Wednesday, January 18, 2017

ABB 5K - Spectator's Report

Unlike the previous two years, I didn't run this race, simply because I wanted to see if not running a 5K the day before a half marathon would make a difference in my performance.  Jeff didn't run it because his foot has been bothering him for months now and he didn't want to stress it before the half marathon.  So that's how we ended up spectating this race alongside Jimmymeow, who is not a runner but most definitely is Karen's biggest supporter. 
 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.
Houston #1
Houston #2


  1. Oh man, walkers who won't get out of the way of runners is probably my pet race peeve. Please just move over to the side!!!! Well at least now you know your group could start further up and they should.

    Once again, you've formed a wonderful, supportive group of runners that any runner would be jealous to get in to!

    1. It was so interesting to see how much more our group could move up - although, the corral does get more crowded at that point, so it's a toss up as to what is the better choice.

      And I agree with your last sentence completely. :)

  2. I think it's nice to be a spectator every now and then too. As you say, you see it from a completely different view.

    What I still don't get is that at running races walkers are allowed. That's seperated here: either you run (or run-walk) a race or you sign up for a walk (what I do these days).

    1. Most 5K's encourage walkers to sign up, as long as they can finish in the allotted time (usually it's at least an hour, sometimes an hour and a half). The only problem is that a lot of them don't know to start way back in the corral...and the race organizers usually aren't as strict with sorting the corrals in a 5K as they are in a bigger race. There are very few "walk only" events here - well, at least in my area of the United States.

  3. Replies
    1. Yes, and no FOMO. Relief. Plus I think it helped so much with my race nerves for the following day, it was worth it not to run.

  4. How great to be able to see this race from a different point of view!!

    1. It really was interesting to see things that I had no idea were happening!

  5. I am so curious about the guy that shot out at the start. Was he the first one to finish the race?? All in all, except for the morning nerves, it sounds like a fun day. I like the action shots!

    1. OK, I had to check - no, that guy who shot out didn't finish in the first five spots (after that I stopped looking). I guess he had his moment of glory and then dialed it back, LOL.

  6. Sometimes being a spectator is just as an exhilarating experience as running yourself. I've spectated at races for my sister and at some of them had a better time than when I actually ran..haha.

    I've never seen a lead truck that had a time clock, especially in a 5k race. It's funny they have the lead truck but yet no official start line arch or anything, just the guy with the flag?

    Congrats to your friends!

    1. Oh, they had an official start line arch, I was just positioned at the bend and didn't include the picture with it. This race had 6,000 runners - it was properly done.

  7. It seems like a very well organized race. The walkers that start in front would always annoy me because often time they are a group of people and you spend so much energy weaving around them.

  8. Good for you. I would have found it hard to be a spectator. I would have wanted to run. But I have never done back to back races. I usually want to save my energy for the important race.


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