This was my second time running the Austin Marathon (I also ran the half 2 years ago…so my 3rd time with this event as a whole). This was also my first repeat marathon. I had a goal for this race. An aggressive goal. I wanted to PR the marathon by over 14 minutes! I had my Excel paceband maker that a friend gave me. Last year I plugged in 11:15 min/mi, this year I plugged in 10:15 min/mi. If I stuck to the paceband, that would have me finishing in 4:28:37.
Okay, let’s get this recap started! First, the expo. For such a major race, there really isn’t as many vendors as you would think there would be. Usually I can find a couple things at the official merchandise booth that I want to buy, but this time, I didn’t like any of the shirts. I only liked the hats and visors, so I picked my favorite and bought that.
I did find a “run Texas” tank top that was only $15 that I really liked. At the same booth they had state run magnets, so I bought an Oregon and a Texas one.
I loaded up on Hüma gels too. I love those things. Them and Honey Stingers (the regular honey ones and the ginsting ones only, tho), so when I can get them at an expo for a discounted price, I load up. They also had the mini Clif bars out for grabs near the packet pick up area, so I grabbed a bunch of those too. I really love the participant shirt. In my opinion, they got their money’s worth for this logo.
As a marathon participant, I also got a very nice messenger style backpack.
There were a couple photo-op spots in the expo that I took full advantage of.
After the expo, I met my friend Diana for lunch at Red Lobster and carb loaded with my usual shrimp alfredo pasta dish and some cheddar biscuits and then wrapped that up with the bananas foster cheesecake. Then, for dinner, I met my friend Heather at her favorite little Mexican restaurant and got the taco salad.
As usual, I set out my flat runner the night before a race.
Race morning. I was so nervous the night before so I only got about 4.5 hours of sleep. Good thing I got my iced coffee at Einstein Bros the day before when I stopped to get my pre-race bagel (cranberry!). I needed that coffee. Probably could have used a little more, but I didn’t want to get up before 5, so that left hot coffee before heading out off the list for the morning. The night before, I had attached my heart shaped bib (OMG! How awesome is that?) to my FuelBelt and loaded it with 6 gels. I only need 5 to run a marathon, but I add the 6th for that “just in case” situation. I prepped my pace band and put everything I needed into my new messenger backpack and set it next to my purse.
Since this race starts and ends in downtown Austin and I work in downtown Austin, I just park at my work garage and walk the 8-ish blocks to the start line. Since I’m prior military, I got a little “armed forces” logo on my bib that would give me access to the military VIP area. However, where it was located was a little inconvenient, and by the time I got done with the port-a-potties it was already almost 6:45, so I just warmed up and found a good spot in the corral. Once the starting horn went off, it took about 4.5 minutes for me to cross the starting timing mat.
I always sign up for runner tracking on myself when it’s available and this time was no different. I crossed the 5k mark at 33:51. The 10 mile mark at 1:43:20. I reached the 13.1 mark at 2:14:06…that’s a new 13.1 PR by over 4 minutes!!! However, my pace was far too fast. My average for the first half was 9:54 min/mi. I crossed the 18 mile mark at 3:07:11 and my pace had slowed to 10:52. I made it to the 20 mile mark at 3:28:32 and had picked up the pace by 10 seconds. Then I made it to the 23.1 mile mark at 4:01:18 and had picked up the pace another 7 seconds. I crossed the finish line with a time of 4:35:15 and an overall average of 10:30 min/mi. That’s 15 seconds slower per mile than my target.
Mile 15 I was able to pick up the pace a bit and get back on target, but that was the end of that. The rest of the race I was at least 10 seconds per mile behind my target pace. Last year, after mile 19, I was able to pick up the pace pretty well so I was fully expecting to be able to do that again this year. But, nope. That caught me off guard and discouraged me a little bit, but by this time we were running through residential areas so there were LOTS of spectators cheering us on and that helped a lot. Lots of them were telling us to dig deep, finish strong, push through. That was exactly what I needed to hear.
Mile 23 hit and for some unknown to me reason, my music stopped playing. I think there was an error with the google music app that my phone uses because my headphones were still good on battery life and so was my phone. I kept pushing the play “button” but it wouldn’t start the music again. I was already struggling and was about a minute slower than my target time for those miles. And now I had to do the final just over 3 miles without music. Ugh. Thank god that this was not a solo run because that would have royally sucked. Like I said, there were LOTS of spectators and they were super awesome and supportive. One guy told me to dig deep and I mimed a shoveling action. He laughed. I laughed. It was great.
Overall, I’m beyond happy with this race. Sure, I wish I had done a few things differently. However, even though I didn’t meet my goal of finishing sub-4.5 hours, I still PR’ed by 8:53 minutes! That’s awesome no matter what. I cut almost 9 minutes off my marathon time…in just 2 months! I’ve got some more aggressive goals for my marathon future and they include A and B and even C goals.
Something I noticed when we weren’t even a mile into the marathon was that the insole of my right shoe was sliding backward. There was a story back in September about elite runner Eliud Kipshoge who was testing some Nike shoes and as he ran, the insoles of the shoes he was testing worked their way almost completely out of his shoes. That is exactly what I thought about as I ran and I felt it slide further and further back. I was honestly expecting my insole to be sticking out of the back of my shoe when I finished. It didn’t quite get that far, though.
Here's my beautiful new medal!
And, of course, the official photos!