Austin Half Marathon

 I really wasn't sure what would happen at yesterdays half marathon, after last years 3M Half where I'd ended up in tears from the pain in my knees, if I had a similar experience yesterday that would have been my last. However, based on switching to running on my toes over the last year, I was pretty sure I'd be ok and I was.

I met Zac at Jack and Adams around 6:05am and we walked over to Congress Ave for the start. After a bathroom break and dropping off our bags it was pretty much go time. I made a real effort not to race off at the start and to keep an even pace, heading up South Congress, even past Oltorf made it difficult to go fast anyway. Down along Caesar Chavez I went through a "down" period but managed to keep running. This was my slowest 3-miles; I was passed by Tammy around mile-9 and tried to hang on, but couldn't. As we turned onto Enfield I struggled going up the hill, but once it leveled out I actually felt pretty good.

When we crossed Exposition on Enfield, at 10.5-miles, I started to push for the finish. You can see from the charts below that I both picked up speed and my heart rate; The final hill on the east side of Lamar had me starting to grunt like Monica Seles with every 3rd breath, not something I'd normally do, and as I tried to sprint around the Capital building and on to the finish I kept doing  it(where did that come from?).

I crossed the finish line in an unofficial 2:12:02, I felt tired but pretty good afterwards, no real pain in my knees, just muscular pain. I ran the whole way leading with a toe strike, and certainly up until about 10-11 miles my heels were not touching the ground even on the push off. I used the mojojoey version-2 shoes to run in, which meant I had enough bend in the right shoe to actually push off from the toes. Interestingly, my heart rate went over my race max a couple of times, this has never happened in a race before, only in HR Testing in a lab. 

I met up with Zac shortly after exiting the finish chute, and then Tammy. We arranged to head to Lift coffee shop, and soon met Kelly who also did the Half and gave us a ride to J&A to get our dry clothes. The four of us went for lunch at Matts El Rancho afterwards.

The race was pretty well organized. No complaints with the start or the course. The volunteers were great as always; My favorite spectator was the guy on the small steps who appeared two or three times on the course, holding a sign that read "Thank you runners for my girlfriends great ass!"

Getting out the finish chute was a royal pain and took nearly 10-mins; we were only given one small water bottle; the mens t-shirt sizing was all wrong; a medium almost always works for me, this time it really was like a small; I went to the t-shirt exchange tent were there was a huge throng of people trying to change t-shirts too small. Apparently though someone had just come and taken all the t-shirts to the finish chute and so there were no exchanges, except for the lucky people who had a shirt too big(very few). I tried to get back in the finish chute to go swap mine only to b e forcefully told by a (State?) Trooper it wasn't going to happen, he directed me to the west side. There was no way to attract attention from there, so I went all the way around the east side to the Marathon finish chute, which was still empty, and managed to get a volunteer to swap my Mens Medium for a Mens Large, but even that is too small. Oh well...

I had thought my Half PR was 1:54, but checking back through my training/race spreasheets and on athlinks.com it turns out my PR was 2:06 back in 2006 in Danbury. So all in all given its a pretty hilly course, a great day at the office!




Next up, I'm going to do the Texas State Sprint triathlon on April 11th down in San Marcos. Time to get my speed on.

Congratulations
(Anonymous)
Hey Mark - congratulations... great run!

JD
(Anonymous)
Ya should have been a football player at least you would be paid to be in pain the next morning.....looks like you did good! --ila