Race Report: 2009 Houston Half Marathon Relay

Let's just say the best intentions don't always pan out the way you hope. Today was a disappointment in some ways and a success in others.

I went into this wanting, so badly, a 12:50-something pace. 12:59 would have had me dancing in the streets! Something about crossing from 13-something to 12-something is significant to me. I've crossed from 14-something to 13-something and I am grateful for that. I see that 12-something on my shorter runs, so I know it is right around the corner on my longer runs, so I guess it's so close I can nearly touch it, but it continues to escape me.

So I received my "sinus miracle", in the form of a steroid shot and oral steroids for the congestion, but I just felt like the stay-puff marshmallow man. Heavy legs... I mean heavy. Evidently the steroids make for water retention. I think I drank nearly 200 oz. of water yesterday to keep from retaining, but I could feel it. I could see it. Ugh! In short, there was no more a spring in my step than a hot day in the North Pole.

I got up around 3:45, planned 4:00, but couldn't sleep. It was race-day, you know? I laid and bed and kept visualizing the clock at the finish... not that it helped. LOL I had some issues with nutrition this morning and my routine, so that caused me a little stress right off the bat.

Usually I have 1 egg, on wheat toast with some cheese. Today I decided on some oatmeal with some almond butter and honey -- there were only 2 eggs left and I wanted to leave Hubs and the Cassinator some breakfast! I had my coffee too -- along with that usually comes my mornng *moment*. No moment. I'm like clockwork. When I can't go before I leave the house I get worried it will be worse later. This is probably too much information. Sorry. I started taking an anti-biotic yesterday and was sure I would wind up feeling the effects at the race. Not the scene you want to have at a port-a-potty. :( In the end I had no *moment* today -- hmmmm.

The weather turned out to be a little warmer here than expected, so I was questioning my race apparel. I bought some CW-X tights and they were a tad too warm for today. That probably didn't help. On a good note though, I felt absolutely no fatigue in my hips or ITB -- but that could have been an effect of the steroids too. I think it was 63 degrees when I left the house, so at least I know now, what's too hot for tights.

It was 2 miles to the relay exchange. I walked 1 mile and warmed up the last mile. My relay partner steve finished his 6.55 in about 1:10 (or close to that). I started off and felt okay the first few miles, except I was having trouble pacing myself. Normally it isn't a problem, but I'd look down and I'd be running and 11 something mile; that's not me. So as a result I would peter out quickly. Just something I noticed. I am considering that if I can run the faster 11-something pace, then maybe I should drop my intervals to 4/1 from 5/1. Maybe my average in the end would be better? Just a thought.

After the first few miles though my heart-rate was easily reaching the 170's My average hear-rate is between 155-158, like clockwork. My hope it was the unexpected heat, the meds, the adrenaline. I saw one guy down for the count with medics, so I was being careful, knowing that I was not 100% and was lucky just to be racing today.

The miles past and I just felt worse. I got the half-way point around 44 minutes and thought I had a shot at a better pace, but I really just slowed down from there.

With about 3 miles to go Cathy caught me. She was doing the individual half. She had ridden yesterday 60 or 70 miles, so today was just for the mileage. She hung with me for a while, and that's probably why my finish wasn't worse than it was. She kind of pulled me along. :)

I got my bling and a nice Asics Singlet. Slow or fast, you still get your bling. :)

Left the race and went grocery shopping; wearing my bling. Oh yes she did!

Then I came home and slept for 3 hours.

Then I got up and realized I still had to be a domestic goddess. :)

Things I did well:
- Persevered. Easily could have not gone today.
- Training. Dedication is paying off and probably the only reason I was able to do what I did.
- Downed 24 oz. of electrolytes before the race. Good girl.
- Gel'd it up every 30 minutes with my CarbBoom

Things I could improve:
- Check weather; no tights if > 60 degrees
- Go back to regular breakfast.
- Sleep. Sleep better (sickness kept me from sleeping)
- Nutrition. My nutrition sucked the day before and couldn't eat the morning off.
- Not feeling bad about a so-so performance. I didn't DNF/DNS.

In the end, some of the things that impacted my performance were out of my control. Getting sick and having the meds, probably caused most of my challenge, but it always sounds like a lame excuse. LOL

No thanks to me, Team T&L finished in 2:41 with a 12:22 pace, thanks mostly to my relay team mate, Steve. :)


  1. Donna- Great job getting yourself to go. I totally understand many of your challenges. Lack of sleep is very difficult for me. Nutrition is huge in races.
    Sorry to hear you didn't feel great throughout.

  2. Great write up.....even the clockwork stuff..that cracked me up...my "new-husband" and I call it a "nine-o'clocker".......the morning clockwork stuff.......

    Why does everyone love their bling?

  3. Buttsy, why does everyone love their "bling"???

    Because you earn it -- and it's a kinda cheesey way to scream to the world, "look what I can do".

    LOL It's silly, really. I'd take a good race tech shirt over a medal. :)

  4. Donna i think you did GREAT! Patience and Preserverence are my two favorite words that have served me well on this journey. And i love it 'fast or slow you still get your bling' :) My half is looming in the near future. By this time next month it will only be a memory. Neither my daughter nor hubby nor i for that matter have trained enough to walk this half so we are going to be hurting but like you said fast or slow we'll still get our bling. LOL! And a couple of magaritas at the end will help with the pain. :) Good job girl!

  5. Thanks Jinxx, I appreciate your comments, thanks *hugs*. Get out there and train girl, as much as you can AND be preapred for whatever might come your way on race day.


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