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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Spectating Houston, part 2

We last left off with me drifting off to sleep in my hotel. One thing about Club Quarters, should you plan to stay before a race in the future: it is LOUD. Totally uninsulated, and street noises are blaring in your ear the whole day. I'd recommend ear plugs if you are racing! So after a rather disrupted night, I got up at six, and by 6:30 the gals and I were walking to a coffee shop near mile 1. We grabbed coffee, and were just in time to catch every single member of our team go by! It was a rush to see the elites pass, including Molly Huddle loping toward the American record, and also a thrill to watch our fastest guy, Rich, up in the thick of things. Next came Casey, running his first marathon and hoping for a sub-2:40, and then the guys were coming up fast - Paul; Tom, Wayne, and Paige, all working together; Jimi with Mike and Jeff (this would have been my pace group, and I wondered if I'd feel a little sad seeing them go by, but I didn't; I was too excited and caught up in the moment!).
6:57 pace group: Jimi, Mike, Jeff. Not pictured: ME.

After Daniella passed, we regrouped, and headed back out toward the finish area, planning to catch the women's half marathon finish. To our surprise, the wall next to our coffee shop had this amazing mural of a gorilla - the Power Miler's mascot!
Being apes! 

We trotted briskly over toward the finish, and honestly, we had just enough time to get situation and cheer for some favorites (like Bernard Lagat and Kevin Castille) before Molly Huddle ran to the finish, breaking the women's record. Apparently there was some hype about competition between Huddle and Hasay, but to me Hasay never looked into a race - I mean, she was fast, but it didn't look like she planned to fight for a record. After that exciting finish, we grabbed breakfast, before realizing that, if we wanted to get a good spot to watch Rich come in, we needed to get moving. We were tracking everyone, and so far everyone was right on planned pace. We realized once we left the breakfast place that we were on the wrong side of the road for marathoners, and to get to the other side, we had to make a huge loop behind the finish and past two security checkpoints. As we headed that way, rushing a little by now, we caught up to Doug - his half marathon was done, and that party boy ran a 1:27! Off no training and several vodkas! Crazy. We'd also picked up Preston (like me, spectating only) along the way, and all of us RAN to reach the marathon side of the chute before Rich did. We finally secured a spot right before mile 26. And yeah, I ran for the first time in five clogs. Twenty steps. Felt great.
All champs! 

And just like that, there was Rich! Looking super strong and on pace for a PR! He was obviously pumped about it - I would be, too, running a 2:28! From then on, it was a big coordination of tracking apps and photographs. Our team did great: Casey ran a 2:39; Paul ran his first marathon in 2:49 and WON HIS AGE GROUP at the competitive Houston marathon; Daniella ran 3:10, which was a 23 minute PR! Almost everyone else was at or near their goals; everyone ran a BQ! Our only panic moment was when Dave clearly stopped moving. Never fear: wife to the rescue. His wife actually ran back to find him, and shouted encouragement until he got enough energy to pull it together and cross the line (it was his first marathon - and the marathon is a brutal thing!). It was such an inspiration to see everyone finish - all the hard work all year paid off. We wrapped up the party with drinks in a team member's room and...yeah, the Saints lost. Never mind all that. I'd rather not think about it. Next year, playoffs! Next year, Houston!


  1. Sounds fun. My friends running had great times too, it was a good day! I'm always a little underwhelmed with American records. It's cool, but wow, athletes from other countries work so hard to succeed, and if they kick Americans' butts, I'm all for cheering for them too. Happy for Huddle and Hasay having good races, and the new Am record, but I'm really impressed by all the women who beat them too.

  2. Sounds like so much fun! Spectating can be hard with all the road closures and trying to get to the right place at the right time. I went to 2 different spots in Chicago - around mile 10 and around mile 22. It was tough! And then we took a train to get to the finish area but it was so crazy that we met the runners in a different area to avoid the chaos.

    Your teammates all ran amazing races! I'm so impressed! And I'm sure that Saints loss was so heart breaking for you guys after coming back from a sucky first half. Of course for us it was exhilarating. And unbelievable because the Vikings are known for being a heart break team. My very stable, not super emotive husband jumped up and then laid down on the ground when Diggs scored that touchdown. That's maybe the biggest display of emotion I've ever seen out of him. Ha!