Galveston Mardi Gras Marathon - February 5, 2012

Three weeks after my first attempt at a marathon I decided to take-on 26.2 miles again with the hopes of a possible PR.  Since my first marathon experience I felt like I had a better grasp on what I was capable of and perhaps how to better pace myself for a strong finish.  So when the chance to sign up for another full marathon came up I was eager to prove something to myself once again, even if it was a little soon.  Of course, I had no way of knowing when I registered that mother-nature had some very specific plans for race day.

Going into race day weekend I started to realize that the weather was not going to cooperate with my PR plans. The forecast was predicting temperatures in the lower 50s combined with rain and a strong northerly wind, basically the complete opposite of the weather I was blessed with for the Chevron Houston Marathon.  I prepared by doing a little online shopping for a running jacket that could hold-up to the rain and I am so glad that I did!

We arrived in Galveston to the dreary weather we were expecting but still made the most of it with a little site-seeing, playing on the beach in Harper's new rain boots and a nice dinner of pasta for me to carb-load before race morning.

The evening before the race it literally poured cold rain.  We woke up around 5:30 in the morning to start getting ready and when we looked outside it was kind of scary.  The wind was really pounding on the trees and you could really see the force of it.  Thomas looked concerned, "Are you sure you want to do this?"  Of course I did!

We headed out to the starting line and as soon as I walked outside I realized as cold as it was I needed another layer and did some quick wardrobe changes.  So many of my fellow racers were sporting trash-bag ponchos, but with the hood and sleeves of my new running jacket I was in pretty good shape to keep the wind and rain at bay as much as possible.  Harper did her part to get me ready by going through our stretching routine together.  She is always my best helper.

The race course started on the strand and then went out to run along the seawall for the bulk of a two loop course.  The half-marathoners did one loop and the full-marathoners did the same loop twice.  It really was a beautiful course despite the sharp stinging of the rain at times and the pretty much constant cold winds in the range of 25 mph.

Mile 18! 

Running with water pooling and sloshing in your shoes is no picnic, but stopping never crossed my mind.  I think the wind would have had to literally blow me off the side of the sea wall to make me stop.  Any time it starts to get difficult I just visualize the finish again and again until the moment passes and I am able to enjoy what I am doing again.

21 miles!
The race volunteers, organizers, police officers and spectators were amazing despite the less than ideal weather conditions.  Volunteers were smiling and upbeat every time I came to an aide station and that is no easy feat with weather like that when you won't be receiving a finisher's medal for just being an awesome and helpful person.  My next goal is definitely to be a race volunteer because events of this magnitude definitely can not occur without people willing to help.

I finished feeling good with my beautiful daughter hot on my heels across the finish line.  I didn't get my goal of a PR but my time was only five minutes behind my previous finish time so I am very proud of that given the conditions I ran in.

Finisher - 5:43:27

Overall I had an amazing race experience and I would definitely participate in this event again.  It was very well organized and fun even under extreme conditions.  My addiction to running continues!

Yeah, a little tired.

Water logged runner's feet!