Running From a Sale

Our standard beautiful Texas sunrise illuminates the race start.

Our standard gorgeous Texas sunrise illuminates the race start.

While I was at mile nine of yesterday’s USA Fit Half Marathon, I reminded my addled brain cells that sometimes it’s best not to buy things just because they’re on sale.

Case in point? The aforementioned half marathon.

Last June I got an e-mail for a cut-rate price for the USA Fit Marathon/Half Marathon. Even though I already was signed up for the Aramco Houston Half Marathon, which I slogged through two weeks ago, I was intrigued. Why? The course is practically in my neighborhood, which means no leaving the house at 5:15 a.m. to get to the start. Plus it was really cheap for a long-distance event.

Running downhill on new roads (complete with rebar)

Running downhill on new roads (but watch out for the rebar!)

Of course, I worried that my legs might not want to participate in another 13.1-mile race a mere fortnight after Houston. But, hey, it was so cheap!

Fortunately, my lower limbs pretty much felt fine during the run. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for my mental tenacity, mostly because the temperature was 63 degrees at the start, rising about seven or eight degrees by my slow finish (albeit three minutes faster than Houston’s half). I almost missed the wet and blustery cold. Almost! Even though it was supposed to be overcast, the sun baked us, especially in the latter miles when we were subjected to hills.

What goes down, must go up!

What goes down, must go up!

Speaking of which, the course was in beautiful Sugar Land where we pride ourselves on two things: Lots of concrete (yes, the surface was tortuous) and no hills. None!

This was the fifth year for USA Fit’s small but well-organized full and half marathons, and for the fifth-straight time, the course changed. In an effort to impact traffic as little as possible for an event that has an eight-hour time limit, we spent a mile or so going down residential streets and making u-turns over a three-mile stretch. Then after we ran past the start-finish area at the University of Houston branch, we headed for a part of University Boulevard that hasn’t opened to cars yet.

Because it’s not finished.

Fortunately, it’s just cleanup and pouring cement in medians that still needs completing. And even though the concrete was hard as . . . well, cement, it was nice and smooth. No potholes like in the mean streets of Houston.

Unfortunately, there were two nasty hills (nasty because to me hill = hell, especially late in a race) that had been built to carry the road over creeks. I had been visualizing and savoring in the pancake flatness that is our lovely community only to be hit upside the head and my aching left achilles tendon with these mini mountains.

Love the medal!

Love the medal!

You would think that that final hill would propel me towards the race’s end. But, alas, not at all. We still had a little over a mile along a wide sidewalk to traverse before we took a sharp left turn to that wonderful finish line.

So very Texas

So very Texas

As well as the cutest finisher’s medal I’ve ever received!

So now that my 11th half marathon is in the books, you might think that I’ll be taking it easy, enjoying much-shorter training runs and races.

But you would be wrong.

In about five weeks, on March 3, I plan to be at the starting line of the Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Half Marathon, which I ran two years ago. Why? Need you even ask?!? Last July, when I signed up, the entry fee was only $22!

Well, it sure seemed like a good idea at the time!


6 responses to “Running From a Sale

  1. Linda Croto Lucas

    Susan – this is so cute. I love it!!
    Linda Croto

  2. Great race report, Susan!

  3. Love it – thanks for sharing. Glad you like the medal – you know it’s a bottle opener right? Just in case you get stuck somewhere and need a bottle opened, and just happen to have that medal around your neck!

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