Dave was just as nervous for his marathon so neither of us were able to get very much breakfast down. He had a bowl of cereal. I had half a banana. Mom and Dad met us in the lobby and we walked to the starting corrals.
Houston's starting corrals were neat. There were different half marathon and marathon corrals and then those were split based on pace. So, I had to say goodbye to Dave early and then I was all alone. Except I made friends who helped me feel more secure - two old dudes and a pregnant chick. If they're doing it. I can do it. I lined up with the 9:00/miles and before we knew it the starting gun sounded.
Because I wasn't wearing a watch, I have no idea how long it took me to get to the starting line. When I hit mile one it was 12:XX so I figured it must have been about three minutes off of my starting time. Each mile was comfortable. I didn't care that people were rushing by or that it seemed I wasn't getting any faster. Some good things Houston did....the half marathon and full marathon were separated for a couple miles until things thinned out; the miles were well marked; the water stops were well organized and easy to maneuver; etc. Before I knew it I was at mile 8 and the race was coming to a close. The marathoners broke off and I was on my way back towards downtown. Surprisingly I hadn't walked at all and I was still feeling really good. Two years of ironman training will give you SERIOUS base training even if I'm not as fast as I used to be.
Finally I was in the last mile. I saw my parents and yelled, "I think I'm going to be under two hours (I hope to shout!)" and the girl beside me said, "We'd better hurry then." I rounded the last corner, saw my friend Cat, waved, and crossed the finish line. The race clock was 1:59:59. Ha! My chip time was 1:56:26. That is 18 minutes slower than my PR but who cares. Another half marathon, another state, another race for 2012.
(That's me in the red hat.)
Now here's one thing I did not like about the race. After the finish line they give you your medal, take your picture (mine was uber-cute) and then herd you into the convention center for everything else. Coming from winter Ohio, the weather was already a bit warm for my liking, but for southerners I'm sure they thought it was chilly (evidenced by the fact I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt and others were wearing tights and long sleeves). So when they got you into the convention center it was like 90 degrees in there (not really, but still quite warm). Being that my stomach was upset all weekend, I went from feeling alright to feeling very badly very quickly. Instead of soaking it all in and getting food, beverage, etc. I just wanted to get the heck out of there. I did grab my finisher's shirt (cool) and got out of there. I wish I had taken the time to enjoy the ice cream. :)
I went back to the hotel, took a shower, and came back out to watch Dave finish his marathon.
Overall, this was a great race. The organization was top notch, the course was flat and fun, and the finisher's swag was awesome. The marathoners got a shirt and a mug which I thought was super-cool. Would I do this race again? Maybe. It is in the middle of winter which poses a problem for training plus it's a big swing in weather when you do go down to do the race. And there's lots of other races and states to still race in. But, I would recommend it to others.