Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Austin #8

My very first race was the Austin Half Marathon in 2008 and I ran it in 2:10:30, under my goal and a really good race for me. I ran the whole thing and loved it!

I haven't missed that race since, whether I was running the half or the full. This year I opted for the half marathon again. Last year I missed my sub-2 hour goal by 50 seconds and at first I hoped I could pull it off this year. But about a week before the race I decided to just run it for fun and not have a goal. My husband was going to run it with me (our third half marathon together).

Me with "Mr Steph" and "NotSteph" Jeff

Why do the weather gods have it out for me? It was (yet again!) a warm and humid morning. I still figured I could pull off at the very least a 2:05 but first and foremost I just wanted to enjoy the run. The course changed to a better version from a few years ago and I was looking forward to that.


The race sucked.

I don't remember the last time I walked in a half marathon....2009 maybe? But I walked a lot in this one after mile 8. A LOT.

I just never felt okay. I was struggling to get my legs to move. I couldn't breathe well. I never had any idea of my pace, but it felt harder than it should have looking back at my splits. Once I started hitting the hills at Mile 8 I gave in and walked. Making the turn onto a hill at Enfield right before Mile 10 was the final straw for me and I decided to walk the rest of the hills and run the flats and downhills only. I was pretty much done physically and mentally.

Greg and our friend Kimberly had been running with me up until this point and I felt so bad. They were both feeling fine and didn't care about their times, but I still couldn't help feeling badly for them. At that first hill on Enfield I finally told them just to go ahead of me and I'd see them at the finish.

As I trudged through those final 3 miles, not knowing my time at all, I really expected that I was creeping into my worst performance at the Austin Half. I made the best out of it, chatting with other folks and just trying to stay moving.

Making that final turn onto Congress with 100 yards to go to the finish I really did expect the clock to say some ghastly number, but surprisingly it looked like I would have a finish time under 2:09, much faster than I thought I had been running. I thought for sure all that walking I did in the last 3 miles would have had a bigger effect on my pace than they did. I must have been moving better than I thought!

I was so happy to be done with that medal hanging around my neck. Many of my friends had great races, some of them struggled like me. Greg and Kimberly flew through those last 3 miles and finished 5 minutes ahead of me (rockstars!). My official time was 2:08:53.

After recovering and changing clothes, I planned to spend the next few hours cheering on my full marathon friends at the final hill of the route on San Jacinto. It's a bear of a hill that comes with a half mile to go and it's a lot of fun to run up it to keep our friends going in those final minutes. Lots of Round Rock Fit coaches and members were out on that hill and over the course of a 2.5 hours we helped cheer and drag our runners...and strangers...up that brutal hill.

Those couple hours were way more fun than the race!

Looking back on my race splits, it doesn't look as bad as it felt. I only lost 11 seconds per mile on my overall pace between the 5k split and the finish. Either I wasn't walking as much as I thought I was or I was running better than I thought. I guess it could've been worse! 

Will I run Austin for the 9th time in 2016? I really have no idea. It very well could be time to end the streak. In the meantime, I need to get my mojo back in time for the Texas Independence Relay and the San Luis Obispo Marathon.

First up....12 miles in the morning!

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