About a week and a half ago I ran the Houston Rodeo 10k to try and get a sub hour 10k time. As most of you know who have been following along my running journey, these past few weeks have been filled with injury and pain and frustration. Still, I paid my registration fee and wanted to try the best I could to get a good proof of time for Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend in 2018.
A couple big perks of this race:
- Local, so no traveling, no extra expenses, I get to sleep in my own bed and eat my own food.
- Low cost. Compared to Disney pretty much any race is cheap but this one wasn’t bad at $35.
- Late start time. This is good and bad but good in the fact that I got to sleep until 6:45am!!! Earlier start races you need to be at the event by that time so this was a nice perk.
Negatives of this race:
- NO MEDAL!!! I wasn’t sure when I registered because there wasn’t really anything on the site that said one way or another but in the end nope no medal
- Limited packet pick-up and in a difficult location (for me). There were only 4 days to pick up your packet and not available at all on race day. Boo! 45 minutes out of my way (each way) to get my race bib.
- Hills. Ok that’s probably a little dramatic but road inclines and A LOT of them.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. So before race day was even here I talked my good friend and running wizard Amy into running this race with me (check out her blog here). She runs a faster pace than me but a pace that I want to get to. I knew she would easily be able to run this with me and help me keep on pace to PR. Thank goodness she agreed because I would have been lost on this course without her!
Fast forward to race day and I get to downtown Houston around 7:45am. Finding parking wasn’t as bad as I thought and I walked over the the starting line area to meet Amy. We make our way through the maze of people and to the start line staging area. I had my honey stinger waffle and some Nuun to have something in my stomach and just like that the race started pretty much on the dot at 9:20am. Yeah weird start time I know. Luckily it was a gorgeous overcast, low humidity, in the 50’s day. For Houston that’s pretty much perfect weather conditions!
The first mile was downtown and we were pacing a little fast at a 9min mile but its pretty hard to tell how fast you are going downtown with all the buildings messing up the GPS signal. Our watches beeped almost exactly at the 1 mile marker which was nice and we headed out of downtown and out to Allen Parkway where the inclines started.
Now, you may remember I have calf issues right now and for the most part they were doing ok. The inclines though killed my quads because I have done NO hill training other than what happened during the races for Disney. There were 8 in total so yeah that was no fun :P. We got to mile 3 and I was starting to get pretty hot. At the second water station I poured water on my head to cool off and we walked for about a minute. Back at it and our pace did slow down to about a 9:40 which was the goal pace. Amy, true to her word, kept me entertained with her stories from Princess Weekend which she just got back from. Like I said earlier, thank God she was here because while I was in pain and struggling but listening to her and focusing on what she was saying helped me so much. In all honesty the run didn’t feel like an hour simply because running with a friend who has plenty to tell you about makes the time fly by.
Between mile 3 and 5 there were plenty of inclines and I did stop 2 more times for maybe 1 minute each to catch my breath. I was struggling today with breath and I really didn’t want to pass out. The hills kept coming and we continued to power through. Our pace did slow a lot but my leg a few times was going numb so we adjusted the goal to get a great finish time and for me to be able to walk at the end! The sun had also started to peak out which was raising the temps as well. Not terrible but the sun is not my friend so it definitely didn’t help what was going on with me.
A little after mile 6 JP, Amy’s husband, meet up with us and ran the last .2 miles in with us. Since he needed to meet us at the finish line anyway it made sense. Finish line in sight we powered through to get a 1:03:21 official time. Its 3 minutes slower than what I wanted but in light of all that was going on with my body I’m really excited about this time. Yes I wish I could have sucked it up and done better but lets be honest, my training has been crap. I ran 6 miles 2 times leading up to this race and outside of that I was lucky to run more than 20 minutes. Yes I’m disappointed but at the same time I’m not. I know I pushed as hard as I could and I had the sore muscles the next day to prove it. I also know I kept my body in check because the days after the race I could barely walk because of the pain in my calf. If I had pushed harder I think I could have done even worse damage and I definitely didn’t want that.
I know I could have a sub hour 10k time on a flat course and a 100% healthy body. Neither one of these things happened this race day so I’m proud of my time and I’m really happy I got to spend some quality time with Amy. We don’t get to see each other as much anymore because of crazy schedules so quality running time is always good!
Overall I think this race was well organized and a fun event to participate in. I’m sad there was no medal but post race refreshments were plentiful (albeit far away from the finish line). I have my sights set on the Houston 10k in October to, once more, chase that sub hour 10k!
CHIME IN!!! Have you ran the Houston Rodeo 10k before? Do you like local or travel races? Hill, are they your friend or enemy?