So we got up at 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning to get dressed for the Houston Press/METRO 5K run/walk. We drove into Houston, parked before 6:00 a.m. in a covered garage, hung out for a while, then walked over to the George R. Brown Convention Center to see the sights. It was the first Houston Marathon scene for both of us. Pretty cool! The main problem was standing in line for the restroom before the race. The guy's line moved fast; my wife had to wait a lot longer.
We walked out toward the start line and waited for the Marathon and Half Marathon runners to start (wow, there were a lot of people, and that start cannon was LOUD!). While they were clearing out from the start line, we listened to the UH pep band (or a portion thereof) entertain the crowd. As we lined up for the start, we found out the band was lining up too. It looked like there were about 1,500--2,000 participants in the 5K; the band had about 20 members. They were good, loud, and enthusiactic, which helped us feel better, being on the street in downtown Houston at 7:25 in the morning.
The cannon blasted and we started walking. It seemed like it was a lot farther than 3.1 miles. It took quite a while to get to mile 1. There were groups from various high schools entertaining us along the way. The participants thinned out as we went under 59 to the east side of downtown. We walked into an underpass and saw the runners coming the other way on the other side of the street. We wound through warehouses and manufacturing sites as we headed back toward the convention center.
As we got closer to the finish line, we saw that half-marathoners were already finishing. So, people could run 13.1 miles faster than we could walk 3.1 miles; a little humbling, but we weren't there to win any races, we were there to raise money for the Lupus Foundation (together we raised over $200, mostly by my wife). I finished in 1 h 3 min 29 s; overall I was 1,439; I was the 646th male, and 84th in my age division, whatever that is. We went in the convention center, got our finisher medals, had our timing chips clipped off, and had some breakfast dished up by HEB.
Over all, it was a fun experience. We knew quite a few people who were running or walking the marathon. I don't think I'll ever be a marathon runner because my knees would not take it. But I can see myself doing the 5K again.