Friday, February 28, 2014

Austin [Half] Marathon [Another Race Report]

Or a lackluster one, y'all.  I have been waiting for MarathonFoto to upload some amazing shots, but apparently I was only *shot* a few times over 13.1 miles.  HA!  That's allright...I'm going to nab some good shots from other sources to help illustrate some moments.

Let me start with the elevation profile for this particular event.

Harry and I ran this half last year (where I OWNED this course with a 1:49:18 finish), and for some reason, we ran it again.  Haha.  Don't get me wrong:  we had a WONDERFUL time last year!  It was a beautiful challenge for both of us, and we limped away, leaving everything we had out on the course.  The temps were perfect (in the 40s and 50s), and both he and I were trained for the hills.  I was still living in San Antonio, where I had nothing BUT hills in my neighborhood, and Harry trained on a mall parking lot ramp.  Hills are a rarity in the Chi, yanno.  Needless to say, I'm sorry that I didn't blog about this event last year, hehe.

On this particular day in 2014, it was 60*F and humid as all get out.  I went into this just as my last half marathon last month, treating it as a long run.  I didn't really care how long it took me to finish it.  The only thing I actually cared about was getting up the hill at mile 12 (see above...ugh) without stopping.  Some goal, huh?

So Harry and I arrived the Friday before (you can read my recap of the weekend up to this point here).  We woke up early Sunday morning and head toward downtown Austin.  I was nervous about parking (not really sure why...I grew up in this town, learned how to drive in this town, and pretty much knew where I was), about finding a spot close enough to the event start.  We didn't have a problem finding a spot AT ALL.  Most lots were open, pay and free parking.  Very convenient.  We had just enough time to park, check our bag, and a quick pee break before heading to the start line.  I realized while waiting in line that I had forgotten to put on BodyGlide.  Grrrrrrrrreat.

Since we were slightly behind, we got to stand and start with 5:00 marathon finishers.  Harry and I both run about two minutes faster during our long runs than this finish time, so we were slightly irked.  I couldn't be upset, though; if we wanted to have better placement at the start, then we should've gotten there way sooner.  Soon About fifteen minutes later, we found out that the crowd was actually MUCH thinner and easier to navigate around than we had dreaded!   We slowly shuffled up to the starting line, gave each other a race smooch, and went on our separate ways.  Here's my brief, yet accurate, breakdown of the race.

Miles 1-3 were hilly.  We went up and down and up and down...these rollers were only the warm-up and, knowing the course, I kept my pace super easy and relaxed.  This allowed me to enjoy the crowds and gorgeous scenery, and to smile my booty off!

Miles 3-6 were hillier.  That climb is a beast.  Once again, keeping it very easy.  Times got tough on this hill, but I just pushed back.  Up and up and up we went.  Since it was warmer and I was definitely sweating more than usual, I started taking fluids several miles earlier than I had last year.  On top of the humidity, I was working with about a 60* difference in temperature than what I'm used to running!  I took water at the mile 5 aid station.  I wasn't ready for Gatorade yet.  All I knew was that I was ready for the downhill.

Miles 6-9...HERE'S MY DOWNHILL!  Weeeeeeee!
Around mile 8, my tummy started to turn over itself.  *le eyeroll*  Fine, I figured, I'll take a potty break.  After standing for FOUR...STINKING...MINUTES...I was finally the next in line.  The door to the port-a-potty opened, and a guy jumped out of it and said to me "I don't know what you're going in there to do, but there isn't any toilet paper," then grabbed a folded towel from the side waistline of his shorts and held it out to me.  "You can use this if you want...I don't need it," he said.  I looked at him in awe.  "Are you sure?!"  I couldn't believe someone was this generous, seriously!  He assured me and I gave him a big, sweaty hug, and told him thanks and good luck.  When I went into the bathroom, it was so disgusting.  Many people had almost made it unusable.  There was poo everywhere.  :\  I had no other choice here, though.  I needed to go and get done with this run.  I got my business done and got back out on the road.

Miles 9-12 I knew what was coming.  I held back as much as I could.  At this point, I started taking Gatorade, swishing it in my mouth, then spitting out the majority of it.  I have never trained with it, and I certainly didn't want to have to spend another five minutes going to the bathroom again.  I took water immediately after.  I kept my pace very, very easy, though it stated to feel very tiring.  The hills and rollers were back again, and it really took a lot to run past people who were walking.  I started seeing people on the sides of the road, holding onto what I can assume as cramping calves.  Right before the hill here, I saw a lady down, not moving, and surrounded by several EMTs.  Yikes.

Side note:  They made it a point to have more water tables out this day, since the weather was pretty warm and very humid.  People were warned before the start of the race about the conditions, and that they needed to stay hydrated.

Mile 12 brought me the hill.  THE HILL.  I nearly let this hill defeat me last year.  My Daddio had been in a terrible car accident almost two weeks prior, had miraculously survived and was still in the hospital.  I kept telling myself last year "This is for Daddy, this is for Daddy", as I nearly puked, ran into people, and got the best photos ever where I looked like I was sneezing.  This year, I killed it all the way up.  I was rested, not running at an 8:00 pace like I was last year; that being said, I still struggled, but it felt easier and seemed to be over with much quicker.  I cheered people on, made anyone I saw walking start running up it with me, and laughed my ass off when I read a sign that said "Smile if you just peed a little".  The man holding the sign laughed and put up his hand for a high-five when he saw me laughing.  I hit the high-five and INSTANTLY felt better about the next mile.1, which once again, I knew was going to be tough.

Mile 12-13.1  TOUGH.  Just tough.  There are still many rollers to deal with toward the end.  You don't really catch a glimpse of hope flat street until you're about 1/4 mile from the finish.  Then it's on like Donkey Kong, and you feel like a beast dork sprinting to the finish line.  Jelly legs and all.  As I crossed the finish line, I blew a kiss to my hometown, thanking it for its always humbling welcome.

Harry and I found each other at the bag check area, then hit up this coffee shop for breaky tacos and caffeine.  We started heading to the car when we saw more people down after the finisher's area.  One lady was getting an IV by a medical professional just as we were walking past.  It was kind of disturbing.  

We got back to the car and head over to the hotel to shower up and check out, then hit up our favorite post-Austin Half Marathon race noms spot:  County Line BBQ (off 2222).

We devoured everything.  We somehow got our tooshies up to Mount Bonnell to find some rocks for Sophia, and so I could reminisce of my younger days.  Ahhhhh...home.  <3

We spent a bit of time here before we had to get to the airport... come back to the Chi to this.  It snowed about eight inches the very next day.  Ppppppppp!

At least I have this to keep me warm and to remember of those couple of days in February of 2014 where I could run outside in shorts.  :)


  1. Oh wow. Remind me never to run this one. I am a hill weenie. Congrats on conquering it again!

  2. Haha, it's a beast, but it's worth it to see my home v1.0! :D

  3. That is an awesome t-shirt.
    Fun fact: Remember when we waiting in line at Mcdonald's in Pittsburgh to get coffee? I started that race feeling the urge to pee, but it eventually went away.
    I don't know how we're supposed to deal with hills anymore if we can't train on them. Back in Indiana, I had a loop that took me to a solid incline - not so much here. You made the best of your situation, though, and it sounds like you had a lot of fun after the race!

    1. It was a Finisher's shirt! They didn't hand out shirts at the Expo or in your bag. You had to cross the finish line. I kinda like that.


      There are a couple of small inclines at the park near our house. I've done sprints up them just to keep my hill fitness up, but it's obviously not enough. There are a ton of great hills and rollers on the trails near my work, but they're completely snowed and iced over at the moment. I can't wait until it's just me and the paved trails before work. :)


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