The adventures of an unlikely pair. Follow us if you dare....

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The One About The Livestrong Austin Half Marathon {2013}

I love this course. LOVE. IT. Call me crazy but I really think that this may be one of my favorite race courses ever. I love the hills and the challenge, I love the start and finish at the capitol building and I love the spectators and the city of Austin. This was my second year to run this race (read last year’s race report here) and while I would have really liked to race this course this year I decided to take it easy and spend my time chatting with Tyly instead.

Alex and I headed down to Austin on Friday evening after work, we were spending the weekend there with my sister and brother-in-law and we had plans to celebrate my middle sister’s birthday, which was Saturday, but more on all that later. Saturday I slept in and it was absolutely glorious, I cannot remember the last time I got to sleep in like that and it was definitely what I needed. Once up Alex and I made our way to the race expo to pick up my packet, cruise the expo and find some lunch. We also wanted to walk around the University of Texas campus because that’s high on Alex’s list of law schools (he got an acceptance call earlier this week!).

After getting my packet we walked around and bought some Nuun, got 4 free water bottles, score!! (my mom says I have a problem with water bottles, I’m not sure I know what she’s talking about….) and then I found some great sales at the Luke’s Locker booth. Saturday was filled with many other fun activities but I’ll save that for another post.

Sunday’s race had a 7am start time and while I don’t particularly like the early morning wakeup calls I definitely like the earlier starts. My sister lives about 25 minutes north of Austin and so we left super early to meet Tyly by 5:20 right outside of the downtown area. We wanted to carpool in and take one car so that we could find each other easily and not have to worry about paying for 2 cars to park. Alex navigated us perfectly and we found a parking garage with free parking right by the capitol building with absolutely no trouble at all. Alex proceeded to take a 3 hour nap while Tyly and I went in search of port-o-potties and the start line.

We were able to use the port-o-potties twice with no lines and take our picture by the finish area and then we stood and waited until it was time to head to the start area. It was cold but not too cold and we both had toss-away sweatshirts on so we were good. Right at 7 the race started and since there were no corrals it didn’t take too long to get to the start. I like that they don’t have corrals and it actually seems to work fairly well for this race and I’m not sure why; there’s not confusion, they have times posted to line up by and people just seem to be courteous of that. I also love that they start on the front lawn of the capitol building; for someone that loves Texas history and takes pride in their state as much as I do this race is like heaven on earth to me. Imagine standing there getting ready to do something you absolutely love, in front of your beloved states capitol and then seeing the sun rise, it cannot get any better, it just can’t!

I mentioned last week that I would have liked to race this race and see what I had in me, especially with the tough course and hills which I really like but I decided that I wanted to stick with Tyly the whole time so I told her that I was at her mercy for pace and walk breaks. The first 2 miles were in the downtown area and there were some small rolling hills but nothing major. We ran the first mile and a half and then I told her that my advice would be to save some energy because we wanted to be sure and run as much up the hills as we could but starting and stopping on hills is hard. At mile 1.5 we started following a 4:1 run to walk series and we kept that up at least until mile 4. At mile 2.5 we started the big 3 mile climb up Congress Street. I really like this climb and I think there are some great crowds in here and fun shops to look at and well I just like the giant climb!

Around mile 4 Tyly started feeling a bad blister so at a water stop we stopped and she got some Vaseline to put on it. From there we tried to stick to a 4:1 but honestly I’m not sure after that if we really had anything set in stone or not. I tried to encourage her to run as much as possible and she would let me know when she needed a break. The first 4 miles flew by for me and then mile 5 seemed like the longest mile in the world! We were getting to the top of the hill where we turned along the highway to head back down First Street; First Street is one giant downhill and it comes as such sweet relief after that huge climb you just made. We ran as much of this portion as we could trying to make up some time from the up hills and the walk breaks. This was a good 2.5 mile stretch of downhill and we did really well.

At mile 8 we are crossing back over the river to go left along the river along Caesar Chavez. Once we crossed the river I knew we were heading into a somewhat boring (to me) portion of the race but I also knew there weren’t many hills. Right after crossing the bridge and turning left there was a crowd of people cheering and there is a lady in a wheel chair kind of off to the end of the group sitting and giving out high fives so I of course ran over to her so I could get a high five, so sweet. Then I look up and about 2 feet next to her there’s Bart Yasso just standing by himself cheering people on and giving out high fives. I was so dumbfounded that I actually forgot to give him a high five but that most definitely made my day! Bart Yasso, on the course just cheering for people, how cool is that?!? Pretty darn cool if you ask me!

Right after that there is always the Livestrong sponsored water stop and cheer section and let me tell you, they are so motivating! There are so many people cheering and yelling and encouraging you, they do a really great job and I remembered how awesome it was last year and this year was no different. Tyly and I were still plugging along running as much as we could and walking whenever she needed; we were definitely walking more now but she was hanging in there and not getting mad at me when I would make her run again, which was good! There was an older couple around us about this point and the guy was pushing his wife along who was clearly struggling for the day. They were making us laugh because the husband was clearly a much better runner and better trained and he was getting frustrated but trying not to, he would run ahead some and then come back. The wife kept telling him to go on and go ahead but he kept saying that he’s stayed with her for this long there’s no point in continuing on. We were laughing and wound up talking to them some. He actually told me that I looked really familiar and asked me if I ran other races that he might have seen me at. Oh mister, if you only knew! Haha. He had run the Dallas marathon and some other recent races and said that he must have seen me before. Clearly I have a problem with racing…

last BIG hill is done!

At mile 11 the full marathoners and half marathoners split and we turned right to head back downtown. There was one more huge, giant hill at the end of mile 11 and I ran up the whole thing! It was killer but totally worth it. Tyly ran up most of it and I was so proud of her. I knew she was getting tired and I was pushing her when I knew she would rather be walking but we were right at mile 12 and I knew she could push just a little bit more. The last mile we wove through the downtown streets and up a few smaller hills. Right before mile 13 we merged with the full marathoners which I always like. I knew we had a right turn ahead of us and then a left turn in front of the capitol building to the finish. I told Tyly that once we made that first right turn I wanted her to give it all she had because we had only about two tenths of a mile left. That girl took off on me; I was sprinting to keep up with her! I was actually starting to wonder where she had been keeping this energy and thought she must have held back to school me at the finish haha. I saw Alex at the finish and then a few yards down were my sisters and bro-in-law and their 2 friends. I was so excited to have them at the finish line!

Tyly and I finished in 3:02; half marathon #20 was in the books for me. I have to say that after that race I have so much respect for people who may not be all that fast but still get out there and do it anyways. I don’t mean to offend anyone at all by this but: the faster I get the more respect I have for those that are slower. Again, no offense to anyone at all, in fact quite the opposite, I realized that I worked just as hard, if not harder while out there for 3 hours as I would have if I had raced it and gone for a 2:25 like I had wanted. Sure I have worked hard for the speed I’ve gained and sure I should be proud of that but hats off to those of you that spend 3+ hours on a race course accomplishing a goal, that is no easy feat and you have my utmost respect. Time is completely irrelevant at the end of the day; I did the very same distance as everyone else and therefore gave it my all. Sure it was hard going someone else’s pace and sure I walked a whole lot more than I’m used to but I didn’t work any less that day than I would have if I had gone out and run it like I’ve been training. I’m glad that I was able to spend time with a friend and I’m glad that I was able to be at the finish with her and I would do it all again given the chance! It’s good to push yourself to do new and different things and I will never regret choosing to spend time with a friend over racing for the sake of a certain time on the clock. Austin will always be there and I love that course so much I know I will be back; I can race it some other time for sure. But Sunday was a day to invest time in a friendship and enjoy Austin. The weather could not have been more perfect and I could not love a race course any more and I had the best time out there!

Once done we easily found our people and I was just so glad my sisters and Alex were there, it made this race really special to have them there. I then went in search of my Marathons of Texas Medal; I earned that thank you very much! 

probably my favorite race picture EVER!

And then we went in search of food trucks! That turned into quite an ordeal to find food trucks but once we got that straightened out we enjoyed a lovely lunch. It was a gorgeous day and sitting outside was great. After lunch, Alex and I walked to the other block to stop at Gordough’s, the gourmet doughnut place for the most sinfully good donuts ever, ever!

I thoroughly enjoyed our weekend in Austin; celebrating my sister’s birthday, spending time with family and running with a running friend all just made my heart so full!

read Tyly's race report here


Steph @ Steph Runs On said...

That donut might be worth fighting those hills for! Sounds like you and Tyly had a great race.

Tyly said...

GORDOUGH'S!!!! You stopped there!!! I am so jealous, although we found ourselves at Cheesecake Factory! YUM.

YOU are what got me through that race. I wasn't kidding when I said I wouldn't have been there if it wasn't for you. I knew I was going to majorly struggle given how out of shape I am, but knowing you'd be there made me be there. THANK YOU for keeping me alive! :)

Suz and Allan said...

This sounds like a really fun course even with the hills. Glad you and Tyly had such a great time running together! I like your Marathons of Texas medal. That's cute!

Curly Pink Runner said...

I'm totally crushing on your purple outfit! I love purple!! :)
I totally agree with you! I have SO much respect for all runners- both the 5min/mile and the 15min/mile runners. It's hard work no matter how fast you run!

Kim Turner said...

I love that your shoes matched your outfit!!
Great review and I agree with you - time isn't always the important part!! Sounds like it was a great day for both you and Tyly!
I'm going to have to plan to come down and run Austin (maybe next year) - one of my favorite cities of all times and the feeling you described about standing in front of the TX capital is what this TX girl (I just live in KS) needs!!!

Mommy Run Fast said...

I loved Austin's course last year, too! I'm jealous that you got to run it again. Congrats!! And I agree with you- I have so much respect for the runners who are out there for 3+ hours, that's a long time to be working!

armyamy said...

I loved reading your thoughts on people who are slower runners. I couldn't agree more! Sometimes "front of the pack" runners seem to miss that point. (I read someone's blog once saying that faster runners should get express passes to the refreshments after races. Huh? So off base!) Since my mom is a walker and I've walked a few races with her (including a half!), I know that the people at the end of the race are giving as much as they've got, just like the people finish toward the front.

Glad y'all had a good time! I also love Austin. I'm hoping to run it again, maybe next year!