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Chevron Houston Marathon

Monday, January 20, 2014

The weather for the Houston marathon was pretty nearly perfect! In the mid-50s at the start, it barely hit 70 before I was done. While the day was clear and sunny, the route had a lot of shade.

I approached this marathon with a lot of apprehension, as I hadn’t done a really long run since mid-November. I hadn’t done much in the way of running at all in the previous two weeks. An unexplained pain in my right arm also had me a bit concerned.

But after the San Antonio debacle, I needed to finish my second marathon in one season.

The new route was great, with fantastic crowd support. As we cleared the turn-off for the marathon runners, the crowd was at first much thinner, but that was a function of the location. While the route took me through locations I’d run before, I was coming from a different direction and it was like running in a new locale.

Running through West University I spotted some friends I hadn’t seen in years. I waved until they recognized me then I ran over to collect hugs from everyone. And on I went.

The crowd was handing out loads of goodies (Kind bars, pretzels, oranges) so I didn’t take an Accel gel until mile 8 or so. By mile 10 I had what I describe as an MSG rush. Whether it has similar chemicals or not, I’ve now decided all gels are out. Thank goodness the spectators were there with Gummi Bears, Jolly Ranchers, pretzels and oranges.

I knew I’d meet up with my belly dancing friends at mile 15, and warned them it was a photo op for me. When I got there I collected on my request. Three years ago I was there dancing with them!

Around mile 17 I realized I needed new shoes. It’s a long story, but the latest new pair hurt my feet, so I reverted to using a pair I had. Clearly they now had too many miles: the balls of my feet were burning. The left more so than the right, but ouch!

I suffered until my feet were about numb – somewhere around mile 22. To add insult to injury, the vision in my right eye started blurring. I’d experienced this in St. Louis two years ago, but it was both eyes, and I attributed it to contacts. I wasn’t wearing contacts this time. I slowed down even more.

At mile 23 I somehow felt a burst of energy, and picked things up a bit. At mile 24 I spotted the tent where I knew Gary (RUN4FOOD) was working, but I didn’t want to stop to find him, afraid I wouldn’t be able to start again. Next time....

I was able to power through somehow, cross the finish line, and collect my medal. I headed inside the George R. Brown to get my finisher’s T-shirt, where I spotted an area set up for massages. That was my next stop. And then it was on to a hot breakfast, courtesy of HEB.

Restored to semi-human status, I hobbled out to find my car (I’d scored a free spot on the street!) I drove home, soaked in a hot tub, and lazed around all afternoon with my very sore legs and feet elevated.

Kudos to the Chevron Houston Marathon committee: what a fantastic well-organized marathon. Plenty of water/Gatorade stops, a huge number of volunteers everywhere. And Houston, what an amazing supportive town!

And now I’ve slept, and concluded I may very well run another marathon. But first, new shoes!

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