Sometime during the night, a cold front blew into town. And with that cold front came rain. When I woke up and checked weather.com it looked like maybe the rain had moved on through and we would be ok for the race. The temps were in the 40s, which is about perfect for a half marathon or full marathon. I decided to wear shorts and my run top with a long sleeve dry fit top over that. Not really knowing for sure what the weather would do, I also brought with me a rain jacket, gloves, an ear band, a visor and a trash bag. Trash bags are the greatest thing at the start of cold races. You can huddle in them to keep the wind and rain off you and keep you warm until you get going and then just toss it.
I had spent the night with my Aunt Denise and Uncle Bob. I would be doing the race with my Aunt Denise. Bob drove us downtown and dropped us off as close to the convention center as he was able. As soon as we stepped out of the car, I realized I was glad I had brought extra clothing. It was VERY windy and a light rain had started. We hurried inside where we got everything ready and dropped a dry clothes bag for after the race. Knowing that the chance of rain was good, I wore the rain jacket, gloves and ear band and then attached my visor to my race belt in case I needed it. I don't mind running in the rain, but I hate the rain getting in my face. I put the trash bag over me and when it was time to go get in the coral, we headed outside.
Oh my goodness, the wind had picked up and it felt cold. I knew that once I got running I would be ok, but I was freezing as we walked to the start. And then it happened. It started raining. Not just a light rain, but a heavy enough rain that I went ahead and put my visor on. By the time we got to the starting coral and the national anthem was sung, my feet were already soaked. This race would be interesting. Wet feet and at a slower pace than I am use to in cold and rain. I figured I'd have blisters for sure before it was over.
When we got to the start line we started running. My aunt is slower than me but we had planned to do this race together and I told her we would go at her pace and I would stay by her side the entire race. It felt good to be moving, even if it was slower than normal. Although I have to admit that as cold as I was at that point I wasn't sure I could move any faster myself. The rain was still coming down and it actually started coming down harder. It looked to me like a few people were actually turning around and heading back to the convention center. If you were not prepared for this, I could see how you would be miserable.
Anyway, we got to mile 1 and I hit the split button on my garmin. 13:22. Not bad and much better than I had anticipated based on the way my aunt talked. The way she made it sound, I wasn't sure we'd make the cutoff. Seeing the 13:22 made me feel better about that.
We kept going, making fun of the situation we were in - cold and miserable. Why not make a joke about it rather than be miserable. It was actually quite fun and made the miles go by.
Mile 2: 13:34
Mile 3: 13:41
I'm thinking if we can keep this up we will be just fine. The rain would stop for a while and then start again, but we just kept going.
Mile 4: 14:38
Mile 5: 14:14
We are slowing a little bit, but not much, and we are still doing ok. Almost to the halfway point.
Mile 6: 14:38
Somewhere in here Denise said she needed to visit the port-o-potty. I don't normally have to do that during a race, but because it was so cold, I needed to stop as well. We should have gone one more mile, because the stop we picked cost us over six minutes. Oh well.
Mile 7: 20:29
And of course when we saw the next stop for port-o-potties there was NO ONE in line.
Mile 8: 13:43
Yeah, we've picked up the pace a little bit again.
Mile 9: 14:34
It was at this point where my aunt started having some pains in her knees and lower back and she asked if we could slow down and walk some. I suggested we do a run/walk interval, so we tried that for a while. It worked great except I started getting cold when I was walking.
Mile 10: 16:00
Mile 11: 15:39
Mile 12: 17:09
At this point I knew we would make it. We were heading back into downtown. I still had my trash bag on at this point (I know, can't believe it either) and I thought about ditching it, but then we turned a corner and it was like a hurricane sweeping through the streets of Houston. Luckily it was at our backs, but it was strong (it was actully pushing me along) and it was cold!!! I was glad I still had the trash bag.
Mile 13: 16:14
At this point I finally ditched the trash bag. As we turned the last corner to head down the finish chute, we grabbed hands and crossed the finish line together.
Last .1: 1:35
Total time: 3:19:30 for a 15:14 pace
This was definitely one of my slower half marathon times (I don't remember what my time was on my first half ever), but I have to say it was one of the most fun and definitley one of the most rewarding races I've ever done. It was a real pleasure to spend that time with my aunt and to encourage her through the race. I wouldn't trade that for anything.
We got our medals, got our picture taken and then headed inside to get our finisher shirts and some food. I then went to try to find where I could get the third medal for doing both races. That took a while, but eventually I made my way to meet my uncle and head to the car, which was nice and toasty. After a warm shower and a quick stop for food, I made the drive back home. It was a busy weekend, but I got to spend lots of quality time with several of my relatives who live in Houston, so it was a great weekend.