Houston Marathon Recap

Wearing My Marathon Finisher's Medal!
Today I completed the Houston Marathon! It was my 7th Houston marathon and my 12th marathon. Thank you for leaving encouraging comments during training!

Results: 3:57:09, 9:02/mi average. Age group placement: 63 out of 349. In the last 4.5 miles, 14 runners passed me and I passed 269 runners. It's not a PR (need to beat 3:54:03) or a BQ (need 3:55), but it's my second fastest time. 
Waving at the Houston Marathon Start
Course: mostly flat with some bridges and underpasses
Weather: nice 42-57°, cloudy to sunny. I took off my sweatshirt and pants at the start. I wore arm warmers and gloves until about mile 4. I was comfortable in a tank and skirt the rest of the way.
Thumbs Up to My Husband at Mile 17! (I'm the 3rd from left.)
Volunteers: The race crew on Montrose were the very best at yelling your name and encouragement.
Spectators: People almost along the entire course yelled out your name, which is on your bib, like you were somebody special.
Running down San Felipe to Tanglewood
Race day tips for arriving at the race: We were downtown about 6AM for the 7AM start and easily found a street parking space - free on Sundays at the self-pay spaces. Traffic wasn't too bad and there wasn't a line at the porta-potties yet.
Fuel Pre-run: I increased my carbs about 100 grams a day to 300 for the 3 days before the race. The morning of the race, I had 1 1/4 raisin bagels, a banana and a cup of Gatorade.
Fuel During Race: I took 5 tangerine with caffeine Powerbar gels (200 mg sodium each) with water at miles 3.5, 8, 12.5, 17 and 21.5. I drank Gatorade Endurance 6 times starting at mile 6. In Maine, I took 4 gels and I drank more Gatorade and didn't cramp, but it was cooler. 
Post-marathon Food: 
They had lots of food, including Oreos(!), but I could only stomach some chocolate milk and half of a banana. 
That's Me Waving at Mile 21, Way Down the Road
Unplanned Occurrences: 
  • At 1.5 miles into the race, there was a confusing fork in the road. A bunch of us stopped, ran across the road and decided to go forward anyway where I finally saw race crew who said it didn't matter which way we went. 
  • I nearly missed my first planned stop because it wasn't where the map said it would be. Later, I had to run back to a Gatorade table.
  • My Garmin stopped about mile 21 for some unknown reason and I didn't notice it right away. I had been keeping a close eye on my pace up until then, but by that point, it didn't matter too much - I just ran as fast as I could. My Garmin only recorded 23.88 of the marathon. 
What Went Well: 
  • I ran a fairly even race with only an 8 second difference between 5K splits! 
  • I ran my first mile at 9:11 and my last recorded .88 mile at 8:24/mile.
  • I turned my music on halfway through the race which was nice in the very few quiet moments. Besides listening to music, I thought happy thoughts: I'm getting close to goal pace, I'm at goal pace and make it hurt - not so happy, but motivating at the end!
  • Sometimes I talked to other runners like Steve Boone (I met him and his wife at the Kona marathon and this was his 500th marathon!), Jack Lippincott (he said he's 38 in Houston marathon years, the number of times he has run this race!) and a runner who has run the 50 states three times! 
  • I ran a 10 minute cool-down in the downtown area after the race to keep from getting too stiff. People told me to stop running because the race was over! ; ) 
  • My legs didn't feel heavy in the last few miles like they have in the past, but I was tired around mile 21. However, when I saw the "you only have 1.5 miles to go" sign, I felt okay about it, unlike last year when I really did not like that sign at all!
  • I only walked through water stops when I drank and ran up all of the hills. 
  • They moved the pre-race porta-potties outside this year. I only had to wait in line once out of three visits and the line only had three people in it! This was a huge improvement from previous years.
  • I beat last October's Maine marathon time by 5:35 minutes! 

Mile 20-21 is Only a Few Blocks from Home, But I Kept Running!
To Improve: 
  • I have a huge blister on the bottom of my right foot like the one I got after a recent long run. I felt it forming and then I think I felt it pop at mile 18. I just had to ignore the pain. It didn't feel bad the whole time, though - it just came and went. I Body Glided that area (and other places, too - no chafing today!) and wore my hot weather Drymax socks (maybe the blister protection on my old socks has stopped working because I've never had trouble with blisters until recently), but now I wish I'd worn my new padded Experia socks even though they say not to try anything new on race day. The good part is that I could have a lot of problems much worse than blisters, but I don't.
  • I had a cramp in my right foot like I did at the Kona marathon, but not as bad. I had to try not to wiggle my toes which seemed to make it worse.
Expo: Houston puts on a large expo. You can find anything you need: Body-glide, gels and shoes and clothes sometimes at a discount. Parking tip: I park on the street and use my credit card to pay at the self-pay machines ($1/hour). 

My Garmin stopped, but the Houston marathon timekeepers got my splits, so no worries!


Splittime of dayTimeDiffmin/milemile/h
Finish Net11:05:49AM03:57:0912:3309:036.64


  1. Awesome marathon! Congrats! That is my dream time!

    LOL @ people telling you to stop running when it was over ;)

    I hate when I can feel the blisters on the bottom of my feet! Ugh! I hope that is the only think you have to deal with while recovering from the race! :)

  2. Congrats, Tina! I'm so sorry that I couldn't get it together to meet you on this trip--hopefully we will have another chance. I think I might have spotted your husband--or actually your dog. I definitely noticed a beautiful Weimeraner on San Felipe or somewhere close to that. My sister has a Weim, so I always notice them.

    Anyway, congrats again on your solid race.

  3. Kilax, thanks for stopping by! (First time commenter!)

    Terzah, I looked for you! I think I saw the same dog, green doggy sweater on? Mine was about mile 20-21. I saw the other one about where you mentioned and near Rice U, too. Pretty dog!

  4. Great race! Congratulations! I'm glad there were multiple timing mats along the course....if my garmin failed I'd be pretty ticked not to have my stats afterwards!

  5. Yes, so happy to have these results! I wouldn't have been so fortunate with some other races!

  6. Congrats Tina! Sorry you missed that BQ, but you WILL get to BOSTON! Thanks so much for all of your help with my route to meet Terri today. It worked out perfect. Beautiful day in Houston!

  7. You had a great time. Congratulations!

  8. Thanks, everybody! It was a fun day!

    Ginny, so glad to hear you had a good run in Houston today! Looked for you at mile 16! Hope your friend had fun running the marathon!

  9. Congrats- that's a very impressive finish! It was a great day to race & I was so glad to be back in Houston- such a great course & so many wonderful volunteers & supporters cheering. I'm totally impressed that you got your review up so quick- it will take me days to get myself organized :)

  10. Congratulations Tina on a well-run race in wonderful weather, a great result, a good report and smashing pictures of a smiling you.
    Well done!

  11. Yay, Tina! Great job! We are very impressed by your pacing consistency - you are good! I (K) used to be a hard core Drymax sock person but, like you, have had some occasional blister issues with them. Not sure if it is just coincidence on certain days but I don't recall having much if any blistering in my Experia or Balega Trail Buster socks so it was interesting when you mentioned that. I also think your fast, black skirt aided in your wonderful race day! :-)

  12. Katherine, thanks for the info about your socks! I'm hopeful that my new Experia socks will keep the blisters away.

  13. YOU DID IT! Congratulations on running a GREAT race! So happy for you!
    (and yes, that split was waaay confusing, there should have been signs!)

  14. Wow, what a great race experience! You did fantastic and I'm so happy for you! Just a couple more minutes to that BQ, you're almost there! Congratulations, Tina!

  15. YAY TINA!!!! "People told me to stop running because the race was over!" hahahah, SOOO funny!!!
    So excited for your amazing time and steady pace the whole way through!! Congrats!!!

  16. Awesome! Great race. Sounds like a great weekend. Need to do this race.

  17. Nice going! I'm glad to hear you had such a good race. And awesome time. If I ever run another marathon I'd like to get closer to the four hour mark.
    My Running Shortz

  18. Sounds like an incredible race and WOW, it attracts a lot of dedicated Marathoner's from the sounds of it.

    You were so close to a BQ, I bet you'll make it sooner than later, Good Job on this race!

  19. Excellent job, very even splits!

  20. Congratulations, you ran a great race! (I think your blog must be buried in my google reader, as I haven't seen your updates for a while!)

  21. Great job! Sorry to hear about your blister. I got one in my first half and they are terrible!

  22. Surprisingly, my foot with the huge blister on it has healed already! Thanks!

  23. WEll done, Tina! It's nice they have the 5k mats :). It sounds like you were well fueled, too. Nearly a PR/BQ! Coming soon!!

    Glad your foot is healing :)

  24. Great job, Tina!! 12 marathons is so amazing!

    Glad to hear your foot is already healed too.

  25. Congratulations on another great marathon!

  26. Congrats girl - great race!

  27. congrats on #7! I loved the stats the provided us about how many we passed etc. The only thing I didn't like were the roads on this course, just kinda rough and uneven, but i agree the spectators were impressive and of course after watching the trials it was hard not to be inspired :)


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