Ow. This year’s Austin Marathon beat me up good. I have a whole list of excuses as to why, but the only one that matters is that I didn’t train enough. Life and all that comes with it took priority over consistent training and it took its toll in the race. Here’s how it went down in excruciating detail, emphasis on excruciating.
Race morning I picked up 3 of my rockstar neighbors who were also racing — 2 full and 1 half. We took advantage of my office’s prime parking garage location and moseyed over to the starting area. After a group photo we parted ways and I looked for the 3:25-pace group. My plan was to stick with them to successfully hit my goal of “under 3:30”. Amazingly, among the 15,000+ runners packed into four blocks, I found myself next to two friends also running the full, Robert (his first marathon) and Cristina.
The course shoots you straight into a 3 mile uphill slog. Halfway up I passed the 3:25 group but saw (what I thought was) the 3:20 pace group and figured I’d hang with them for a bit. By the time I caught and passed that “3:20” pace group, I saw they were the 3:15 group and I was going way too fast. Also, Cristina left me in the dust.
You can see early on my spirits and leg-kick were high. Around Mile 8, as I settled into a groove, Marcus, a former coworker / running nemesis, recognized me and we ended up running together for the next 9 miles. In that time I spotted several friends and neighbors along the course — thanks for cheering Ben & Walker, Katie, Cherisse & Mike & Will, and Dave! But just after the halfway point I realized my legs were struggling.
By Mile 17 Marcus pointed out the 3:15 pace group had caught us, so I made a pro move and hopped into a porta-potty. That way they never really caught me because I was off the course. Boom. From then on, with 9 arduous miles ahead, I prepared myself for the battle ahead by filling my thoughts with fear and dread. The course is supposed to be all downhill from Mile 19 until the end, but they modified it and they are liars. Not long after Mile 20 I passed Marcus (who didn’t stop at the bathroom — heh, amateur). And then, who’s that up ahead? Cristina? Yes! At one of the deceitful hills on North Loop I made up a lot of ground, and within the next mile I tracked her down and passed her.
At this point I (and everyone around me) was in rough shape. I walked a few water stations, stopped once or twice to stretch, and barely got my feet off the ground in a classic “marathon shuffle”. One silver-lined humblebrag is that I actually continued to pass people all the way to the finish. At the 5K mark I was in 240th place. By 13.1 miles I was down to 189, Mile 18 in 184th, and so it went until the finish where I crossed the line in 166th place. So the race hurt, but it hurt me slightly less than others.
The last 0.3 miles of the course punches you in the gut with a few brutal hills before the finish line appears in the shadow of the Capitol building. I definitely beat my goal of sub-3:30 and nearly hit my “everything goes perfectly” secondary goal of sub-3:20. But holy moly did it hurt. Punishment for not training properly.
But totally worth it. Check out that medal! It’s my favorite one I have (other than Boston (duh) and the Ironman (duh)). With marathon #15 under my belt, my “What’s Next?” goals are: 1) sub-3 hour marathon, and 2) 20 marathons. But those are a long way off. Until then, I’ll hobble around a little more until I recover from this one.
|2015 Freescale Austin Marathon
||166 / 3147 (5.3%)
|Age Group Place
||32 / 286 (11.2%)
||151 / 1896 (7,9%)