Well first off the weather never really got here during Sunday and the cold stayed away till the late evening. The temperature during the race was about 59* and cloudy, not sure what the humidity was but I'm sure it was a little high. As I woke up and prepared my things I pretty much took what I wore for the Las Vegas run except I decided that I was not going to wear my heart rate monitor being as my training had been so little the last 3 weeks and I knew my HR would just be high, I would run on feel. I ate more before the run this time and I left to get to the George R. Brown (GRB) convention center (this is where everything is basically happening, all indoors) early because there were having a church service and have never gone to one before so I wanted to make it. Parking was crazy and slow but I managed to park about 6 blocks away for free! but later would have wished I paid 5 bucks and parked like a block away. As I made it to the GRB and found the church service it was totally packed, not just in the service but runners everywhere and this GRB place is Huge! As service finished it was about 6:20am and I thought I better get in line for the porta-can because the lines were long. As I was waiting and talking with other runners the Loud Speaker guy kept announcing times and pertinents around the race site. By 6:45am I was 3 people from the front of the line, having to go for real by now and the Loud Speaker guy comes on and says "runners, its 6:45am and you should be making your way to the starting lines" I was hell no, I got to go! and three from the front, ain't leaving till I'm done. Anyway, that went fast and I headed to starting line which was about 2 blocks aways and got in the back of the pack and started walking to move more up the bunch.
As the gun went off a guy next to me clicked his watch and provided the gun time and how long it took us to get to the starting line which was about 9 mins 32 sec. It sure seemed longer than that but off and running we were. The first couple of miles its like playing dodge the slower runners-walkers and made me wonder if I had really started too far at the back but came to realize that later on that there were just too many runners and it wouldn't have mattered. The first 1 mile is bridge that is a good incline is it really gets your heart rate up fast and by mile 2 the Half runners merge with the Full runners for short stretch, yes, there are 2 different blocks in which the Fulls/half's start on. At the 5k mark my time was 33 mins, I was OMG!! and I felt great! New PR for me there! As we approached miles 4-5 it was just a continuance of dodging slower runners and walkers now that the fulls and half's are together. Road side support was great and spectators were all over the course, some entertaining, some cheering, others just clapping but all great.
One house I remember was a whole family was there on the front porch, music playing and they all had mimosas and toasting everyone, they were just having a great time! I smiled and nodded my head at one of the ladies and she raised her glass in a toasting manner, it was good pick me up kinda thing which was good because there was another damn incline overpass we had to run up right after that. By mile 5 I was running with some other people, you know that ones that you figure are running about the same pace as you and you hitch on or stay together, start chatting and just have with while your out there. As we hit the water stations I noticed that the same runners would regroup after the stations and just run together so I thought I would just hanging with those runners as I chatted with a few of them. After the 10k mark (1:08:35 another PR for me!) one of the lady runners started picking up the pace and so I thought I would stay with her. Around mile 7-8 the ball of my left foot was hurting with every step and felt worse when I stopped for water and took off running again but just kept going being as I did not want to lose my pace. When on the course for the half's at the 9 mile mark you have to make a turn around and the fulls keep going straight, I made the turn around and was passing the 15k mark. By now my foot was still hurting but I think I turned it out and was noticing that my breathing had become heavier and I felt a little more out of breath so I slowed just a little. At one of the water stations after the 15k mark the lady runner I was with got a little ahead of me and so I just kept running and around 11 mile marker I caught back up to her because I kept trying to real her back in which was forcing me to run fast as her paced never slowed. When I did catch her and passing the last of the water stations about 12 miles I doomed my pace as now my hips came alive and let me know they were not happy since about mile 7 and now really wanted me to stop moving. I kept running knowing only 1.1 miles to go but it sure felt like a long ways. After a few turns through downtown Houston I had to walk just a few moments and get a grip because my hips were becoming annoying and by this time the lady runner was out of sight. Last right turn and its straight ahead I heard someone say and I started running again and told my self I would not stop until I crossed the finish line. At 2:24:01 JohnnyTri crossed that finish line and stopped. Dang what an exciting finishing shoot, there are runners for the Full on one side of the street and the Half's on the other and had come together at about 11 mile marker. But lots of people cheering and the music, the announcer, its all great! That really helped me the last 1/2 mile because I just didn't pay attention to my body and was taking some pictures and looking around enjoying. Nothing like coming into a Finishing Line chute, AIN'T THAT RIGHT PEOPLE!! IT'S AWESOME!! I crossed the line, got my finishers medal and headed inside the GRB for some food and rest.
The food was great, line was long but moved really fast. Eggs, potato's wedges, sausages links, bisket, bagel w/strawberry cream cheese, 2 sugar cookies, 1 banana nut bread, dt. pepsi and water! Ate it all!!! I sat on the floor which was sure if that was a good idea but was able to make it back up and walked over to the Finishers T-shirts area and that where I got this totally awesome Under armour shirt. Then checked out my finishing times at the Best Buy results table and started walking the 6 blocks back to the car! Damn, here's where I wish I paid the 5 bucks to only walk a block, oh well, maybe it helped walking that far. Overall, I love participating in the Houston run. I have done the Full (2004) and now Half and it's overall a great run. There are spectators all over the course and it's just well organized. I look forward to it again next year. I do miss the gratification of the Full run but training for a full is a lot of work compared to the half but being able to complete this Half without any running for about 3 weeks and set my best running times ever is awesome! And I have to give a big shout out Thank you to my family. When I left in the morning I told my wife and said just said to be careful and have fun and that she knew I could do it. Well, I called them after I finished and there was no answer on the cell or house phones so not sure where they were. I made it home only to find the cell phone laying on the bed and no one home. I showered and got dressed and in walks my wife and daughter, "hey, dad, how did you do?" I walked out with my Finisher shirt on and medal, "I FINISHED!" Then they told me they had gotten up and went out to the course to find me but wasn't sure on my times and where I would be when. Then come to find out the went to the Full course after the Half's had split off. They remember the area in 2004 when I ran the full and sat there waiting for like 2 hours to see if I was coming by and then figured they had missed me and came home! IT was so great and nice to know that my family was out there looking for me, even if on the wrong part of the course. I was very touched by there gustier and them trying! I totally appreciate them supporting me and trying there hardest to find me out there. BTW, I was I could be at the 19 mile marker in like 2 1/2 hours!! Anyway, THANK YOU BRITTANY AND REBECCA, I LOVE YOU BOTH! Today, my hips are sore and achy and I walk like a penguin! I will stretch lightly and probably get on our recumbent bike at the office to work some out but I will take it easy the next couple of days. My daughter asked me yesterday when the next race is? I said I don't know but I need to find one! Just a typical tri -runner always looking for the next race to do.. Have a great day people!!!! rockon`