From Houston to Austin to…

by Jimmy Ho

I promise this entry will not be a novel this time.  After my first marathon, I was on a running high. I wanted to run the Austin full marathon.  My coach, Ruth, advised against.  I figured with all of my training that I have done, I would be easy to keep up the mileage and run Austin with a simple goal of finishing under 4 hours.  My partners in crime, Cassundra and Manny, were doing the half.  So with a little of hesitation, I signed up for the half marathon.  I knew with running half, I did not need to keep a 40+ miles running week.  I scaled everything back and was running about 20 miles over 4 days a week. Some of the runners from Team Veggie joined the advanced 10k group, but I was not interested in running as much after the marathon.  I know it builds speed, but I will find a way to improve my speed in the future.  It could be me being stubborn thinking I can do it on my own, but we will see.


The last month of marathon training I had scaled back extracurricular activities.  I normally play basketball at work during lunch.  I stopped that just in case I got hurt for some reason.  With the race over, I started playing basketball again.  The running definitely has helped with my speed and stamina. My game was off when I got back so it has been frustrating.  When marathon training started, I only had time to lift weights once a week for about 30 minutes.


Without the strict schedule or the time constraint, I am now able to lift weights twice a week for an hour each time.  I have always wanted to be jacked, but as a runner, is that possible?


The time between the Houston marathon and the Austin half marathon felt like forever.  I guess I like the feeling of racing because you get a sense of  ccomplishment.  Good thing I did not thoose to run the full.  I started to lose interest in running just a little bit before the race.  Going into the race, my only half time was 3M in 2011 where I ran a 1:58.  I knew that I could beat that easily.  I wanted to run a 1:30, but I figured I was out of my mind.  I met Cassundra, Manny, and another Rogue, Becky at Rogue at 6 am.  We warmed up by running to the start line.  I got a pace band from Ruth to run it under 1:45, but I knew I was going to leave the throttle wide open.  It was a cooler morning so it was great race weather.  I was once again sporting my Beef Team shirt.  One of these races I will finally wear a Rogue shirt.


We started off running an 8 minute pace.  It felt fast, but great on

my legs.  It was definitely crowded even though we started out in the

3:20 pace group.  I saw my wife at mile 2.  It is awesome that she

shows up to the race to support me although I tell her she does not

have to.  I do not recall that Congress Avenue is a gradual incline.

I started to pick up the pace and left my running buddies around mile

4.  I was thinking uh oh.  I am on my own at this point.  Cassundra

caught up with me around mile 7. She is a great partner although I

secretly think she is faster.  We always have a good pace going when

we run together.  We passed through the Beef Team cheering section

around mile 8 which was cool.  I saw my wife again with our friend,

Lauren, at the turn in front of city hall.  The Livestrong section

along Cesar Chavez was awesome.  I love it when the crowd provides

energy to the race. We made a quit pit stop shortly after.  After

that, there was a steady climb towards Mopac.  I was not a big fan of

that.  I was starting to feel sluggish.  I was thinking to myself, was

I out of shape?


Along the feeder of Mopac, I was like this sucks.  It was a little

hilly, and I was starting to doubt myself of my time.  Cassundra

started to pull away somewhere along Enfield.  I ran by a supporter

who said in a very monotone voice, “Make this race your bitch.”  I

laughed out loud and heeded her advice.  The “big” hill at Lamar was

not big at all.  I raced past everyone up the hill and even passed

Cassundra.  At the top, I was like I should be able to coast to the

big finish along San Jacinto.  It was nothing like that.  You had to

deal with a few more hills before San Jac.  At that point, my claves

started to tighten up.  I was like this is the worst timing.

Cassundra and I were side by side when I decided to sprint with 800

meters left. With about 400 meters left, my calves tighten up even

more, and I laid off the gas just enough for her to finish a second

ahead.  One of these days I will get her.  My time was 1:39:44.  It

was an 18 minute personal record, not bad at the end of the day.  I

also learned that I am pretty decent hill runner.  I, however, was

disappointed with the crowd support.  It was thinned out and not very

loud.  Houston’s crowd was absolutely incredible.  I fed off the



I have one more race before I am done running races for the season.  I

did not plan to do the Capitol 10K because it is so crowded, but my

half marathon time was good enough to qualify for an earlier wave so I

went ahead and registered.  I am starting to replace my Saturday long

runs with soccer.  I figured with all the running I do, it can help me

with my stamina, and I think soccer can help with my speed a little

bit.  What’s after that?  I know I will run a marathon in the fall or

winter.  Where is the question?  I like Ruth a lot as a coach so I

might end up with whatever group she will be with.  At the start of

this whole running process, I never thought I would say this- I want

to qualify for Boston.  It is probably going to take either a few more

races or for me to get older to jump into the next age group. I might

have to get to Cassundra to try to run a 3:10 one of these days.  LOL.

I think it would be an awesome experience to run Boston.

Until next time, Rogue, happy running.


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