The Woodlands Marathon Race Report

Waving from the Race Start!

Here's my Woodlands Marathon race report! My 18th marathon, The Woodlands Marathon, took place in a wooded community north of Houston, Texas, on Saturday, March 5. I was a VIP because I attended a marathon talk and I lined up right behind the elites in the race - fun!

Weather: Clear skies, 50 (Nice!) - 70* (I don't think I was sweating until mile 13, but 70 is a little too warm.)

Course: Fairly flat course with some hills, shade trees at the beginning, but not at the end. I'm slightly sunburned.

Expo/Packet Pick-up:  At packet pick-up, I stopped at many of the tables to chat and see what was offered and it still only took me 30 minutes to get through.

4 AM Race Day: Blurry-eyed. Get Ready!

Race Morning: I woke up before my alarm went off and decided to stay up at 3:40. Because of that, I finished eating by 4 - a good thing! After getting dressed, I listened to the Fuel Like Meb video (here's my review on his book, Meb for Mortals). I was nervous, but I knew I had trained for the distance and that I'd feel better as soon as the race started. And I did!

Fuel Pre-race Day: No carbohydrate-loading this week for me. Last year, I finished faster after carb-loading (2015 race report), but since my pace has slowed down since then I don't think I can blame the lack of carb-loading for my finish time.

Fuel on Race Morning: oatmeal (topped with banana, raisins, brown sugar, instant caramel vanilla coffee), toast with peanut butter and honey, green apple Gatorade, vanilla bean GU gel at the start (but I forgot to have water with me - didn't bother my tummy, though!)


I Started Just Behind the Elite Runners

Getting to the Start Line: I live close to the start of the The Woodlands Marathon. I left home at 5:50 and parked at 6:10. That left me plenty of time before the 7 AM race. I had a little trouble getting into the starting area as a VIP, but I finally made it into the start area just behind the elite with time to spare.

Fuel During the Race: Gatorade Endurance drink and 5 GU gels (one every 5 miles or so): Salted Caramel (last gel, salty gel tasted so good at 22.5), Lemonade Roctane, Strawberry Kiwi Roctane, Vanilla Bean, Strawberry Banana. I drank at every aid station - every couple of miles or so.

I'm glad I had extra gels with me. I only saw one GU table rather than two like I planned on and the GU gels were served after the water and not before like they should be. I couldn't take gels and Gatorade exactly as planned, but I told myself, "Just roll with it!" I did and that gave me some extra confidence during the race so it's all good!

VIP Food Tent

Fuel Post-race: They had the best post-race food I've ever seen! For the VIP, Brio Italian chicken pomodoro, bison burgers and for the others there was Chickfila, Cane's Chicken and breakfast burritos. The very last thing I saw was exactly what I was looking for - chocolate milk!

Shoes: I wore the shoes I won in a giveaway (Yay!): Asics Gel-Quantum 360 shoes. I thought a bug bit my lower leg towards the beginning of the race and then I felt a stinging on my leg around mile 20 and on. After the race, I saw that my shoe tongue slid to the side and rubbed me raw, but I'm glad that I see no signs of black toe nails.

The Finish: The best part of my race was how good I felt throughout the race. Starting out at an easy pace and gradually putting forth more effort is new for me, but because I felt so much better towards the end of the race I plan to run the rest of my marathons this way. Rather than finishing with slower miles, mile 20 and on was run in 9 plus miles. My overall average pace was 9:45/mile and my last mile was my fastest at 9:04. I finished in 4:15:54!

That's me waving near the finish line. So fast - I'm a blur! 

Next Up: I don't know which race I'll do next, but I know what I'll blog about - racing without a watch. I used the Strava app instead of a watch. It was fun to try something new, but a little risky even when I trained that way. Have you tried something new in a race?

Race Facts (emailed to my husband on 3/9 because he was set to receive timed updates during the race - he didn't, but I'm happy to see the numbers)

10K Splits: 9:51 (downhills!), 10:06, 9:31, 9:34/mile
Average Pace for Last Mile: 9:04/mile (my fastest)
My Overall Average Pace: 9:45/mile
Finish Time: 4:15:54

My Finishing Place
362 of 888 - males and females
95 of 323 - all females
8 of 27 - females (age 50-54)

Comments

  1. Great race report! Congratulations on marathon #18 (wow!!) I'm glad to hear it went so well. I love a small expo. Your VIP start sounds amazing. And yes -- got to have chocolate milk at the finish. :) I haven't tried much new on race day but am considering running by effort for my next marathon. Which makes me think I should practice that today on my 20-miler, come to think of it.... I hope you're basking in the glow of a great race and your recovery goes quickly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Starting at an easy effort and picking it up later will make for a great 20 miler for you today!

      Delete
  2. Congratulations on your finish! How cool you got to go to VIP tent. I did that after Big Sur and the food we had was pretty tasty there. I have heard of the strava app but I never downloaded it. I don't know how I'd feel running a race without a watch. I'll have to read your recap about how it went.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I wish I could have had the VIP food when I ran Big Sur, too. That was a great marathon - one of my favorites despite the pain from all of the downhills - surprisingly!

      Delete
  3. Congratulations on a great race!! 18 marathons, holy cow! Enjoy your recovery :-)

    During my last marathon I tried a new flavor of Shot Bloks - I always train with shot bloks but never this particular flavor so I think that counts as new. It was fine :-)

    I'm more impressed that your Strava phone app held up that long. That thing kills the battery in my phone. I used it for a 14 mile run a couple months ago when I forgot my Garmin and I just barely made it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Hanna! I tested the app out on my long runs. I only had my Strava app running in order to save my battery, but at least it didn't die until about 20-30 minutes after the race. That made it worth having an earbud in my ear but not listening to music or a book, which would have been great.

      Delete
  4. Great job! Congratulations! I look forward to your thoughts on running without a watch. I can't imagine! Love the videos too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jennifer! I probably never would have tried it if my Garmin battery hadn't died.

      Delete
  5. Awesome finishing time!!! You rock!!! I just ran my very first marathon Saturday! It was the most awesome experience! I am hooked! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congrats on finishing your first marathon! I ran my first one 10 years ago - couldn't stop with just one. I hope you have many more in your future, too!

      Delete
  6. Replies
    1. Thanks, Robin! Road races are so different from the trail races you and I have both done, but they can be a lot of fun, too!

      Delete
  7. YAY!!!! Congrats on your 18th marathon!!! 2 more to 20!!!! Sounds like a great race and what an awesome way to finish strong! I love reading your fun running posts!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kate! I thought about you during the race. I'm thinking you need to make a trip to Texas for a race one of these days!

      Delete
  8. Anonymous3/07/2016

    Another great report Tina! I've been a silent lurker on you blog for awhile now and enjoy all of the race reports (I live and race locally here). I was the crazy guy with 3 kids around mile 18 waiting for my wife to pass when we spotted you and shouted your name. Good work!

    Gregg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A huge thanks to you and your kids for being out there and yelling my name. It's such a big deal to me especially near the end like that when spectators reach out. I hope that your wife had a great race day!

      Delete
  9. Congrats on a great race and fun experience!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kortni, thanks! I can't remember ever feeling that great at the end of a marathon before and that made it so much fun.

      Delete
  10. Congrats Tina! Great, detailed report. Way to stay strong through the finish! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Speaking of the finish... When you get close to the park where you finish, you think you're almost done, but I wasn't as close as I thought. I was so glad to finally see the finish line ahead!

      Delete
  11. Congrats on a great run! So cool that you were VIP and were up front behind the elites! Sounds like a nice spread of food at the finish! I always look for chocolate milk at the finish too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sharon! There was plenty of good food whether you had a VIP pass or not. There was much more food provided in the regular tent, but they didn't have bison burgers there!

      Delete
  12. Wow, so many great marathons. And yes 70 is a bit toasty for a marathon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I was chilled at the start and I hung onto my hand warmers for a few miles. I was glad that I dressed for warm weather, though, because the end wasn't very shaded and the sun beat down on us.

      Delete
  13. Well done on your race, Tina! Great time too :) I'm curious about how it went with the app. Since I used it for Eugene marathon with a friend, I found that the app measured more miles than there were. Maybe you had better luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Raina, thanks! The Strava app showed exactly 26.2 miles. That surprised me.

      Delete
  14. Nice work and wow...18 marathons! So cool! I love your running clips (are those gifs?) - I should totally do that when I post a race recap!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Yes, a jif image made when you hold your finger on your phone to take multiple photos one after the other.

      Delete
  15. Fantastic finish!! I love your finish line gif :) That is great. I am so impressed with your endurance, you really ran a perfect race. That is awesome you got to start up with the elites. I keep bookmarking your posts in case I ever get to train for a marathon, I love your fueling tips.
    Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you're able to train for a marathon soon!

      Delete
  16. Congratulations on a solid race! That's got to feel great to finish feeling strong, with your final mile being the fastest of the day. So cool to be a race VIP and start up near the elites, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It wasn't easy to find the correct VIP entrance at the start, but it was worth it!

      Delete

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting! It will go up as soon as I return from my run!

Popular posts from this blog

Run Fast. Eat Slow & My 15 Miler

Running: My 60 Mile Week

50 Mile Race Coming Up