This was my 3rd time to run Austin's most famous race...and I have to say I enjoyed it the most! In 2007 I was WAY too focused on time to really enjoy the race, and although I ran a 51:49 (8:20 min/mile pace), I can't tell you anything remarkable about that race. Not a single memory. Must have had a good run, but who knows what was going on? The next year I ran it was the following year, in 2008 and my time dropped to 57:03 (Still a 9:10 pace!) and I DO remember why - I had to make an unscheduled pit stop at a Porta-Jane. Nothing will make you regret running in the "timed" category more than having to stop! I right then and there started taking my pre-race routine much more seriously! Hasn't happened to me since, knock on wood!
Fast forward to 2012 and I ran a 1:02:13 for a 10:01 pace. I woke op early on race day and I knew I was going to have a good run! The legs felt fresh - another way of saying I did NOT run enough the week prior to Sunday! I listened to some music, figured out how to connect my iPhone to my Kia Sorrento's stereo so I can control my tunes like an iPod connected and through the steering wheel controls. Sweet! I did the morning visit to the Porta-Janes, which I must say were the cleanest ones I have ever used. Something to be said for arriving early! I walked around a bit to loosen up and to take in the pre race atmosphere. It was warm, about 65 deg at the start I'd guess, and really humid. That had a lot of runners nervous, and the more I listened to everyone the more worried I got too! I looked around for some friends I thought were running and did not see them, so I headed to the "C" Corral, which I think was for 10:00 to 10:30 pace runners. After some local girl's duo murdered the National Anthem (It's "perilous fight" not "perilous flight" people!) we were off, and.....walking! With over 23,000 runners total, it can take a while. But we were actually running 5 ft before the start line, and I crossed it about 2:21 after the gun went off. Not bad! The first mile was a very easy steady climb up Congress Avenue, which is a cool way to get the legs warm before the first hill, a sharp climb after a right on 11th st. I knew what was coming, so I was trying to take things easy. I still was right at a 10 minute first mile. That was when I realized I had a shot at running under 10 min pace. Mile 2 took us over a couple rollers and down the monster that was the toughest climb in the Livestrong Half Marathon, when we were coming the opposite direction! Much easier going down, although I did see a few people with quads that appeared to be in trouble. By now I was sweating like the proverbial pig (I always do!) and I knew the one hill I dreaded was here...the longest hill and the toughest on the course. It was not as hard as it was when I ran the Turkey Trot (See The Calf history in earlier posts if you are truly bored!), and I think it was on the perfect spot on the course. After getting over it and then headed down the long downhill to Mopac, I knew I was doing well. At 3 miles I was right on 10 minute pace still. By mile 4 I was just girl watching, which I do without leering...much. Damn, runners have fine legs! The heat was starting to bother me at mile 5 and I faded just a little going up some small rollers on Cesar Chavez....but I was still doing well all things considered. I had only been bumped a couple hundred times by newbies that apparently had no idea that running a straight line is just being courteous, and I was not thirsty at all. Half of the two cups of water I grabbed on the course were just to pour down my back and on my head to cool off. My calf did not give me even a twinge, and I was really glad for that!
I really did not have much of a sprint at the end, which was cool since we were packed in the finishing chute like sardines. Sweaty, smelly sardines! They would do well to widen that a little. I might have made up that maddening 1 second that my final pace was (10:01!) But I was happy! All in all, it was a very fun race and I'll be back next year to do it again!
My final "grades":
246th of 429 in my Age Group (50-59 Male)
4,604th overall (of 9,929 timed runners - 23,000+ overall runners/walkers)
3,097th male (of 5,158 males)