For the last couple of months I have been getting up EARLY and training for the 3M Half Marathon in Austin, Texas. It was advertised as a great course to get a PR (personal record) on because it had a net downhill elevation. So some of my running friends and I decided to take a stab at it.
Last night I met my running buddies down in Austin and we strategized running intervals and game plans for the day.
My plan was to run 3 minutes steady, run 1 minute fast and walk 1 minute... over and over for 13.1 miles!
Here we are at the start of the race. Actually, here we are waiting at the never-ending port-a-potty line! We were in this line for the national anthem.. for the start of the race... and for an additional few minutes!
Here I am at the start of the race! I decided that I was going to ENJOY this race! Yes, I had a time goal, but this race was about the enjoyment of running.
The crowd of runners, even starting almost 8 minutes after the gun was crazy. 6000 runners starting at the same time makes things tight.
And the road stayed congested with runners the ENTIRE RACE!
I realized 4 minutes into the race that in the course of turning down my audio cues so that they weren't constantly going off in runkeeper, I accidentally turned off ALL cues. Ugh. So I had to watch for my friend Alisa that was trying to hear her cues in the crowd or just go on my own. I did both. Thankfully I was wearing my Garmin, so I took a 1 minute walk break every 1/2 mile.
After dodging in and out trying to not get hemmed in, I gave up pushing for the elusive goal at mile 3 and just decided to try to get a personal best, but to have FUN!
Which meant that Alisa and I after passing this cool pirate, we turned around and WENT BACK and got a picture. His sign said Run Yer Booty Off!
Along the way I tried to say thanks to all of the volunteers and police officers working the course. I stopped and got a raw carrot to gnaw on from a little girl's goodie plate that she had out for runners. I took a grapefruit from another neighbor close to mile 12 and was so thankful for that burst of fresh fruit!
Below is from mile 10.5 It was that crowded the entire race! I was amazed.
As we started on the last mile of the race we turned into the University of Texas campus. Here is a mariachi group playing for us!
And here is the final few hundred yards of the race. It was fun running towards the state capitol to finish the race off!
So the question asked is will we run it again? YES!
But.. I'll go in better prepared.
It was a net downhill with only a couple of big hills... BUT... it was really a rolling hill course. As one would expect from Austin, Texas. Knowing that, I'll train for rolling hills, not downhills. That is a big difference.
And, I'll have a better idea as to where to start the race and how to run it. The crowd was soo thick. Apparently there are a lot of 2:10 runners in Austin. I got hemmed in and stuck behind groups of runners repeatedly. Not sure how my strategy is going to change for next year, but I'll be thinking about it.
And what about the "swag bag?" It was GREAT! But would you expect any less from a 3M sponsored race? I was disappointed that the 3M Half reusable bag was missing from my bag. boo. But other than that, I'll be using the gifts for sure.
What's next on the running horizon? COWTOWN!!!