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Half Marathon

Many of you – well, several of you – well, one of you – asked that I do a post on the Houston Aramco Half Marathon. I’ve put off doing so waiting for some decent pictures, but I’ve come to the realization that as far as pictures of me go, there is no such thing as a decent picture.

But I do want to report on the race because it was great fun, despite the fact that I didn’t do as well as I’d like.

Positives first: when you participate in a big race like this, it’s a real party. The roads are almost lined with people cheering, the fellow racers are happy to be there, the organization is superb, and the freebies are great. I’m a sucker for a T-shirt and I got two out of this, so I was in heaven. Plus a free breakfast. The other major positive was that I finished, and in under ten minutes per mile. The third major positive was that the weather and the route were just perfect. About 45 degrees with beautiful sunshine.

The only real negative was that I had hoped and trained for a much better time. For some reason still to be completely explained, I have had major trouble with calf cramps the last four times I’ve run longer than eight miles. It happened in all my recent training runs and it happened in this race. I began to cramp about nine miles in, and fought with the cramping for the next four miles. I never seriously considered stopping, but I walked a lot more than I would have liked.

I had already done most of what I could figure out to avoid the cramping, including increasing my electrolytes, adding carbs the morning of the race, changing my breathing, etc. But I couldn’t beat the cramping. Since the race I’ve decided that it was my overall conditioning that was the major culprit: I had stopped almost every kind of conditioning training after my back went out this summer. So my plan for this year is to increase conditioning and try some electrolyte pills and figure this cramping out well before next year’s race, and then to do much better.

By the way, I’m very seriously considering signing up for the Saturday half marathon in Seabrook on March 15th. Anybody else want to race? The limit is five hundred participants, so let me know ASAP