Chevron Houston Marathon 2020 Race Recap

It’s taken me a bit of time to sit down and put my emotions and thoughts into a blog post. Last weekend I ran my 22nd Marathon and for the first time, I fell in love HARD for distance running!

Before I get too into the race, I want to share a bit of the expo fun! It was amazing for three reasons. One, it’s the Chevron Houston Marathon Expo!!!!! Two, my brother in law met us there as he was running his first half marathon. Three, being an ambassador for this year’s race I got to meet several amazing people, and we got a photo shoot in front of the finish line.

Super proud of Erik for finishing his first half, and we had a blast spending the weekend with him! He’s going to run the Woodlands Half Marathon now on March 6th and I decided I was going to run the full, so we will see him again in six weeks. Yup, I had such an incredible race I want another shot at it before it gets too warm. 40 days and another 26.2….. and I can’t wait! Come run with me and use code ROADRUNNERCHICK15 for 15% off any distance!

I had so much fun with the other ambassadors, taking my time walking around the expo and then heading to the finish line for a photo shoot. Those pictures will be used leading up to next year’s race which will bring back a ton of good feelings and emotions! Everyone was incredible and I’m excited to see them again in the future!

It was raining outside so I looked a hot mess at the end of the photo shoot, but how incredible it was to be that close to a finish line I had been dreaming about crossing since last year! We were escorted in which made us all feel cool.

We ended up at shake shack for dinner, which was pretty darn good, and hit the hay early. I had booked a hotel that was only an 8 minute walk to the start line and that will forever be the new norm. It was so nice to get that extra bit of sleep, not have to freak out about traffic or parking… and to be so close to a shower after it was all done!

My favorite purchase of the weekend was another pair of Goodr Sunglasses. (See MY GEAR for links) and these were exclusive for the Chevron Houston Marathon and had the logo. I think they brought me good luck 😊

Race Day:

I actually slept pretty good and woke up early enough to take a quick shower. I’ve done that for the past few races and find that it helps wake me up and feel refreshed. I had put all my gear out the night before which is key for me. I don’t like rushing or panicking looking for items last minute.

I did have one freak out moment, okay maybe two. First, I was very windy and I That is one think I hate. You can’t prepare for wind like you can hot, cold, rain, etc… it’s just something you have to embrace and take head on. So, I didn’t waste any energy worrying about something I couldn’t control. I instantly felt better embracing the suck. That’s been my motto, I needed to walk what I preach!

Second of all, I realized my phone didn’t charge all night and was at 39%. I needed it for music. I then again realized that music doesn’t make these legs move. My head and my heart are what give them wings. So, I made the decision to charge for as long as I could (got up to 60%) and leave phone on airplane mode, no music until mile 8 when the half marathon and marathon split on the course.

I decided I would enjoy the race.. the spectators.. hear the cheers and the sounds.. take it all in. This made it an 8 mile race as I had something to look forward to. It also kept my pace down a bit so that was a blessing too. Hitting mile 8 and feeling good, and THEN being able to turn on music was amazing. It was like a whole new race.. but with only 18 miles to go 🙂

Coach and I had gone over a race strategy, and I stuck to it but with a faster pace. My two slowest miles were my first, until the Allen Parkway hills at miles 23-25. My pace started at around an 8:23 and every mile after got faster, with an 8:08 pace or so for the first half of the race. I felt SO good, wind only hit hard in a few places up until this point and I was staying present in the mile I was in…. NEVER thinking about how far I still had to go.

Miles 8-13 I kept going my feel. I’ve learned I’m a pretty consistent mile split person when running long distance. I always wanted to be good at the fast and short, never thought I’d love the long as much as I do… but that is where my heart is now. I love distance running. At mile 8 I took a GU and looked forward to another one at mile 12.. which was right before the tallest hill of the course. About 100 feet of gain, but about 600 meters or so. I embraced that climb like a champ and didn’t worry about it. I actually said out loud… fly down fearlessly, and did just that. 

I never did the math, but I was around a 1:47 for 13.1, three minutes faster than 6 weeks ago at the Rock n Roll San Antonio Half, and I was even racing that distance or know it at the time. Legs were doing good!

Miles 15-16 the wind was brutal, and blew me so hard I almost tripped over my own legs a few times. Mile 16 I realized my Garmin was off about 400 meters and knew it would cost me about 90 seconds at the finish, but didn’t worry about it. I tried to run the tangents, but it’s hard with all the turns.

Once I passed 16 I knew I was going to have an incredible race if I could just hang on. I knew Allen Parkway was tough, and I figured the wind would be in my face at the point, but I tried not to think about it and do everything I could with the now. I broke the final 10 miles down in my head to two 5 milers. Knowing that for the next 5, maintain. Then the final 5 was hard with hills… and didn’t know at that point the wind that was to come.

I never hit the wall, but my legs were definitely feeling Allen Parkway and the steep climb out of the underpasses. I slowed at the 35k just a tad and had an 8:45 and an 8:50 miler in there before getting back into downtown. I had switched to a faster playlist for the final 5 miles hoping to knock out a few sub 8 miles, but my legs held there own and I was proud of myself for staying strong.

Once I hit mile 25, I pushed and had a low 8 miler again and a 6:50 for the final .5. Yup, it wasn’t 26.2, I clocked 26.5! However, when I crossed that finish line and saw a 3:38 on my watch I cried some very happy tears! Seeing a finish line ahead never gets old. Crossing one will forever change you no matter how many times we are blessed enough to reach it! All the feels and emotions just come bubbling up…. and it’s one of the best feelings in the world. Always stay grateful and humble… as getting to put one foot in front of the other is such a gift.

ABC13 news interviews me for a few minutes as soon as I crossed the finish line and it was so cool to share my love for running. They asked me advice Id give, why I love the CHM so much, how many marathons I’ve ran, and future goals!

I realized that I am only 3 minutes from a Boston Qualifying time, and for the first time ever I know in my heart that it is something I am capable of achieving. I know how hard I’ve worked, how many early mornings and miles I’ve put in… and when it happens, it’s going to feel so sweet. I love this sport more than words can explain.

I waited outside for Erik and Lynn, and when I saw them it felt so good! I was so proud of Erik, and so proud to have my incredible wife there cheering me on!

From the early morning coral, to the finish line… I loved every second!

The medals were awesome and I’m so glad I get to add another to my collection. I’m already counting down the days until 2021!

Next up?

  • Austin half marathon in 3 weeks (600 feet of elevation gain, character building for sure!) February 16th – Use Code TaushAus2020 for $5 off any distance and come run with me!
  • Woodland full marathon in 6 weeks. Yes, another full. Use code ROADRUNNERCHICK15 for for 15% off any distance and come run!

I know another full marathon might not be the same amazing race, especially so close to Houston. It also might not be a faster time. I might not feel as good. Different race, different day, and yes.. I just ran one hell of a race. However, I want to challenge myself to do it again. To dig my heels in and put my mental strength to the test more than anything… to keep building.  While a good time would be great, that isn’t my goal. I want to keep training and to run 26.2 miles all over again… mile by mile. Enjoying the ride for however long it takes me to get across the finish line because that’s what makes it so incredible. Enjoying the ride.

That time spent in ones head during a marathon can fill ones heart more than anything. I want to experience it again and enjoy the miles for whatever they have in store. No matter what, I will come out of it stronger and have more stories to tell and will have learned something knew about myself that only running can make you realize. I LOVE this sport.

After the race, we got cleaned up and met several people in town from the social media world! It was SO great to meet everyone and I know that we’ve made some life long friendships.

Oakmont was the perfect spot. It was super cute outside, but after the sun went down a bit it was freezing, so we went inside!

Everyone was required to wear their medals 🏅 Kay Lee and her husband Anthony stayed the longest with us and it was so great to get to know them more! They are so sweet and super funny and I hope we get to hang out again next year!

There is much more to share about the weekend, but wanted to post about the race! (more to come this week) I’ve never crossed a finish line and wanted to keep running so badly in my life!

I never want to lose that incredible feeling that only this sport can bring to me. From my wife, my incredible coach… everyone who has sent me good luck along the way… thank you!

I’ve never been so grateful for this sport and for the running community. It’s such a special world to be a part of and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Running challenges us in ways we’d never guess, and changes us in ways we’d never know until it happens!

Keep putting one foot in front of the other, buckle up and enjoy the journey!

See you at the start line!