Thursday, April 17, 2014

Austin 10/20 Race Report + Red Fox Wireless Headphones Review

Sunday was the Austin 10/20.  That’s a 10 mile race in Austin, TX.  It’s 10 miles with 20 bands spread out in approximately half mile intervals.  The organization for this race was awesome. 

The expo was small, but didn’t leave me feeling disappointed.  When I picked up my bib, they actually required me to show my ID.  That’s a first.  I’ve had lots of emailed instructions that state I will have to show ID to pick up my bib but they never do.  This one didn’t say anything about showing ID in the emails they sent out, but when I arrived, they asked to see it.  Good thing I didn’t need to pass off my bib to someone else!  Anyway, after I got my bib I went into the expo room.  I made a beeline for the t-shirts.  I told the lady I needed a women’s large and she said she had to warn me because the shirts were “running small” and that she was wearing a large.  She was definitely smaller than me, so I asked if I could get an XL instead and she said I could.  When I went for my run Wednesday morning and I wore my 10/20 shirt for the run, let me tell you, I was very happy I traded up to the XL because it fit perfectly.  A large would have been tight and uncomfortable and annoying and I would have been very disappointed since I wouldn’t be able to wear it and it’s a great looking shirt…one of my favorites for sure…actually, probably my favorite shirt I’ve gotten so far.  Anyway, there wasn’t much at the expo that really interested me.  They had some tech shirts that were really nice, but I wasn’t interested.  I thought it was really cool that they were selling the participant shirts for the other 10/20 race that happens in California.  I thought about buying one, but I don’t want any shirts for races I haven’t ran…that’d just make me a poser in my opinion. 

What I DID buy was a Red Fox Wireless set of headphones.  Red Fox had been at the Austin Marathon expo and the Capital 10K expo.  Both times I just walked on past their booth, but drooled over them in my head.  This time I stopped and asked questions.  They’re Bluetooth, like the headphones I’ve been using.  A little background.  The headphones I’ve been using are a $30 set I found at Fry’s Electronics.  They were really easy to use.  On the right ear piece was the skip forward and backward buttons and on the left ear piece was the volume buttons.  The sound quality was pretty good.  My main problems with those headphones was that they would slip out ever so slightly as a ran, so I would have to pull my headband down to hold them in place.  That was all well and good but now it’s starting to get hot in Texas so having my ears covered up isn’t a wise idea.  When I asked the guy my questions, I made sure that there were track skip buttons (there were…there is also a pause button!!!) and volume control buttons (there were).  They had some demo pairs so I got to try them out and give them a listen.  They felt secure against my head, like they wouldn’t be prone to slipping out of my ears.  The sound quality was phenomenal and they were extremely comfortable.  So, I spent the $80 (expo pricing) plus $15 for the hardshell travel case.
Back to the race.  Sunday morning, I woke up around 5:30 because the race wasn’t until 8.  I parked in the on site garage that had no restriction on access (as it was not part of the race route so it was not closed at any time).  I hung out in my car for a while…I didn’t want to get to the start area TOO early and have to stand around making my legs all tired.  When it was time to make my way to the start, I started walking and then, as soon as I got out from the cover of the garage, I noticed the sky was kind of dark, so I went back to my car to see if there was anything to wrap around my phone to keep it dry in my gear belt in case it rained while we were running.  I found a shopping bag and tore a piece off and wrapped it around my phone, then started back toward the start area again.  I stopped at a port-a-potty on the way, of course.  I got close and did my warm up exercises (leg swings and calf raises), then made my way to the corral area.  They had the whole thing fenced in so I couldn’t just walk into my assigned corral.  I had to go all the way to the end and push through the crowd and make my way to my corral.  That took some doing.  The start line was pretty wide, so we made it through the shoot in record time.  I think there was 2 minutes between when they said the “Ready, set, go” and when I (in corral 7 out of 10) hit the start line.  Very nice. 

As we made our way along the course, there was a band of some sort pretty much exactly ever half mile.  And they were all good.  I wish I could say the same for the Rock’N’Roll half I ran last November.  The bands were not evenly spaced, leaving lots of “dead air” where all I was listening to was my breathing and footfalls and those of the people around me.  Don’t get me wrong, Rock’N’Roll was fun, but it could have been planned better.  When us “normal” people were around mile 2, the elites were already coming back at us at around the 4 mile mark.  DAAAAAAAAMN!!!  We cheered them as they ran past us.  I was doing and feeling pretty good until around mile 7.  Normally, I would have taken in a gel around this time, however I forgot to bring one with me.  The one thing I was not happy about with this run, no gels at any of the aid stations.  At every half marathon I’ve run (even the relatively low cost Biggest Loser) there have been gels round mile 7 or 8.  Now, sure this wasn’t a half marathon, but it was still a decently long run.  I took some extra walk breaks the last 2 miles due to being “out of steam.” 

I crossed the finish line per my Garmin at 1:55:06, 6 seconds above my goal time of 1:55:00.  However, when I stopped at the results tent near the finish area, it said my official time was 1:54:34, 26 seconds faster than my goal time.  And if that wasn’t enough, when I checked my official finisher’s certificate, it said 1:57:something.  Geez.  I’m going with what the computer said.  The 1:57:something had to be the “gun” time as, I said previously, it took about 2 minutes for me to cross the start line when the race started.
obligatory standing runner's pose

sporting my participant shirt on Wednesday's run!

Overall, very happy with this race.  I would say I plan to do it again next year, but really, I’d like to see about doing the MS150 bicycle ride with some friends/co-workers and that happens the same weekend…or at least it did this year.

And now I’ll go back to the Red Fox headphones.  Since there were bands (and good ones!) along the race course, I did not wear listen to music as I ran, so I didn’t get to try out the new headphones until my next run, which was Wednesday morning before work.  I wore my 10/20 shirt for the run, like I said above.  I mapped out a 4.5 mile course in MapMyRun and set out.  As I started, I noticed some bounce in the headphones.  It was annoying, but not significant.  After a few minutes, I basically got used to it and didn’t notice it at all for the remainder of the run.  Very satisfied with my purchase and I would highly recommend them to anyone looking to buy Bluetooth headphones that are good to use while running.  Definitely worth the cost…a very good investment in my opinion.  Oh and they said the charge lasts 6-9 hours, so you get a good amount of time between charges.  My other ones lasted 5 hours at the max.  When I was connecting them to my phone before my run on Wednesday, it did take a little bit longer for them to connect than my other headphones did (I had already set them up on Sunday so all I had to do was select them after I turned the Bluetooth on).

My run on Wednesday went well.  I was going strong until mile 3 where I stopped and walked for a minute, then continued on my way.  That was the only walk break I took during the 4.5 miles because that’s the only one I needed.  I did take a stretch break at around mile 1.15 because my shins were a little tight.  I think that 4.5 miles was the perfect distance for a first after a 10-mile race.  Tomorrow, I’ll run again.  I’m just planning on 3.3 miles.  Sunday I’m probably going to run either 5 or 6 miles…haven’t decided yet. 

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