Beginners and Beyond


RR- Chevron Houston Marahon - debut - with a few pics (Read 380 times)

    Sorry in advance if this is long.


    Who: Tomas Rodriguez

    What: Houston Marathon (debut)

    When: January 13, 2013

    RESULT: FINISHED J  - Clock time: 5:57:40 – Chip time: ???? (I killed my bib guess)  - I beat the 5:30 pace group.


    This race report may be a little different than some others mostly because my running career is much different than many of the probable readers of this. Also, this race report is more about a journey that is still in the beginning stages and the Chevron Houston Marathon is just one of the highlights so far. Before I get too much into one of my many ramblings.

    I need to thank some very important people. First off, my wife Medesa I don’t think she ever once told me I was crazy for getting up before the roosters that live in our neighborhood. She might have thought it but was always very supportive and has done a lot of extra work around the house with the two kids in order to help me along the way. I need to thank my mom, Perlita, she put her life on hold in order to move down to live with us for a few months to help take care of baby girl when our baby-sitter bailed on us. My mom always made sure the kids were entertained and I always had clean running clothes. Also, I need to thank my sister and running inspiration Mona Sims. She has been running marathons for about 10 years; I think Houston was her 17th or 18th. Had she not invited me to watch her run the Live Strong Half Marathon and the Galveston Half Iron Man last spring I doubt I would have ever looked as a marathon as a potential goal. Thanks family – YALL ROCK.

    The past year has been quite a bit different. Twelve months ago I was weighing about 365 lbs and wearing size 52 pants and most of my shirts were 4XL. My finisher’s shirt in Houston is an XL and fit well. I weigh about 275 lbs and know that I have a ways to go, but as I mentioned earlier that this is a journey and I am not really sure where I will end up or what I need to do next. I guess what I need to do next is to continue running and improving my health and fitness, but I don’t have any long term goals as I never dreamed of doing this. I lost weight mostly by diet change and the running has helped. I believe that April 3rd was the day that I got off of the couch and started the C25K program. Since then I have run 4 races, a 4.5 miler, a 15k, a HM, and now the Houston Marathon. The past year I have logged around 700 miles or so and hope to hit around 1400 this year.

    Pre Race- On Saturday my family and I walked around down town Houston for a while looking for a place to eat lunch before we went to the EXPO. I think overall this was a good thing for me as my legs had been hurting pretty badly; I claim taper madness my wife says I am just full of it. Anyways we eat some burgers and head to the EXPO. This was the first time that I had done something like this and it seemed smooth. My sister, the real runner, said it was the most efficient and smoothest packet pickup she had seen. Good Job Houston. We watched some football then went to find some pasta. The place we found apparently was fancy and was reservation only so we ended up a noodle house that was overall pretty good although we did have to hit up the McDonalds for the 5yr old as he isn’t real adventurous with his eating.

    Race morning- The temps were good for running but the rain was F’n cold and not real fun. There was some Forrest Gump type sideways stuff coming down and it wasn’t real fun. There was music going before the race and we met up with the 5:30 pacer. He seemed like a nice guy, but I wasn’t really a fan of the run walk plan. I hadn’t trained like that and I told my sisters that I would like to stay near that group, but that I would rather not do their plan.

    Pre Race - Mona Sims, T-Rod, Sophia Rodriguez


    Once we started the rain kept coming and didn’t let up until after 3 miles or so. Our clothes were soaked and we never got warmed up it seemed. The course was neat as it took me through parts of Houston that I had never seen before and most likely won’t see again for a while. There were crowds of people along the course even with the bad weather. People had stereo speakers and BBQ pits going. Some of the people had tents set up to keep them dry. I need to go back and find the house that had the bloody mary bar going in the front yard. Some of my favorite groups long the route were the churches. Around mile two there was an entire congregation outside cheering us on. There was also a Catholic Church that sprinkling holy water on us as we ran by. I also got a kick of seeing the Danbury High School drum line. I liked seeing them because I know that it is a small school of less than 300 kids and they are about an hour or so out of Houston. The race was well supported with water and Gatorades. It seemed like at times it was continually a table with water.


    During the run I felt pretty good as I was going slower than I needed to go as I was sticking with my little sister. We were pretty consistent with miles that were about 12:20 or so until mile 15. My older sister and I did a lot of chatting throughout the race. Everything from vacation plans, to future races, to financial advice. At mile 10 my family was out there braving the elements in order to cheer for us. This is always fun seeing people you care about cheering for you.


    Son and Dad with the signs my son made Smile


    My little sister was getting worn out and we had sped up a little. This was the beginning of the end of our race together. My older sister told me to head on and do my thing and I should leave them behind. She told me again that I should go run my race. This was the first time that I felt nervous at all. I was at mile 16 and I wasn’t going to have a cheerleader or buddy or anything. It was me and I got scared. I also got very emotional. I felt as if I was going to cry out there on the course as I knew that I was ready, but wasn’t sure what the hell I was actually doing out there. My longest run had been 17.4 miles and that was at a slower pace. This is when I made a mistake and let emotions get the best of me. I started running too fast. My next miles were comfortable, but not smart. I went from be a 12:20 per mile to going; 12:05, 10:47, 11:06, 11:17, 11:05. This is when my phone died and no longer tracked me. Mile 21 also is when the discomfort kicked in. I was starting to feel a little cramping in my right quad and when we got to memorial park. There is some elevation change there, nothing too bad, but enough to bother me. I was saved mentally and physically by the first of my beer stops. There was a group handing out small Michelob Ultras – I took two. About mile 21.5 there was a cliff shot station where I lucked into a lemon lime goo type thing. This was the first time I had ever had one of those things. Anyways I stuck it in my pocket until mile 22 when a guy was handing out water or miller lite. I opted for the beer. This helped me to slow down some and helped me to walk out my cramp. The combo of lemon lime gel and beer was awesome. The last four miles or so was about half and half walking and jogging. I did find another beer stop on the way and it was pretty good too.

    Mile 26 - still smiling


    Near the finish my little sister’s best friend was standing there and got a picture of me and this was cool because it was totally unexpected. I saw my family at the chute at the end and then got my medal, a quick picture, a finisher shirt, beer mug, and food. After I ate I saw my brother in law who told me where to find the rest of my family. He had prepared me a big mimosa to drink to celebrate – powerade bottles make great roadie bottles Smile . My sisters ended up finishing and we all just hung out for a while and got a few more pictures. I had a blast and I think it was a very positive experience.

    Family of Marathoners- Sophia, Nick, Mona, Tomas

    ”Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”

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



    Just B.S.

      Tomas, I didn't really know your story until now. Bravo to you! incredible job and how far you have come! and now

      you can call yourself Marathoner!!


      I especially relate, because although hubby and I only had 40lbs each to lose, I started running 4 years before him

      and he totally supported me during that time but didn't start running himself until 2004. My decision to become a r

      unner affected my entire family and turned us into a family of marathoners as well.


      Ours worked both ways because although i started running 1/2 marathons first it was watching hubby running the

      Boston Marathon in 2010 that inspired me to run my first full.


      Love the photos, I can feel your joy!! Here's to many more races and a future of health and happiness!!


      I have no doubt you are inspiring your fair share of people!!

      Bad Ass

        Congratulations on such a journey and on your marathon.  Great job!  I think you paced well and had a great time to boot.


        You look great, BTW.  I know your journey is not over and that you will achieve even bigger things in 2013 and I cannot wait to see it all!



        "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."

        It's always fucking hot in Miami! (except for 3 days of the year)

          Congratulations on such a journey and on your marathon.  Great job!  I think you paced well and had a great time to boot.


          You look great, BTW.  I know your journey is not over and that you will achieve even bigger things in 2013 and I cannot wait to see it all!


          I did have a great time. As far as pacing- I think both halves of the race were faster than my HM PR Smile flat course helps


          I am either doing a 50K or MCM with my sister in the fall. Goofy in a year.

          ”Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”

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




            Tomas -- congratulations on your first marathon, and on your transformation since last April!


            You have many reasons to be proud, but I think the best part of your journey will be what it means to your family.  Better health = better living.  You are setting a good example for your children.  Your baby won't even remember how big you once were -- she'll just remember the daddy who has lots of energy.

            From the Internet.

              Congrats Tomas! You've done the penguins proud Big grin Can't wait to see what the rest of 2013 holds for you!

              His Slowness

                Congrats.  It sounds like you made the best of the lousy weather.




                  What a fabulous journey, Tomas!!  Thanks for sharing and inspiring us all!!  I am looking forward to reading about your continued progress going forward!!

                  But The Smile That I Sent Out Returned With You.

                  King Rake

                    Great job Tomas!!  My wife ran it Houston as well, making it through the early deluge to some will!!!

                      Tomas, just wanted to say congrats. I'll have to read it later when I have more time. Plus I can't see the pics at work.

                        Great job Tomas!!  My wife ran it Houston as well, making it through the early deluge to some will!!!


                        I think the wet and cold made it better from my point of view- I tell my sisters that i like to look at running as an adventure and the crappy weather adds to it Smile


                        But the wet shoes pretty much sucked.

                        ”Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”

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



                        delicate flower

                          Congratulations, T-rod!  Wow, you've come a long way.


                          I'm pretty sure three light beers during a marathon would have completely wrecked me.  Big grin



                            It sounds like you had a great time running with your sisters and venturing out on your own.  Now that you know an average pace you could maintain for 26.2, the next marathon will be the opportunity to use that pace to set some training pace goals and for feeling more at-home on the marathon course.


                            Congratulations to you and your family!  Go Team A-Rod!!

                              congrats!!! you earned it, so soak it up.

                              PR's : HM 1:51:15  -  5K 21:27





                                Great job Tomas! I still have not been able to work up the courage to do a marathon. Hopefully next year after a few more halves.

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                                - Andrew