Austin Half Marathon - RunHalf Marathon

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Austin, Texas
United States
The Austin Marathon Foundation, Inc.
70F / 21C
Total Time = 00m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

food, dress, water
Event warmup:

  • 3h 06m 18s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 14m 13s  min/mile

What would you do differently?:

Train for the hills.
Post race
Warm down:

eat, ice bath

What limited your ability to perform faster:

my fitness

I am slow

Event comments:

I got to Austin Saturday afternoon. We ate lunch, then went to packet pick-up. The traffic around Palmer Events Center was NUTS. The expo was nice, busy, lots of freebies. I got my stuff and we went to the hotel.

Nerves, nerves, nerves.

Just driving through the town reminded me of the hills. Oh no, what have I gotten myself into? I've never done hills. Shit, this is going to be tough. Like 13.1 flat miles wouldn't be? Right.

We stayed at the Casulo Hotel, a neat little hotel just off 35 outside of the South Congress area. Beautiful, intimate, cozy. We checked in and unpacked. I got my race garb together, pinned on my bib, tag on shoe.. Then what? I felt idle. Idle means nervous and nervous means thinking too much.

Rescue Remedy did not help. Hot shower did not help. The only thing I could think of that would help was a long run. And.. well, you know. I had one of those to do the next day. So, when in Austin, you go out. So we went out. I was so anxious about the food I put in my body I ended up just drinking a milkshake and eating a chicken salad for dinner. I wasn't even hungry. But I knew calories were necessary. We spent a few hours out in the town then we headed back to the hotel.

In bed around 9. I probably set 4 alarms and got a wake-up call. I was ready. I slept pretty well. Up at 4, eating, shower, clothes on. I felt well prepared. We loaded up and drove downtown around 4:30. We were way too early but finding parking with the street closures was a challenge. We found a spot and sat in the car, waiting for 5:45. We talked, joked, ate a bit. The kids were delirious, but excited. At 5:45 we walked to gear check, we used the bathrooms several times. My stomach churned with anticipation. It was cool, windy and humid. I debated over and over if I wanted to run with my ipod. I put it in the tiny SPI belt and decided to carry it (it's tiny anyway) in case things got really dark on the run. I wanted to run without it as much as possible first.

I checked my gear, sipped my water and ate another banana. I intended to line up around 6:20. We took a few pictures and milled around. The crowd was small but growing. One more bathroom stop and I kissed my family goodbye. I handed my jacket to Dave and walked to the back of the Capital.

I had a bottle of water and my G-prime in my hand. I felt so light. I milled around my pace group area. I waited, struck up a conversation with a few ladies. Everyone looked nervous, anxious. I felt a wave of calm. I'm ready, let's go. I took my G-prime, took my advil and listened to the National Anthem.

I heard the guns, the crowd did not move. I needed to pee again. But that wasn't an option. I ditched the last of the spare tissue I stuffed in my top in a trash can, finished my water and finally the herd began to move. I saw the start line. I turned on the Garmin, it beeped, ready to register my day. My foot hit the blue pad, off I went.

The first quarter mile was a sort of grid of turns. I was already looking for a toilet. I stopped and peed, immediately regretting ditching the tissue, then kept going. I felt good, nothing hurting. I felt clear headed, hydrated and energetic. Mile 1 was nice, I saw Dave and the kids cheering just behind the finish line (torture to see now). I kept going. Mile 2 marked the beginning of the Congress Climb. We crossed the river and I saw them.. The hills.. Sweet jesus.. Here we go.

I did relatively well, jogging mostly the first 3 miles. At the 5K split I drank. I took one cup for my mouth and one for my hands. I put water on my face. I wasn't hot, but I wasn't cold. I put water on my neck and dropped the cups. Miles 4-6 were brutal uphill devils. I took food around mile 5. My first food was half a mini clif bar. It tasted SO good, I tasted salt in my sweat, I felt great. I kept going. Gatorade and more water around mile 6 as we finally rounded Ben White. I knew there was a downhill coming on 1st. I tried to keep my legs running, but I took a break. Everyone seemed to be walking. I took solace in the fact that I could taste the halfway point.

I chatted with a guy running in Newtons. He was running for his son who had died of leukemia. We paced each other about a half mile - a delicious downhill. The crowd support was great. I still felt good. Around mile 8 we crossed back over the river. I saw another crowd on the other side of the bridge. Then I saw my kids. My heart leaped. I ran faster, hugged them and kept going. I had no idea how dark the next few miles would be.

I never heard mile 9 beep on the Garmin, but as we took off down towards the MoPac I knew I was nearing mile 10. My left foot was screaming and my buggy ankle was hurting again. It felt like a death march, all the joy gone from seeing my family. Somewhere around mile 10 there was a huge aid station run by the Livestrong teams. The street was covered in chalk, the noise and roar of the support was amazing. I was in tears. My whole body was disputing me. I took water, gatorade. I felt half dead and I knew I had a massive hill ahead. A guy called out my name, gave me a cup of water and high-fived me. I kept running. Tears streaming.

I had officially entered unknown territory. I'd never gone this far on foot before and although I knew I could do it - my emotional resolve was weak. I saw a girl get on a med cart, they cut off her d-tag and took her down the street. I took a deep breath, seeing another climb and kept going. We rounded again, this time heading back towards downtown Austin. One more pass over the river, a few more bitch hills and we'd be done. The full Marathon split at that point. I was amazed seeing people run off knowing they had another 15 or so miles to go.. Wow.. Mile 11. More water, nutrition. I ate the gu chomps because I needed the caffeine. I knew I risked the nausea, I took the risk of puking them up. I had to have the bump. It worked. 2 cups of water, 1 more gatorade. I was ready.

With less than 2 miles to go, I calmed. I wasn't afraid anymore. I knew I was going to finish. I walked up, ran down. One more giant hill.. I figured I had a pretty bad blister on the bottom of my left foot and by this time I do think my right calf had gone AWOL. Just keep going, I told myself. Don't stop.

I kept seeing the dome of the Capital. The finish line sat right in front of the Capital. I entered known streets, I saw the crowd. I heard the roar. We rounded again, up the street, one more turn to the finish. My legs, somehow - whatever miracle, ran without command. I saw the signs... 600 meters to go, 400 meters to go... 200 meters to go... I saw the green canopy of the finish line. Runners everywhere pushing to the last blue mat. Just get over the blue mat, legs. Just run. And so I did. Again, crying like a crazy fool. There was a woman running ahead of me I had paced a bit for the last few miles. We finished seconds apart.

I got my medal, posed for a picture, and looked for my family. I felt the high. I had done it.

The rest is a blur. I got back to the car, medal and shirt in hand. I took an ice bath at the hotel. I slept. My ankle and right leg did and do hurt. This wasn't an easy race for me.

I am thankful for so many things. I had no blisters, miracle. My food, hydration, choice of clothing - even my hat - spot on choices. I was ready for the weather. The hills were hard. I won't lie. I wasn't ready for the hills. But I was proud that I did as well as I did in spite of not being trained for hills. I'm thankful for the crowd support and the aid stations. It was incredibly well managed. I had water every time I even thought of water. It was plentiful. The support staff was amazing. I was thrilled that I did run the entire thing without music. This is a first for me. You can't run tris with an ipod. It's good for me to learn to run without that crutch.

The race overall was beautiful. Austin is a gorgeous town. I loved seeing so much of it. The crowds were great and hearing my name called out (it's on the bib) was really really encouraging.

I am so glad I did this. I'll never forget it.

Last updated: 2010-12-09 12:00 AM
03:06:18 | 13.1 miles | 14m 13s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5