The Woodlands Marathon

I surprised myself with 2nd place in 2:56 down in Woodlands, TX.  Every time I tried doing a marathon-specific workout, I either bailed or failed miserably.  Thinking it was important to get some flat, fast miles in, I’d try to run marathon pace on the bike path. I could barely do one mile at 6:50 pace, so I figured I was doomed.  It was my goal to run under 3 hours to get in the A wave for Comrades. Here is the qualifying times for Comrades’ waves.  My previous qualifier was the hilly, rooty Squamish 50, putting my behind thousands of starters in the F wave.

Adding to the pressure, I saw my write-up in the Race Guide.  Screenshot (2)

So instead of running my 6:50 miles,  I hiked up mountains,  shuffled on snowshoes and danced in jazzercise.

This is what my tune ups looked like the week of The Woodlands…

 

When I finally accepted that I was going to race, I figured I needed some fast-looking clothes.

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Crafting shorter shorts and a handheld

The ride from Greg’s cousin’s house to the race location included two false starts and being pulled over by the police.  But we made it!

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A great bird’s eye view of the race from Asset Aerial Imaging

At the race,  I kissed Greg goodbye and slipped into my corral with the elites.  I felt as out of place as I could be.  I was the only one with a water bottle.  This is my favorite way to fashion a handheld.  It collapses down to fit in my pocket between aid stations, and with all the fancy duct tapes available, you can make it to match any nail color!

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When the gun finally went off, I felt so much relief.  I looked around and saw the fog lifting, a colorful sunrise, a silly drone overhead and lots of people out cheering.  It was actually fun!  I was expecting the good times to end when I’d hit the wall and start suffering, but it never happened!  I was enjoying the speed and ticking off miles. Somewhere around mile 16 a female competitor came up alongside me and then over the next few miles pulled away. I had a bit of a side ache from a single gulp of Gatorade, so I just relaxed and I figured I’d just see her later. Sure enough, I did! With a couple miles to go, she popped out of the bushes and was running alongside me again. Once more she pulled away, but I just thought “no worries,  I’m still feeling alright and I’ll have a finishing kick.”  When I passed the 26 mile mark, I turned it on and zoomed into the finish. The whole race seemed so short!  What had I been so scared about?

To make the whole experience even better, our whole group had good races! Greg’s Aunt Karen did the 5k, his cousin Erica ran the half along with Jeff, who managed to run it on just a couple hours sleep. Greg set a massive PR and was hot on my tail.  We even won matching backpacks!

Here’s my results on https://www.strava.com/activities/512015438/embed/eb20564b75e5723669ae68645502a669eadceb60” target=”_blank”>Strava.

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