Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chevron Houston Marathon 2012 Race Report


The weekend started off finding big time inspiration watching all the great runners competing in the Olympic Marathon trials Saturday morning and seeing Meb and Shalane win their perspective races. Afterwards we headed over to the expo to pick up our packets at the GRB convention center.  We pretty much were standing on our legs from 6:30 am till 4 pm when we made it home to rest for 30 minutes before heading out again for a DM pre-dinner meetup at Pronto Cucino. It was great catching up and finally meeting the DMers that I've been following for so long and carb up on some food.

Saturday night I'm still debating on whether or not I should wear my GoPro camera for my run and also whether I should wear my Vffs or my MT-20 Minimus shoes. I was thinking that the GoPro would be too much of a hassle to wear and mess with for 26.2 miles and as for my Vibrams the longest I had ran while wearing them was 15 miles and it was pretty painful for the last two miles of it. But I decide finally to go ahead and wear my Vffs I figured my feet were gonna be hurting regardless of the shoe I wore after mile 20 so I might as well wear the shoe I've been training in since March 2011. I had also decided on wearing the GoPro Cam since it would just be so cool to have video documentation of me running a marathon.


Alarm goes off at 4 am and I jump out of bed and get myself ready for the Marathon. Breakfast was a banana, a few granola bars and a gatorade. We head off at about 4:45 and park, seeing all the runners around walking to the GRB convention center is really getting me excited to start this thing. At 5:30 they have Catholic mass so we attend that and they have a blessing of our feet at the end which I definitely took part in. We then check in our bags, port-o-johns, and head to the starting line.

MILES 1 - 5

We are in the OPEN Corral so we start 10 minutes after corral A starts. After some introductions by the Houston mayor and the 10 minute wait the crowd starts moving and we are off. I'm running at first with my brother Willie. I wanted to keep a 10:30 - 10:45 pace through the early miles so I knew we wouldn't stay together for too long. But we were able to stay together long enough so we could get some footage of each other with the GoPro camera which was fun. A little after the convergence of the halfs and fulls I told Willie to go ahead and wished him well on his marathon. These miles felt real good the crowds were out cheering and it led me to run faster then planned so I kept having to remind myself to slow it down because if I didn't I knew the later miles I'd be doing some major walking. I also ran into Julia and her running group of 80's themed ballerinas. Its always nice to see someone you know on the course.

Shared Photo
Running alongside Dinh
MILES 5 - 10

Still feeling good just taking it all in giving high fives to the crowds and hearing a lots of them shout out my name or comment about my Gopro camera like Look he's got a "(webcam/lil camera/GoPro) on his head" which really got me pumped. Sometime around these miles Dinh another DMer comes up and runs besides me and ask "Are you Jeremy?" I tell him yes and he introduces himself and runs besides me for a bit before I tell him I'm gonna slow it down as I'm running faster than planned. I also ended up seeing a barefoot runner and chatting him up to let the miles go by. Once the half marathoners split off  around Rice University the roads open and its not so congested anymore so most of the weaving is done with. During this point I start grabbing food from the crowd bananas/oranges/pretzels. I'm not sure if it was the crowds food or just my stomach but I started to feel the need to go #2. It was probably a good thing people were holding up signs that said "Don't POOP your pants" because that gave me the motivation to go ahead and stop and take care of business. I won't go into details but I was in the port-o-john for a good 5 to 7 minutes but if felt like forever! Knowing I had lost some time but also feeling better I start picking up my pace to make up for that lost time passing many people and finally reaching some of the familar runners I had been running with previously before the stop.

MILES 11 - 13.1

Getting back to my planned marathon pace everything is feeling pretty good until about mile 13.1. I start getting the feelings of the beginnings of a cramp on my right calf. If you've followed any of my training you know that I've suffered through some tough calf strains so I slowed it down a notch until that pain went away and luckily the pain subsided and I was able to run at a strong pace again. 13.1 more miles to go!!!
Messing with the GoPro Cam probably making sure its on.

MILES 14 - 17

These are tough miles the crowds are a bit thinned out as we go down Westpark but there is also this little hill that we have to go up. People start groaning, others are pumping themselves up by screaming "hills are our friends" "They make you stronger". I love it when other runners try to pump everyone up. So I go up and down the thing and finally make it back to some crowds down Post Oak Blvd. where the Galleria is. Whenever I'm tired and see the crowds I make my way to the right or left so I can get some motivation from them. I loved reading the signs like "Chuck Norris never ran a Marathon", "Worst Parade Ever",  "Run like a  Kenyan and quit after 2 hours"

MILES 18 - 20

This was my first Marathon 2 years ago and back then along Woodway street I saw President George H. W. Bush but didn't have a camera to document it. I thought to myself as I was passing that same area wouldn't it be cool if he was back here again. As I'm passing St. Martins Episcopal Church I see him there again. So I take the time to stop and get not just one pic but two because I had to make sure I had a picture of me shaking hands with this great American President. Talk about flying high, I was excited about meeting and taking the pic with the ex-pres that I had once again picked up my pace and was just running along crossing 610 and into the Memorial Park area.

MILES 21 - 24

Still chugging along my feet hurt, my legs were hurting, my whole body was hurting but this is a marathon and that's how its suppose to feel right! Lots of people are slowing down their paces to walking at this point but I was trying my best to keep myself running at my goal pace. Its rougher roads here as the cement is mixed in with some pebbles so I decided to run on the grass for a bit but then I step on a rock,which sucked, so I go ahead and just run on the roads. I see a beer truck, I forget what the brand was, and I decide I'd get a cup. Talk about the best beer ever! It tasted great and I was chatting with some other runners and cheering them as we drank and ran together.

MILES 25 - 26

Entering downtown you can see the George R Brown Convention center which meant the finish line is RIGHT THERE! I pick up my pace probably too much as I soon tire out and start walking for a bit but motivate myself to run again as I knew a PR would be mine today. I'm passing runners left and right I see one of my friends from Beaumont and I try to motivate her to run with me. My legs have found new energy and I'm flying. I'm in celebration mode.

MILES 26 - 26.2

Crowds are to the left and right everyone cheering for us. I'm pumping them up by telling them I want more and raising my arms. The finish line is there and I run as hard as I can, my lungs are hurting, my legs are hurting, I want to slow down but I don't. I raise my arms in celebration and savor the moment a bit before turning off my Garmin. I had just completed my 6th marathon and a new PR! Official time: 4:40:07. What a great day!

SPLITS: 10:23, 10:25, 10:14, 10:34, 10:12, 10:08, 10:20, 10:04, 10:22, 9:58, 10:08, 10:14, 10:28, 10:14, 10:34, 10:40, 10:17, 10:17, 11:12, 10:49, 10:45, 10:52, 10:44, 10:49, 10:54, 10:39, 7:40(0.45)

Running with the GoPro Camera wasn't bad at all. I might even do it for my next marathon. I set the setting to take pics every 10 seconds and when I looked back at while editing the pics weren't as fluid as when I had it set to take pics every 5 seconds. So I'll have to work on that if I run with it again. My Vibrams worked out really well for me. I'm definitely glad I went with them for this run.  With all the stops I made during this marathon like the restroom break, meeting the pres, and messing with the GoPro cam I know my time could have been better but who cares I enjoyed every minute of it.

My next marathon is going to be the Gusher marathon in March in Beaumont, TX. I'll take the time to recover some and hopefully I'll be able to get another PR for my hometown marathon. Thank you for reading my race report and thank you to all the DMers and everyone that follows and motivates me during my training.

Check out the edited GoPro footage here:
Part I: http://youtu.be/on4dlCX78Uk 
Part II: http://youtu.be/f83I_omW7zY 
Part III: http://youtu.be/MWvvVqxE2IY 
Part IV: http://youtu.be/VPc2GbCHLaQ


  1. Way to go Jeremy! Congrats on the PR and thanks for sharing your wonderful account of what sounds like an awesome race. I totally agree about taking your two longer stops(bio-break and prez!)...both worthwhile in my book, but just factoring those in, you can be confident that an even better PR is in your near future! Rest & recover well and then keep up the super training!

  2. So awesome that you had a chance to meet HW, Guns. Great stuff, my friend.

  3. I also ran into Julia and her running group of 80's themed ballerinas.gourmethouston