Expo: It was a small expo, but at least runners wouldn't be tempted to spend too much time on their feet there!
Volunteers: As a volunteer before the race, I organized the volunteer shirts into bins for the water stations. At the water stations, they seemed to have plenty of drinks and volunteers this year - an improvement over previous years. The volunteers were very encouraging - I must have been looking good out there... Ha, ha!
Parking: My husband and I left home at 5 and we parked our car at 5:20 in a free parking space in the "green" lot.
Weather/Clothes: In the 40's all morning with wind and a little rain. Waiting inside the warm Marriott hotel before the race was the best! I wore a North Face running skirt, short sleeved top, homemade arm warmers (just cut off the feet and top of some tights), Brooks Ravenna shoes and a 2 bottle Nathan hydration belt.
Course: Mostly flat with some rolling hills. Water stops served Gatorade Endurance and GU gels.
Spectators: Many of them called out my name (written on my bib). I nearly got shoved over by one strong and eager high-fiving 5 year old. It was one of the last miles and I was weaker than I realized!
Fuel Pre-run: I ate lots of carbs for breakfast and I increased my carbohydrates for three days before the marathon. Next time, I'm going to focus more on protein instead of so many carbs especially because I was low on energy (miles 21-23) and loading up on carbs might not even help.
Fuel During Race: I ate 7 GU gels: miles 3, 6, 9, 12, 16, 19.5, 22.5. I drank 20 ounces of water (I usually drink more, but it was cold and I didn't want more) and I took a cup of Gatorade Endurance 2-3 times (not at the same time that I ate a gel).
Post-marathon Food: I had chocolate milk and Raising Canes chicken fingers, but they also offered Chick fil A food, breakfast burritos, muffins and fruit.
The Finish: I finished in 4:04 and 15th out of 44 in my age group of 45-49'ers (I'm 49)! Although I didn't get the 4 hour finish I needed for a BQ and it was hard to see the 4 hour pace group ahead of me, I never gave up and had a fun race day. Watch the video to see me catch my first sight of my husband after the finish. It feels great to have given my all even if it's only for a little 26.2 mile run around The Woodlands!