Sunday I ran the Austin Half Marathon. It's the third time I've run some form of the marathon in Austin. I did the marathon in 2011, the half in 2012 and the half again this year. This is probably the last time I'll ever run Austin and the feeling is bitter sweet. More on that later.
After a pretty decent night's sleep, my alarm went off at 4:30 am. We wanted to leave the house by 5:15 in hopes of being at the race and at 6 am for the 7 am start. All went as planned.
We had plenty of time to use the porta potties and take plenty of pictures.
I love this one in front of the capital and appreciate that they matched the light on top of the capital to our shirts. Brilliant Austin, just brilliant.
While we were standing around I said something to Bianca about her Garmin and she looked down and gasped. She had forgotten her Garmin. I joked, how was she going to pace me if she had forgotten her Garmin? She put out her hand and made me hand over mine. Hmph. It was probably a good thing.
Everyone discussed their race goals. Chrystal wanted to beat last year's time of 1:58, Val and Tony hoped to go sub 2:00 and I wanted to finish anywhere between 2:10 and 2:15. Bianca was running with me and is MUCH faster, so clearly she was running my race.
We started the race and everything felt pretty darn good. I was running at a decent pace (for me) and life was good.
Mile 1: 9:52
Mile 2: 9:58
Mile 3: 9:57
Life WAS good… for the first 3 and then then the hills started to come.
Miles 3 to 6 were absolutely brutal. As you can see, it's a steady uphill and it was just wearing me down. We saw Julie and Kelley (our cheerleaders) at mile 5 and that definitely helped, but I wasn't happy with the hills (despite how the picture looks). Even though the hills were taking their toll, I was still feeling ok at this point.
Mile 4: 10:30 ---> Gu
Mile 5: 10:09
Mile 6: 10:21
At about mile 6 things start to flatten out and I prayed it would stay that way. I had asked Bianca at each mile mark what our pace was (up to mile 3). I got one other update just before mile 7 (total time: 1:10) so I knew I was doing okish. I'm really glad I didn't have my Garmin on because I was really good at just listening to my body and pushing when I could and going slower on the hills. When the road was flat I pushed as hard as I could without knowing my pace.
Mile 7: 9:19
Mile 8: 9:58 ----> another Gu at mile 8.5
Mile 9: 10:10
I feel like at mile 9 things really started to fall apart for me. It was later in the race and I was running a fairly quick pace (for me) so I was definitely tired. Then it just seemed like hill after hill after hill. Bianca kept telling me I needed to pick up my pace and I was really trying, but the my hamstrings hated me on the hills. In addition, my breathing was so labored. I'm confident in saying I was working as hard as I could. Look how red my face is.
Since I had taken a Gu at mile 8.5, I hoped I would get a second wind around mile 10 or so. I hoped I was just laboring through the hills and eventually we'd meet a downhill and I'd feel better again. As you can see from the elevation chart above, that never happened.
We saw Julie and Kelley again at mile 10 and I was giving them the HUGE thumbs down. I felt like crap and I figured it showed. When I saw Julie had out her camera, I quickly changed to thumbs up and a smile. I'm pretty good at faking it, aren't I?
After mile 10 came and seeing Julie and Kelley, I kept looking for that second wind, but instead I was met with hill after hill. Bianca was so encouraging and see really helped me get through this race. She kept just ahead of me most of the race and it was the bait I needed to keep going.
Unfortunately when I met the biggest hill at mile 12 I HAD to walk. I tried with all my might to keep going, but my hamstrings were totally cramped. I don't think I walked very long and I know it's something I HAD to do, so I'm ok with it, but I've run that hill on my previous races with no problem so it did make me mad and make me evaluate my training.
Mile 10: 10:11
Mile 11: 10:22
Mile 12: 10:21
I hadn't asked Bianca about time since mile 7 and I felt like I was going so slowly on the hills. A couple of times Bianca told me our pace and I didn't know if it was our current pace or overall pace, but hearing her say we're running 11:18 made me want to push. I didn't know if it was overall or right now, but I prayed it was just my slow pace going up the hills.
For the first time coming into a finish line, I had no idea what kind of time I was going to finish with. I hoped when I rounded the corner for the last 200 yards and could see the time on the clock, I'd be pleasantly surprised.
Mile 13: 10:27
The clock read 2:19:XX. I had no idea how long it took us to cross the start mat after the gun. So I STILL didn't know my finish time.
Bianca held up my garmin to show me. I had finished right in the middle of my time goal.
Garmin time: 2:13:57 Offical time: 2:13:51
Garmin distance: 13.26 Offical Distance: 13.1 (obvi)
Garmin average: 10:06 Official Average: 10:13
I was really happy with how I finished. Sure I'd love to be faster, but I'm happy that I set a realistic goal for myself and was able to achieve it. Austin is a hilly race and it will never be my fastest race, so the fact that I averaged 10:06 pace for over 2 hours is a win for me. And if I'm being honest (and when am I not) the extra 10 pounds I'm carrying around isn't helping matters. So yeah, I'm happy, but I always want to improve.
Chrystal kicked butt and finished well under her goal of 1:58. Val missed her goal by just a bit, but I think she was happy nonetheless. This is a difficult race and she finished strong.
How awesome are they? Thank you so much to Julie and Kelley for coming out and cheering us on and showing us all kinds of love and support.
Also a big thanks to my other friend Shannon (Tony and Val's BFF) for coming and cheering too. It was so great to see you, Shannon!
After awhile it became apparent that something was wrong. Val couldn't get a hold of Tony on his phone, and he was nowhere to be found. I came up with the idea of using the find my phone app to find Tony. Val realized Tony's phone was near a hospital and it wasn't moving. She quickly headed that way to be by his side.
Now it might seem like we were all celebrating without concern, but no one really thought there was anything to be concerned about. Even when we realized Tony was at the hospital, I figured he was just dehydrated and would be joining us all for breakfast shortly.
It turns out Tony's problem wasn't his problem at all. Not at mile 10 anyway. Tony became WAY overheated and began to swerve and become confused on the course. (It was about 60 degrees outside, but felt much warmer due to the humidity.) Tony sought out help somewhere between miles 10 and 11 (the details are sketchy as he doesn't remember). He arrived at the hospital in dire condition with a 105.9 degree fever. He had to be intubated and sedated and was placed in ICU. Thankfully, Tony was released from the hospital today and for all intents and purposes is fine.
I'm so thankful that all is well now and feel so badly for Tony that his body had different plans for him on marathon day than he had of himself. I know Tony will come back for his next race stronger than ever.
As for me, like I said, this will be my last Austin Marathon. I love running in Austin, but I don't love the marathon course. Bianca is moving away from Austin for her husband's job and we all decided that we would come back to Austin to run the 3M Half Marathon instead. I'm so happy to have run my last Austin Half Marathon with Bianca. It was a bitter sweet ending, but one I wouldn't have wanted to do with anyone else.