Monday, January 16, 2012

HOUSTON....we have NO problems!

I was honored and excited when my friend Terri, invited me to go to Houston with her to run the last 10-11 miles of the Houston Marathon with her.  She and Dawn had been planning for months.  Unfortunately, Dawn had an injury that kept her from running the race, but she made the trip to Houston for the Olympic Trials.  I'll be honest, I don't follow the elites real close, until now.   I do keep up with Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher, on a small scale, through social media.  Dawn is much better with the "411" of all things sports, and especially with the elite running scene.  Thankfully, it was HIGH on her agenda to BE AT the trials.    I'm thankful because I'm not big on crowds, and had I not been with her, I'm doubtful I would have gone.  (thanks Dawn - it was amazing!).  (and it was not super crowded like I had expected)

The day ended up being super special.  We had fairly good viewing for the start of the race and stayed for the elite to pass a few times.  Later in the morning, after going inside to warm up for a bit,  we started looking for a spot to view the men's finish.  We were standing near the VIP area.  Dawn had left us to find a "better viewing spot."  She sent a text saying, "come to the bleachers!"  At the same time, I noticed random people were going into the bleacher area for the VIP.  So Terri and I walked over to the VIP bleachers, asked if we could enter and they say "go ahead".  As it turned out, Dawn was down the road, at another set of bleachers so we called her to join us.  We found spots right on the fence near the finish.  PERFECT viewing!  
How perfect you ask?  How about these.....

Ryan finishing

Happy Olympian

2012 men's team

Meb - front and center, AND a hug for Terri,  but I'm a dork and couldn't get my TWO pairs of gloves off in time to snap the pic  (sorry T.)
Shalane finishing

Kara finishing

Ladies 2012 team

Happy Shalane
Now I'm a follower of the elite 6. 
A super way to start the weekend.

Sunday morning Dawn was up EARLY to drive Terri to the start of the race.  My plan for the day was to start running from the condo that we stayed at (see pic below- the green one) and to run toward the marathon course to meet Terri around the Galleria (about mile 16).
I've been following Tina from my early blogging days.   I contacted her last week about a route that I was thinking about running.  She was so sweet to help me with a safe and scenic route (much better than my original plan).  My goal for the day was to get 17-18 miles.  I left the condo and ran along here:

Beautiful area and a super place to run, except, Houston has WAY too much concrete.  I ran 7 miles and made it to the Galleria @ Post Oak near mile 16.  Terri's goal for the day was to run a sub 4 hour marathon.  Shortly after arriving at the Galleria, I noticed the 3:20 pace group heading through the area.  I decided to start walking to meet Terri.  I walked for about 1.5 ish miles.  Just as I was starting to get nervous, thinking I may have missed her in the crowd, I spotted her running hard and looking great.  We were happy to see each other.  I think we were both relieved that the search was over, and I was EXCITED to run with her.  

As you  know already, I LOVE to RACE, but one of  my other passions is to run with other runners who are  running their first marathon, or trying to reach a new goal.  You may remember that Terri, Dawn, Vicki and I traveled together back in March to run the Snickers marathon.  After a little recovery, Dawn and Terri started planning and training super hard to race in Houston.  Terri added some INTENSE cross training to her running routine.  All of it paid off......

When we first started running together we chatted for just a minute and then Terri put her earbuds in.  I quickly noticed that we were running fast (8:33 ish pace) I interrupted her music to ask Terri what she wanted to do?  She said she just wanted to keep it under 9:00, like 8:55-8:59 pace.   Ok, we both had our tunes and took off.  I was excited and feeling super.  I was happy she didn't want to chat because that allowed me to focus on the tangents and pacing.  I was quickly reminded that pacing is a pressure-filled position to be in.  I had to keep slowing the pace.  (remember, I had only run 7 slow miles before meeting her, and I had a walk break, so I was fresh and ready to go, and Terri was running well)  I did not want to run too fast at mile 15-16.  When you run with someone, the tangents are tough to run.  In addition to that, the volume of people in this marathon made it difficult to run the tangents.  Luckily, Terri doesn't worry or get stressed about the details, "the girl just RUNS"  These are the splits from my watch

 8:53,8:47,8:58, 8:54, 8:52, 8:56, 9:04, 8:54, 9:13, 9:28, 8:16 
8:56 avg.  

Terri ended up at 3:54, WAY under her goal.  (4th marathon and sub 4:00)  As you can see, she only slowed a tiny bit in the late miles.  During this part, I ran ahead a little (on pace) and then I would wait for her.  She was so sweet, each time she would apologize and say, this is all I have.  Around mile 24, I told her "let's finish this".  I doubt she even heard that - she wears her tunes LOUD.   Whether she heard it or not, SHE did finish it in a FAST way.  At mile 25, the girl took off, and we ran the final mile @ 8:16.  FREAKIN AWESOME T.W.!  

I had pulled off the course for the last 1/2 mile but kept running on the sidewalk beside her.   At the reunion area we celebrated with a BIG HUG!  It was such a perfect day for her and  fun and exciting for me.  Later in the day, she had a call from her hubby saying her father-in-law was back in the states.  He has been in Iraq for the past year.  Doesn't get any better than that........   thanks for inviting me Terri ! 
Terri @ the expo

Ginny & Terri - let the post race celebration begin!

Terri & Dawn

More on my training later, but I'm starting my 3rd week of 5k training.
Week of Jan 2nd -  5k training - week 1
50 miles running, 5 miles walk, 12+ mile bike, 3 days of S90D or Bob Harper, 1 yoga class
Quality Runs - 12 X 200 w/ 1 min recovery,  on the track,  :48 avg. and 17 mile long run

Week of Jan 9th - 5k training - week 2
57 miles running, 2 miles walking, 3 days of S90D, 1 yoga class
Quality - 6 X 800 on the road @ 3:30 avg with 2:15 recovery, and 18 mile long run in Houston - last 11 @ 8:56 avg.

This week I will be running 8 X 400 on Wed.,  and then racing a 5 mile race on Sat. 
Ready to Race! 


Gracie (Complicated Day) said...

What a weekend! Wow, you packed it full! Great pacing there, you are some friend.

Amanda@runninghood said...

Wow wow wow! What an incredible and memorable experience!! And you sound so strong with your training!

mfranks said...

These photos are awesome! I'm jealous! What a great weekend!

lindsay said...

Great job pacer! I'm so jealous of your proximity to Ryan hall, shalane, and desi!!

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

This race was ALL T.W. I just feared going too fast, too soon, but I knew she was so strong physically and mentally. It's so fun to watch her journey. (did I mention she's only been running for 2-3 years) I've told her I want to run with her in 2012 because by 2013, she will be out of my league. She is very talented and works HARD.

Runblondie26 said...

How cool! You had some majorly prime seating there. You're runs are going really well too!

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

Glad you had a good pre-race run! The end of the marathon is kind of tough for me with the hills. Sounds like you're a great pacer! Congrats to Terri on a fast race!

Anonymous said...

Awesomeness all the way around!

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

awww can't believe we didn't get to meet up!!! way to be an awesome running partner and kudos to terry!

HappyTrails said...

You had a WONDERFUL viewing spot - great pics!!! Then the great run through beautiful neighborhoods, good times spent with special friends- WOW! Sounds like you had the perfect weekend! Those are THE best!

Lisa said...

Nothing is better than helping a friend run - especially a first marathon!!!

Teamarcia said...

What a fun weekend! Your pics are amazing.
You won my Blue Ridge marathon giveaway BTW. Hope you're still up for it. :)

Anonymous said...

I love this post! Awesome recap and photos.