Sunday, October 28, 2007


Late last night, I posted my strategy/plan for this morning's Half Marathon, something I've done before a number of races. In some ways, today was either make or break for me. I really needed a good race and some indication that I'm going to be able to get back on track for Houston. To be honest, a poor race today and I may very well have come home and switched from the full to the half for January. I've never finished a long race strong. Never! I needed to finish strong today.

I arrived right on time and made my way over the marble floored bathrooms at the Doubletree like a wily Houston racing veteran. My buddy, Danny, from the Woodlands was impressed with that tip. Then I made my way over to the machine. I'm referring to the machine that is the Koala/Luke's Houston Half marathon, managed and directed by the Houston Striders This race runs like a clock. Every detail in order. Plenty bathrooms, smooth chip pickup, fun/challenging course, perfectly run water stations, fun, fun, fun post-race party, just a wonderful race experience.

I picked up my chip, tied it on and went to the back of the pack and did some stretching. After a wonderful rendition of our Star Spangled Banner, we were off.

Mile 1 was mile 1. I wanted to get through the first couple of miles with plenty left in the bank, just warming up. Still, I didn't want to borrow too much time and blow it early. Mile 1 was 13:28. Now, that's Garmin pace. I don't know if it was the buildings or what but Garmin arrived at 1 mile about 30 yards short of the first marker. I think there was a problem with the Garmin at the start because I arrived at the mile markers consistently about 10 or so seconds late. No worries, though.

Mile 2 - 13:34. I'm still doing my easy, warmup thing here. At this time I'm thinking I'd like to get to 3 miles feeling really, really fresh. Then it's just a 10-miler after that.

Mile 3 - 13:37. I lost about 20 seconds with a bathroom break at the 2.5 mile water stop. Still, no worries. When I came out of the port-a-potty, I found myself in the middle of a leapfrog with a couple of FBF'ers. They were so cute. "Tag! You're it." I must admit it was annoying. I left them at the 45 underpass and never saw them again.

Mile 4. Ok, it's time to get down around that 13:15/13:20 mark that I wanted to run through the halfway point. I ended up with a 13:11. Just right on the mark.

I'm really starting to feel good at mile 5. I had a Gu at the water stop. Mile 5 split was 13:03

After mile 5, I start to think about easing my way just below 13 for 2 or 3 miles.

Mile 6 - 12:52
Mile 7 - 12:41

Got a great shout out over the loudspeaker from Coach at the halfway point. Oh, and I forgot to mention. This race, I sported sunglasses for the trip(s) eastward and if you ask me, it made all the difference.

Not much commentary from here on out. The splits speak for themselves.

Mile 8 - 12:36
Mile 9 - 12:24
Mile 10 - 12:19 (starting to really crank it up with a little over 5K left).

I'm so zoned out that Steeeve starts running with me and it's well over 100 yards before I even notice him there at my side. I notice a shadow and turn to see coach running there with me. I think I said, "Hi! Bye!" It really was good to see you there Steeeve. Oh, that reminds me. Reuben jumped in around mile 7 or 8 and was going to run with me for a few miles but I think I dissed him too. I feel so bad. It was great to see my hero, Reuben, but I think I just wanted to go by myself. Reuben, you rock!!!

Mile 11 - 12:12
Mile 12 - 12:17

With a little over a mile to go, I had managed to get my average pace down in the 12's and I start to thing that I may just finally finish a race strong.

Mile 13 was tough. I was fading and fading fast. I took a couple of short walk breaks but maintained a 12:20 pace nonetheless. I cruised in for an OFFICIAL 2:48:45. That's right!!! 11 minutes and 14 seconds faster than last year.

Here are the splits again so you can see them all together - 13:27 / 13:34 / 13:37 / 13:11 / 13:03 / 12:52 / 12:41 / 12:36 / 12:24 / 12:19 / 12:12 / 12:17 / 12:20 / 11:33 pace for the final .1 miles. Now, by calculations, that's about a 50 mintute per mile negative split for the second half of the race.

I'm excited about the PR. I'm excited about the 2:48 and change which is the official cutoff time for the race and puts me on track for a sub-6 hour marathon at Houston. But I'm stoked at how I finished this race. I have NEVER finished a race strong. I've always faded and faded hard at the end of these long races. Today, I was picking people off left and right the second half of the race. Now THAT was a totally new experience for me and one I could get used to. :) Per my buddy Danny as well as coach Matt, I just set my sights on the next person and just worked away at her. Then, I'd put another in my sights and pick him off. Lordy, I don't know how many runners I passed that last 6 miles but it was a blast. I ran through all the water stops and Gu breaks. I only walked a little going up the underpass at Studemont and for about 10 seconds at mile 13.

I so needed this race. And to think I almost didn't run it for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that my training has sucked the last few weeks. I just registered for this race on Saturday afternoon. Coach suggested that I should be energized after a race like this and I AM!!!


Where's the next giant?


jamoosh said...

Brilliant! Way to go Vic. The six hour marathon time is going DOWN!

Steeeve said...

He's baaaaack. Next giant - 25k!

J~mom said...

Vic that is just sweet! Congratulations!

Steve Bezner said...


I was thrilled to see you cross the finish line so early. Last year you were one of the last, but this year there were plenty behind you.


p.s. - no more blogging hiatus!

Jill said...

Great job!! It was great seeing you out there!

barbara said...

I did that last year with the sunglasses. On my face in one direction, in my hands going the other. Made all the difference in the world.

Great race Vic!!!

Tiggs said...

Each time I saw you, you were in the zone and looking strong. And when I saw you after the finish you looked great and happy! Way to go Vic!

Pony and Petey said...

SOOOOOO proud of you, my friend!! It was a joy to share in your PR happiness yesterday!!

Sarah said...

Way to go Vic! Can't believe I never saw you!

Jessica, a Houston Runner said...

YEAH! seeing you so happy after you finished myade my day! love ya Vic! Way to go!

jen said...

Yay for PRs!!!! You looked awesome at the finish!!