What a great day yesterday, 1/15/2017 was. I officially became a Legacy Runner and was able to finish with a smile on my face! I have mentioned before that my training wasn’t really that ideal, mostly because I just wanted this to be a finish rather than a time I was going for. I finished in 4:22, not my best, but certainly not my worst.
The night before the race, I didn’t get much sleep because I would keep waking up in a panic worrying that I overslept. What’s funny is that I usually run pretty well with a lack of sleep. If I get in too deep of a sleep, I struggle getting up. I woke up, got dressed, had my granola bar and water/Gatorade, and made sure to go pee as much as I could. At 5:30am, it was time to head out the door!
On the way there, I was actually more calm than I have been at any of my other races. Knowing that I wasn’t trying to go for a particular time made it so much easier, I could just relax and enjoy myself. There’s always a pressure you put on yourself when you’re trying to go for a certain time, but I felt none of that yesterday. Plus, with the temperatures already being in the high 60’s, even if I did have a goal time, that high temperature would have messed with my head. I’m definitely someone who mentally can’t handle the high temps. I shut down when I realize it’s going to be over 60 degrees or so.
At the start of the race, I was feeling pretty good. I was holding a pace between 8:30-8:40, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to keep that up the entire race. I decided that I wanted to try to make it through the first half and then I would come up with a game plan to get me to the finish in a decent time. At around mile 14, I started to feel like I was having heart palpitations. I knew I could be overheating (I was sweating more than usual during the whole race), plus, my heart has been feeling a little funny lately. I didn’t want to push it and knew this was the time to go into chill mode. I saw my parents at the same time, which made me REALLY happy. I love seeing them at my races, they are always there to support me and I can see how excited they get when they see me. I decided to stop and give them both a hug and kiss and let my mom know my heart was bothering me. Right after I saw my parents, I saw my boyfriend, who is such a trooper and another one of my biggest cheerleaders. He is up at the crack of dawn with my to take me to my races, and drives all
around to see me in different spots. At around mile 15 I saw a sweet student of mine, Sophia and a former student, Katelyn. It makes me so happy to see my students during my races each year. One year one of my students Preston was at the finish line screaming my name and that gave me a big laugh as I was nearing the finish.
At around mile 19 I decided that I was going to just finish by alternating between a half mile power walk and a half mile run for the rest of the way. This was the best best decision I made. I was still able to get some miles in the 10-11 minute per mile pace, and I wasn’t beating my legs up. I was able to talk to some fellow runners along the way, and even grab a Michelob Ultra (I don’t ever drink beer, but that was a good one!). My legs were feeling good and I was mentally feeling good as well. The miles were flying by with this run/walk method. It was my version of the Jeff Galloway run/walk method. I don’t think I would have been able to finish as strong had I not incorporated the walking into my plan. My legs just weren’t strong enough this time around (lack of weight lifting).
I finally got to the home stretch, and decided to run it in! I saw my boyfriend and a sweet and supportive runner friend, Illya, who’s always at the marathon cheering on fellow runners. I crossed the finish line in 4:22:08. I was happy with that time (honestly, I wanted a time less than 4:15 and anything more than 4:30 would have bruised my ego). It was the easiest hard race I’ve ever run because I didn’t have any expectations. The conditions were not at all ideal, but that’s how a marathon goes. You can train for months and just one day determines how you do.
I’m excited about this coming year as I enter a new age group in the fall, the 35-39 (how did that happen so quickly!?), and I go for a Boston qualifying time again in Chicago this October. I plan to make this year a comeback year for me as a runner. I have set some big goals, and plan to achieve them. I’ve given my body and mind a much needed break, but I am going to qualify for and run Boston again!
Here are a few of the things that I love seeing and hearing along the course:
- Go Sharon! You can do it! You’ve got this!…etc. (my name is pronounced Shireen, Sure-reen?) I still wave back and smile, and laugh a little
- Go Jennifer! (to the girl next to me), Go Meghan! (to the other girl next to me)…confused look on face…You go girl! (to me)
- All the Houstonians who come out and high five and cheer on all the runners, we have such a great city
- The little kids who hold out their hands for hours high fiveing complete strangers, usually still in their PJ’s
- The dads who stop to hug their little kids and wife as they are screaming and cheering for them
- The teenage boys who are standing waiting with their dad, until mom runs by and they run alongside her (I hope to be that mom one day!)
- All of our Houston Police Department men and women along the course making sure we are all safe
- The runners with prosthetics running along side me, pushing me
- The orange slice, which I consumed many of, that have been cut and made ready by fellow Houstonians
- The kid who held up the sign that read “Run faster, I just farted!,” I laughed each time I saw it
- The singing of the National Anthem at the beginning of the race, it’s one of my favorite moments of all my races (it’s my favorite song)
- The ConocoPhillips ladies who dance around in chicken costumes holding up the sign at the 10k mark that says “If you were running the ConocoPhillips Rodeo Run you would be done by now”
- The HEB ice cream sandwiches at the end of the race
- Meeting all the runners who are about to run their first race
- The thousands of volunteers who have no clue how much we appreciate them, without them, the race wouldn’t happen
- The Houston Marathon team, because I know how much time and effort they put in to make this even go off without a hitch. It is so well organized, and that is appreciated!
Until next year!