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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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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What I Learned from My First Trail Race

Happy Monday! For some of us, it’s back to the grind. I spent the weekend in New Hampshire with my family, including my brother and cousin whom I hadn’t seen in awhile. I always find it tough getting back to the bustling world of work and the city, so am slowly adapting this morning. Hope you all enjoyed your summer weekends wherever you were!

My time up north included a lot of outdoor activities and micro-adventures on either side of a tremendous storm that hit the mountains on Saturday night. Losing electricity and water for a few hours following the storm was fun, but I was happy for these amenities later in the evening once the power returned.

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