Um.... better late than never, right? Here's my recap of the Woodlands Half Marathon on March 4.
My parents live just 15 minutes from where the race started, so I was able to stay with them the night before and then they dropped me off at the bathroom station in front of the start line. I wouldn't have guessed that I'd be able to get dropped off so close! Super convenient.
That morning, I had my usual piece of toast with butter & jelly and 16oz of water upon waking up, I packed my gummies and laced up my shoes and headed out the door with basically nothing in my hands but a banana and a water bottle. Since I got dropped off so close to the start and I didn't have to wait around forever, I didn't need to do the whole bag drop off thing. I just got dropped off with race stuff + nutrition that could be consumed/thrown away.
I walked my way up to the 8min mile area and ran into one of my best friends' parents! How funny, right? My friend Liz and her parents run either the Houston Half or Full every year, and they often do this race in the Woodlands too. They're a cool, active family. We caught up on life and chatted right up until the gun went off. I planned to run my own race, so I wished them good luck and started my watch.
I wasn't feeling great that morning -- maybe just exhaustion from travel. And, well, my parents and I ended up staying up pretty late talking the night before. My original goal was to break 1:40, but I knew from the start that that goal felt questionable for the day.
My first 7 miles were all around a 7:40 pace. I was feeling pretty decent, despite the fact that it was in the 60s (way too hot for a race) and super humid.
The course was quite possibly the most boring race course I've ever run. There was basically no crowds or entertainment. There wasn't even exciting scenery to look at. It was like you run down a concrete road with pine trees on either side for 7 miles and then you turn around and run down a different road (that looks exactly the same) for the last 6 or so miles.
Mile 10 was by far my slowest mile at 8:02. Honestly, I was feeling really crummy that mile. Partially heat, partially boredom, partially tiredness... I knew this was not going to be the day that I'd break 1:40. So I mentally adjusted to a "Let's just aim for a PR" goal. My previous PR from the Brooklyn Half in 2015 was 1:44.
I hadn't worn headphones because I regretted wearing them in NYC (the cord annoyed me and I missed the enjoyment of hearing the crowds), but I really regretted not wearing them for this race. At around mile 11, I found a guy who was [rudely] playing his music from his shoulder holster'd iPhone on speaker. In my head I said, thanks for being an inconsiderate human being today, bro. I need you right now. His classic rock playlist got me through the next few miles back around a 7:45 pace, and I closed out with a 7:03 run to the finish, where I saw my friend Liz, my parents, and my in-laws cheering me on.
Please enjoy the face on the man who finished just before me (in the photo below).
I grabbed my medal, got some snacks and sat down to wait for my family to come find me, feeling still pretty good about my 1:42 finish time.
Really glad these next two photos were taken when I had a mouth full of protein bar... my cute little parents make up for my mid-chew face.
So fun that my in-laws got to come to this race, even though Matt was back in Colorado!
So glad that I got to catch up with Liz after the race. I only get to see her once or twice a year for a short time. Long distance friendship is tough, but this girl and I are in it for the long haul. We've been friends since I was 3.
What I Consumed
- At my parents house: 1 slice of whole wheat toast with butter and jelly + 16oz water
- In the car on the way to the race: 1 banana + 8oz water
- Mile 4: 2oz water
- Mile 5: half of my packet of Honey Stinger gummies
- Mile 7: 2oz gatorade
- Mile 10: the other half of my gummies + 2oz water
What I Wore
- Short sleeve Newton dri-fit T
- My super compressive Under Armour sports bra
- Garmin 630 watch
- Nike capri tights
- Newton Motion V shoes
- Feetures socks
- Lululemon headband
- My go-to race french braid
- Close to where my parents live
- Super convenient drop-off location
- Not too densly crowded during the race
- Flat course
- Cool, not-too-tight finisher shirts
- Convenient pick up from the finish line
- Really early start time (7am)
- Too hot
- Incredibly boring course
- No crowds
Overall, the race was pretty mediocre. It's bound to not be cold enough (even at 7am) in Texas in March, and the course is really boring. I also read that the marathon runners misguided on the course and a lot of people who were aiming for a BQ got it stripped from them because they ended up not finishing with the official distance. That SUCKS!! I can't imagine. You train all this time for a goal race and then to get it taken from you because of nothing more than a course logistics fail. Terrible.
If you live in Houston or the Woodlands, it's convenient and not horrible. But if you live elsewhere, I wouldn't fly in for this race.