Thursday, January 21, 2010


The following is a guest post from a friend of mine.  Steven Herce just competed in the Houston Half-Marathon last Sunday (January 17th, 2010).  Here is his race recap...

In the fall of 1995, upon entering high school, I stood 5’5” and tipped the scales at a whooping 145lbs. Mom and Dad would not let me play high school football so I went out for the cross country team. I’ve been running “long distance” ever since.

With 15 or so years of running under my belt I got it in my head that I should run the 2010 Houston Marathon. Given my athletic background and stubborn need to compete in all that I do, I started training early. By the time I registered for the race (within a few hours of registration opening over the summer of 2009) I had already run 10 miles twice.

My goal was to cover the 26.2 miles in 3hours and 30minutes, which is roughly 8:15 per mile. That’s a pretty serious time for a first time marathon runner and plenty of people were willing to tell me such.

But, alas, it was not meant to be. Readers of The Shop Blog: prepare yourselves for a familiar tale of joint failure. My hips! My Goddamn hips!

I began to notice prolonged hip fatigue following my long runs in August/September 2009. Interestingly, I called Drew about steps to take just days after he learned he would have hip surgery. Despite increased warm-up routines and incessant stretching – plus some SMR (foam rolling) – my hips just couldn’t take me to the promised land.

In training, I was never able to surpass 17 miles. Three times I setout to run 17-18 miles and didn’t complete the run. My final attempt came the day of the race-switching deadline (up until December 10, 2009 one could switch from full marathon to half marathon and vice versa). I left the house and ran 9 miles east, turned around and headed home. I was still 1.5 miles from home when my hips locked up. It took me well over an hour to walk that last 1.5 miles with locked hips.

I walked in the front door and switched to the half marathon.

I ran the Houston Half Marathon on Sunday, January 17, 2010 and I had a blast! I’m absolutely going to run another half marathon, if not before then definitely the 2011 Houston race. Despite having trained at a slower pace for a longer race (and battling those blasted hips) I did really well.

First, my one caveat before divulging the race statistics: because I switched from the full to the half at the last possible second I was stuck in the second wave (slower group). While my per mile pace for the entire race works out to ~8:17 my watch read 9:33 at mile 1! I just couldn’t work past the slower runners (and walkers). The first mile of the race is over the Elysian Viaduct (read: bridge). That makes for some tough maneuvering.

According to the race website:
·       9,988 runners finished the half marathon
·       1,539 men and women ages 25-29 finished the half marathon
o      44 of these men and women are considered “elite”
·       552 men ages 25-29 finished the half marathon
o      27 of these men are considered “elite”

I ran a 1:48:40 placing me 896th overall. I was the 673rd fastest male and finished 101st in my division (men ages 25-29). In terms of percentiles: I was faster than about 91% of all runners; 84% of male runners: and 82% of my division (men ages 25-29).

The Houston Marathon and Half Marathon provide all kinds of awesome race statistics. Check out this link:

I don’t know how they make the calculation but I think it is very cool to see that I passed 333 runners over the last 4 miles while only being passed by 18 over the final 4 miles. That got me thinking: they record a chip time and a gun time for every participant. The chip time is electronically kept by wearing a tag on your shoe that is read by scanners at the start and finish lines as well as throughout the course. The gun time is simply from the starting gun to you crossing the line. In looking at my chip time versus my gun time I figure I passed 809 people from start to finish!

I’m looking forward to my next half marathon. Hopefully by training for that specific distance I will be able to improve my time tremendously. Maybe I’ll run a smaller race where I won’t get boxed in for the first mile.

Lord knows I have to do something because the Shop’s co-owner crushed me by about 21minutes!

[DREW] By the way, he's referring to this LINK when he talks about getting crushed by the SHOP's co-owner!

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