Sunday, January 31, 2016

USA Fit Marathon - report

This morning I woke up at 3 am. Well, the alarm was set for 3:15. Did my spiritual study and then headed out of the hotel at 4:45. I was parked at the race by 5. This was just to ensure a parking spot. I read a book in car. I thought about the race. I realized I felt fear. 

At 6 I went over to the portas. They had cute signs on them telling people not to mess them all up. There were still long lines of cars trying to get into the parking lot. Um, too late folks.

Then I was wandering around the start area and ended up talking to my friend Mathew. This seemed like a big race, though mainly due to a huge number of half marathoners. 

Suddenly, it was time to start, 6:30. It was still dark. I started jogging. The first interesting thing was I saw a midget runner. No joke. The woman was about 3 feet tall; and wearing a head scarf. Amazing. There is also a running club called "Black Girls Run Houston". Don't know why but seeing them in their shirts in a little group caused me to tear up.  Besides Mathew, I saw David, Donna, Huan, Yen, Karen, and a number of familiar faces of people whose names I don't know. 

This race turned out to be really boring. A beautiful subdivision. Good traffic control by actual cops. Good aid stations. But mainly just out and back on a 4 lane road, 2 laps.

The first lap I jogged at 11 min miles. Starting into the second lap, it became warm and I was sweating. I started 7x1s. Luckily the wind came up and also it became cloudy. That saved the day. 

Still this seemed like a tough race. Maybe that was mental. My fear seemed to relate to the pounding. I was working way harder than I do in training runs. Marathoning in and of itself is a popular sport in Texas. Many people race frequently, as I do, though not as much as others. Every marathon causes me to find out what I am made of, the most important moment being when I head out into the second half. It wasn't until the second lap that I got in a zone; just running, no mind games. In this race, there was a timing mat at mile 22.5 (on the second lap). It was killer as it was at the end of a dead end street and hot by then. I guess marathoning is as meaningful as any other activity that anyone does. If part of my task as a human is to add something to the stream of life, then marathoning works for me. But it is a participation event, not a race.

In the second lap, it was a lonely race. Only 244 marathoners; with the walkers starting 2 hours early.

In the end, Mathew came in a little behind me after leading for 25 miles. 5:08 chip time includes 2 pit stops. Still, 11:4x per mile. 6/24 in F50-59. If they had the 55-59 ag, I would have been 2nd. Ha! What did I just say about participation not a race?

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