Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Race preview: Houston Marathon

WHERE ARE WE GOING?
Houston, Texas

WHEN?
Sunday, Jan. 13


WHY?
Chevron Houston Marathon

NO REALLY, WHY?
This is my one good crack at qualifying for Boston in 2014 (unless I don't make it and then I'll probably scramble to come up with something else, but I'll deal with that later if I have to).


WHO ELSE IS GOING?
They claim there are 13,000 marathoners and 12,000 half marathoners, but I see that last year there were only 7,600-some marathon finishers, so I guess the real number is somewhere in between. Nevertheless, the flat course, competitive field, big crowds and (usually) agreeable weather make this one of the biggest second-tier marathons in the country.

WHAT'S THE FORECAST?
My first concern with race weather is usually the temperature, but it looks like we nailed it this time: should be right at 50 for the whole race. The other two legs of the stool are going to be awfully wobbly, though. Rain looks more likely than not, but more critically, a north wind of 15-20 mph appears looming. I'm not worried about the first 2 miles being into the wind; there will be plenty of folks in front of me to do the work. The other tricky section will be from miles 13-18, when the course stair-steps to the northwest. I'm hoping to have a little time in the bank from running south with a tailwind from miles 5-11, if the pacer sees it my way.

HOW DO WE WIN?

3:10 or bust.

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