Building Excitement By Watching a Race

Marathoners and halfers are bundled up as they walk in my community.

In a mere six days, I’ll be running the Aramco Half-Marathon, the shorter version of the Chevron Houston Marathon. The Sunday before that pivotal day is one of growing excitement, as the reality of the upcoming event crashes head-on into the reality of one’s lack of good training and fitness (e.g., an ever-hurting left leg).

In years past, I would stew and grumble about how awful my training had gone while wondering how race day a week away would be. But this year all of that changed . . . thanks to a long-distance race that involved our community.

Cory May is on his way to winning the marathon in 3:02:44.

This is the second-straight year that USA Fit, which is a national marathon and half-marathon training program, has put on its USA Fit Marathon and Half-Marathon in the Houston area. Dubbed as “everyone’s marathon,” its draw is that it has a generous eight-hour time limit. That’s two hours longer than our Chevron Houston Marathon allows. USA Fit especially appeals to walkers; the Houston Marathon doesn’t, as is its right. When Houston decided to finally strictly enforce its six-hour time limit two years ago, USA Fit jumped in with its own event.

Sidebar: Every year around this time I read where faster runners snootily decry slower runners and walkers, saying that anyone who finishes a marathon slower than they do isn’t a marathoner. Last time I checked the dictionary, the definition of “marathon” is a distance, specifically 26.2 miles. Complete that distance? You’re a marathoner, no matter what your time is.

Last year the race was at a small, cramped venue. This time it was moved to our local University of Houston campus. The course was such that it circled our four-mile loop during its out-and-back route (twice for the marathoners). With only 1,500 runners and walkers, it didn’t inconvenience us very much. But it did serve to inspire me!

Walkers approach the 11-mile mark in our community. Numbers should NOT be on your back!

That morning, which was a chilly 25 degrees, I ran six miles while watching the runners and then walkers travel parallel to me (I was on the sidewalk, while they were on the coned-off street). Even though it was cold, they were ready to try to achieve goals they had set months ago when the temperatures were much too warm.

Sidebar: Oh, how we long for those too-warm days when the temps are in the 30s and below!

It's nice to have some noisy support!

As I watched them, I discovered that I couldn’t wait until it was my turn to be out on the streets of Houston, traveling 13.1 miles from start to finish. I was cheering them on as I jogged along only to find that they were the ones spurring me on! I just hope it’s going to be good karma that will push me towards the finish line Sunday.

Here is a runner's lifesaver: A water stop.

After I finished running, I stopped at my house and grabbed my Nikon dSLR with its Nikon 105mm lens. I wanted to document this event that was happening a mere five minutes from home. Unfortunately, the participants were so strung out once they reached our community at a little over seven miles from the start that there weren’t many groups to shoot. Ah, the loneliness of the long-distance runners! I know it well, being as slow as I am.

Is it an energy drink or is it milk?

Even though I didn’t get to take many photos, it was nice being among the competitors and thinking about what they were experiencing as they pounded the pavement. My final thoughts as I headed home? In one week that will be me going the distance and, hopefully, finishing my fifth Houston half-marathon. Sure glad it won’t be as cold!!

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4 responses to “Building Excitement By Watching a Race

  1. Good job getting out there Sunday morning in the cold. I took the day off. I did see some of the walkers when we were going to church.

  2. Bossy will be rooting for you. Pretend she’s in the sidelines! She’ll be the one drinking coffee and snapping photos of her feet.

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