Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sketchy Run in Houston

Time: 53:57
Distance: 12.45 km
Pace: 4:20/km

Meagan and I didn't have a banner day of travel down to Houston for the Trials. We left the house well before 6 AM to give us plenty of time to park the car, check in and make it to the gate. Everything was going smooth up until the point we were seated on the plane ready to taxi out to the runway when the pilot came on over the PA and stated all flights into Philly had been grounded. Awesome! Everyone was let off the plane to hang out and we would re-board about an hour later.

Any chance of making our flight was out the window when we arrived minutes after our plane departed. We were booked on a flight that would leave 5 hours later so we killed time at Cantina Laredo, reading books and walking around. The flight to Houston was slowed further when the pilot kept informing us of a 150+ mph headwind meaning we'd arrive to Texas an hour later than expected. Other than the minor inconveniences of travel, we arrived to Houston 12+ hours after our morning started. Our spirits improved upon seeing Leo Kormanik at the airport and meeting some other BAA athletes.

We jumped on the shuttle bus destined for Hilton in downtown, but first made a quick stop at another terminal. It was a good stop as Joe Moore jumped on and we were able to catch up a bit about training, Craft/Karhu and running in general. I pushed Karhu to sponsor/help Joe out after his late qualifying run at a rinky dink half marathon on the Alabama Gulf Coast. You can read more about his story at his blog.

I got to the hotel and immediately changed into my running costume. I have never run in Houston before, so I asked Meagan which direction to run looking out Caitlin's hotel window. Downstairs I followed her suggestion perfectly, however she sent me into "el barrio." I was running through the mean streets of Houston where flashing lights, guard dogs, and barbed wire was the norm. I kept at it on high alert for the next 5-6 km ready to bolt at an aggressive yell or gunshot. Fortunately, I made it back into the city and hotel safely without really ever being in danger, but certainly not feeling secure about my route.

Later after checking out the course map of both the Trials course and the Houston Marathon, I saw that where I put in kilometers was conveniently left off the map. I think they are trying to tell participants to run where the course is and not across the wrong side of the tracks.

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