Sunday I ran the Moody Gardens Holiday Half Marathon, 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 to the Moody Gardens Holiday Half Marathon.
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 Moody Gardens Holiday Half Marathon course had aid stations at nearly 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. I ended up 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.