Monday, February 20, 2017

2017 Austin Half Marathon

I have been eating a lot of BBQ lately. A lot. 53 places in 35 days for a freelance gig. I did not gain any weight, but I was not happy with the way I was feeling. I needed to jump start my diet and fitness level. I saw on social media that the finishers of the Austin Half Marathon/Marathon were earning a medal that doubled as a belt bucket. When I saw that, I was all in. At this point, it was only four weeks till the race. I have been running 3 miles a few times a week so I needed to speed up the training quite a bit. The first week I ran 3, 3, and 5. The following week I ran 3, 3, 5, and 7. The third week I ran 3, 5, 7, 3, and 10. The week of the race I ran 3, 5, 7, and 3. I did my best to get ready for the race.
Shot of the Capitol from the start line
The winters in Texas can be crazy. At the start of the race, the temperature was 66 degrees and 93% humidity. That is way too warm for February. When you are running, it normally feels 20 degrees warmer and then add the humidity on top of that? It was not going to be a pretty race. My PR for a half was 1:31.54. I knew that no way in the hell I was going to even touch it. My goal was to finish under two hours.
Mile 6
Mile 7
My plan was to hang out with the 3:45 marathon pace group for as long as can. About mile 3, I lost sight of them. My right shin was killing me from the start of the race. I think I might have hurt it a week before playing kickball. I am in a kickball league but decided to not play this previous Friday night to conserve my legs and not further injury myself. With the volume of running I have been putting in, my legs had been tired for about two weeks now. The climb up Congress Ave. felt fine. I was feeling strong. The descent down First St. gave me a nice break. Running by the Beef Team cheering section gave me a boost. I saw Amber around mile 7. I stopped, hugged her, gave her a kiss, and took a selfie. I love my wife and appreciate her support. The old me would have not wanted to give away any time. The older I get, the more laid back I have become.
Selfie with the wife at mile 7
Since my last Austin race, the half marathon race course has changed. The course takes you south of Austin High and further west to the intersection of Lake Austin and Enfield. My body did not love me starting mile eight. The lack of training was starting to show. My pace was over a 9 minute mile. Then the rolling hills came. I somehow how managed to tackle them without losing any more time. I used to say I eat hills for breakfast. Times have changed though. The big hill at Enfield and Lamar was the last challenge of the race. I was passing people up it so that felt good. There used to be a couple of rolling hills to finish the race, but they left it for the marathoners instead. With the finish basically being downhill, I punched it with a quarter mile left.

I ran 13.1 miles for a free beer...
My official time was 1:56.02. I finished under 2 hours, and it was not my slowest half either. Win-win. My pace was under nine minutes. None of my training runs were under nine minutes either so I felt pretty good about that. What is next? I wanted to run a marathon this winter, but I knew that going to Europe for over two weeks in November/December would have made training impossible. Before the end of the year, I do want to run a marathon. I just need about a good four months of training. We shall see.

Until next time, happy running...