Downtown Houston, right across from Discovery Green park.
After my early morning wake up and freak out - again, WHY would I have race anxiety for a race I wasn't running - we met everyone in the lobby of the Hilton and walked over to the start line. It was a foggy morning and felt somewhat cool, but the runners were going to warm up quickly once they started moving. We stopped for a few pictures:
In front of Discovery Green park - Karen, Brian, Cary, Diane, Cristy, and Julia.
And in front of the George R. Brown Convention Center, which is where the expo is held.
And then the Renegades went into the starting corral, while we made our way to the front of the start line. It was really interesting to see a race that I've run in from this viewpoint! Did you know there is a lead truck, with race officials in the back, along with a timing clock, ready to roll once the race begins? Being a back of the race runner, I didn't! Here's what the starting area looked like, just a few minutes before the race began:
The pickup truck, with an official who held up that flag until the race began. I worried that his arm was getting sore as he was holding the flag up for at least five minutes that I saw.
The race has begun! You can see that there is 9 seconds on the race clock, plus there are bikers to lead the runners along the route.
This is where it got interesting - the first runner was moving so fast that the truck had to gun it to stay ahead of him! Now there are 11 seconds on the race clock. These runners were FLYING!!!
We always say that for this race, our group needs to not start so far back in the corral, but it's a casual atmosphere where no one is wanting to push it because of the bigger race the next day. But holy cow, we honestly thought we'd missed seeing everyone come across the starting line, because there were so many walkers mixed in with the runners - nope. Ten minutes after the race began, we finally saw our peeps! That was wild - being on this side of the race made me realize how much more our group could move up and not be in the way of other runners, which is always our concern.
There's Julia, Brian, Cary (peeking behind Brian), and Karen - I missed seeing Cristy start.
It's a little blurry, but I like this shot of Diane - it shows the movement of the runners so well.
Once we saw everyone start, we headed over to Starbucks for a cup of coffee - on our way there, we could hear the race announcer calling in the first finishers!
Overly excited for some coffee at this point!
Caffeine in hand, we made our way to a spot close to the finish line, where I managed to get pictures of some of our group, which was even more challenging than the start, seeing as they were coming in at different times:
By the time I saw Karen she was too far past me to get a picture, but I saw her on the giant screen that we were standing near - she's just behind the man in the white shirt.
Here's Cary and Brian - another slightly blurry, movement shot. I like it.
This is a very inclusive race with participants of all abilities, including runners, walkers, the visually impaired, and runners on prosthetic legs. It was really inspiring to watch everyone do their best!
After our group got their medals, we reconvened in the lobby of the hotel and walked to our traditional Saturday morning breakfast-in-Houston spot:
Brothers Taco House. There always seems to be a line to order your food, but it moves quickly.
They make your breakfast taco right in front of you - this year I had potato, bacon, refried beans, and cheese - carbing up for the half marathon - with freshly made hot sauce (if you go there, get the red...the green sauce is super spicy).
On our way back, we stopped to look at some graffiti murals. It's really cool how the city of Houston has embraced and encouraged graffiti art, and we saw a lot of new pieces this year:
We were going to take a picture on a staircase similar to the one with the chameleon, but realized that there was someone sleeping on it. This isn't the best area to be in; however, it was daytime and we figured there was safety in numbers...still, I wouldn't go there all by myself.