Tuesday, January 17, 2006


All right--I'm finally somewhere with Internet access! Unfortunately, my home access won't be reconnected until next Wednesday. So I'll be flying blind at home for over a week.

Post-marathon recovery has been slow and somewhat painful. My legs were pretty sore and tired yesterday, and going down stairs was a very slow, step-by-step process. Something of a barely controlled fall, over and over again. Today, stairs are somewhat better--I can make it down a little more easily--but I'm still hobbling around quite a bit.

Although it didn't feel like it at the time, I think I had a pretty good first marathon experience. On the day of, though, I was pretty darn grumpy:

I had not slept a wink the night before. I tossed and turned the whole night, and maybe I dozed in fits, but it really felt like I didn't sleep at all. GPG also had problems sleeping. In fact, we were still up at 1 a.m. (before a 5 a.m. wake-up call), eating some food in the hopes that it would help us sleep a little better (I ate the leftovers from our carbo-load the night before at Carrabba's). I think the food helped GPG, but I was out of luck. Hence the grumpy face at breakfast.

GPG and I found some kind people to take pre- and post-marathon pictures of us. Unfortunately, GPG's eyes are closed in both of them. Pre-race:


Here's a better post-race picture of GPG. He actually felt pretty good after the race, and his recovery has definitely been faster and easier than mine. Unfortunately, he hit the wall around mile 22 and slowed down considerably. Before 22, he had been running at a 4:30 pace, maintaining approximately 9-minute miles interspersed with mile-long walks. But it started warming up quite a bit, and I think he got too overheated and wore himself out.

And here I am, post-race. Clearly, I'm a little fatigued.

I started the race very, very slowly. At each mile, volunteers call out the total elapsed time and the pace at which runners who are passing the mile marker at that moment are maintaining. I heard 13-minute pace calls for the first three miles or so before I figured I'd better pick up the pace.

For the most part, the pace calls dropped in time with each mile marker I passed, even when I stopped to walk. By the time I was at the final few miles, I was getting around 11-minute pace calls. I finished with a time of 4:44:55 and actually ended up negative-splitting the marathon. The first half took me about 2:25, and the second half took me around 2:19.

I had hoped to run a 4:30 or so, but I'm still pretty satisfied with my time. I ended up walking a lot less than I had thought I would, which I'm happy about. I also caught up with GPG in the last 0.3 miles and we managed to finish the race together, with exactly the same time! I was very happy about that, too.

After the marathon, we wanted to take baths, but we had no bath stuff. So we went to an Origins store, where a sales clerk very kindly gave us a free sample of bath salts:

I think she could tell were were somewhat in pain and probably felt sorry for us. I'll have to go back to the store and actually buy something in gratitude for that clerk's niceness to a couple of hobbling marathoners.

The Houston Marathon has usually given out sweatshirts to marathon finishers, but this year they had something different: t-shirts made out of synthetic material, with nice mesh sections on the sides. Work-out/exercise shirts, basically. Quite useful. I'm planning on wearing it sometime this week.

Here is the front, plus the finisher medal. You can tell that my face is a bit chapped from wind, sun, and wiping sweat off my face for 5 hours:

And here is the back:

All in all, a good marathon experience (although I'll be happier when my legs fully recover and I don't walk the gimpy walk any more)! They're actually kind of fun, in a very masochistic kind of way. All those people cheering for you as you run gives you a great feeling, and even the running itself was not as arduous as I thought it would be. Maybe I'll run another.


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