Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Austin Marathon Race Report

This past weekend I ran the Austin Marathon in Austin, Texas. My husband Steve and I were there on a short vacation and when we heard the race was open we figured it would be a nice opportunity to test our early season fitness. And test our fitness it surely did! It was certainly not an easy course... probably not a PR course unless you've heat acclimated and done a good amount of hill work, which we had not. Still, it was a fun challenge to take on and a way to see a lot of the city. Fortunately we did have a little time before the race to relax by the pool at our resort in Barton Creek.
A little R & R prerace

The race started downtown on Congress. We parked about a half or three quarters of a mile out and used that little walk as a warm up. Then we dropped our post race gear bags, used the bathroom and lined up just in time for the national anthem. I wasn't really sure where to line up so I ended up around the 3:35-3:40 group, thinking this would be good and I could always push the pace later if I felt okay. The race started quickly and I recall thinking "oh no, it's only mile two and I am breaking a sweat...this may be a long race". And it was. The weather was about 80 degrees with 90% humidity and I definitely felt it.

I was pacing pretty well despite the heat and hills through the 15k and then the wheels started to come off a little. I recall seeing the half split off around that time and wishing I was almost done. I was pretty drenched by them and stopped to remove my race singlet and pin my bib to my sports bra. After that I felt a little cooler. I just remember thinking "oh hey another hill" quite a few times. The good news is that there is also some downhill running.
Toughing it out!

I stopped around the halfway mark to use the bathroom so at least I know I was hydrating enough. At every water stop I had Nuun and sometimes a water too. I think this helped tremendously in the late miles. I also took in six gels and a few orange slices as well as some Hammer Endurolites during the race, which really help me avoid cramping in the heat. I didn't want to walk so I tried to just walk the aid stations as needed and would limit my break to a minute. I normally do not need the breaks but in this heat I did. I think if I was better acclimated that would not have been the case.

Miles 13-18 were particularly hard for me physically and mentally. At times I was asking myself why I do this running marathons thing for fun. Then I was able to get comfortable again in the later miles and pick up the pace some to bring my average pace back down into the 8:40s. I was hoping for 8:10s to finish around 3:34-3:35 but on this day a 3:50ish finish was okay by me. It was a challenging race and I think I did okay and feel I am track to possibly PR one my cooler, flatter 26.2s this spring in either Canton or at the Cleveland Marathon. 

Even the last mile or two were uphill and I passed a lot of people walking and I can't blame them. It was a hard one. I was able to push through and was elated to see the finish and to drink my Oscar Blues IPAs after with Steve, who also had a tough go of it. But we finished it and it was a hell of a training run for these spring marathons quickly approaching! Next up...the Shamrock 15K in a few weeks. I think those hills may feel a bit easier now.
Post race Oscar Blues finish line was hoppin'

Monday, February 6, 2017

Cleveland Marathon Contest Winner and Training Update

Last week I posted my Cleveland Marathon giveaway and there were a lot of runners hoping to win an entry. I wish I could give one to all of you but unfortunately I can only give away one entry. To make it fair I also use Random-ize.com. This year's winner is ChelseyKelsey! Please reach out to me and I will give you your code to sign up for any Cleveland Marathon race distance of your choice. I hope that you have a fabulous race! For everyone else, keep following along with the ambassadors each week leading up to the race and there are still many entries to giveaway!

As far as my training goes, I got in another great effort last week of 71 miles, including my first 20 miler of the year yesterday! When I started the long run I felt awful and wasn't sure I was going to get it done but I stayed strong mentally to overcome the physical struggles I was dealing with (mainly GI issues but also a headache and some fatigue). The second half of my run went much smoother and I was able to get in some fast miles at the end. Today, I am resting and not running. I will do an easy spin on the bike just to get the legs flushed out and ready to run in the morning. 

My husband and I planned a last minute trip to Austin, TX in a couple of weeks and we we learned that the Austin Marathon was still open we signed up! Of course I am excited and nervous! This will be a good early season test of fitness and it's always fun to run a marathon - especially in a new city and when there's an Oskar Blues beer tent at the finish! Since we're running the marathon we're tapering back the next two weeks, which is always bittersweet. I know my body needs the break but those taper days can be a challenge. Wish me luck! 

Congrats to Random-ize.com winner ChelseyKelsey!