Today’s race took care of a few things – it helped me get my October half-marathon miles and was the second race of the Austin Distance Challenge I’m semi-committed to.
When my alarm clock went off at 5:45 am, Not quite hungover. 5 hours of sleep. Hungry. Chug water. Make oatmeal. Eat banana. Bib. Gary. Shoes. Long sleeves.
That was literally the thought process. No complete sentences whatsoever. I was surprised to be hungry since I devoured leftover pumpkin pancakes when I got home from yesterday’s music festival. The music festival was an inopportune scheduling of several Texas Country bands that played all afternoon and much later into the night than I anticipated. It resulted in more drinks consumed than I had planned (this didn’t worry me too much since last race’s PR was a result of tailgating the day before…) and standing for 6+ hours. Not exactly textbook race prep. But I’m no elite so I’m not about to pass up some live music to be “race ready”.
It was chilly in the warmup mile to the race and Lena and I discussed our goals for the race. I was shooting for under 1:30 and she wanted to go sub-1:20. I told her the key for both of us, due to the length of the race and the reputable hills, would be to start out slow and work on negative splits. We arrived with 4 minutes to gun time so had to climb in the back of the corrals. We slithered through as much of the crowd as we could but still ended up one minute behind the actual gun start time. I think that was a good thing – it kept my first mile in the 9 minute average because of all the people and I was able to feel strong throughout the entire race.
A tour of the course for those interested 🙂 And you get to meet Gilbert, master of the Gazelles.
I felt surprisingly strong and steady throughout the course. The first 2 miles were pretty flat with the first mega-hill coming around mile 2. There was another flat stretch and then 3 miles of rolling hills along the lake. It was a beautiful neighborhood street with the lake to my left and gigantic lovely houses to my right. Some hills were short and steep while others were longer and gentler. I mostly tried to focus on running on my toes up the hills and keeping a steady pace with my feet and breaths.
The downhills came with the ups, and were just as tough. Not in the same way though….my whole philosophy with downhills (and I repeat this to myself every time I encounter one) is to “lean into them and just go, let gravity to the work”. Some of those downhills were so steep though. I actually saw myself falling a few times (and given my recent running to injury ratio I wouldn’t have been surprised) as my legs got away from me but luckily it didn’t happen.
The concerts yesterday provided much of the music for the race. I’m on a streak of running without headphones but I sang to myself the lines I could remember from yesterday’s festival. The rest of the time I was lost in a blur of thought about running form, breathing rhythm, cowboys, school and sports (Colts and Longhorns won; Grizzlies start this week!).
We were out of the hills by mile 8 and the flat stretch of road was so beautiful. The rising sun and cityscape in the background only enhanced the natural beauty of flat roads. I felt strong still all the way to the end though noticed some knee pain creeping up on me, I think from the out of control downhills. I finished strong with a time of 1:24:05 (official chip time), a PR by more than a minute!
Total 10 mile Finishers: 1928
My Place: 583 (30%)
Age group: 34/140 (24%)
Gender: 186/1048 (18%)
Between the 10k and this 10 miler I’ve done some pretty good chowin’ after races. The Distance Challenge tent always has homemade cookies, breakfast tacos, Longhorn bars, pretzels and protein shakes (don’t care for their particular kind). I grabbed as much as my hands could hold and found a place to sit with Lena. A hot shower and a mega-nap awaited when I got home. After I hung up today’s accomplishments on the fridge of course 😉
Also – for my October 13.1, I counted the mile we ran to get to the course and then this evening ran 2.1 additional miles before dinner.