Sunday I ran the Moody Gardens Holiday Half, and I have very mixed feelings about it. On one hand, it was a small race, very few people to dodge, and I had a great time running this half marathon, if only because I saw a definite improvement in my running and pacing. But on the other hand, there were some definite drawbacks.
First off, the race itself: it was held at Moody Gardens in Galveston, TX. The course was a two-loop course that went around the park and some surrounding roads. It was not, however, as scenic as I had hoped, but there were still some really pretty views of Galveston Bay that made it worth it. There were a couple of out and backs, too, and a lot of parking lot, which wasn’t very pretty at all.
The half marathon course had a ton of aid stations, like every mile, with water, Gatorade, and GU (the pre-race information said Hammer Gel, but that wasn’t the only thing they got wrong). That turned out to be both a positive and a negative, I suppose. It was positive because, if I hadn’t brought my giant FuelBelt water bottle with my own GU in the pocket, it would have been very convenient to stop and grab fuel or hydration. However, I did have my bottle, and I didn’t stop because the crazy wind would have blown water and Gatorade right into my face. And it was too cold to be running with water on my face.
It was a really windy day, too. At the 8 a.m. start time, the temperature was around 46 degrees, but the heavy winds meant a wind chill of 34 degrees. So basically I was running my first half marathon as a Texas resident in Massachusetts weather. That was… not so good. There were some serious headwinds, but there were also tailwinds, so it kind of balanced out. When I picked up my packet, I was so cold in my hoodie and jacket over my tank top that I considered a couple of options:
- Run in the tank and my arm huggies, and pray I don’t freeze to death;
- Run with my hoodie and chuck it later;
- Put the race tech t-shirt on over my tank and pray that my rookie mistake won’t cause serious chafing.
I also got a nifty little plaque to hang on my wall, plus the obligatory race bling. I ran my best effort on this one, and I did really well, even with an extra half mile thrown in. I feel very strong right now, with very little discomfort (just a little fatigue and muscle soreness). I’ll run another half marathon in early 2016 and see if I can actually get an official PR time. If I hit 1:45, which seems like it is within real reach, I’ll start talking about training for a full marathon. But until then, I love the half marathon distance: it’s challenging and exhilarating. And I did have fun running this race, lonely as it was (small field…), but I have fun running even the suck-fests. Which, with the wind, this one kind of was.