Houston Half Marathon 2017 & WHAT Sandwiches?!

I admit, I was really not looking forward to the 2017 Aramco Houston Half Marathon. Though I had signed up enthusiastically the same day that I ran the year prior and Mark was pumped up and excited for the Chevron Houston Marathon, I was  dreading it.

Year after year, I’ve been undertrained for this race. Now that I’m on the edge of thirty, I know that its getting more and more dangerous for my long term health. I sign up with the best of intentions,  but I always seem to find an excuse. This year, it was 20 degrees and windy on training days. Last year, it was that I was busy with the move. It’s always something, and it doesn’t help that the most important runs for the timing of this race are during the holidays.

It wasn’t just that. I was feeling really overwhelmed with the fact that I was heading to Houston and I knew I wouldn’t be able to see everyone who I wanted to see. I get lonely up here, so I was pretty bogged down about it. I kept reminding friends and family, “remind me I’m NOT doing this race again.” “The weather is too cold up here, I’m NOT doing this next year.” “Don’t let me sign up again.”

Spoiler alert: I signed up again for next year.

kelsie-oreta-2017-aramco-houston-half-marathon

What Sandwich?

One of my favorite authors and by far my favorite public speaker on the subject of creativity, Elizabeth Gilbert, says “The question is not, ‘What do I love?’ The question is ‘What do I love so much that I don’t mind eating the shit sandwich that comes along with that thing?”.

In her book, Big Magic,  the above video, and podcast, Magic Lessons, she argues that it’s not just about finding what you love, but it’s also about acknowledging that whatever it is you love comes with a truckload of things that are distressingly bad and accepting those things as well. Love something so much that it’s all worth it.

My Shit Sandwich

As I mentioned, weather here in Connecticut during training isn’t so great. The timing of the race isn’t ideal. Years prior, I saw far more people I knew from Houston–on the course cheering, volunteers, runners. That part was a little disappointing. The heat and humidity expected on the day of the race called for a yellow flag. And yeah, I was sore.

Then there was the waiting. Mark runs the full marathon, and though I thought I had made plans for someone to pick me up, there was a misunderstanding and I found myself sitting in my salty, sweaty, rained-on, yuck for a few hours alone getting more sore and exhausted by the second.

Why I’m Eating it Anyway

I saw my dear friend Kellie of Yoga-Run-Repeat before the race & we caught up. I joke about being raised by the streets of Houston, but it’s true: all of the stories of mayhem, madness, and juvenile delinquency unfold as I run this course. There was hardly a single spot unoccupied by people cheering for their loved ones, funny signs, helpful people who brought along donut holes and treats for complete strangers. The encouragement felt by the surrounding community is unparalleled.

Marathon spectators are what it’s all about. I know it can get boring on the sidelines, so I act really ridiculous whenever I catch someone’s eye, I cheer for them A LOT, say silly things, just act crazy and make people laugh. Though I was embarrassed that Mark put ‘Tiny Kelsie’ on my bib again this year, a volunteer saw it and said “You ran last year!” Then got embarrassed that she knew. I can’t blame her for noticing, I spend more energy encouraging people to cheer than I do running the race! The last mile I was raising the roof to the bigger crowds and it was like making a wave happen.

People were telling me that they were proud of me. Who I don’t even know. I’ve done so many bigger things in my life with little to no recognition, and all I have to do is run around for a couple of hours and that random stranger was proud. That’s spectacular.

I can’t not do this race. Remind me next year when I’m forcing myself onto a treadmill for a few hours while it’s snowing outside.

2017-aramco-chevron-houston-half-marathon-medals-2

Can I run a half marathon with a fever? With the flu?

These are the questions that I found myself facing Saturday and Sunday. After two days of having a sore throat I attributed to my overzealous use of a space heater, I found myself, on Saturday, a tad hung over and all the way miserable. I could barely keep my eyes open, my throat was in tremendous pain, and after weeks of wearing three pairs of socks and multiple pairs of pants just to sit around the house, I dusted off my summertime pajama shorts and was rockin’ those.

The day progressed and I just got worse. Noises seemed louder, my head hurt. How was I going to do the race the following morning?

After getting a few things ready for Mark, I, still without a firm decision as to what I was going to do the following day, was in bed before 7:30 p.m.. I slept like a rock, lemme tell ya. I had dreams of sleep, for crying out loud, but by 4 a.m., Mark was up and raring to go. I thought about the new race medal rack I just bought and little else, drank a few sips of the coffee my husband had prepared for me and found the clothes that I hadn’t set out the night before.

I warned everyone I came in contact with about my ailment, gave air hugs, and then started the race with only my nap afterward in mind. During the first mile I could feel sweat all over my face, whereas usually I sweat first elsewhere, and definitely not until after the first mile. It was fever sweats, and it was at that time I knew that I definitely wouldn’t achieve a PR that day. Despite this, I had plans to meet friends at the finish line, so I ran the entire time outside of a bathroom break (which I would usually take reluctantly) and for all the water stops.

At 2:24:49, it was undoubtedly my worst half marathon time by a lot. But, boy did I give it hell.

So, can you run  a half marathon with flu-like symptoms? Apparently, yes. SHOULD you run a marathon with flu-like symptoms? Emphatically NO.

After running half marathon sick: 2015 Aramco Houston Half medal

But I sure liked the 2015 Aramco Houston Half bling!

 Featured image by Ryan Hyde on Flickr.

Metro PCS Dallas Marathon and Half Marathon 2014

On Saturday, we gathered with three of our closest friends and trekked from Houston to Dallas for the Metro PCS Dallas Marathon and Half Marathon. I’ve been to Dallas more than a couple of times in my life, and well, it’s Dallas. So I don’t have nearly  as much to say as I did about the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C..

But! I will say that if you’re making your way from Houston to Dallas, I highly recommend stopping off for lunch in Leona, Texas at The Pecan Grove Cafe. The teeny tiny town only has one hundred and eighty people, and we were surprised how downright delicious their only lunch restaurant turned out to be. Best dream bar of my life!

The race expo had all of the usual vendors there, and the guys couldn’t even find a hat that suited their needs. We grabbed a coupon to Luke’s Locker and drove to the one in Colleyville, where we stayed the night with our friend’s parents.

My friend’s mom made a super cute sign for the race evoking everyone’s inner Jimmy Fallon.

marathon spectator sign EW

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