Austin Distance Challenge Recap

Crossing the finish line of the LIVESTRONG Austin Half Marathon also marked the end of the Austin Distance Challenge.  Five races spanning from early October to mid February, pitting Austin’s finest runners against one another in a little royal rumble friendly competition.  Part of what I love most about living in Austin is the number of races that start right out my front door.  In all I ran the IBM 10K, Run for the Water 10 Miler, Decker Half Marathon, 3M Half Marathon, and the LIVESTRONG Half Marathon.

The whole ADC was broken into two tracks: the Half Challenge and Full Challenge, which was determined by doing the LIVESTRONG Half or Full Marathon.  Got it?  Good.  I chose the Half Challenge because I had bigger fish to fry later in the year and didn’t want to get beat up by the Full Marathon.

This was my first foray in to any kind of race series.  It was a lot of fun working towards a progressive goal with each race only part of a larger challenge.  Bottom line is it was a lot of fun.  From a runner’s standpoint, I wish there were more of a social aspect to the competitors, either in an online community or in person at scheduled meet-ups.  I think it would have created a fun element of competition through the interaction of the runners.

So how’d I do in the Austin Distance Challenge?  Duh.

I actually only won my age group.  Overall I came in 7th place, behind some crazy fast people.  To brag be fair, there were a few races where I held back a little (like running 8 miles home from the IBM 10K or running 4 miles home from the LIVESTRONG Half), but I don’t think it made much of a difference in the overall standings.

Would I do it again?  Definitely!  But not this year.  I’ll be out of town for one of the races so I can’t complete the entire challenge.  It’s too bad since they added a sixth race to the series.  Maybe next next year!

Austin Distance Challenge Status Update

Howdy folks!  Just wanted to give a quick update where I stand in the Austin Distance Challenge rankings.  After the Decker Challenge the ADC contestants were broken into “half” and “full” buckets based on the LIVESTRONG Austin Half Marathon and Austin Full Marathon.  I’m running the Austin Half, so I’m in the ADC Half Track.  Got it?  Good.

Bear with me as I break it down:

In the Male 25-29 Age Group Half Track, I’m in first.  By a mile.  By ten miles.  It’s a small field, made even smaller by splitting the runners into Half and Full groups.  After adding up the four race times I’m leading by about an hour and nine minutes.  And yes, I’m in first out of five remaining runners.

Overall in the Half Track I’m sitting in 8th.  Best case scenario I can move up to 7th but no more than that.  It’s shocking to me that my age group is the slowest group below age 55.  For the record, I’m in eighth out of 64, so that’s at least pretty good!

I’d say based on where I stand now, I’m not looking to set a new PR in the Austin Half.  The final times will be updated after the Austin Marathon weekend.  Looking forward to wrapping things up and getting fully into training for Vermont!

Austin Distance Challenge – Decker Update

Now that the 10K, 10 Miler, and first Half Marathon are behind us, I figured I’d give a quick update in the standings.  Since my lackluster, not-trying IBM 10K, I’ve been moving up in the standings nicely.  The results still need to be split out into the Half and Full tracks, so it’s possible there could be a shake up at the top.  In the meantime, I’m sitting pretty in 3rd place!  Now, if the two guys ahead of me are doing the Full challenge, then I’ll be in 1st place all by myself with no intention of looking back.  Regardless I should be happily perched upon the podium when the challenge comes to an end after the Austin Half Marathon in February.


Well Hillo There

I had an eye-opening revelation recently brought on as a result of some race research.  My next race in the Austin Distance Challenge is the Decker Challenge half marathon.  I figured it would be a good idea to check out what exactly the course had in store now rather than later.  I had heard it was hilly, but didn’t really think twice about it.  I’m not sure what piqued my curiosity but I sure am glad it was piqued.  Turns out “hilly” isn’t the half of it.  Let’s go to the data.

Looking at what could easily be mistaken for an EKG, the elevation profile for the Decker Challenge is, in a word, absolutelyridiculous.  There’s approximately zero flat ground.  You’re either going uphill, downhill, or really uphill.  I pointed out two hotspots that caught my attention.  The first arrow is pointing at a 9.2% grade.  Get on a treadmill and put it on 9%.  Yea.  After that, there are some merciless downhills taking you to the lowest point on the course.  Immediately you hit a 6.2% incline, which isn’t bad, particularly when compared to the laughable 8.2% incline right after.  If those were the only hills on the course it would be considered difficult.  But those are just two of the approximately 21 uphills that will be embracing the pack of runners in December.

To prepare I’ll be running as many long runs as I can on the steepest hills I can find.  Goals for the race will have to be set shortly before game time so that I can see how the hill training pays off.  One thing’s for sure: I won’t be setting any personal records at this race.  It’ll be more survival than anything.  Can’t wait!

2011 Run for the Water Race Report

You set a goal, you follow a plan, you execute.  That’s what I do, and it works pretty well.  The only hiccup is my ability to set realistic goals.  For the Run for the Water I wanted to beat last year’s time of 1:08:06.  I wasn’t sure how feasible that would be just 3 weeks post-marathon and only a few days of speed training leading up to the race.  So how did everything go on the absolutely perfect 52 degree morning?

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2011 Run for the Water Preview

Here’s a quick and dirty preview for the Run for the Water 10 Miler this Sunday. It’s the second of five races in the Austin Distance Challenge. Hearken back to my bold statement of trying to win my age group for the ADC. That’s out the window. Since setting that goal, quite a few more people signed up for the ADC, many of whom are WAYYY faster than yours truly. It takes some pressure off, but also a lot of motivation. I had some tough workouts this week, including my company’s 3 miler. <sound the excuse alarm!> With that said, I still have a lofty goal.


p>Last year I ran the R4tW in a surprisingly quick time of 1:08:06. This year, with the weather looking great, I’m hoping to beat that. We’ll see though, since last go ’round was a few weeks before my target marathon, so I was in prime condition. This year I’m three weeks post-marathon. No matter what happens, this race is for a great

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New Goals, New Training Plan

Ok, here we go. Chicago is behind me, I took an entire week off, and put together a training plan for the remaining Austin Distance

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Challenge. From now until mid-February I’ll be focusing on four races with the intentions of pushing the pace and building strength. In order to get there I put together a new training plan. It’s based off of an advanced 10K plan, so there’s plenty of speed and tempo workouts for some early morning punishment. Check out the TRAINING tab to get a look at what I’ll be doing for the next 18 weeks. Wish me luck!



Next on the Agenda [Update]

Well Chicago turned out better than expected.  So it leads me to ponder what’s next on the agenda for this Mike’s life.  Not all that long ago I made the sweeping declaration that I’d be transitioning my efforts over to the world of triathlon.  With the recent sign up for the Austin Distance Challenge and the even-more-recent success in Chicago, it’s hard for me to consider abandoning running for the multisport world.  And so here is the plan I lay before you for your approval.

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