This past Sunday, I ran the Houston Marathon.
At some point last spring, Wes entered me into the lottery for the marathon but refrained from entering himself, reasoning that by early 2015, he would be in the middle of Ironman training and wouldn’t want to jeopardize it with a random 26.2 mile run. I didn’t figure I would get in anyway, so I humored him when he signed me up as Hot Stuff. Ha, ha! That would have made a funny bib!
And it DID, because I totally got picked in the lottery! Woo-hoo!
I spent the day before the run carbing up and drinking more water than I’ve ever drunk in my life. Seriously. Wes got a room for us downtown to avoid the nightmare parking/traffic situation in the morning. (He, of course, had to go through it anyway to get to church the morning of the race. So maybe he was just looking for a good reason to spend a night away with Hot Stuff, huh? Fine by me.) I was having flashbacks when we got there, telling him, “I’ve stayed here before.” And it hit me, as we were wandering around the lobby searching for a restroom (all that water, y’all), that it was the same hotel I’d stayed in my freshman year of high school when our marching band was in the Thanksgiving parade in Houston. I did the math on how many years that’s been and felt old enough to actually be in the women’s 35-39 age division.
Race day started out with a leisurely walk to the corrals, where I took my place at the back. Once we eventually got to the starting line, I took off at my conservative 12 minute mile pace. My plan was to run all the way to the twenty mile marker (where my in-laws would bring the girls to cheer me on) then walk/run the rest. Twenty miles sounds like a lot, but I’m pretty good at tricking myself into thinking of it in chunks and not a whole. And because I run at least five miles every day (thank you, 2015 in 2015 challenge), I told myself, “I can run five miles.” Then, at the five mile marker, I told myself, “I can run five miles.” Then, at ten, “I can run five miles.” Then, at fifteen, “I can run five miles.”
You get the point.
Houston has a six hour time limit, and I was kinda sorta confident (and by that I mean not at all) that if I kept to a twelve minute mile, I would be well under that time limit. I had noted the 5:30 pace group at the starting corral and told myself if I saw them on the course I would have to pick up my pace. Nineteen miles in, I saw that I was running faster than a twelve minute mile on average. Woo-hoo! “More time to walk later,” I told myself, pushing onwards through the wall and towards the girls.
But they weren’t at mile twenty. “Maybe they’re a little farther ahead,” I thought and kept running, determined that they wouldn’t see me hobbling and/or walking towards them on the course. By mile twenty-one, I still hadn’t seen them. I kept running, and lo and behold, they were there half a mile later. Ana’s “touch here for power” sign and Emma’s energetic job beside me was enough motivation to keep me running to the next mile.
At that point? I passed the 5:15 pace group. And I told myself, “I can run five miles.” Which is a great thing to tell yourself when there are LESS than five miles to go!
Before I knew it I was at mile twenty-five… and I was still running! What?! At this point, my Garmin died. Because it’s hateful like that. (And because I neglected to charge it. Whatever.) But I didn’t care because I was almost done. After a race full of people yelling “Go, Hot Stuff!” and “Hot Stuff coming through!,” I finally heard my name just a few yards from the finish line. There was Wes, who had rushed back downtown after church, just in time to see me finish. I gave him a big smooch and headed that way, finishing at 5:13:44. That’s the fastest marathon I’ve ever run, and it’s the only marathon I’ve ever run where I ran the entire thing.
So thankful for a great run!