I left work Friday afternoon for the drive to my friend Susan’s home in Kemah, as she graciously offered me a room for the weekend so I would not have hotel expense for the weekend. She and her husband were awesome, and their home is about 5 minutes from the race start in Seabrook.
We were warned that since this was a trail run, not to expect pr’s. I was hoping for a good race anyway as I have mainly been rehabilitating my knee since Rocky Raccoon. The weather was perfect and they even had fresh hot coffee at the start! I had to pick up my race materials early Saturday morning because I missed packet pickup Friday afternoon, so went with Susan at 5am because she was volunteering Saturday and running on Sunday. The packet included a pair of Balega socks, a cap, and a nice women’s specific tech shirt. The race bibs were awesome in that they are seeded. After you complete the race, you take the bib home, soak it in water and plant it. Flowers! Isn’t that a cool idea! After I got my stuff, I went to nap in Susan’s car until it was time for the race to start.
The race started on time and it was a preview of the marathon course. 2 loops for the half on Saturday, and 4 loops for the full on Sunday. We started on the road, then within about a half mile, we were on nice flat well maintained trails with crushed gravel surface. Gaiters came in handy! There was 2 way traffic on most of the trail, and also backtracked in a couple of places so we were never lonely out there. At one end, the view of the sun rising over the bay was fantastic. I was real surprised to see my first half split, and I was feeling pretty good with no knee pain, so I kept pushing. I started to crap out at about 9.5 miles because I simply had not done enough training so the second half of the half was a little slower than the first half, but I am happy to report a sub 3 hour half marathon at this point! Awesome aid stations, one of which was manned by girl scouts with cookies!
The finish line food was freshly grilled hamburgers, chicken sandwiches and hot dogs with all the trimmings and choice of beverages. The volunteers were amazing, cheerful at all times! Even the officers directing traffic at several road crossings were great. The awesome thing was seeing the same folks both days!
I had been planning all along to take the early start for this race, but a terrible storm blew through Saturday afternoon after the completion of the half. I set my alarm for 4am fully intending to start at 5:30 am. When the alarm went off… I listened to the wind gusting and decided to go back to sleep and start the race at 7:15 am with everyone else, because they promised to have the finish line open until 3pm. That’s when I had the nightmare about missing the race. I dreamed I was back home in Sealy and it was 7:30 am and all I could think of was not getting my 3 medals for 2 races. When the alarm went off the second time and I realized where I was, man was I relieved! I got my gear together and drove over to the race start, picked up my chip, drank some coffee and readied myself for the start. Thankfully, it was 41 degrees instead of the 35 that had been predicted. The winds, however, were just as bad as the weather person warned.
Susan had an extra throw away tyvek jacket and I used it! I would have never been able to do the race without it because truthfully, I am a weenie when it comes to being too cold. I would much rather race in warmer weather. I can’t wait to see the full marathon photos because I am sure I looked like a huge balloon with that white jacket constantly full of air from the gusting winds. LOL In one or two places, I felt like I was really struggling against the wind and going nowhere fast.
All day, I was really disgusted with myself for not getting up early enough to do the 5:30 am start. I apologized to the volunteers numerous times about being so slow. Anyway, about ½ way into the 3rd loop, I caught up with a lady who had a pretty good walking pace… and she and I started talking and walking together. She is fairly new to marathon running and was having a real hard time, in fact, she had been thinking about dropping out during the first loop. Well, we were pretty suited to each other and dragged each other through that last 9 or so miles. We started asking the guys with the radios if we were last. Then we started kidding each other about wanting to finish last. It was really funny until we were relieved to find out that we were not last… there were 2 people behind us.
We had about 3 miles to go when we passed one guy… then we passed 3 people, one of whom was doing her first full marathon… then we passed someone else… so we were not far from last, but still not last.
They gave us our marathon medal and then said, wait… you still have another medal! It was fantastic! I got my chicken sandwich at the finish, mixed up my recovery drink (2 scoops of Hammer Whey with about 6oz of 100 % juice) then walked back to the finish line to see the last person finish. What a great way to spend the weekend.
I would highly recommend this race to anyone who needs to add Texas to their list of states! The volunteers were some of the most cheerful, helpful people I have ever seen at a race.