Ah, the sweet, sweet feeling of victory (relatively
speaking). Sunday’s 3M Half Marathon in Austin showcased some ideal weather (and ideal elevation) to set new personal records. It was this race last year where I set my current PR. For me I had the dual goal of beating Colin’s PR, which would inherently set my own new PR. The goal? 1:27:30. The result? Read on.
I’ve gotten the routine down. Or should I say, I don’t overthink it too much now. For example, I didn’t even have safety pins for my race number until 30 minutes before the race. In years past it would be unthinkable. In any case, with the weather being on the chilly side, I wore a nice 42 gallon trash bag to cut the wind (and to look awesome). I drove myself up to the race start, parked, got my safety pins, and jogged a bit to warm up for my 6:40 min/mile pace. Before I knew, the race was starting.
Start & Miles 1 – 4
The race started off without much fanfare in the darkness known as 6:45am. My biggest challenge is the first mile, which usually ends up being way too fast, leaving me exhausted later in the race. So you can imagine my delight (or maybe you can’t) when the first mile ticked off at 6:42. Follow that up with 6:35, 6:37, and 6:41 and I was sitting pretty. It was also around Mile 4 that you get out of the warehouses and into the
peoplehouses residential areas.
Miles 5 – 8
Once we hit the neighborhoods, the spectators come out in force. Before the race I had given a few friends a heads up where/when they could see me, but didn’t set my expectations too high since it was so early. Well right after passing Mile 5 I saw one of my run-to-work buddies, who hopped in and ran with me for about a quarter mile to check how I was doing (thanks Erik and Kate!). Definitely appreciated the boost and ticked off a few more sub-6:40 miles. The worst part of the race is the 2 mile stretch from about 5.5 to 7.5. The houses are fine and the people outside are nice, but the road could bore you to death. In any case, I knew I’d have a big cheering section waiting for me just ahead.
Better picture than last year…
Miles 9 – Finish
After a few turns I was in my own backyard. It was nice running the familiar area and couldn’t wait to see Ev and Hazel cheering me on. Also recruited for the early-morning cheer section were two other neighbors. Can I just point out how awesome it is to be friends with your neighbors? Thanks Dustin, Rebecca, Sarah, and Rich (and Jack)! I was assaulted by the sun as the route turned east, and at that point I was really starting to work, so the only thing I could muster as I passed by was a wave, smile, and saying “I feel like death”, which wasn’t true (at that point) but I could feel it coming on.
Almost immediately after I saw several Saturday morning running group friends who spotted me before I saw them. It always surprises me how much of a boost I get from hearing my name called out. Anyway, at this point there are a few rolling “hills” before getting to the final stretch. It’s here that I had my slowest splits, which scared me into pushing harder. I didn’t know if I’d be able to hang onto this pace for another 3 miles. Once last fan spotted me right at Mile 11 (hey Charlie!) and I was off on the final stretch. It wasn’t until Mile 12 did I feel confident that I’d hit my goal. I had 7:38 to go 1.1 miles and beat Colin. I did it in 7:19. And thanks to Travis and Lyndsay for volunteering at the finish.
So I beat Colin’s PR, reclaiming the half marathon crown for now. All that does though is motivate him for his upcoming half marathon in March. Fun fact: His 1:27:38 got him a 5th place overall in his race. My 1:27:19 was good enough for 143rd place. Crazy. This race has reassured me for Vermont. I can slow down 23 seconds per mile and still hit my goal. There’s still a lot of work to do, but it feels like it’s within my grasp.
|143 / 4851 (2.95%)
|Age Group Place
|24 / 191 (12.6%)
|126 / 2011 (6.27%)
p>By the way, lots of big running news coming up soon!