people passed me after the bridge and I wasn't too happy about getting passed.

     

    Mile 16-19 (7:32, 7:21, 7:34, 7:25)
    My pace is still a little slow. My 3:15 time was slipping second by second. No big deal. Mile 17 and 19 were good. But not enough to make up time. I just need to finish. My hip flexor pain went away a few miles ago. I passed my old company. It was nice being in a familiar area. At this point, I'm feeling physically comfortable and can't believe how easy this race is going. Everyone told me the first 20 miles is easy and the last 6.2 will test my limits. I was scared and didn't know what would happen after mile 20. I reminded myself to trust the training. I kept thinking about being scared and trusting my training throughout this section. When will I get to mile 20? Where is the 20 mile marker? It's taking too long. A few more people passed me. I hate being passed. But, I told myself to stay discipline and not give chase.

     

    Mile 20-23 (7:29, 7:19, 7:20, 7:20, 7:09)
    Here we go. I feel real good and I know I have enough gas in the tank to test my fitness. I picked up the pace. I was excited that I'm closing in on the finish. I'm passing the people that passed me earlier. Oh yeah, it feels good. My energy level is increasing. I take my last gel (2x caffeine) at mile 22. I'm making up some time but still behind. I'm content that I will finish between 3:15-3:20. Not bad for my first marathon. Everything is going well. I'm passing people and no one is passing me.

     

    Mile 24-25 (7:16, 7:25)
    My pace has been faster for a few miles now. Right after I pass mile 24 I started to panic. What's wrong? Am I running out of blood sugar? Am I hitting the wall? I'm scared. I'm so close to the end. Why am I feeling like this? Then, I ran pass buddy who is in my running club and cheering on the side of the road. My buddy runs out to me and said "You got this." I replied, "I don't think I'm going to do it." Shortly after my run in with my running buddy, I realized that I'm not running out of blood sugar, I'm not hitting the wall. It's the buzz from the 2x caffeine gel. It’s got me all worked up. The panic disappeared and I'm approaching mile 25. At mile 25, I looked at my watch and noticed that I made up a lot of time. I can BQ and hit my 3:15 goal if I give it my all.

     

    Mile 26 (6:31)
    I'm approaching downtown. One of the first buildings I pass in downtown Houston is the building I work in. I know that the buildings create a tunnel effect and the wind blow hard between the buildings. I prayed a lot along the course. My last prayer was asking God to give me a tail wind instead of the usual head wind that this section gave me during my previous half marathons. I ran past my building and felt God push me through downtown. It’s crazy, I'm at the end of a marathon and I'm running at my 5K pace. I'm thinking there is nothing that will prevent me from hitting 3:15 and BQing in my debut marathon. Passing other runner increased my adrenaline.

     

    Last .2 miles
    I turn the last corner and I start to sprint. I tell myself, this is just another 400 meters repeat. Run hard. As I got closer, I see the clock 3:14:01. Less than 1 minute to hit my goal. I pushed harder. I'm running next to the gate separating the spectators from the runners. People are cheering a foot or two to my left. I am breathing deep and hard. Every exhale is accompanied by a lot of spit. I'm feeling bad that I'm spitting on people but that's the price they paid to watch a Boston qualifying time of 3:14:25.

     

    I did it. The training paid off. I picked up my metal and said to myself great job. That was really easy and I started to get mad because I felt that I ran a very conservative race since I have a very strong finish. The second half was almost 2 minutes faster than the first half. Then I thought, I know I can beat my time in Boston. I walked away proud and with a big smile on my face.

     


    Pura Vida

      Congratulations to you!  Sounds like you paced it perfectly!

      PRs: 5K: 25:35 / 10K: 53:03 / 10mi: 1:26:15 / HM: 1:55:02

      Upcoming: Beat the Blerch 10K 9/21, Portland Marathon (debut) 10/5

      MonkeyBunny


        GP, awesome job on your first marathon and BQ.  A negative split doesn't mean you ran a bad 1st half.  A negative split is ideal.

         

        I was in Houston as well.  We conquered temps in the mid 40's, rain, and winds up to 20 mph.  The downtown tailwind was the reward for all of the wind we faced everywhere else.

         

        Best wishes in Boston 2014

        Houston Marathon 1-13-13

        Rock n Roll St. Pete Half 2-10-13

        Gasparilla 15K 2-23-13

        Armadillo 10K 3-9-13

        Ogden Marathon 5-18-13

        Steamtown?

        Baystate?

        The Goal:  Boston Marathon 4-20-15

           I walked away proud and with a big smile on my face.

           

          Thanks for posting that awesome report - enjoyed all the cool details!

           

          I'd still be smiling!

          "I can do 440 in 220"    Half Fanatic #846    "90% of running is half mental"    If I collapse, please pause my Garmin

           

            Nicely done!

            HF #8206

             

              Great report. Congratulations again.

               

              How did you feel at 7:20-30 pace? Was it your tempo run feeling? I read your log, you do your tempo run at 7:18. My current tempo is about that (7:15). I may be able to keep it for 10 miles, but I don't think I am able to keep that pace all the way in a marathon.

              5k - 20:56 (09/12), 7k - 28:40 (11/12), 10k trial - 43:08  (03/13), 42:05 (05/13), FM - 3:09:28 (05/13), HM - 1:28:20 (05/14), Failed 10K trial - avg 6:10/mi for 4mi (29/08/14), FM - 3:03 (13/09/14)

                great job man. Houston was my first this weekend also. you only beat my by 2 hours. Smile

                 

                BTW- the weather really sucked. Way to BQ on your first attempt.

                ”Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”

                “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.”

                 

                Tomas

                  Great report. Congratulations again.

                   

                  How did you feel at 7:20-30 pace? Was it your tempo run feeling? I read your log, you do your tempo run at 7:18. My current tempo is about that (7:15). I may be able to keep it for 10 miles, but I don't think I am able to keep that pace all the way in a marathon.

                   

                  My tempo runs are usually 6:50 - 7:00. I live in Houston, TX, and during training the conditions were hot and humid when I had tempo sessions. As a result, I adjusted the speed of my tempo runs. To be honest, my tempo runs felt harder than the 7:20-7:30 pace. I think it has to do with being in a race environment. If you train properly you should be fine and keep the pace longer than you think.

                   

                     

                    My tempo runs are usually 6:50 - 7:00. I live in Houston, TX, and during training the conditions were hot and humid when I had tempo sessions. As a result, I adjusted the speed of my tempo runs. To be honest, my tempo runs felt harder than the 7:20-7:30 pace. I think it has to do with being in a race environment. If you train properly you should be fine and keep the pace longer than you think.

                     

                    Thanks. That is about right. From the McMillan calculator, the MP is about 30-40 minutes slower than the tempo pace. I think your pace was perfect.

                    5k - 20:56 (09/12), 7k - 28:40 (11/12), 10k trial - 43:08  (03/13), 42:05 (05/13), FM - 3:09:28 (05/13), HM - 1:28:20 (05/14), Failed 10K trial - avg 6:10/mi for 4mi (29/08/14), FM - 3:03 (13/09/14)


                    Consistently Slow

                      Congrats. Negative split and a BQ. Great job!

                      Run until the trail runs out.

                      2014***1500 miles 09/28/14

                      50miler 13:26:18

                      Race Less Train More

                       

                      Ana Trason  "Living Her Life"

                      "The Marble in The Groove"

                       

                      unsolicited chatter

                      http://bkclay.blogspot.com/


                      Rusk Runner

                        Way to go!  Congratulations!  I have been following alot of your progress and I am super psyched that you got your BQ on your first marathon.  You did well following Pfitz for your first and listening to your body through the training.

                        PRs...5K - 20:36, 4mile - 26:15, 13.1 - 1:32, 26.2 - 3:42

                        Just Run!!!


                        Finally PRed!!!

                          Congrats!!! What a great race, awesome job on your first! Thanks for the RR! Congrats on the BQ!

                          PRs: 5K: 22:09, 10K:44:55, 15K: 1:10:35, HM: 1:42:49, M: 3:38:20

                          camille2


                            Congratulations on a very well run marathon!  Impressive pacing for your first!

                            I did it, too, and the conditions were really pretty bad, which makes your race all the more impressive.  It seemed to me that the wind was usu in our face.  : )

                            Again, great job!

                              Every exhale is accompanied by a lot of spit. I'm feeling bad that I'm spitting on people but that's the price they paid to watch a Boston qualifying time of 3:14:25.

                               

                               

                              I love this. Rock and roll. Congratulations!

                                One of the best race reports I have read in long time.  Congrats to you!!!

                                2013 Goals:  Stay healthy and Sub 3:30.  PR HM, 10K, 5K...etc....lose 5 lbs, get Michelle Obama arms. 

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