Koala Houston Half Marathon Recap: Oh Hai Pukie

Well, the Koala Houston Half Marathon certainly didn’t go as planned. Some GI distress, a bum knee, and a humidity spike made this race more of a suffer-fest than it should have been.

The Koala Houston Half Marathon definitely didn't go as planned, but - spoiler alert - Pukie did not catch me.

First of all, huge thank you to the police officers who kept us safe on the course. And another big thanks

I ran the Koala Houston Half Marathon yesterday, and it was supposed to be a gorgeous day: in the low 60s, but sunny. Everything I did was done almost the exact same way as I approach every half marathon — everything but one. I got a burrito from Chipotle instead of Freebirds. NEVER AGAIN.

Anyway. This was the second time I ran the Koala Houston Half Marathon. I woke up yesterday morning feeling a bit nauseous but chalked it up to nerves. While I dressed, I ate my peanut butter and jelly sandwich, then grabbed my last-minute items. I was nervous, so I was also super-chatty on the way up with Melissa.

Fast-forward to the start time. I felt good. Nothing hurt. So I took off, clocking a ridiculous 7:49/mile pace. No bueno. The second mile was at 7:44, and then things started to go south. I started feeling even more nauseated. By mile four, I caught a whiff of what could only be described as the worst body odor ever. I seriously considered whipping around at the 10K turnaround, but I was determined to stick it out. Then my stupid knee started hurting. I had made it a point to walk through every single water station up until then, but now I was determined to slow my pace.

And slow I did. By the halfway point of the Koala Houston Half Marathon, I literally stopped to dry heave. (Fortunately, I did not throw up. I really thought that was it, that I’d throw up, that the medic would be called, and that the race would be over, because I couldn’t run six and a half more miles after throwing up.) One of the other runners paused to ask if I was okay. I waved her away.

After Pukie almost caught me, I had one goal: finish. I dropped my original time goal and focused on a sub-2:00 half marathon. I put one foot in front of the other. I tried eating GU. And I kept walking through water stations, especially since the humidity had ramped up, and for the second half of the course, we were running straight into the sun.

Somehow, I managed, and I crossed the finish line at 1:59 and change.

Highlights of the Koala Houston Half Marathon

It’s a mostly flat course, so in ideal weather conditions, it’s possible to PR. Water stops are plenty, every two miles. Crowd support is good.

For me, the highlight was my Flavor Flav-sized medal, along with breakfast tacos from Taco Cabana at the finish line. I also really liked the vendor that set up a coffee booth; I needed it.

Koala Houston Half Medal
A medal almost the size of my head.

Lessons Learned

I’ll keep this one brief:

  1. Don’t eat Chipotle ever again. I had GI distress for over 24 hours.
  2. Slow your roll. There’s no need to run sub-8 minute miles at the beginning. That’ll just blow you out.
  3. (Learned) It’s okay to slow your pace so that you can finish.
  4. (Learned) Walking through water stops will protect your joints.
  5. (Learned) I need to keep doing my glute-strengthening exercises and see a chiropractor.
  6. (Learned) Just have fun! You paid to do this. High-five the kids and thank the police officers.

Did you race this weekend? How was it?


2 thoughts on “Koala Houston Half Marathon Recap: Oh Hai Pukie

  1. I volunteered this weekend at the finish line since I had to drop out. It was definitely warmer than last year and I had another friend who didn’t have a good day as well. Glad you were still able to knock out a good time and didn’t puke!

    1. It was really at the end! And then I was cold. Not fun times, but I’ll bet volunteering at the finish line was a lot of fun!

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