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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
It was a memorable time in Texas!
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!