Last month I ran the Katy Half Marathon. This was the 3rd year in a row running at this race and as always the event organizers did a fantastic job. They had a challenge thrown at them for 2017 with the Superbowl being held in Houston on the same day the race was scheduled. They were forced to delay the race a week to allow for the police departments to have the manpower to keep the race course safe for the participants.
I used my Houston Marathon training to prepare for this race. After completing Houston I took a week of rest than 2 weeks of steady runs before tapering again for the Katy Half. Very similar to the Houston Marathon weekend it turned out to be a very warm day for February. I didn’t hit my goal time but I did set a PR and placed 2nd in my age group (30-34) with a time of 1:39:11. Considering it was close to 30 degrees warmer than the prior years I was very happy with the results.
This year was also special because my oldest son Zach ran the race as his first half marathon at the age of 9. Something I never considered doing at that age. He was one of the youngest runners and finished with a time of 2:32:51 with mom pacing him. He learned a lot that day about running a steady pace and by the end he was done with running. However, like many of us, a few hours later was asking when he could sign up for another one to beat his time. It’s amazing how that running amnesia sets in so fast.
The course was very fast and flat. There is almost no elevation change for the entire 13.1 miles. The race starts at Katy Mills Mall, which is open before the race to provide additional bathrooms to the runners. The race starts in the parking lot and runs around the perimeter of the mall with an out and back before going out to the feeder road along the interstate and through the neighborhood streets of Katy.
I started my run a little ahead of my planned pace but did a good job of getting it in check by mile 2. Around mile 6.5 I was starting to feel the effects of the warm humid temperature and began pacing off the runners nearby rather than constantly looking at my watch. My original plan was to keep it steady to the turn after mile 9 and then negative split the miles to the finish. I didn’t have the energy for that and continued to keep my pace steady to mile 11. I sped up a little (or at least I felt like I did). The GPS data says the extra effort just kept me from falling back. At mile 12 I was determined that I was going to finish strong and really concentrated on keeping my form and breathing.
After finishing the race I took a quick breather and checked my phone for Zach’s position on the course. He was just coming up on mile 10 so I got some water and began heading back along the course to cheer and run with him for the last mile of his race. I’m so proud of him for having the determination and drive at such a young age to finish a race of this distance.