February 7, 2012

Galveston Half Marathon

Sunday was the day of my first race of 2012.... the Galveston Mardi Gras Marathon and Half Marathon. I ran the half in preparation for my marathon next month, although I'd seriously considered signing up for the marathon as I knew it would be a really flat course and quite scenic along the beach front.... I'm so glad I didn't as it couldn't have been a worse day for it! I've never been in Galveston in the winter and hadn't expected such English weather!
Cold, wet and windy does not even begin to describe the weather on Sunday. Sheltering in the truck before the race Paul pointed out that the palm trees looked as though a hurricane was coming! This is the weather map that I looked at in the morning... if you look very closely you can see Galveston Island and this whole weather system (green being rain, yellow being bad rain and red being torrential rain) was moving slowly in a North Easterly direction fighting against a windy cool front moving down from the North... therefore staying over the island the whole morning and on into the afternoon. The one thing I am thankful for is that it didn't start to thunder and lightning like the day before. I don't know what I'd have done if it did because lightning scares me silly plus it was so open, especially at the most northerly part of the course. 
I'm not sure that the rain was the worst of it! I don't ever run with a hat on but the race organisers luckily gave us a cap in our pre-race goodybag.... I decided to wear it to shelter my face from the driving rain and was glad I did as I hate having rain wash out my contact lenses. The worst thing I had to deal with was the wind which was blowing directly at us for what felt like 80% of the race
The race itself was awesome. I have no doubt that it's one of the flattest courses I will ever run, it was also one of the straightest, right along the Seawall Boulevard from one end to the other (hence the problem having to fight that headwind all the way along the front).
Click here to see video of the start of the race (I'm about 1 minute 41)
I had my Garmin Virtual Partner set on my watch to 5.25/km. This is basically the pace at which I ran my last half marathon, so if I wanted to beat my personal best I would need to run at that pace or quicker throughout the race. I had a plan to run a steady first half and strong, fast second half though the wind was making that pretty impossible. I felt like I was spending twice as much energy along the straight than I would usually spend running along a flat length of road. I wasn't sure I'd benefit from a tail wind at any point as the return length was shorter and sheltered in the main streets so I was determined not to drop my pace.
Here's my lap times and, despite my struggles, I think I just about managed to stick with my pace plan and speed up over the last few km. It wasn't the 'start steady, finish strong' that I'd imagined but wasn't bad considering the conditions
km 1: 5.22
km 2: 5.23
km 3: 5.17
km 4: 5.21
km 5: 5.25
km 6: 5.27
km 7: 5.28
km 8: 5.24
km 9: 5.22
km 10: 5.26
km 11: 5.24
km 12: 5.22
km 13: 5.31
km 14: 5.24
km 15: 5.16
km 16: 5.19
km 17: 5.14
km 18: 5.08
km 19: 5.07
km 20: 5.08
km 21: 4.51
click here to see video of my big finish!

I finished 6th in my age group
147th out of 1014 half marathon runners
in a personal best time of 1:52:12 
Overall I had a great race and fantastic time in Galveston with Paul and the puppies. This experience just reminds me why I love to travel and love to race. I'm excited about the marathon next month so after a couple of rest days I'll be right back into my training plan. Wish me luck!


  1. Wow! You are a true inspiration! I loved reading about how your race went!!
    Well done!!

  2. Great job on the race! I have to admit that your kilometer splits mean nothing to me, but I know 1:52 is a great overall time. :)

  3. Well done Shona - a great time and a strong Finnish x

  4. Congratulations! I've been to Galveston a few times, and I never would have guessed the weather would be that bad!


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