Sunday, February 15, 2009

Austin Half Marathon 2009

(let me say that I am NOT writing this the day of the half marathon. blogspot has a nifty function that allows me to post date my blogs, so instead of passing out ungracefully in my hotel room, you guys think that I'm writing to tell you all about my race....)

Saturday started out at a nice chilly 50 something degrees. BF and I had laid all of our race stuff out that night, so we quickly got ready and moved out. In packing, I had remembered my headband but had forgotten my gloves (damn it) so at the expo Saturday I picked up a pair of gloves with the austin marathon logo on them. I also hadn't packed my fuel belt, with the truth being that I really haven't been using it lately. I've been sucking it up on my trail runs and running without water, which has been fine as long as it's chilly (although my face gets really hot when I run, and so I'm sure some of the H T Rex group was a little worried about my beet-red face and lack of hydration). Plus I knew the course would have water stops. I've had my eye on some of the hydration systems some of the trail runners have, so I purchased a new one. Plus some gu and I was all set.

Breakfast was a couple of fig newtons, mushy oatmeal with peanut butter, some milk, and a banana. All packed up and ready to roll, we went to the start line. Def not as impressive as Houston, but still pretty great. I saw a lo of runners in their Houston finisher's shirts. The race startesd a bit late as usual, and due to the single start (no waves) it was about 10 minutes till I actually got to the starting line.

The race starts on Congress ave, and follows Congress over the lake into South Congress area (or So Co as it's called). A majority of this is a gradual slope up about 200 feet in elevation. At mile 3 (roughly) you start to head back towards downtown, with the course gradually sloping back downhill. My time at the 3 Mile mark was 40:24 (a 13:28 min/mile).

There were some big white banners with limerick lines on them. I think most of them I missed, and even if I caught them, I don't remember what was said. Cute though. I also saw a spectator handing out mini cupcakes (yum) and a group called F.I.T. (Friends In Training). One girl had lost 140 lbs! Go her!

At mile 6, it's over the lake again. Left on Cesar Chavez. I don't remember too much about this part, except for passing a bunch of restuarants and houses. Temperature wise, I spent most of the race taking my gloves on and off. The headband came off around mile 3, but my hands would get too warm and then get too cold. Thank god the water belt allowed me to tuck the gloves in and not lose them! At about mile 9.5 we turn onto Enfield Rd. Enfield is the lovely portion of our run with some steep slopes. It is also where the sun decided to come out and shine right in our faces (I had also forgotten my beloved Astros ballcap to protect me from the sun) The first hill is immediately at the turn, with many more to follow.

At mile 10, my time was 2:06:52 (12:42 min/mile total, averaging 12:21 min/mile in the 7 miles between). Specifically memorable hills were just before mile 11 (when you go under Route 1) and just before mile 12. Mile 12 was by far the worst one. I managed to run up the thing but at the top I was breathing so hard and my heart was pacing so fast I had to slow down to catch my breath.

From mile 13 on it was nice and downhill. I got a good sprint into the finish line. Grabbed water bottle (a tiny little water bottle that I finished before I got to the end of the chute).

Here is the course map:

And the elevation:

At this point, I don't know what my time is like. I came into this race not expecting to do anything amazing. Just finishing was my goal. On our way back to the hotel we saw the results stations and hopped in to grab our times. I knew that I ran the 2008 Houston Half at a 12:36 mile pace - and my results printout said I ran Austin at a 12:36 pace! Unfortunately I didn't know what my time was but I was eager to go back and look.

Houston half:
chip time: 2:43:31.7
pace: 12:36/M (from the results page)

Austin Half:
chip time: 2:45:06
pace: 12:36/M (from the results sheet and my own calculations)

So it appears that the pace calculation for the Houston Half was off. So when I recalculated it, I got 12:29 min/mile pace for the Houston Half. Hmm...

So I was very glad to have such an amazing pace for a difficult half marathon, especially for just having done the Houston Full 4 weeks ago.

Now I get to be really excited about my next half marathon - Angie's Half Crazy Half Marathon. Althoug there is no existing course information for the Angie's Half, it is advertised as a fast and flat course. And in clear lake, I have no doubt of that being true (unless we're running the kemah bridge, but I can handle that!) So I am very much looking forward to a PR. And adding more medals onto my wall!

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