On Friday morning, January 16th, around 730am, I decided what better way to kick off my marathon weekend then going for my final run with my running muse. Dressed for 30 degrees, Sophia coasted in the jogging stroller while I pushed her for the “easy” 4.
After teaching my 930am and 1130am class on Friday morning, I went straight to LGA to fly to Houston.
What I wore…
I spent the past two months training in the cold. But we were in Houston. Just ten days before the marathon, Courtney had told me the weather was 24 degrees in Houston. That had definitely changed for the marathon weekend, as it was sunny and in the 60s. Most people say “oh how nice”; my answer to that is “not for a marathon!”
I decided on:
· MamaFit by Laura tank top
· Athleta lime green shorts
· The only brand of sneakers I will ever run in- Brooks.
· Uplift green wristband for sweat and added flair
· My new “Mom” headband that I purchased at the Marathon Expo.
But, the key purchase….
“The Flip Belt”: when I run, I eat GU. I wanted them in my pockets. Training in 30 degrees, I wore my Sugoi Versa Vest, with plenty of storage space. I knew I wanted to carry five during the marathon, but with shorts and a tank, where would I put them? I hate “feeling” anything on my waist or hips when I run so I was skeptical of wearing a belt.
The Flip Belt is AWESOME. It fit snug to my hips (I bought a size larger so it wouldn’t ride up), held all my gels and I could have even put my I phone 6 in it. During the 2007 marathon my cell phone fell out of my belt on the Verazzano bridge but this belt you are able to literally flip it over to secure the phone.
What I experienced….
My three previous marathons were New York. Very hilly (at times sneaky hilly), colder, and twice the size of Houston. The crowds in New York are truly unbelievably supportive, and running through the five boroughs and observing first hand all the different cultures is one of the most unique experiences one could have. An added bonus for me is the fact that I actually grew up there, I see friendly faces throughout the 26.2 miles.
Houston is flat and hot (at least it was on Sunday). The crowds are great, but much more spread out than New York. Whereas there are people lining the streets the whole way through in New York, and especially in Central Park towards the end of the race when you need the crowds the most, in Houston there were large stretches where I didn’t see many people. In fact, the whole last mile, when my legs were on overdrive and I couldn’t see the finish line as it was around a corner, I really needed lines of crowds. But there were very few people. At one point I screamed out in frustration “WHERE IS THE FINISH LINE?” but I was really just talking to myself.
That being said, those who were out in support were fantastic. I got lots of high fives, free water bottles (I hate stopping at the water stands and would rather actually hold a small bottle as I run), and many of the signs made me laugh.
Some of my favorite:
· “It could be worse, you could be doing burpees”
· “You run better than our government”
· “This way for beer” (at Mile 24.5, and yes, I actually saw people veer off for a sip…believe me, at mile 24.5 in 60 plus degrees and blazing sun a beer sounds really good…)
What I focused on
· Sophia: her little body and face with her head turning blonde curls and big blue eyes kept circulating in my head. To think that I didn’t have her to think about my last marathons seems unimaginable now.
· Hunter Sterling: My clients son who has leukemia and who had recently gotten sick. I was hearing from his mom as I ran. I thought about him and his family throughout the 26.2.
· Time: Okay, I had said I wouldn’t, but I can’t completely change who I am. As I ran, I noticed I was keeping a steady pace of sub-9 minute miles. My personal record was 3:50; for much of the race it seemed as though I would finish around 3:50- 4 hours. Around mile 18 it seemed like I may even break 3:50. I was feeling strong. But no matter how you slice it, those last 4 miles are a beast, and I finished happily in 3:53.
· All of you: Getting your texts as I ran, and sneaking peaks at my Facebook wall and seeing all of your support. I felt as though you were in Houston with me cheering me on.
A goal of mine has been to qualify for Boston. Last year I would have needed a 3:45 for my age group, but it seems as though now with the growing popularity I need a 3:40. This marathon was about raising money for Hunter and the Lukemia & Lymphoma Society and running my first as a mom. The next will most likely have those elements too but I want to break 3:40 and run Boston.
There I said it; and with all of your support, I’m sure I can do it. I’ll let you know when and where.