Monday, October 24, 2011

Houston Half Marathon Relay Recap and other fun stuff

Monday already? The weekend flew by this time.

Before I get to the race recap I'd like to share some Saturday stuff with y'all if you don't mind.

Saturday morning I got up early (supposed to be getting up around 6:15 but alarm didn't go off so it was 7) and went for a bike ride at a park in Houston. It gets kind of boring going around in circles in the neighborhood.

I got to the park around 7:30ish and already the parking lot was almost at capacity! Started riding and realized that I didn't start my Garmin. D'oh! No problem. I'll just start it when I turn around and then double the mileage. Simple. Get to my turnaround, start the Garmin and it starts beeping at me. The cadence alert that goes off if I fall below 80 rpm. Stop to turn that off, pause my Garmin, then start peddling again. Only I didn't push start on the Garmin. Oh well, I mapped it when I got home and it turns out to be around 12 miles.

The trails were packed with runners and bikers. It was such a beautiful day!!! I didn't realize that there would be hills out there either. Oh my gosh, my legs were on fire. Going down was a lot of fun and I may have squealed a little. Going up was a different story. I had to stop and push my bike up a hill once. That really ticks me off! Now I must defeat those hills. Crush them into rubble. It kind of brings out the warrior woman in me. I hate to have inanimate objects defeat me. :)

Oh and I did have a squirrel try to straight up murder me  run at me run towards me and it scared me and I screamed. Once I realized what had happened it cracked me up though.

Some bikers and runners:
The place is a hub of activity on the weekends. Bikers, runners, walker, roller bladers, dog walkers. It was great to see so many people being active. Not sure about etiquette but at first I was saying good morning to almost every person I passed. Just in such a good mood. I mean, surely they wanted to be friends, right?!

It was so pretty that I got distracted a few time. There are several bridges that cross little streams and I kept wanting to look down and admire those little streams but you can't do that on a narrow bridge. I almost hit the railing once. I hope no one saw me. :)  Seriously, look how pretty.
 Finally I had to explore just a little bit. OK, a very little bit. The mosquitoes were so bad that I just got a quick shot and left. This is part of Buffalo Bayou that runs through downtown Houston.
It was a perfect morning. I got back to the truck to load the bike and the parking lot was full and cars were waiting for anyone to leave. Not to self: ALWAYS arrive early!

I had intended to go watch Chuck shoot after I left. He had a match that morning. But he told me the mosquitoes were so bad that he counted 63 on one guy's back. My first question was: "You just sat there and counted the mosquitoes while this man was dying from blood loss?!" But I was told that the guy had on 3 layers and didn't feel a thing. Oh. In that case count away!

I decided not to attend the shooting match because of the bloodsuckers and mosquitoes out there. (I'm joking!!) Chuck ended up winning first place in his division. Congratulations, Chuck!

And my Rachel made a cake! Give me just a moment to brag on my girl. I'm so proud of her. She has some serious cake decorating skills. Check out her Nightmare Before Christmas cake. Love it!


Looks good enough to eat, doesn't it?!

After getting cleaned up, Chuck and I headed to Galveston to meet up with my friend Wendy and her hubby Ricky. Why didn't I get pictures?! We were so busy chatting and having a good time that I forgot to get a group picture darn it!

I did have this in honor of a great bike ride.

And I got a Hebrew National hot dog on a homemade bum. Oh my! This thing was so good!
We had some laughs and then I needed to get home. I don't like to be out late the night before a race. No, I just prefer to ride 12 mile up and down hills and have a beer or two. That's smart training right there! (I'm being facetious!)

Got home and tried to fall asleep around 10pm. Because let me tell you, 5am comes early in the morning!

On to the race!!! Picked up my running buddy Renee at 5:30 and then it was off to downtown. No place to park? No problem! We found a parking lot that was only $12. Or so we thought. Reading the fine print it turned out we had to pay $20!!! Really?!

The race excitement starts to get you worked up. The crowds are starting to form. Some crazy people actually ran to the race. I love people who do this and I would like to be one but they always amaze me.

The mosquitoes also kept us moving! There were swarms of them! I did happen to find a bottle of Off that someone left in a port-a-pottie. Sidenote: all of the potties ran out of toilet paper. Not cool!!!

There were a lot of people out there. They said there was a record number of runners that showed up according to the race people.  It's hard to get a good picture of all of them.

Here's a few more of the crowds:

The excitement of the race rose to a crescendo. There's almost a hush over the crowd as the police car gets into position to pace the lead runner. It's dark and the lights are flashing as the police cars block off streets.
Renee and I get a picture before the race.
The national anthem is sung and the starting gun goes off. There go the runners!
After the runners are off Chuck and I walk around for a while. Renee is scheduled to run 6.5 miles so I'll start looking for her in an hour for the relay handoff. We're not the fastest runners, just the most tenacious.

I love the buildings downtown. I'd love to go up in them. Maybe explore and see the architecture of the different places.

The runners start to make their way around a loop that brings them past the start line again so we got to see Renee. Doing great!
 And then I get a glimpse of why I got up at the buttcrack of dawn just to stand in a swarm of mosquitoes and push my body to its limits. Medals. Beautiful, shining medals!
 Volunteers are the best! Without them we wouldn't have these awesome events. Thank you, Mr Volunteer!
 It's been an hour so time to head over to the relay exchange point. Lots of folks waiting. As the first leg runners start coming across a rumor is passed amongst the crowd that there was a mistake with the course and the first leg runners are actually running closer to 8.25 miles!! Poor Renee!
 

One thing I learned about being second leg of a race. You get to wait and in that time waiting you grow sleepy. Very tired. I was ready to doze off when I see a green baseball cap running towards the exchange.

Renee shows up and I congratulate her on running 8 miles. She had no idea but she knew it sure wasn't 6 miles!  Then I'm off. Sorry, no picture of the handoff.

Well, what do you know? Houston does have hills! And it looks like I'll be getting several of them. Really?  I'm not exactly sure what happened but my legs got tired. I was tired. I took a couple of extra walk breaks and my time sure did suffer for it.

The last home stretch I decided I wanted to pass some folks and gave it a good push. That time I was running in the 10 minute pace. I passed a couple of people and felt good about it! (not pleased with the heel strike in the picture. Gotta work on that!)

It turns out that I only had to run 5 miles! I'm a little disappointed. I want to feel like I earned that medal. I wanted to suffer for it. LOL I know, it's weird. But Renee had to run 8 miles for hers! I guess 5 miles is still decent. Especially when it's hill after hill.

I got my medal and Renee and I posed for a picture. My face is still red from pushing that last bit before the finish line. I swear I was staggering around in a daze. Now I know why runners sometimes die at the finish line. It's that last push! My heart rate got up to 192 bpm. That's almost my limit.
Look at the big piece of beautiful bling! Yeah, running is a lot of fun. It does have some not-so-fun moments. Sometimes you have to dig deep and push yourself. But it's a great feeling to get that bling.

8 comments:

  1. Are those medals on pink ribbons? How fun!!! I love how you are warming up for your full half marathon (sounds weird but you know what I mean) by doing these relays - really gives you a sense of what the big race is going to be like.

    Oh, in all the running tips, I always hear "bring your own t.p." - porta-potties are gross enough without dealing with THAT, lol!

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  2. I am seriously impressed. And I love that bling! :)

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  3. LOVE the pics - and all the fun you have!
    Rubble hill-crushing athlete that you are!

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  4. Pink ribbons on the medals! How fun.

    Actually the whole thing looked fun and I think all these races leading up to your half are going to have you good and ready!

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  5. I keep one of those mini Kleenex packs with me when I'm going to be at port-a-potty events. For NASCAR races I take baby wipes.

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  6. Kelly, as always I find you an inspiration. The medal looks awesome and I think you are awesome for setting running goals and seeing them through. I love hearing your race stories. I can't wait to read about the next one. Take good care of yourself and enjoy your success. :)

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  7. Love the race recap. And LOVE that cake!!! It's a work of art! Have a great day.

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  8. I am seriously impressed! I am a new runner and I know how difficult it is. I haven't even run in a 5K yet. But, one day I will!! Way to go!

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