I’ve yet to meet a runner who doesn’t love to dish war stories. Whether it was the toughest training run ever or the most-challenging race, runners enjoy reminiscing about our formidable feats . . . even those of us without fleet feet.
So everyone who finished yesterday’s Chevron Houston Marathon or, like me, the Aramco Houston Half Marathon without a doubt has a great war tale that should get as much mileage in the telling over the years as the race distances themselves.
The conditions, to put it mildly, were brutal, thanks to a downpour that soaked us during the first hour on a cold, blustery day (45 degrees but the wind chill made it feel like the mid-30s). We were truly Les Misérables but without the French . . . kind of like the movie.
This was my eighth Houston half marathon, and it was the worst weather by far. It’ll mesh nicely with my favorite miserable-conditions running war story—the 1997 ice storm Houston Marathon (still makes me shiver to think about it). I started off wearing a running jacket over my long-sleeve shirt and shorts, as well as a hat (a necessity with the rain), earwarmer, and gloves.
I took off the jacket at the third mile, wrapping it around my waist. The gloves became heavy and uncomfortable by mile four, so I ditched them and endured cold hands for the rest of the race. The earwarmer was pushed on and off my ears depending on which way the wind was blowing.
Because this is one of the best races in the universe, our wonderful supporters still came out to cheer us on. My favorite signs this year were: “Four Months Ago This Seemed Like a Good Idea” and “Segway Rental.”
There was only one band, which was near the finish, but some homeowners along the way blasted music. Every little bit helped with the distraction, as we maneuvered around all the puddles and discarded trash bags that some runners wore as protection early on.
My favorite part of the half marathon, as always, was crossing the finish line and getting a medal draped around my cold, damp, aching neck. No matter how slow my time is (and it was pretty pathetic this year), it always feels great to set a goal during the summer and achieve it in January.
For this very Les Mis runner, it was almost like winning a Golden Globe!