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Aramco Houston Half Marathon – Race Recap

31 Jan

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!!

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One of the nice things about Houston is that you get a cotton race shirt for each event….

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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!!

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These are SO comfy!! And I got word that there may be flipflops coming this summer….!!!

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!!

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A peek at the set-up for the runners’ area for Sunday morning!

And of course a big part of any race, no matter how long, is outfit planning 🙂

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Skirt Sports, Skechers and Fellow Flowers — It’s gonna be a great day!!

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….

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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!

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This guy was filming the start as his lift was coming down!!

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Post-race goodies mean bananas and treats from Corner Bakery.   And there’s bling…

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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 —

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More Skirt Sports and another Flower!!

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!!

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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

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Though I’m not sure how I ended up in this particular corral….

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And in my shock, I dropped my phone and this happened….

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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…

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And yeah…that’s a mimosa in her hand 🙂

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.

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Carbs people…we need carbs!!!

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This one’s for you Vanessa!!!

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

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And ice cream and snacks…

I picked up my finisher shirt

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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!!

medals houston

The Half medal gets better every year…5K as well as the “Double”

Run to Win

16 Feb

So, if you know me, you know that I generally don’t place anywhere in the “winning” range with I run events! So what’s with the title here tonight? We’ll get to that 🙂

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Beating my phone to the finish is often a huge win for me!!

 

So, I got home from Disney on a Monday night, picked up the Phred and finally slept in my own bed! Just so I could get up Tuesday and do laundry and repack to head to Houston on Thursday!

Last January I was registered to run the Houston Half Marathon and the 5K the day before. Since I was having some pretty bad leg and back pain issues I ended up deferring the half and just walking the 5K. Which means that I didn’t have to go through the lottery to get into the Houston Aramco Half Marathon this year!!  I also registered for the 5K again!

I dropped Phred back off at his Nanny’s on my way to the airport Thursday morning. I was very happy that I got upgraded on my leg from Newark to Houston — it was nice and cozy and I had a yummy lunch! Pops was waiting at the airport for me, as usual and we ended up just heading out later for dinner.

The plan for Friday was to meet my Best Friend after she got off of work and hang out at The Grove at Discovery Green – right outside of the convention center. I was planning to do my expo-ing before then

Now, last year at this very same expo is where I purchased my first pair of Skecher Performance GoRunRide shoes.

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I will confess that I bought them solely because they glow in the dark 🙂

Anyway, as Skechers is one of the major sponsors for the Houston Marathon, I knew they’d have a booth and of course I had to pop in and see what was new! Well, what was new was that they had a new version of one of my favorite running shoes – the Houston Marathon version

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So..I looked but thought maybe I’d have to come back tomorrow (Spoiler – I did come back tomorrow and they were now 20% off! SCORE!!) While at the booth, I wanted to get my picture taken with Meb Keflezighi…luckily he was hanging around waiting for just such an opportunity!

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I grabbed my bibs and shirts for the 5K and the half and wandered around a bit – and in a rare event of perfect timing, I was winding down when this guy stepped up to give a short speech:

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Meb Keflezighi speaking at the Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute EXPO

 

And here, my friends, is where the title for this post comes in. When asked what advice he would give to people running over the weekend, Meb replied with (and, I’m paraphrasing since it was a month ago!!) basically – I just tell runners, you need to run to win. And, winning doesn’t have to mean finishing first. Every time you toe the start line winning could be something different. So you need to run for your win that day, whatever it is.

He also shared the story of his win at Boston last year which really gave me goosebumps!

When the Q&A finished up, I walked off to try to call my friend. I wandered back to the stage area (actually, to the ladies’ room!) I noticed a crowd/line and saw that Meb was taking pictures and signing shirts and bibs….so I got in line.

And then this happened:

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Yeah…hoping some speed rubs off me….

 

And this!

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This bib is a keeper!!

 

Ended up meeting up with my friend, and The Grove was closed. So we headed to a newer place called Cook & Collins and had a yummy dinner!

Saturday morning it was up early and heading down to the 5K with Pops! After struggling to find decent parking we walked over to the start corrals (Pops went over towards the finish line to wait for me!).

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Gorgeous view of part of the Downtown Houston skyline….

 

It warmed up pretty quick and I managed to keep to my intervals. Considering I had just done Dopey the weekend before, things went pretty well!

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What’s that #Skippy? 12 minute pace??

 

I found Pops near the finish line and herded him into the expo — I grabbed my shoes and ended up losing him along the way! Eventually I found him and we headed home. No big plans the rest of the day – we had dinner out…somewhere…I’m sure. Or maybe we ate in!

The next morning was up early again – this time I drove us downtown and then turned the car over to Pops for his adventure! He always likes to try to find me out on the course in a couple of places.

I headed into the convention center to use a potty and check my bag and generally just organize myself! Then headed out to the starting line to find my corral

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You get a start letter, then get to corral yourself!

 

Took off maybe 30 minutes after the starting gun and again, worked on the intervals all the time keeping my eyes open for Pops. Turns out, I missed him, but he saw me – and apparently was yelling and screaming at me…but I heard nothing 🙂 Must have been in the zone!  The course has changed a bit from the last time I ran, and I think I might like this new course better!

As far as my timing went — I’m still hovering just over that 3 hour mark and need to get back down!!

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About a minute slower than my 5K pace…

 

But I”m not unhappy with the result. (my time differs from the official results because I stopped my app when I stopped at a porta pottie 🙂 )

Post race, Houston does a GREAT breakfast back inside the convention center, sponsored by the big local market HEB (I love HEB!) and staffed by their employees!

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And of course, free bananas….

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What’s a Half Marathon without a banana or two….

 

But, the breakfast…

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That chocolate milk might still be in the freezer at Pops’….

 

After eating the Noms, I then started on my “finding Pops” mission — and was eventually successful, after some frustration on both our parts I’m sure!  While I was looking I ran into this athlete!

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I was so excited to see that this aid doggie got his very own medal! As well he should!!

 

Headed back to the house to shower and relax before heading out to dinner with my Sister-in-law (turns out my brother and nephews were off camping on the long weekend…). We had a fun dinner at Texas Roadhouse – which I love on account of fried pickles and warm bread 🙂

Oh, yeah….the goods 🙂 At Houston you get a cotton t-shirt for the 5K and the Marathon/Half-Marathon

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And of course some bling for the 5K…

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and the half…

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I got an extra one for doing both the 5K and the half!

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And…a finisher tech shirt, provided by Skechers!

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It was an early day, again, on Monday since I had an early early flight home….but it was a little worth it for this view…

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I’m thinking that for 2016, I’m going to try out the full — I figure I should do it at least once, right? But first, there’s Paris on the horizon!!!

Paris

It Just Keeps Getting Bigger!!!

30 Sep

starting line

And no, I’m not talking about my rear view 😉 Note – if you are trying to find a picture of someone’s rear end, google will show you a lot of nekkid ones….

I’m talking about my list of upcoming races – or as I like to call them “events” (since I don’t actually race much other than my own self!). And since I’m doing all this training I thought a good reminder was in order.

So, in Order of Appearance, here we go:

Hartford Half Marathon – I’m actually also doing the new “One Mile Friday” which is, yep, a One mile run in Hartford followed by a beer 🙂 After the half I’ll get this beauty:

hartford half medal

Hershey Half Marathon – I’ll be doing this one with my friends Kathy and Jennifer. And, we will of course be headed to the park on Saturday before for Roller Coastering! And, I think for this one, we don’t know what the medal will be ahead of time so it will be a delicious surprise!!

Marine Corps Marathon – This is the ‘biggie’ for 2014! You know, the one you can show your support of my efforts by donating to the Tug McGraw Foundation! C’mon! It doesn’t hurt!!

runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon – This one we do for “fun” — and the training miles 🙂 And after the miles and before the Food and Wine-ing I’ll get this around my neck (bonus – it spins!!):

2014 Wine Dine Half Marathon Medal

Santa Hustle Half Marathon –  This was a new add (like Hartford) since I’m getting to the point of having some really long weekend runs, I *know* it will be tons easier for me to get them in if I have an event. Not that I don’t love circling my town a few times to get my long runs in…Plus SANTA!!!

TXU Turkey Trot 10K – Everyone should do a Turkey Trot at least once!! This is a nice one – I’ve done the 5K before. And, really, it’s probably best to start the holiday eating season by moving a little!!

Then…after Thanksgiving I’m taking a ‘break’ – from organized events! That is, until I get to the Main Event:

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: Dopey Challenge – 4 Races, 6 Medals (Okay, one of the ‘medals’ is a rubber medallion but still…) 4 Races? 5K on Thursday, 10K on Friday, Half Marathon on Saturday and Full Marathon on Sunday –  I had planned to do the Goofy Challenge this year since it’s an anniversary year and then they went and added that crazy 10K in there!

Aramco Houston Half Marathon  – I deferred this one in 2014 since I was having so many issues even walking! I’ve done this one a few times and it’s a nice course and a really great event! They’ve also added a 5K on the day before so of course I said “What the heck, why not?!

Publix Georgia Half Marathon – So now I’m entering “what was I thinking” territory! This one was registered for when I saw that I could get in for something like 34 or 40 dollars! Really. That’s it. Plus, it’s one I’ve often thought of doing so….there ya go!

The next Biggie — Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris – Another one where I entered a lottery on a whim, et voila! Making this into a fun trip with a friend. She’s even decided to do the Paris Breakfast Run the day before!

And then, my pal Jackie applied appropriate pressure to get me to sign up for the Brand New! runDisney Pixie Dust Challenge! So new it isn’t even up on the runDisney page yet!!

So there you have it. And all I can say is WHOA! If nothing else, I am definitely feeling way more motivated to train than I normally am. Which is to say, I am feeling motivated to train 🙂

liar

 

Hold on to your Hats folks!!

12 Aug

There’s a shocker coming up!

The Galloway plan for the week called for

Tuesday 45 minute run/walk
Thursday 45 minute run/walk
Saturday 7 miles

What actually happened is:

cricket chirping

 

 

 

 

So, yeah…nothing. That’s right – Nada, Zip, Zero and Nil. And as you might be able to imagine I beat myself up quite a bit for missing out on all of my runs for the week. But, Saturday, for the first time in a VERY long time, I spent the day with nothing in pain. Not even a little. Not even the standard “old lady getting out of bed” creakiness or stiffness.

Back on the train this week though because the miles, they are going to only get bigger from here on out!!

I need to remind myself that I have a pretty busy schedule coming up the next few months too and the more I do now, the better I’ll feel then!

To Recap:

Hogsback Half Marathon  – Sept 27
Hershey Half Marathon  – Oct 19
Marine Corps Marathon – Oct 26 (oh, and hey! Wouldn’t it be cool if you made a donation here? Think how motivating that would be for me!!)
Wine & Dine Half Marathon – Nov 8
#Dopey15 (5K+10K+HalfMarathon+Marathon)  – Jan 8-11
Houston Half Marathon – Jan 18
Georgia Half Marathon – Mar 22
Paris Marathon – Apr 19
and, the newly added (insert eye roll at my lack of self-control here)
Pixie Dust Challenge (10K + Half marathon) – May something…

See? I really need to get going!! Or, I need to get some help 🙂

Hope everything is going great for you all! 

 

Looking Ahead…

12 Jan
homer_running theboringrunnerdotcom

From theboringrunner.com

Well, my running year did not end on a great note. And so far this year is not starting off much better.

But I have GREAT plans!!! And some goals need to be set because my BIG BIG goal is to run the runDisney #DopeyChallenge next January.

Just this morning, I deferred my entry for the Houston Aramco Half Marathon and it makes me sad to do it. This is really one of my favorite events, mainly because  it’s in my hometown, but also because it’s very well done. And Flat. Ish. And if you know me, you know how important that part is!  I’m happy that I am doing it “officially”, though,  because this means I don’t have to go through the lottery for next year (Much more on my next January later!)  I am still going to have take a shot at the 5K  though, even if I have to walk/limp the whole thing!

Up next is the runDisney #GlassSlipperChallenge. This will be a 10K on Saturday and a Half Marathon on Sunday. I’m sitting out Houston expecting to be much further along in my recovery than I am now. To that, I am planning on – finally – making a visit to a *real* specialist on Monday. There’s a walk-in (hahah!) orthopedic clinic right up the street and ortho help is what I need. I hope.

Also on my radar for this year is another shot at the Marine Corps Marathon – another favorite! They’re moving to a lottery this year so in order to make sure I get in, I’m going to get in on the Marine Corps 17.75 – it’s a 17.75 K race just outside of the Marine Corps Base at Quantico VA. Finishing this will give me guaranteed entry to the big show!! There are also a couple other events sponsored by the great folks (yeah, the Marines!) from the Marine Corps Marathon that I may have a peek at!

Locally, I’m in for the Greater Hartford Quarter Marathon, the Solstice Sprint 5K and for the second time, the Hogsback Half Marathon!

There’s also a slew of Hartford Marathon Foundation events that I haven’t signed up for, but you know I’ll be there!!

And the random “special” events…Like the Hartford Run or Dye in July – I’m in!! And there’s a “Run for the Bulls” in Bermuda at the end of March that I’m planning on doing with my friend Sharon – who happens to be a Bermuda expert so it’s going to be a super fun trip!!

Besides running, I’m really NEEDING to get back to Bikram – trying to save my pennies for that one but hope to be ready to sign up by the end of next month – then, since I’m working from home it’ll just be a matter of scheduling it so I can go many days a week!

So, right now it’s a very haphazard plan, but once it’s written down – training plans can be set up and really, the goal is to get me to #DopeyChallenge in good shape and ready to have fun!

finish line

Not me….yet!!

I’m in!!

24 Jun

For awhile there, I was running the Aramco Houston Half Marathon every year…then they moved to a lottery for entry and I missed a year. Then I ran the runDisney Goofy Challenge and Tinkerbell Half this year- and Tinkerbell is generally the same weekend as Houston. The last time I ran was in 2012 and part of the weekend fun was the Olympic Marathon Trials

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The start and finish of the trials

So this year I entered the lottery and got in! And, starting last year (this year? 2013) they’ve moved the 5K to Saturday so that you can do 2 races and get 3 medals! Who isn’t up for more bling! So, 2 races, three medals! Woot.

And, Houston is kind of my home town race, being born and mostly raised there. And 75% of my family still lives there so it’s chance to see everyone since I generally don’t get down at Christmas.

Great weather, great course, Super post-race feast PLUS my best friend goes to the expo with me and my dad cruises around out on the course! Doesn’t get much better than that!

Well, I suppose if I was shooting for the Olympics, that could be better!

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