Tag Archives: races

Race #17: Walt Disney World Marathon

I spent the Saturday night before the marathon wondering what I had gotten myself into.  I was exhausted from lack of sleep and the bottom of my feet were hurting pretty badly.  An ice bath offered temporary relief, but they were still very sore.

We woke up around 3:30am, planning to catch the monorail a little after 4:00am since we had been there so early the morning before.  I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a banana for breakfast, and tried to go easier on the water.

We made it to the start line much quicker marathon morning.  We also ran into one character along the way, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother.  She was a riot, chatting with people as they walked by and pretending to sprinkle everyone with fairy dust.  I needed it!


I had to make another stop at the port-o-potties before the race.  I hate port-o-potties, but I knew it would be awhile before we’d make it to the Magic Kingdom for a real bathroom.  We made our way to Corral G again.  This time we sat down, waiting for our corral to finally move.  We wanted to stay off our feet as long as possible.


It was around 6:15 before we started again.  We noticed that the entertainers were using some of the same material they had the day before 🙂  When we were walking to Corral G, we heard one of the entertainers getting into it with a runner.  He didn’t recognize her costume.  I thought she was an Angry Bird.  Apparently she was Perry the Platypus.  Who?  She seemed upset that he didn’t know who she was and said something like, “You work for Disney.”  He responded that he actually does not work for Disney, was just there for the race 🙂  Poor guy.

Soon we were off!  The race still felt congested, but not as bad as the half marathon had.  We started with 6/4 intervals this time, hoping it would leave us more time for pictures.  We wanted to stop for as many characters as we could, but did not want to feel rushed in making up time to keep a 16 minute pace.

For the most part, we were going to skip the characters we had gotten pictures with the day before, but our Nightmare Before Christmas picture from the half was very blurry, so we decided to stop again.  I ended up buying a picture package, so it wasn’t necessary, but fun to have even more pictures.


The sun was coming up when we stopped.


We had another bathroom break early on.  Although I had gone around 5am when we were getting to our corral, I had to go again by the time we started the race at 6:15am.  I was going to try to wait until we made it to Magic Kingdom, but gave up before then when we saw short lines and a lot of port-o-potties.

  • Mile 1:  13:35
  • Mile 2:  12:09
  • Mile 3:  14:39
  • Mile 4:  15:35
  • Mile 5:  11:45

The sixth mile took us down Main Street in Magic Kingdom again.  So much fun.  We went through Fantasyland before the castle and stopped for a picture with Alice and the Mad Hatter.


I was wearing my No Meat Athlete shirt, which has a carrot on the front and says “Runs on Plants” in the back.  I got a lot of love for my shirt during the race, with several other runners telling me they run on plants too.  One guy told me he loved my shirt, even though he eats meat (and hoped I didn’t hate him for it).

When Alice saw my shirt, she said, “Oh look!  She likes carrots.”  The Mad Hatter said, “She must be a rabbit… the white rabbit!  That’s why everyone is chasing her!”

We also stopped for a couple of princess photos we had missed the day before.  I loved the background of the New Fantasyland for these.

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Next up was the castle!  The line for pictures with a royal Minnie and Mickey were very long, so we decided to pass that one up, and ran through the castle.

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The picture with the castle in the background is one of my favorite professional photos from the race.

We were sad that Jessie from Toy Story was not in Frontierland when we went through.  I wonder if she was just on a break.  We made another bathroom stop while we had access to real bathrooms.

We did stop for a picture with Cinderella and the Prince just outside of the Magic Kingdom.  It was a very long line, but it was another one we had missed in our previous Disney races.


This was probably our longest wait for a picture during the race, but I think it was worth it.


There was a bit of a boring stretch between the Magic Kingdom and the Speedway.  The only character we stopped for on this stretch was Mary Poppins.


There was a steep dip down and up to get into the Speedway, but it was fun to have a change of scenery.  There were plenty of spectators here, and a number of cars, including some famous characters.




The speedway took us through mile nine, and it was around this time that Maggie developed a pain in her foot.  I asked her if she wanted to stop at the medical station as we were leaving the Speedway, but she said it was fine when she walked, so we kept going.  And then both wished we had stopped.  The bottom of my feet were already in a lot of pain, and I had heard there was Tylenol at the medical stations.  We decided to stop at the next station we saw.

  • Mile 6:  20:52
  • Mile 7:  15:34
  • Mile 8:  12:51
  • Mile 9:  12:26

The next three miles or so were a boring stretch.  They did a good job with entertainment and characters along this stretch.  This is also where you smell the stinky waste/compost area.  It was good motivation to run a little extra!

At the scene with all the villains they were playing Bad to the Bone!




  • Mile 10:  15:41
  • Mile 11:  13:24
  • Mile 12:  13:06

It was somewhere along this stretch that we found another medical station.  Unfortunately, they were out of Tylenol, but Maggie put some Biofreeze on her feet and said it helped.  I wished I had done the same!

I love that they have animals outside of Animal Kingdom.  We missed the donkey this year!



We stopped for a few characters in Animal Kingdom, but we did not ride Mount Everest like we had planned.  I still think it would be fun some day, but I was worried if I sat down, I would have a difficult time getting up again.



The stretch between Animal Kingdom and the ESPN Wide World of Sports was another long one.  I’m sure there was entertainment, but we did not stop for anymore character pictures.

We did find another medical station that had Tylenol, and I tried Biofreeze on my feet.  It stung a little bit, but the pain/numbness from the burning feeling was welcome relief from the pain I had been feeling.  If I didn’t have to take my socks and shoes off, I would have re-applied it at every medical station after that.

  • Mile 13:  17:29
  • Mile 14:  13:02
  • Mile 15:  13:46
  • Mile 16:  12:13
  • Mile 17:  17:06
  • Mile 18:  12:59
  • Mile 19:  18:36

There was another bathroom stop around mile 19, thanks to another real bathroom in the WWOS.  Aside from the bottom of my feet, I thought I was feeling a lot better at this point than I did last year.  My legs were not super sore, and I was tired but still had some energy in me.  One of the things I did differently this year was take both water and Powerade at every drink station.  I think it helped.

Running through the WWOS was nice for a change of scenery, but not too exciting.  They did have some good music going.  During the 20th mile we ran through a baseball park.  It was cool, but I was hoping that was not the big “surprise” at mile 20.


The big surprise was a few large Disney puppets and a stage with Donald, Mickey and Goofy.  It was fun, but with all the suspense of a big surprise, I was expecting something more.  We were doing well on time, so we stopped for a few pictures.



My Garmin was about a full mile behind at this point, so where it says Mile 21 was actually Mile 20 on the course.  I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but at some point after mile 20, we switched to 5/5 intervals.  We kept up pretty strong as we came up on Hollywood Studios.

  • Mile 20:  12:59
  • Mile 21:   19:33
  • Mile 22:  12:39
  • Mile 23:  13:10

Hollywood Studios was fun, but too fast.  I enjoyed the energy that the crowds gave me, but was starting to feel the distance.

21 22

I still looked pretty happy, though!  It’s impossible not to feel happy running through the parks.

It was after we left Hollywood Studios that I hit my wall.  I’m convinced it was more mental than physical, but I had a feeling that I just couldn’t keep going.  I felt a wave of dizziness when we stopped for a walk break outside of Hollywood Studios, and it scared me a little.  I wanted to walk more.  I told Maggie I thought I needed to walk more, but she wanted to keep pushing on.  I didn’t want to run the last three miles on my own, so I agreed to keep pushing.  Not long after that, we switched to 2.5/2.5 intervals and walked any hills.  I think that helped me, mentally, and the dizziness eventually passed.

I almost cried during this mile.  My feet hurt, I was mentally done, but I didn’t want to stop and give up.  The crowds were great and supportive along here, which helped me not to quit and just walk.

  • Mile 24:  13:19
  • Mile 25:  13:01
  • Mile 26:  12:28

What my Garmin said was Mile 27 was actually Mile 26 through Epcot.  It was a complete blur.  I don’t remember seeing any characters, but I think I heard there were one or two.  We stopped in Morocco for one last bathroom break before the finish line.  I could have waited, but we had a hard time finding bathrooms after the half, and we didn’t want to wait that long.  Besides, we weren’t running for time, so it was better to make sure we finished the final mile in comfort.

28 30

I’m impressed that I still look pretty happy.  I do not remember giving thumbs up or smiling, but I look so much better in this picture than I did in my Epcot pictures last year. The crowds and volunteers were seriously awesome.  At one point while we were running in Epcot, a spectator gave me a high-five and said we looked great.  Other people commented that they liked our energy.  At this point, there were not many other people running at all.  I think I remember bubbles being blown in Epcot, but I could be imagining that.

We kept up our intervals, and before I knew it, we were leaving Epcot, passing the choir and the finish line was in sight!  It was such an overwhelming moment.  Just before the finish line, I saw Mickey and Minnie were giving high-fives so I ducked over to the left to get my high-fives.

  • Mile 27:  13:39
  • Mile 27.0 – 27.29: 10:01 pace
  • Total:  6:30:38 (14:19 pace)

We were now two-time marathoners and Goofy Challenge finishers!

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It was one of the best feelings ever.  Maggie and I hugged and celebrated.  I could not believe that in two short years we went from running a 5k to our first marathon and now the Goofy Challenge.  I was, and am, so proud of both of us.

We got our Mickey medals and headed to the ice station before picking up our Goofy medals.


I had ice taped to both of my knees.  Maggie had two bags too, but hadn’t taped hers.  Apparently they ran out of ice right after us, so Maggie gave one of her bags to another guy who needed ice.  I could not believe they ran out!  There were so many people still behind us.

We went to pick up our Goofy medals.  There were volunteers who were telling people they could not pass until they saw water bottles open and everyone drinking.  It’s so smart to have that reminder.  We went straight to the Goofy tent and got our medals!

Pat met us at the family tents.  It’s amazing how quickly you forget the pain and the tough parts, all I could think about was how much fun the race was, and the fact that we finished!


We were feeling tough 🙂

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This time we found our way to the resort buses, which felt much closer than the monorail.  We also saw the bathrooms we had missed the day before!  A quick shower, another hour-long nap, and we were back out to Epcot for a celebration dinner at Via Napoli in Italy.

Disney 2013 243-001

The Goofy Challenge was an amazing experience.  I don’t know if I would do it again, but it was definitely worth the long training runs, the early morning start times and any pain I felt along the way.  We wanted a relaxed, fun run, and that is exactly what we had.


Race #15: La Porte By the Bay Half Marathon

On December 2, 2012, Maggie and I completed the last race in the Texas Bridge Series, the La Porte By the Bay Half Marathon.

I almost did not do this race.  I was sick the week leading up to this race, and was not sure what was wrong with me.  My doctor’s best guess was that it was a virus, and it would just take time to pass.  The days leading up to this race, I was extremely tired.  I was sleeping 10-12 hours a night, and still taking a nap or two during the day for an additional 2-4 hours.  I can’t remember the last time that I slept that much.

My doctor did not want me to do this race.  I asked if I could walk it, and she strongly recommended against that.  But, I am stubborn, and knew there was no way I would miss this race.  I was determined to at least walk it, and earn that additional medal for finishing all three Texas Bridge Series races.  And I am lucky enough to have such a nice running buddy that she agreed to walk this race with me.

I tried running a little bit here and there in the beginning, but it was bad.  I found myself getting out of breath so quickly.  Something was off.  But I just kept pushing through it.  There was a lot of walking, but we were still having a good time.


We made it up the first side of the bridge, and on the way down, I had this sinking feeling.  The sun was off to our right, and I began to have sun spots on the right side of my vision.  I get migraines with aura, which means I see lights like sun spots before a migraine.  I told myself it was just the sun and tried to ignore it.  This was about halfway through mile 6.  When the spots had not gone away 15-20 minutes later, as we were approaching mile 8, I knew it was a migraine.

One of my worst racing fears has been that I would get a migraine in the middle of a race.  I did not have my migraine meds on me, did not have any ibuprofen, and was now about 8 miles away from my car where these items were.

After the turn-around at mile 8, I stopped at the water station and asked if anyone had any pain medication.  They said they were not supposed to give any to me.  I tried to explain my desperate situation, that I had a migraine and it would be very bad if I did not get medication right away.  I will be forever thankful to the person who told me they had some ibuprofen, and agreed to give me what I needed (while telling me that if anyone asked, they did not give me any).  Thank you so much, random stranger.

The headache began to slowly set in, and Maggie stuck with me, knowing this meant I would have to walk the rest of the way.  We chatted and I tried to distract myself from the headache and nausea.  This was a mild migraine compared to others I’ve had, and I was lucky that I got some ibuprofen in me when I did.

We ran just a little bit toward the very end of the race.  It was not our usual sprint, but I was so happy to just be done.  Although this will hopefully be my slowest half marathon ever, I felt just as much of a sense of accomplishment as I have for finishing any other race.  I was so happy to be done!


Our splits:

  • Mile 1:  13:00
  • Mile 2:  14:17
  • Mile 3:  16:35
  • Mile 4:  13:04
  • Mile 5:  14:39
  • Mile 6:  15:19
  • Mile 7:  12:49
  • Mile 8:  15:31
  • Mile 9:  15:47
  • Mile 10:  16:19
  • Mile 11:  15:43
  • Mile 12:  15:44
  • Mile 13:  13:09
  • Mile 13.0 – 13.11:  9:08 pace
  • Total:  3:13:01 (14:43 pace)

This is the closest my Garmin has ever been to the actual distance of a race – could it be the lack of weaving between people??

I was feeling a little better by the time we made it back to Houston, and was up for a quick breakfast at Denny’s before getting more sleep.

La Porte Half Marathon 12.2.2012

The medals were huge and both glittery!  I would definitely consider doing the Texas Bridge Series again next year.  These races were well organized, and they had great food options at the after parties.  I also appreciated that they had packet pick-up available race mornings.  These were such fun races!

Race #14: Houston Half Marathon

On October 28, 2012, we ran the Houston Half Marathon.  We only registered for this race a week or two beforehand.  We realized we had a 14 mile training run planned for this weekend, so why not run the half marathon to make the training run much more fun?  We could have done our own run, but there would have been no cheering crowds, no water stations and definitely no medal.  The half marathon sounded like the perfect way to get this run in.

It was supposed to be a training run along one of our common running routes.  We were going to take this run easy and stick to our 6/4 intervals.  We stuck to the intervals, but I was feeling so good in this race.  We really pushed our pace during the 6 minute runs.

We seemed to speed up through our first five miles:

  • Mile 1:  11:15
  • Mile 2:  10:45
  • Mile 3:  10:30
  • Mile 4:  10:35
  • Mile 5:  10:26

I knew we were pushing our pace, but it felt okay at the time.  We slowed back down a bit miles 6 through 9:

  • Mile 6:  10:29
  • Mile 7:  10:33
  • Mile 8:  10:48
  • Mile 9:  11:09

The last few miles got a little tougher.  We stopped for a bathroom during Mile 11, but kept running strong.  I really didn’t start to feel tired until the very last mile.  But we kept pushing with our intervals and finished in a better time than we had anticipated, or planned for:

  • Mile 10:  10:19
  • Mile 11:  12:37
  • Mile 12:  10:16
  • Mile 13:  11:17
  • Mile 13.0 – 13.31:  8:24 pace
  • Total:  2:23:39 (10:47 pace)

We were tired after this one!  There were some good options for food and beer, but lines were very long and it was cold.  We picked up a few goodies and headed directly to the parking garage.  Of course, we couldn’t leave until we creepily hunted down someone in their car who could take our race picture 🙂

Post Run


Race #12: Toughest 10k Kemah

To spice up our training plan this year, Maggie suggested we register for the Texas Bridge Series.  This is a series of three races that each feature one bridge in Texas.  The first two are 10ks and the final race is a half marathon.  You get a medal for completing each race and a bonus medal if you complete all three.  Motivated by the medals, we decided to register!

This first race was on September 15, 2012 in Kemah.  This 10k goes back and forth over the Kemah Bridge twice.  I was a little nervous about the bridge.  With a 4.3 and 5% grade, this bridge goes 83 feet above the water.  I was nervous about how my knees would do, and considering that we train on flat ground, how well I would be able to run up the hills.  But hopefully these hills will be good training for the Disney races that take you up over highways!

I absolutely loved this race.  It was definitely the most beautiful scenery I’ve had in a race.  You can’t see it in this picture, but there was water on both sides of the bridge.

We started at the Kemah Boardwalk.  We were picking up our packets in the morning and it was a very efficient process.  We took our goody bags back to the car and attached our chips and pinned on our numbers.  The weather was beautiful.  It was cool, but not so much that I was cold.

At the start line, a fellow runner mentioned that we would be going over the bridge a total of four times.  Oops, I must have missed that!  I thought we would go over and back just once, but it was twice.

Our initial plan was to stick with our 6/4 intervals, but we threw that out and just ran how we felt.  Realizing there would be plenty of uphills to walk, we ran the first mile straight in 10:25.

Miles 2-5 included the hills.  The first time up wasn’t too bad.  We ran a good chunk of it!  It was so exciting to reach the top, so we coasted down, running the entire down hill and back down under the bridge.  Each time we crossed the bridge, we ran at least parts of the uphills.  We would pick lamp posts as our goals to run to, and then walk to the next lamp post before running more.

I think this was one of my favorite races because we weren’t running for time, and we weren’t running by the watch.  We ran the entire race based just on how we felt and I was able to enjoy the scenery.  I also felt very tough, running up those hills and not wearing out.

Our final ascent up the bridge was a little more difficult.  As we were approaching the hill, I felt that my legs were sore.  They felt like they had been beat up a bit.  But it hurt in a good way; I felt more energy, realizing that I wasn’t worn out yet and could tell this was a really good work out for my legs.

Our final mile was the best.  We decided to run most of it, with hopefully just one walk break through a water station.  About a quarter mile from the finish line, I felt my knee tensing up.  It hit me very suddenly and I knew instantly it was my IT band.  I could have powered through the pain, but Maggie agreed to take a quick walk break with me.  It was worth it – after a minute or so of walking, when we started to run again, the pain was gone.

We powered through to the finish line, finishing our last mile (with the walk break) in 10:12.  Our splits:

  • Mile 1:  10:25
  • Mile 2:  11:36
  • Mile 3:  11:02
  • Mile 4:  11:16
  • Mile 5:  11:05
  • Mile 6:  10:12
  • Mile 6.0 – 6.37:  9:24 pace
  • Total:  1:09:03 (10:50 average pace)

Although this was the slowest 10k I’ve run, I felt awesome about it.  We didn’t want to push it too hard on this run because it was supposed to be a long training run.  I felt like we pushed it just enough to feel good about the race, but we clearly had some left to give at the end of the race.  And we listened to our bodies the entire time.

The post-race treats were awesome too.  Ice cream, popsicles, tacos (including egg and potato!), muscle milk, watermelon, orange slices, and bananas.  And don’t forget the glittery medal!  It was definitely a success, and I can’t wait for the next two bridge series races.

Race #11: Heights Fun Run 5k

On June 2, 2012, Maggie and I ran the Heights Fun Run 5k.  We talked about it a few days before, but this is the first race I registered for the morning of the race.  It was a last minute decision, but I’m glad we ran it!

We got to the start line pretty early because we weren’t sure how long it would take to find parking and to register.  We had plenty of time.  The volunteers registering everyone were a little grumpy, and there was a mix-up with race numbers, but it didn’t take long at all.  We got our race packet, dropped our stuff back at the car, and got some free coffee while we waited for the race to start.

I haven’t been in great running shape this summer.  Work has gotten busy and I haven’t been training consistently.  I was running this race truly just for a fun run – we did not have a time goal in mind.  The only hope was to run the whole 5k without a walk break.  And we did!

It was a quiet, peaceful run, up and down Heights Blvd.  I was struggling a little bit during the last mile or so, but it was mind over matter to keep running.  When we only had about a tenth of a mile to go, I started to feel sick to my stomach.  I don’t know what it is in these short races, but I could tell I was about to start dry-heaving, so I told Maggie to go on, so I could slow my pace a little bit.  But I still ran the whole thing!

The splits:

  • Mile 1:  9:11
  • Mile 2:  9:31
  • Mile 3:  9:45
  • Mile 3.0 – 3.15:  8:56 pace
  • Total: 29:51(9:28 average pace)

The food after the race was great – fruit, bagels and egg tacos 🙂

I would definitely consider doing this run again next year.

Race #10: Austin 10/20

Last weekend, Maggie and I drove to Austin for a very fun race!  The inaugural Austin 10/20 – 10 miles with 20 stages.

The race was Sunday morning so we drove out Saturday morning to have some time to explore Austin.  We started out on South Congress for some coffee and shopping.  We passed an animal rescue and I fell in love with this little guy.

His name was Moe.  They said he was a corgi mix.  I tried to convince my husband (via emailed videos) that Bailey needs a sibling, but it was a no-go.  How could anyone say no to that face?

We ate at Home Slice Pizza and then headed to Luke’s Locker to pick up our race packets.  This being the inaugural race, I don’t think they were prepared for the crowds at packet pick-up.  There was a long line outside the store, and it took almost an hour to get our packets.

Once we had our packets, we headed out to our hotel to check-in.  We were staying at Habitat Suites, just north of the city, to be a little closer to the start of the race.  Habitat Suites was advertised as an eco-friendly hotel with “edible landscaping” – fruit/veggies that you could pick and eat.  Sure enough, there was a kumquat tree just outside our hotel room!

I had never tried a kumquat before.  They were similar to oranges.  Interesting to pick your own and just eat them!

Similar to Embassy Suites, Habitat Suites had a happy hour with free drinks and appetizers.  We snacked a little and then headed to dinner at Titaya’s Thai.  It was good, but didn’t quite to compare to my Houston favorite (Nidda Thai).  After a stop by Half Price Books, we headed back to our hotel to get ready for bed.

There was some traffic getting to the race, but we found a parking spot and headed to the start line.  Another sign of an inaugural race:  limited porta-potties at the start line.  The lines were so long, we quickly gave up and made our way to our corral.  It was 15 minutes to start time, and in almost 5 minutes, we weren’t seeing any movement in the lines.  It’s a good thing it wasn’t an emergency for either of us – we may not have started in time!

After a brief delay (they said for safety reasons), we were off!  The weather looked like it was going to open up and pour any minute, but it held up with just some light sprinkling.  We passed three bands in the first mile alone, and it was very motivating.  We heard others around us complaining about the humidity.  It was definitely humid, but not bad by Houston standards.  The first two miles flew by quickly.

  • Mile 1:  9:29
  • Mile 2:  9:30

There were no water breaks until after 2 miles, and I definitely needed water by then.  We briefly walked through each water station, but ran most of the rest of the race.

Although they advertised that this was a flat course, I would not have called this flat.  Maybe flat by Austin standards, but I felt like at least half the race we were running slightly uphill, and there were a few short steeper hills.  At one point we were struggling up a hill, and a spectator encouraged the group of us, saying, “It’s all downhill once you get to the light up there!”  We did slow down a little bit over the next few miles, and took our gu at the beginning of mile 5 when we saw a water station coming up.

  • Mile 3:  9:45
  • Mile 4:  9:51
  • Mile 5:  9:58

The first half of the race seemed to fly by, and I was excited to see that we were keeping a pace under 10 minute miles.  But we weren’t taking many walk breaks, and although I was feeling strong, I wasn’t confident I would be able to keep it up for another five miles.  The bands along the way really did a lot to keep my energy up!  Somewhere around mile 7 I had a really bad stomach cramp.  I felt a stabbing pain just below my chest.  I’m not sure what  caused it, but we took a short walk break (less than 1 minute), and the worst of it seemed to pass.  I tried to just breathe through the rest.

  • Mile 6:  10:01
  • Mile 7:  10:14
  • Mile 8:  10:02

The last 2 miles looped us around back toward the starting line.  There were a lot more spectators here, and I was getting excited to be so close to finishing.  There were some good signs at this race.  A few little kids were holding signs that said something like, “My dad owes me big – he said Bieber would be here” and “Mom – you always said to finish what you start – finish this!”  According to my Garmin the course was 0.30 miles long, and according to Maggie’s it was 0.20 miles long.  Either way, we had a strong finish!

  • Mile 9:  9:45
  • Mile 10:  10:01
  • Mile 10 – 10.31:  2:54 (9:15 pace)
  • Total:  1:41:33 (9:50 pace / 10:09 official pace)

It was an awesome race!  Unfortunately, we didn’t get to enjoy our triumphant run across the finish line – the girl right in front of us decided to stop right before crossing the finish line.  I’m not sure what was going through her mind, but we almost ran her right over – you can see me trying to squeeze in beside her:

We collected our medals, some water and fruit, and then headed to the car to drop our stuff off before coming back for the concert.  Another complaint about this race – no hand sanitizer in the restrooms!  Luckily I had some in the car.  We walked around a little bit, but it looked like the main food stand was the free BBQ.  The line was super long, and I wouldn’t have been able to eat it anyway, so we decided to pass and went to wait by the main stage for Everclear.

The concert was awesome!  My 16 year-old self (who loved Everclear) would have been very jealous of my 26 year-old self who got to be 2nd row at the concert.  They played a lot of their old classics and I absolutely loved it.

Maggie even caught a guitar pick!

It began to pour during their last song, so we took off.  We found a Denny’s on our way out of town for our traditional post-long run breakfast.  It was a successful weekend in Austin, and I would definitely go back for this run again next year!


Race # 9: 4 the Park

The 4 the Park race is a 4 mile race at Memorial Park, to benefit the park.  I wanted to run this one last year, but it was right after my half marathon, so I never registered.  It was a last minute decision this year (I registered the day before), but I’m glad I did!

My race packet came with a free tree to plant and a buy-one-get-one-free coupon to the Counter Burger.  I think they have the best veggie burgers in Houston.  Since I registered so last minute, they only had large shirts left.

I wasn’t sure what the parking situation was going to be, so Pat got up to drop me off at the park about 45 minutes before start time.  I could have driven – there were only 2,000 runners and plenty of parking spots still open!  But it was nice of him to drive me.  I walked a little over a mile to get to the picnic loop, where the race was starting.

The mayor gave a speech before the race, and then we were off!  I’m not sure what got into me.  My training runs have involved a lot of walking.  I can’t remember the last time I ran 4 miles straight.  My goal was to try to run most of the race at a 9:30 pace, and then pick it up at the end if I had anything left in me.  But as soon as we started, people were passing me left and right, and I saw that my pace was under 9:00… and I wasn’t slowing down.

I finished my first mile in 8:55.  I felt good, but I was sure that I was making the rookie mistake of starting way too fast, and was prepared for a much slower three miles following that.  But after the second mile, I saw another 8:55 flash on my Garmin!  And people were still flying by me in a constant stream.  This was a fast crowd!

I slowed down a bit during the third mile, and took a walk break through the first water station I saw.  Even with my walking, my third mile was 9:03.  There was an up and back.  Although I thought I must have been in the back of the crowd, I quickly saw there were plenty of people behind me too.  But I felt energized to try to finish strong.  I ended up taking short walk breaks through each of the 3 water stations.  I was thirsty and wanted to be sure to stay hydrated.

The last mile was tough.  I kept telling myself how great I was doing and willing myself to keep moving at the same pace.  I wanted to stop to walk, but I didn’t.  I tried to mentally pick people ahead of me, and tried to pick them off.  My final mile was 8:49.

I was so proud of myself!  This is the first race I completed in a pace under 9:00, although my official pace was 9:10.  But according to my Garmin, I ran 4.12 for a pace of 8:55, so I’ll go with that 🙂

My splits:

  • Mile 1:  8:55
  • Mile 2:  8:55
  • Mile 3:  9:03
  • Mile 4:  8:49
  • Mile 4.12:  8:24 pace
  • Total:  36:43 (8:55 pace)/ official:  36:40 (9:10 pace)

According to the race results, I ran the first 2 miles in 9:15 and the second 2 miles in 9:05.  I came in 46 of 175 in my division.  I was thrilled with the results!

After the race, I wandered around the food tents.  They had a lot of great options!  Breakfast tacos from El Rey, a chicken dish from Chatters, smoothies, fresh fruit, free massages, and more.  I was impressed with all the options!  It looked like they were going to have music too, but since I was on my own, I decided to head home.

Since Pat dropped me off, I planned to walk home.  I told him if I wasn’t home by 10am, to come looking for me.  I thought it would be just a 2 mile walk home.  I alternated walking/jogging.  I made it 2.3 miles and realized I probably had another mile to go.  I was so happy to see Pat’s car coming – he came looking for me early!  Between the walking before and after, and the race, I ran/walked a total of 7.5 miles.

I will definitely run this race again next year!  Did any other Houstonians run this race this year or in the past?