Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Bridge

The Austin Marathon is coming up soon. What have I done since then?

Run for the Water was a week after my relay. My legs and body were not ready for the 10 mile race. Also I was still trying to catch up on sleep. It was rainy when I was parking the car. I met up with some people at work and ended up getting to the starting line a little bit late. I was stuck in the back which was not necessarily a bad thing. It prevented me from going out to fast. I did not think it would have matter though. I just could not turn it on this day. The rain stopped but the humidity stuck around. My official time ended up being 01:15:51. I was little disappointed in not getting a PR, but I knew it was probably not in the cards.

Decker Challenge Half-Marathon was next on the list. I am starting to become pretty careless about what I do around race day now. I have stopped worrying about the amount of sleep and what I eat or drink. We went to Houston the Thursday before to see Justin Timberlake in concert, and it was awesome. We ate a lot of barbecue and sushi and also had a few drinks on that trip. We drove back Saturday because my work had a Christmas party that night. I ate a bunch of junk food and had some Shiner Cheer on draft that night at the party. This was the first time I ever drank before a race. I ended up getting six hours of sleep that night. I left the house 45 minutes before the start of the race and got there with five minutes to spare. It was below freezing this morning, and I saw snow and ice on the drive to the race. I have never ran Decker, but I knew it was going to be hilly. I wore tights for the first time for a race. I kept a nice pace with a lot of strong effort on the uphills. Someone along the course called me an "uphill beast." I will take that as a compliment. Around mile 10, there was a king of the hill challenge. I sprinted up that hill and felt great. I finished the race strong and ended up with an acceptable time of 1:38:45.

Rogue 30K was a lot sooner than I expected. Last year, it was after the 3M Half-Marathon, but the 30K was two weeks before this time. I have not been running as much. I have been hovering around 30 miles a week, and the week before the race I ran 14 miles. I thought that I can make the jump to 18.6 miles easily. Boy, I ended up being wrong. My goal was to stick with the 8:00 minute a mile pace group. My easy pace is normally around 8:30 so I thought that was doable. When I left the house the temperature was around 55 degrees. When I got to the start line, it was 37 degrees so I was underdressed. I should have had on an extra layer that I could have shed and an ear band. It was definitely cold at times with the stiff wind. The race itself was pretty eventful the first 13 miles or so. My legs were starting to tighten up all over. I started to fall of the pace. Around mile 17 or so, I could not fight my legs any longer and had to walk. I was devastated because I have never walked during a race before. I alternated running and walking till I crossed the finish line. My finishing time was 2:39:22 which was about 12 minutes slower than last year. Sometimes I think having bad races make you a better runner in the long run.

3M Half-Marathon was the fifth race in the Austin Distance Challenge. 3M is a faster race because the course is mostly downhill. They also changed the course this year to not include such an uphill finish. I knew I was not going to get a personal record (PR) because I have not been running as much or as fast. The weather was perfect for a half-marathon. It was nice and cool, but you could still wear a short sleeve shirt and shorts. I got to the start time with two minutes to spare. I have been cutting it close lately in getting to races. Around mile three, my claves were tightening, and I was getting shin splints. I was like crap, not this again. I fought them for most of the race. I never get shin splints. It might have been the shoes I was wearing. I had my own personal cheering section following me around the course. My wife, +Amber McGee, is pretty awesome and I guess Amanda, Eileen, and Scott are too. I kept a pretty consistent pace throughout the race. I finished the race strong and was happy with that. I should have turned it up more with three miles left. Oh well. My official time was 1:37:49. The goal coming into the race was to finish it faster than Decker. Goal met!

What is next? The Austin Marathon is four weeks away. I am a little scared/worried about it. We shall see.

Until next time, happy running...