In January of this year, I flew down to Houston, TX to participate in the Houston Half Marathon. It was the first time I had ever run that race. I had participated in a 5K and 30K in one weekend in nearby, Sugar Land, but I had never run in Houston. It was a splendid time. What made it most thrilling was that it took place the weekend of the Olympic Trials. I have the chance to see the best US men and women running as fast as can be to earn spots to the London Games. I was excited that the amazing and talented elite marathoner, Jennifer Pfaff, had volunteered to fly to Houston to run in the event with me. We had the opportunity to see the best in the country on one day, then run the Houston streets the next day. I am so lucky to have become friends with Jen. Readers to this blog have read various race reports and entries on the spectacular Jen. I have learned so much from her. I have achieved so much because of her. It was such a joy to hear Jen say that she was interested in returning to Houston in 2013. Truth be told, I was not sure if I wanted to return to run in the event. That January weekend was so special as I experienced breaking my half marathon personal record by twenty-seven minutes on route to my first ever under two hours race. I was in awe of how I not only improved my personal record, but my finish time was one hour faster than my finish time in my first ever 13.1 miles race in 2008 at the AIA Half Marathon. Jen and I had the great privilege to spend a few days in Houston with a tremendous person, Christopher, who opened his home and heart to us. Within hours, it was as though the three of us were life long friends. Here and there I would hear questions about whether I was returning to Houston, but was not sure because I was not certain Jen would be able to do so. If I would go back, I would love to run the Houston Half and break my personal record, but only if I could do so with Jen. She is on that short list of wonderful individuals whom I am lucky to know who are great friends and tremendous athletes and just happen to know how to push the proper buttons to get the best out of me. Running Houston with someone else especially someone not on that short list, would be tough. There would be a sense of emptiness in some ways. Then came the day when Jen and I were asked if we would return to Houston. I did not commit immediately waiting to hear Jen's response. She said yes almost instantly. Without hesitation, I knew that meant she and I would return to race the Houston Half Marathon in January 2013. The icing on the cake is when Christopher insisted he would open his home and heart to us again.
Today, I received my confirmation that I am officially registered to race the Houston Half Marathon. Jen will fly to Houston to be my guide. We have a goal to break my personal record by at least thirteen minutes. I would have to take one minute off each mile in order to achieve this. I believe that is possible. The work, my coach, Jenna Parker has me doing in recent weeks in preparations for 2013 has me confident that Jen and I will achieve my goal. I must continue to dedicate myself to Jenna's plan and let the chips fall where they will on race day. I am just so over the moon knowing I will once again run along side Jen Pfaff!!