Last year around this time I decided that I was finally going to take on the Chevron Houston Marathon instead of doing the Aramco Half Marathon again.
And then MCM happened and I knew that there was no way I’d be prepared for a full in 3 months so I dropped down to the Half.
I’ve done this event a few times in the past….maybe 5? As you can imagine, I’m not one of those who keeps close count. Last year they changed the course a bit but it’s still just as much fun!
I headed down Thursday morning and got to Houston around 3:30 or so after a delay in Baltimore. My brother picked me up and took me to my dad’s house. I dropped off my things and Phred and I headed up to the hospital to visit with Pop. Of course he was happy to see us – I think especially his furry pal! After we left, made a stop to get some groceries, Phred Phud and some race supplies then settled in for the night. I had plans to try to get to the Expo fairly early to avoid traffic but wanted to stop by the hospital first
The Houston Marathon expo is held at the George R Brown Convention center in downtown Houston. This is also where the race starts and ends on Sunday. I mention this because it seems to me that this area has been under construction for a bazillion years — and still the Marathon manages to do an amazing job keeping things organized in the area!
Anyway, Friday mid-day, I hit the expo. The plan was to get my bibs/shirts and see what my friends at Skecher had to show me this year. I also thought I might want to find some short compression socks and maybe a Bondi Band. Other than that, given my current budget situation I wasn’t going to be spending much money
I love that expos are having these walls more and more these days…this one was in alphabetical order so it was easy!!
One of the nice things about Houston is that you get a cotton race shirt for each event….
And, spoiler alert — for the half and full you also get a tech finisher shirt….
I stopped by the Skecher booth and ended up talking to one of the corporate sales reps (Hi Casey!!) and she caught me looking at the new GoFlex Walk shoes – I needed some slip ons for airports and post-race and these have the new awesome memory-foam like insoles. Huge “squish” factor and super comfy! Of course it didn’t take much persuading to get a pair on my feet – hey, expo pricing plus 20% off!!
I made another loop around the convention center and decided to head back to the house- I planned to visit dad and it would be a sort of early day on Saturday. On my way out, I grabbed my usual shot of the ground floor…where all of the action is on Sunday morning!!
And of course a big part of any race, no matter how long, is outfit planning 🙂
I headed back down to the convention center for the 5K and had plenty of time to park and get to the start at Discovery Green. It was a gorgeous morning! A little chilly but….
The 5K is a flat out and back-ish route – not a lot of support on the route but the start and finish line are full of excitement!
Post-race goodies mean bananas and treats from Corner Bakery. And there’s bling…
Once I grabbed a banana and a muffin I headed for the car – time to get cleaned up and visit Pop again for a few hours. On the way back to the house I stopped off to pick up a burger for my now-usual pre-half dinner. Sunday was an even earlier start and I wanted to get my same parking spot so it was an early to bed day after getting my clothes ready —
I managed to get the same lot as Saturday which was a block or so from the convention center. I had plans and hopes to get in in time to go to Mass (which, bad Catholic alert – has REALLY changed a lot!!) I wasn’t the only one getting in early!!
Since I didn’t want to wait in a massive porta-potty line, I headed out to my corral where I figured (correctly!) that the lines would be shorter. It was another beautiful, chilly morning in downtown Houston
Though I’m not sure how I ended up in this particular corral….
And in my shock, I dropped my phone and this happened….
The race got off on time as usual – last year they changed the course, but I didn’t really pay a lot of attention. This year I paid more attention and have to say I do enjoy the new course a lot! I miss running through the neighborhood in the Heights, but there were still folks out when we went past!
And now we go through River Oaks and down near the museum district where, people were seriously supportive…
The finish is pretty much the same, down Allen Parkway where there is a TON of fun support! Lots of music, hash house harriers and ….beer.
I made it to the finish – no records broken but I’m getting back on track, time-wise. And my splits are getting more consistent as well.
As always, HEB had a hot breakfast waiting for us
And ice cream and snacks…
I picked up my finisher shirt
And headed back to shower and spend the rest of the day with my dog and my dad!!
I have to say, that if you’re looking for a January half or full, you should give this one a try!! Consistently the Houston Marathon is one of the most organized well run events I do! Even with all of the construction that’s going on in Houston, they manage to work around it with very little disruption. And you get a lot of bang for your registration buck!!