Austin Half Marathon Recap

Mark and I spent President’s Day weekend in Austin, TX and we both ran the half marathon on Sunday February 19th. I really enjoyed the race, despite the heat, humidity, and hills, which were a far cry from February in Boston. This race was perfect for my training for the Boston marathon, which seems to be creeping up quickly!

We stayed at a hotel close to the race start, which was very convenient for the 7am start time. I ran a couple of miles on the treadmill to warm up and meet my required long run distance, then I woke Mark up and we were off!

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As soon as we walked outside into the humid Texas air, I began to sweat a bit. For a moment, I was thankful to not be participating in the full marathon. The pre-sunrise surrounding darkness felt peaceful as we made our way to the bustling starting corrals, full of enthusiastic, gelled-up runners. Thousands of runners had showed up to run half marathon, and thousands more to run the full.

The gun went off, and the 13.1 mile journey began!

Here are my positive takeaways from the race:

  • The race expo was well-stocked and easy to navigate (despite the heavy traffic lining he entrance to the adjacent parking garage). We met some cool people who worked for Janji– I will have to check out their Boston location! Expo was a good experience overall. It didn’t hurt to be staying at the hotel across the street.
  • I purposely left my headphones at home for the first time racing in years and I enjoyed the experience of running without music much more than I thought. I was able to take in the scenery, the spectators, other runners conversations and also focus more on my personal thoughts. Many runners don’t run with headphones, but I often have them “just in case”. Given the hot weather I knew that headphones would only be a distraction and slip off. Given the amount of water I dumped on my head at every water station, no doubt they would have been ruined. So physically and mentally- it was a good decision to leave those Yurbuds at home.
  • The race was fully stocked with water and nuun at least every other mile. I LOVE nuun and loved drinking a lot of it throughout this race. This was the first race I have run where nuun was the drink option other than water.
  • Although spectators were sporadic given the course route (through neighborhoods and parks), the spectators that did show up were super enthusiastic and motivating. Thank you to everyone that came out!!
  • After I finished, I downed a bag of pork rinds, which were a surprisingly amazing addition to the finish-line goodie bag. I then downed another bottle of water and kept running. I needed to run a couple more miles, so I ran back along the course. After a mile or so I realized that Mark was nearby given his splits so I sought him out. I found him near the final water station and ran side by side until we crossed the finish line. It was very fun to cross the line twice and memorable to run with my love in his last Austin mile. 

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Post-race, we were delighted by the food and drink options in Austin. We decided to brunch near 6th street at a southern style cuisine. Followed by some amazing gelato (Gemelli), followed by more drinks on 6th street. All good decisions!

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I don’t have any major complaints about the race but I feel like the race directors could do a better job finding a route in such a beautiful city. There were major sections of the race through parts of the city with strip malls and warehouses. More selfishly, the first three miles of the race were quite uphill. In addition to the humidity, this made hitting my target time harder than expected. I ended up at 1:50, but was hoping for 5-10 minutes faster. Reaching my goal time would have given me more confidence in my fitness for Boston, but I’m still reasonably satisfied given the conditions. My running coaches Lisa and Julie agreed!

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Mark and I finished the weekend by road tripping out to Austin’s Hill Country and explored the LBJ ranch. Such a scenic part of Texas! We stopped by a little town with a dance hall (Luckenbach) and of course scouted out some delicious BBQ. It was a wonderful way to treat the body after a tough race and a great way to finish up the weekend.

IMG_2570IMG_2351It was a memorable time in Texas!

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Happy Friday to you!

What are your plans for the weekend? Along with some birthday celebrations (Happy birthday Dad and Tom!), I was planning to run a 20 mile race with my sister on Saturday. The weather gods have suddenly been grouchy and it will be 20 degrees as a high. So, I am not planning to run the race but will take my run indoors. I’ll split up a treadmill run to make it less dreadmilly…we will see how it goes!

I am getting the blogging fever, but am finding it hard to map out the time to write! I will continue as I head into Boston marathon countdown, and hope you have the patience to read more janerunswild!

Have a great run this weekend! Stay warm if you live in New England!

Wineglass Marathon Recap

Two weekends ago, I ran Wineglass marathon held in beautiful Corning, New York. It was my 18th marathon in my 11th state. I didn’t run my fastest time (3:54), but it was a beautiful race and a fun weekend with friends. My friend Molly also ran the marathon, and had a great race- having her there capped off the experience!

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It was a warm day for a race, peaking in the high 60’s, so I knew that the conditions wouldn’t be ideal for a PR. Regardless of the weather, I had a grin on my face until hitting the wall at the predictable 20th mile. After a summer of trail running, I was happy to be back on the roads. This race offered many picturesque views of the surrounding hills and small towns, with bustling energy from the locals throughout the course, all the while never having to go off-road. The field size was just right as well, with roughly 2,000 marathoners and the same number of half marathoners who started at our halfway point.

The point-to-point course started in Bath, NY and finished in the town of Corning. Overall flat, there were some sneaky rolling hills in there which we were prepared for given the elevation chart.

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Following the race, I experienced a sudden rush running momentum, so I signed up for my next race, Canyon City marathon in California. More on that later!

Here are some takeaways and lessons learned from Wineglass:

  • I was reminded that running a race with friends- even if you’re not physically beside them the whole time, truly makes the race more fun. Having friends and loved ones waiting at the finish line was also very special and inspired me to push through until the end. Thank you, everyone! Side note: Corning has some great brunch and dinner options for spectators and runners alike! Always a perk for races where you drag your friends along :)

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  • Trail races are different form road races, and they do not adequately prepare you for road races. If you really want to run for time, you need to follow marathon-specific workouts on the road. Trail running this summer brought many new and exciting adventures, but they did not prepare me for the constant pounding on concrete and road-specific conditions I needed in order to run a more solid race. My legs hurt more after Wineglass than they had after both of my trail marathons.
  • For the first time in awhile, I felt that I nailed my nutrition regimen pre- and during the race. These are my own opinions but I am not a nutritionist. Before the race on Saturday, I had a Subway sandwich for lunch and at dinner I stayed away from pasta and opted for a veggie burger with some sweet potato fries. This all sat well in my stomach, and I felt appreciatively full but not over-satiated. On the morning of the race, I had an English muffin with PB and banana, coffee and some water. Given that temps were to be in the mid 60’s, I wanted to hydrate as much as possible up until the hour before the race. During the race, I had 3 GUs throughout the race, along with 1-2 cups of water at each station, and I was happy to be cramp-free throughout! For more information on preparing for your upcoming race, check out this post.

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  • Wineglass race organization was top-notch. Shuttles from Corning to Bath the morning of the race were efficient, and there were plenty of porta-potties at the start along with indoor areas for marathon runners. Race morning wasn’t particularly cold, but I knew that I would have appreciated it had it been a cooler fall morning in upstate New York. There were adequate water stations throughout the race. Actual GU products were handed out at least once. The tech shirt and finisher medal were both great, and I especially appreciated the wine glass and bubbly that came with our bibs!

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  • I wore new running shoes called Adizero Boston’s, made by Adidas. I knew it was risky wearing relatively new shoes on race day and I even had Mark bring my Brooks to the race half-way point in case I wanted to change. But I absolutely love these Adidas shoes- they were comfortable from the moment I put them on, and have just the right amount of minimal cushioning. I will be converting to these for the time being.

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  • Lastly, my 20th mile feelings of “I will never run another one” which quickly changed to “I can’t wait to sign up for my next” post-race feelings, never cease to amaze me. I am the quintessential marathon addict, and I don’t think I’ll be stopping any time soon! Canyon City Marathon in CA is next up- I am tagging along on Mark’s work trip to LA! It’s one of the Revel races- a series that I love (check out my Big Cottonwood recap here). After that, nothing until BOSTON!! More on Boston in the next post :)

What are YOU currently training for? I’d love to hear how the training is going!

What is your favorite fall race? Favorite run-cation?

Anyone running Boston or working toward a BQ? Congrats and good luck!!

 

 

England Adventure- Part 2

Hope you’re having a great week! I can’t believe that we are almost through September. After starting a new job last week, I haven’t had much down time to blog or even run much!

My last post described part of Mark and my trip to England, so here’s part 2! Stay tuned for some running updates — RRCA coaching and Boston Marathon entry — soon.

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As far as England, one of our days was spent exploring the Cotswolds, a picturesque section of western England full of “chocolate-box” villages, thatched roof cottages and historical British homes.

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England Adventure- Part 1

Mark and I spent last week across the Atlantic with his grandparents and their British friends in Southwest England. We had a great time in this mostly rural part of the country. So much fun in fact, that I couldn’t fit it all into one post!

On our first real day in England, we got to see Stonehenge, Britain’s most iconic archeological site. I won’t go into the details on the history and landscape (that’s what Google.com and guidebooks are for)- but I will say that this 5,000-year-old structure is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the UK. 

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Coaching and Celebrations

Happy Friday! It has been a busy week (a busy month really!) and I finally had some time to sit down and write a post. Last night a group of us celebrated my friend’s birthday and we started talking about how excited we were for a big blizzard to hit Boston…in retrospect, I wouldn’t go that far, but I think we are all ready for a change of seasons to the beautiful fall!

Here are some updates on my life over the past couple of weeks:

-Most excitingly and relevant to running: last weekend I took the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) coaching certification course. The two 8-hour day course was held outside of Minneapolis, MN (the New England courses for the year were filled within minutes!), and was worth every penny. Even if I never coach, I learned a great deal to inform my own training. Official coaching certification happens after I pass a 100 question exam and become CPR and First Aid certified, so hopefully I can call myself “Coach Jane” soon!

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I was very impressed with the scientifically-based running agenda and loved our instructor, Cari Setzler. Cari is a competitive runner herself, an RRCA certified coach, a writer for Women’s Running Magazine, and on top of that- a Veterinarian. She kept the class entertained with her funny and engaging style. Fellow classmates had a variety of running interests- some were specializing in 5k distances and enjoyed working with young runners while others were passionate about the ultra-distance and wanted to increase their knowledge of the sport. It was so interesting hearing their stories, and we all enjoyed talking about running non-stop. I hope to keep in touch with some of these fellow runners! Stay tuned for another post with more details on my experience and the course itself.  For now, I have to get back to working on the exam!

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How to Make Running a Habit

Note: this post was originally written by me for Run Farther and Faster blog.

Some weeks can be particularly chaotic, consistent with the regular ups and downs of life. Needless to say, the moments of stress do not inspire me to lace up my running shoes and head out for a run. However, there have been workouts where I set out feeling down, but returned home afterward flowing with energy, with a clear mindset and perspective, and a more positive attitude. During these runs, I could feel my outlook change as my Garmin beeped at each mile marker. I was so thankful that I had chosen to run, mostly because it has become a habit of mine.

There are many ways to manage the rollercoasters of life- whether it be sitting back, breathing through your frustrations and letting the anger or sadness pass via meditation, or more proactively working against the angst through active pursuits such as running or another favorite form of exercise. Everyone can benefit from habitually getting outside and being active in some way on both emotionally down days as well as those feel-good days. You won’t ever regret regularly spending some of your valuable time participating in a mind-clearing activity such as running- you will only regret not doing it.

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A Weekend of Love and Running

I hope you all had a lovely weekend! Mine was spent with friends and family with some running in between. I felt very in the moment all weekend, and subsequently forgot to take any photos at all, highly unusual for me. The array of pictures in this post includes some of my favorite stray images! :)

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