So here I am to tell you the tale of the 2017 Houston Marathon! Every run has a story...if you stop to think about it, there are 30,000 runners at the event, and each one has their own story of how the day went. We were able to see some of them on social media, which is fun! So many factors go into a race...here is the story for this one!
We both took off work on Friday, 1-13 -- so, we were able to start heading toward Houston on Thursday after work. We stopped in a little town and ate at a local joint called Jean's. It was quite tasty, as most places like that usually are! Then we got back on the road and made it to Gatesville. We found a brand new Holiday Inn that treated us well -- the beds were comfy and the complimentary breakfast was delish! Then we got back on the road again and found our way to Houston.
Let's just say the driving in Houston is crazy. Not a fan :)
We stayed at the Four Seasons hotel downtown. The valet parking and lobby areas were under construction, but we found where to go fairly easily. The service at this hotel was outstanding!! They ushered us in, ushered us to the elevators, and overall went out of their way to talk to us and make us feel welcome. So nice! We were on the 19th floor, and when we walked into the room, the entire far wall was a window -- they had the curtains fully open, and the view of the city was breathtaking!
We got settled in and then walked a few blocks to the Convention Center, where the Marathon Expo was being held. Chris was able to pick up his marathon packet, and then we strolled through the booths for a bit. On our way back to our hotel, we picked up some sandwiches from a food court in the nearby mall.
That evening, we met our friend Alex for dinner at Tejas Grill and Sports Bar! Alex used to work with Chris, and has recently moved down to Houston for a different job. It was great to catch up with him -- he's a neat guy. We enjoyed our dinner, and then we walked down a few blocks to Phoenecia Food -- this was a very quaint grocery store, and next door was a restaurant/bar called MKT Bar. It was a hip little place and we enjoyed some drinks and great conversation.
Saturday, under the orders of Chris' running coach, we were to spend the entire day in the hotel room so that Chris could rest his legs. Oddly enough, we were both really looking forward to this!! It was great to have the opportunity to have such an extended period of relaxation. We decided to go back to MKT Bar and have some breakfast...it was just one block away. The trendy bar from the evening before had turned into a trendy eatery in the daylight! We really enjoyed the food there.
In the room, we watched movies and documentaries; read books and magazines; worked on digital scrapbooking; practiced using the Tyme hair iron. Etc! It was glorious! Chris sat in bed with his legs up most of the day. Perfect. I ran over and picked up some lunch from the grocery store, and then we relaxed some more. For dinner, we headed down a few floors in the hotel and had a yummy meal at the hotel restaurant called Quattro. They had a pasta buffet for the runners, and I got a seared tuna risotto. It was all very good!
Our day of relaxation was much needed! Chris did start to get pretty antsy though -- relaxing isn't natural for him! He tried to go to bed early too, but tossed and turned for awhile. He was so pumped for the next day!
Sunday morning, Chris was up at 4:00 am and I was up at 5:30...and we headed to the starting line at 6:00. He was in corral A, right behind the elite runners. We parted ways so he could get a good spot in the corral, and I began my walk down multiple blocks where I could see him run by after the start. The race started at 7:00 and he came whisking by so fast I didn't even see him. I did take a video though, and was able to see him on there!
From there, I began my long walk back to the finish line. It was not the best course for spectating, unfortunately. I wasn't able to see him along the course at all, without having to drive. With road closures and not knowing the city, that is always so difficult. So I stuck to walking. I found a good place at around mile 26...very close to the finish line. I read my book for awhile, and then watched the half marathon winners come through.
Chris had very specific 10k times he was wanting to run, and I was able to track him on an app on my phone. The data began coming through, and he was right on his times! I was so excited for him!!! Around mile 20 though, the time came through and it was about 4 minutes off his anticipated time. I began to worry. I began praying to God to be BOLD with Chris, to restore his energy and help him reach his goal that he worked so incredibly hard for! I prayed and prayed. Then the next time update came through and I immediately started to cry. He was not going to break 3 hours...he would be close, but he had slowed down even more and it wasn't going to happen. Something was going on. I just didn't know what.
I finally saw him coming down the road...definitely not at the speed he should have been going. I yelled for him, but he didn't hear me. At this point, I was still crying...I was so heartbroken for HIM, because I know how much this meant to him. I know how hard he had worked and what he had sacrificed. I had been 100% sure that he was going to do it at this race. I just couldn't wrap by brain around it.
I started walking to the Convention Center where we had agreed to meet after the race. Along the way, I attempted to get control of my emotions...I knew he would be upset, and that he didn't need to see my tears! I only had to wait for him for about 15 minutes, and then we met up and hugged. And when I tried to start talking, I just started crying again. He was fairly surprised by that, seeing as how I am not a crier and he's only seen me cry a handful of times. I was so proud of him!!! But so upset FOR him. I knew he was crushed. And he was. But he handled it with such grace.
We talked a lot about it in the hotel and at lunch and on the drive home. He worked through it. What happened around mile 20??? It was incredibly humid in Houston that weekend. The course even had released warnings about the humidity level. He was sweating out so much and not able to take in enough liquid along the course to replenish, so he became very dehydrated. His lips were dry and cracked, and he began to vomit along the course. It was a rough 6 miles there at the end. He had to keep stopping to throw up, and then had a hard time getting started back up again. His stomach wasn't cramping, but was severely hurting. With Abilene not being very humid, his body was just not prepared for such high levels of humidity. It was something completely out of his control.
If we had been somewhere less humid, I have no doubt he would have aced his goal! He will make it happen.
He's the most intense, extreme person I know...and to hear the other stories on social media just solidified how awful the humidity was for all of the runners.
Here's one of my favorite parts of the weekend -- we came downstairs at the hotel with our luggage, and were waiting for the valet to get our car. It was very crowded with lots of people trying to leave, so we stood there for a bit. Then I looked up, and Chris was gone. He had wandered over to the running course (it came by right in front of our hotel), and he was cheering on the final runners coming through toward the finish line. These were runners that had been on the course for over 7 hours...the last ones to come through. And even though he was horribly disappointed with his own run, he was encouraging them and supporting them. My husband is AMAZING. That's all I can say.
So...the three hour goal is still out there...and he will break it. I am confident of that!!!
PS -- if you'd like to see photos of our weekend, be sure to check out my Facebook or Instagram! Links are on the sidebar.