When I found out that the Illuminations Half was going to be doing a race in the Austin, TX area, I got really excited and signed up right away! It’s a night time race and I thought that would be a lot of fun. Until the Music Run a couple weeks before, I had never done a night time race. I didn’t know what to expect. Even though the Illuminations Half has been going on in San Antonio for a couple years now (not sure of the exact duration, but at least 2 years), I hadn’t participated. The Austin area race was set to take place at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa in Bastrop, TX. I knew where the resort was, but I had never been there. Packet pickup was the afternoon of the race, on site at the resort in one of the ballrooms.
I arrived and parking was beyond ridiculous. They had a bunch of parking spaces roped off for no reason I could determine and I ended up parked on the grass, hoping they didn’t take offense to me parking there and tow my car. I went in and got my packet. My friend Rob was also running but he was running late (I found out a little later that he had rear ended someone coming into the resort…oops) and I was afraid he wouldn’t make it before they closed down packet pickup so I asked if it was possible for me to get his packet for him. NO PROBLEM! They gave me his stuff and I went back out to my car to rest my legs until the start and wait for Rob to arrive.
|very nice reusable bag!|
|i absolutely LOVE custom bibs!!!|
|a very attractive participant shirt! and it's tech!|
Rob arrived and I gave him his packet and we then made our way to the start area. While we were talking we discovered that we’re both running the Triple at the San Felipe Shootout the following Saturday! We also figured out that it had been about 11 months since we’d last seen each other at the Austin 10/20 last year! I went off to the side and did my warm ups and then high 5’ed Rob and it was time to start. Instead of playing a recording of the national anthem being sung by a professional or having a guest singer sing it, they had all of us runners sing it! I loved that!
|at the start with Rob|
We were off! As we made our way around the side of the resort we were greeted by a pen that had a horse, 2 ponies and a longhorn cattle in it! All creatures were excited and running around the pen as we ran by. I stopped and snapped a pic because how often do I see this while running?
We then ran in front of the resort (the start line was behind the main building) and made our way down the road where we entered the golf course. We weaved our way back and forth across the golf course along the paved cart path. As we were coming back toward the back area of the resort, they were directing the 5k runners to take a right and head toward the finish line and the 10k runners and half marathoners kept going. We ran past the back of the resort and then headed down the road on the other side. We ran past an aide station that was at an intersection, up the road to a police road block and made a u-turn, came back down the hill and turned down the road at the aide station. That’s where this race turned into an off-road race. This side road was soft gravel. By this point the sun was fully down and the majority of people had their headlamps on. About ¾ mile down this road the front runners were coming back at us. I always love getting to see the front runners!
We continued down the soft gravel road and made a loop to the left and then went to the right and here is where we were on a grass and some rocks trail. As we ran, we passed the finish line to our right and up the hill and continued on for about a half mile and then turned around. As we passed the finish line, the 10k runners went ahead and hit the finish line and us half marathoners kept on trucking. We went back out the soft gravel road to the regular road and then I found out why they had parking spaces roped off because we made a right turn when we got back to the parking lot and ran in the parking spaces that were roped off, and then did an out and back around the parking lot, back behind the resort and then made our way back to the paved golf cart path and to the finish!
They took your photo as you crossed the finish line and a cute little kid handed you your medal. I then made my way to the bathroom because I’d had to go since mile 1 and, well, there were NO port-a-potties anywhere along the course. Then I went to cash in my food and drink tickets. The food that was offered was tiny pulled chicken tacos on soft corn tortillas (tiny ones) and then a fruit boat with some chocolate. The drink that you go with the drink ticket? A small sweet tea. Really? REALLY? I’m not really a drinker, but a free beer after a hard run race is something nice.
My friend Rob won 1st in his age group but no one seemed to know anything about age group awards, so he left. I swear after I finished that the guy on the PA system said something about age group awards, but this was over an hour and a half after Rob had finished his run since he ran the 5k.
Overall, I really liked this race. I hope that if they do it again next year that they put some port-a-potties out on the road area near that aide station at the very least.
The course was 1/4 mile short, so I unfortunately cannot count this finish time as a new PR.
I checked my results and saw that I was 24th in my age group, 62nd overall female and 115th overall half marathon finisher. There must have been a LOT of ladies in my age group!
|i'm at the top of the screen, your results just go to the top when you search, i didn't place|
One big perk about this race? Free race photos. There weren’t many, but all I need is one!