Koala/Luke's Locker Houston Half Marathon Race Report

Yes, I had fun, but I didn't PR. My gun time was 1:55:26 and I needed to beat 1:50:57. My Garmin says 1:54:01, pressed a few seconds after I crossed the finish line, but I don't know my chip time yet. The race site states that time corrections are being processed for specific runners. I'm one of them. And now, let's carry on with the race report... : )

It was hilly! So that's where Houston's been hiding the hills! There were some clouds, but it was warm (63* at the start) and I was drenched in sweat! It was windy! I know... So where's the fun part?! First, I have to tell you my little sob story... Don't worry. It's very little.

Just after eating a Gu gel at mile four (ate one at mi. 8, too), I meant to get two cups of water (because I knew I'd spill some), but I got a cup of water and Gatorade - my fault. I went forward anyway, then ran back, and then changed my mind and went on. Unhappy about that time waster and missed water, I put one ear phone in and turned my music on... I was saving this illegal device for an emergency and it had come!

See that picture? That's just after I put my ear phone in. I get over stuff kind of fast.

So then we were on the second loop of this three loop race and all I really wanted was to PR now - not by minutes, but at least by one tiny little second! I saw runners I knew (fun!) and when the end was close, I told myself it was a 1 1/2 mile race and a 1 mile race, etc., to speed myself up. I heard my name called out as I crossed the finishing mat!

What I learned from the Houston half marathon today:
  • Start closer to the front. Mile one was one big zig-zag party.
  • Run the tangents.
  • Train on more hills!
  • Get water at the beginning of the water line. Might carry some.
  • Do more tempo runs without rests between the miles.
  • Music helps.
  • Don't forget to hit the stop button on your watch!
Do you have any advice? The Houston marathon is in 11 weeks and I'm hoping for 3:50.
~Will Work For a BQ!


  1. That's still a pretty rockin' time! And since you weren't in the back, you never know, you might have gotten verrrry close to a PR.

  2. Love that picture!
    So excited for you on marathon day! BQ is definitely in your future!

  3. Yeah, great run! I loved your "little" story and I could just imagine you running back and forth. I agree with you on the hills and even if a marathon doesn't have a ton of hills it's still good strength building. I also agree with the tempo runs and varying the speeds every week; one week 5k pace, one week 10k pace, one week 1/2 marathon pace...and then go back to 5k pace...it is good for your brain to switch it up.
    Someone told me something else about tempo runs and I'm going to post it on my blog this week, watch for it!
    SUPER job, you'll have fun working for that BQ!

  4. Wow - I think that is an amazing time! Sorry you didn't get your PR, but still you should be proud of yourself! What's next?

  5. Tina this post made me laugh. I think the fact you "get over stuff kind of fast" is a great tool! I could just see me doing the same thing going back and forth-lol. Being a closet OCD my only advice would be to know your course and train accordingly. I will even go so far as to drive the course weeks before the race, but I will deny doing that if asked=) Congrats on a good race, I think you did really well with the weather and hills. Who knew Houston had hills!

  6. Sounds like you learned a lot from this race. The humidity really zaps, doesn't it! Drawing those tight lines really helps, plus it's fun! Good luck in your upcoming marathon!

  7. lol about turning around for water and then turning around again. who does that? ;)

    congrats on another half under the belt. they can't all be pr's, and it sounds like you still ran a strong race! i have no doubt you would've been closer to a pr had it not been for the weaving + water circles!

  8. I agree about starting closer. That zig zagging takes more time than you think!

    Your time was still amazing! I know you will get your BQ soon!

  9. Anonymous10/26/2009

    Sorry to hear that you didn't get your goal time. I wasn't able to attend the half-marathon (I was suppose to volunteer at the relay exchange area but I got sick) but John did say it was warm that day. It's a pity we didn't have the cool weather that we had the day before. Oh, well... Anyway, good luck on your next race. And I will be praying for you that all goes well in your quest to qualify for Boston.

  10. Whoo Hoo! Good for you for doing very well and having fun. :) That picture is really cute.

  11. Wow! You are running FAST in that pic. Nice race! Looking forward to seeing your chip time. You seemed to have learned a lot.

    Unfortunately, I am finding that tempo runs are VERY important for me, in marathon training. Always tough runs for me, but in the later part of my SG training, I finally did have a "break through" and they did become a little better to complete. I started with 3 mile tempos and worked up to 5-6 mile tempos which I ran every 9 days (around 8:00-8:25 pace on the hills). I also ran a mile w/u and c/d, in addition to the tempo mileage.
    Tangents - very important too. I am always amazed at the number of runners that run the entire curves instead of the tangents. You can literally see yourself gaining steps on the runners who are not running the tangents.
    Hills - yep
    Mile repeats - yep
    Hill repeats - yep
    I HATE the first few mile zig zag. That's why I like the smaller races.
    You will be soooo ready in Jan. You will have a great race.

  12. WOW!!! You are AMAZING! That is an awesome time! Sounds like it was a great time and learning experience. I have no doubt you are going to rock that marathon! CONGRATS!

  13. Excellent job with the race. I really like how you listed the things you learned. It makes me think about my own race strategy. For me though I go for the water at the end of the line so I don't have to run around as many people who are trying to get to the beginning of the water stop.

    It sounds like we'll be running a marathon for the same time, around the same time. You're 11 weeks out and I'm 12 weeks out. This will be great training with someone. Do you have a training schedule you are following?

  14. That's a great time, congratulations! I wanted to run Houston marathon but it sold out so quickly! You're going to do great there!!

  15. This is an old post, but just the same, I had to barge in here and shout: "WAY TO RUN!!!" That is an awesome time!!! If i could run a half-marathon in that time, I would dive into a big celebratory dance... and then, i would probably pull something and then that would be the last time I could ever run that fast again. :O/

  16. Thanks! And, please, be careful when you dance! ; )


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