#291 - Texas Marathon

Marathon #291 - Texas Marathon done! Plan A had been to volunteer at this marathon rather than run it but RD Steve Boone very kindly offered me a place despite the event selling out many months before and now having run the event can see why that is so. Perhaps my new favourite marathon! The medal is just VAST! I've included my water bottle in the photo to give you an idea of the size, weighs 4.5 pounds... Serious bling! The goody bag isn't shabby either, shirt, two caps, a tripod, gloves, a holdall and still not gotten to the bottom of it yet! As for the actual run this went vastly better than I thought bearing in mind I had a serious hobble yesterday and my plan was just to walk this in 6 or 7 hours, but decided to test out the legs a bit and managed 10 miles at sub 9:00 before the "dead" legs hit me, and when I mean dead, I mean dead, raised back to life as zombie legs, and then battered with a shovel dead! But got around well under sub 5:00 so was pleased with that not least as must have stopped 30 times to chat/walk with folk I knew... received some really very lovely comments and praise for my efforts at the weekend which was very touching. I think others have taken it to heart more than I have... I'll spare anyone any embarrassment but will admit to nearly choking up a bit when a very well respected runner said to me "when you won a race like that, a little bit of us won too, you're one of us, we're all proud of what you've done and achieved..."


Now it had never been my intention to run this event, despite all the good things that I'd heard about it as just three days after a 100 mile run I generally am in "hobble about mode" at best and by the time I'd organised this trip the event was long since sold out anyway. So I offered to volunteer instead and that was my plan. Honest! But then Steve Boone (RD and the chap behind the 50 States Club) sent me an email saying that they could squeeze me in if I wanted, and well, I'd seen the medals from previous years and whilst I still thought it a rather optimistic stretch, with a very long time limit (8 hours) I thought that the worst case scenario is that I could walk it, or walk a half marathon perhaps and still earn a "little" medal.

My main concern after Houston 100 was my feet, have two nasty blisters on my right foot and even on Tuesday evening I was dubious about starting as was still hobbling rather and the blisters sore, but as if on demand Wednesday morning they were pain free (well... ) so I decided on injinji socks (with all the toes in!) and thorlos for lots of foot padding and so I roll up at 0630 in the Kingwood suburbs of Houston and have a chat with a few folk and before you know it. It's 0800 and we're off!


Really had no idea how I was going to run, or even if I could run for that matter, but knowing how slow the marathon was likely to be in general (there were 700 folk in for the half and full marathons) I was up near the front and could see that the first little bit was downhill, so off I went and nobody was more surprised than me at my first mile at 7:45! It didn't last of course but settled in to 8:00 or 8:15 pace and my main problem wasn't my legs but my breathing seemed very hard indeed, and in fact it was all day, do wonder if the exertions at the weekend kind of wear the chest/breathing muscles out too. But my first plan was just to run to the turnaround at three miles or so as that generally seemed to be downhill or flat and then I'd walk the rest...

But felt OK so ran back! The course is 4 x out and backs with a run around a little lake on the way back so you don't see everyone all the time but for maybe 2 miles of that you do which was nice as lots of encouragement from folks I knew and really was touched the whole day about how nice everyone was to me about the Houston 100. Serious praise, whenever I saw someone coming the other way that I knew and they were with someone else they'd say something like "This guy ran a 100 miles on Sunday, and won!" and all that sort of thing. Like the quote above that was very kindly given to me it was as if all my Marathon Maniac/50 State friends were sharing in my little success and that was so nice as for most of us of course we turn up at these things with absolutely zero chance of winning anything, we just do it for the fitness, the enjoyment and the camaraderie (and the bling!) but we're not competing per se for places, so for one of us to win, then I guess all us slow guys won.

So one lap took less than an hour and my thought of walking round in 8 hours had vanished long ago so thought I'd run the next 3 miles and see how I felt and that was good too, that though was when the deadness in the legs really started cutting in, a little walk around the lake part was the start and by 13 miles they were feeling very wobbly indeed, not just dead but, collapsing dead!

Was halfway a fraction over 2 hours which I was very pleased with, but the rest of the day was a bit of a struggle physically as the legs were very heavy and it was run/walk/walk/run/chat for the rest of the "run", good for the soul, but less good for the time! When I was running it was a decent pace, but just couldn't maintain it for more than a 100 yards or two at most... but figured if I kept moving would finish under five so would have taken that at the start in a heartbeat!

Didn't indulge too much in the aid stations, though they were brilliant and must have been one almost every mile on the route and cookies and pizza at the finish, what else could you want? Aside from a 4.5 pound medal?!

I must mention the goody bag as certainly the best I've ever seen, it containined...

The holdall it came in
Two running caps
One "beanie" cap
One pair of decent skiiing gloves
A small camera case for a belt
A "gorilla" camera tripod
Long sleeve t-shirt
Zero wads of useless adverts!

I think my new favourite marathon, really did have a nice day out and very glad I ran it now, incredibly well run and can fully understand why it sells out so far in advance! Hope to be back to run it again!


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