Tuesday, January 16, 2018

It's Five O'clock Pils Somewhere: Houston Half Marathon (1/14/18)

Finishing up my race and my beer

Race: Houston Half Marathon
Location: Houston, TX
Goal Time: 1:38:30
Actual Time: 1:43:30

Right after Mile 11, the Saint Arnold Brewery had set up a tent on the left side of the road and were handing out Dixie cups of their clean and slightly hoppy Five O’ClockPils.  Two things went through my head as I passed them: 1) when I went to the brewery on Friday, I had not tried the Pils, and 2) It’s not like I’m going to win or even PR this race.  To quote AlanJackson: “At a moment like this I can't help but wonder, / What would Jimmy Buffett do?

I had already adjusted any plan away from running “fast.”  Instead, I planned to run at goal marathon pace (~7:30/mile) which would calculate out to around a 3:17 marathon (1:38:30 for the half).  Of course, Burns pointed out plans go “aft agley.”  

The sun is not hot, that clock is moving fast,
But my speed climbs.
This race passes like molasses in July
But it’s wintertime.

7 months ago when I registered for the Houston Half Marathon, it seemed like a great idea.  I was recovered from the MaltaMarathon and knew that training could be replicated.  By the time of Houston, I would be 2 months past the NYC Marathon, and 5 or 6 weeks into Boston training. 

Then life happened.  One medical issue, one bad training cycle, two minor injuries later and one terrible NYC Marathon later and I was in heap of crap.  2017 thankfully ended.  I woke up January 1, 2018 with 15 weeks until the Boston Marathon and ready to go.  Unfortunately, I also woke up late – sleeping thru my first planned workout of the year.  Also I woke up 15 pounds heavier than my Marathon PR and 25 pounds heavier than my Boston Marathon PR.  I also woke up with virtually no running miles for the previous three weeks.  15 weeks til Boston could be worked out; 13 days til Houston could not.

Mile 8
Photo by Rod Azadan

The race actually started fine.  Easy first mile followed by building speed every 5k (as I would at a Marathon) worked well.  At mile 8, the full/half split where Emma and Rod were cheering, I was feeling good.  I hit the 15k mark just under 69 minutes. (Two minutes earlier, Molly Huddle had already finished and set the American Record.)

As far as marathon test/ early season evaluation, things were going great.  While I was probably behind where I had been preparing for Malta, I was ahead of where I thought I was for today. 

It’s only half past eight but I don’t care.
It’s five o’clock somewhere.

The vague gameplan had been to drop the pace at 5k, 10k, 15k and then try my best to break 7 min/miles after 20k.  If I continued the rest of my plan, I would probably have gotten in under the 1:38:30 (3:17:00) goal.  But, right after mile 11, I ran past the St Arnold’s tent. 

Running back downtown - 5 O'Clock Pils, in hand

I first just took the Dixie cup size beer.  Then, after finishing that, they offered me a can for the road.  I took it and ran the last two miles drinking a clean refreshing (if not thirst-quenching) pilsner.  It’s only 8:30 and I’m only at mile 11, but it’s five o’clock somewhere.

What time zone am I on? What mile am I at?
It doesn’t matter, it’s five o’clock somewhere.

EnU Shoutouts –
Robbie broke 3:05 in the full
Girl Jesse ran a 1:47 half
Lauren ran a 1:26 half

Half Marathon, 5k (Saturday), Houston Double

We also enjoyed the rest of our weekend in Houston,

Lynn, from the Mars rover 2020 team, gave us a private tour of the Johnson Space Center on Friday:

Apollo Mission Control

Engines on the Saturn V rocket

Replica Shuttle with real Boeing 747

We went to three different local breweries:

8th Wonder:
Including actual Astrodome seats and AstroTurf on the walls

Saloon Door:
Operating the Crowler machine

St Arnold:
Collection of faux-Gothic paintings

 On the last day we went to Hermann Park and the Houston Zoo:

Watching kids feed the giraffes 

Playing a ball

Don't move Urvi, there's an elephant on your shoulder