It is hard to believe the race has come and gone. Four months of training and looking forward to it, and then in less than 3-1/2 hours (Yeah!) it was over.
We left my house before 5 am on Sunday. It was pretty cold and I had put on two t-shirts to try and keep warm. On a lark I also put my long sleeve T in my runner's "goodie" bag before I left. Good thing I did, because it was cool and windy and I was freezing in just that t-shirt when we got into Houston.
We parked with ease, something we were worried about because of the huge influx of people for the race, over 20,000! But, no problem. We went to the George R Brown Convention Center to stretch and get ready for the run. It was fun mingling with so many people, and we even met a few from our hometown of Boston. We saw a few interesting things too, like the guy putting E-Z Glide all over his manhood!
For some reason I had to pee, like every hour. Must have been nerves or something. The lines for the porta-cans were huge before the race. We headed out to the starting line, or actually, about 100 yards back from the starting line, and there were a lot of port-cans out there that no one was using. Nice.
While we stood around waiting for the gun, we talked to other people, listened to music blaring on the PA..and then the gun goes of for the elite marathon runners and the crowd went wild. About 20 minutes later, our gun went off and so did we! I have to tell you, I was excited as hell, there were so many people!
We walked for the first 3 miles and my right shin was killing me. The pain went from my foot to my knee. I shrugged if off because I expected it. I had had similar pain during my training and it usually went away after 2 miles. Plus, I took a huge does of Ibuprofen before the race to reduce swelling and pain. Sure enough, after the third mile, I felt no pain.
After about mile 5, my sister-in-law and I began to separate. She was more disciplined and maintained her pace through-out. I caught the fever of the race and every once in a while had to jog to catch the next person. This will sound horrible, but I would see a huge person or an old person ahead of me and think, "I can't let this person cross before me!"
The people cheering us on was just terrific. There were families sitting outside their homes with stereos blaring "Eye of the Tiger" and other tunes, waving and shouting out your name as you went by! We passed a high school once and their band was out on the street playing. Radio stations were set up along the road, restaurants had people out on the street, it was really, really fun.
Finally, the final turn was made and I could see the finish line. Along the last 200 meters there were thousands of people crammed along the street sheering you on, just exhilarating...it gave my ass a nice push to the finish. I crossed, got my medal and went into the convention center with the other runners for a meal and other goodies.
It was hard, but because of the training, not all that hard. It ended up being one of the most exciting things I have ever done, not just because of the race itself, but because of what it took out of me to get there, to finish, to set a goal and reach it. There is a lesson there I hope I hold onto as this year unfolds.
I can't wait to sign up for another one! You have to do it, for yourself, for a charity, whatever. I promise, it is an experience you won't forget. Just remember, if my fat ass could do it...
Next...pictures from the race!