Well, after the warmer weather last week, a "cold" front blew through Friday night and the colder weather hung around for the Austin Half Marathon on Sunday.
Saturday morning I headed out to meet up with my cycling team. I was going to do a small warmup lap and then do the scheduled time trial. Plans changed after I got there, however. It was cold and windy and the warmup lap was the same route as the time trial (an 8-9 mile loop). After riding that first loop and being miserable from the cold, I told myself that if I did the time trial, I would push myself too hard and my legs wouldn't be rested for my half marathon Sunday morning. So, I just did the warmup lap and put my bike up.
That was probably a wise decision because I forgot just how hilly the half marathon course was.
Sunday morning I woke up at 4am, got dressed and ate my standard race day breakfast of oatmeal. I grabbed all my gear and left the house around 5. I met a friend of mine at the local HEB and we headed downtown to find a parking spot. Got a great spot and sat in the warm car for a little while. Around 6:15 we headed toward the race start and stopped at the Radisson to head inside for the bathrooms. Met up with some TNT folks and then walked to the start line.
Because I'm still trying to break 2 hours, I seeded myself between the 4hr and 4:15 marathon pace groups. I figured if I could stay between them, I might be able to kick it in at the end and meet my goal. Boy was I fooled.
The race got started a little late (not sure why) and was very crowded for the first 3-4 miles. I tried to stay on the outside to the right so that if I needed to pass I could do so on the sidewalk. I hit the first mile at 9:45. I'm thinking this is good. It's a little slow for hitting the 2 hour mark, but with the crowds, it's good. And I never want to go out too fast. Mile 2 was 9:32. Ok, I'm getting in my groove. Then I saw some friends who cheered for me. That always makes me feel good.
Mile 3: 9:36
Mile 4: 9:25
Somewhere along in here, I hear someone ask if the whole course is uphill. So far we've had gradual inclines, but the big hills are yet to come. We turn to head back to town and finally get a bit of a downhill.
Mile 5: 9:08
As we get closer to town, there is a much bigger crowd. It must have been so big that I missed mile 6.
Mile 6 & 7: 18:42
We are starting to see more hills now and I have my first 10 minute mile. Ugghh.
Mile 8: 10:00
Mile 9: 9:54
Mile 10: 9:59
Just before the half and full marathon routes split, we climbed another hill and at the top of the hill were more friends cheering me on. They really know how to help keep you going.
Mile 11: 10:02
And now we come to the biggest hill of the course. One of those where you are running, but could probably walk the same speed. As a matter of principal, I kept running.
Mile 12: 10:09
Another short uphill before turning toward the capitol and down toward the finish line.
Mile 13: 10:06
Then you start seeing signs. 800 meters. 400 meters. I kicked in what little I had left and finished the last .1 in 1:10.
Total official time was 2:07:30. Not even close to breaking the 2 hour mark, but on a course this hilly, I'm perfectly fine with it. My average pace was 9:45, so I'm happy.
Overall it was a great race. I'll probably do the half or full marathon every year if the date works out.
I took Monday off to rest my legs and get some things done that have been neglected - like getting Tank in to see our vet. They said he looks good.
Today it was dreary and misty here, so I put my bike on the trainer and rode for 45 minutes. Nothing hard, just a light, easy spin. I'll still be running, but it's time to shift the focus over to cycling for a few months.