Biggest Loser Half Marathon Recap: Austin

There’s a first time for everything. After battling some minor metarsal pain, I was unsure of how I was going to do at Biggest Loser Half Marathon. Race day approached pretty quickly and I was super stoked to have two friends joining me!

My neighbor and I left my house at 5am and picked up my friend Amy. Packet pick up started at 6am, and we wanted to get there early enough to not have to wait in the mob. A brisk 48 degrees made for a chilly morning but ideal racing conditions. It was a blast traveling with these ladies, discussing race strategies, fears and anxieties. We were in this together. 

Pre-race breakfast was the usual: a banana, a clif bar and a coffee. We arrived at Cedar Park Middle School with plenty of time to spare. We were first for packet pickup, and took the time to pretend we were models.

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It was a chilly 48 degrees so we hung out in my car and that’s when I discovered my I never charged my watch the night before. Ultimate pre-race fail . At 7:00am we headed for gear check and our last bathroom stop. There were over 1,000 people at this race and only about 15 or so porta-potties and you can only imagine what kind of fiasco this creates when it’s getting close to starting time. Needless to say, I heard the announcer say a minute to start time and I tried my hardest to get the the front. With the ten second countdown, I found myself stuck in the 11:00 pace group, and they decided to do a wave start and I watched the first group take off. I knew I needed to make up a ton of time in the first mile if I was going to place at all. My GPS watch didn’t have enough juice left to pick up satellite so I opted for Chrono setting which meant no mile splits. I was screwed.
I took off a whole minute behind the first group and ran as hard as I could to make up time I had lost. I went through my first mile in 5:50ish, and that is the only mile split I know. I passed a lot of people in the first mile and by mile 2 I had caught up to the third place girl. I ran with her until mile 3, and took off. I ran 100% by myself for the remainder of the race. I was lucky enough to have a bike escort whose mere shadow on the rode kept me from feeling so alone on the road. I drank water at ever water stop and took my gu at mile 6. I crossed the line in 1:27:44, another PR in the books and a surprising 6:42 pace per mile. I was 1st female and 3rd overall finisher out of 620! It’s amazing how fast you can run when you don’t know your splits. Prior to this race, I told myself I would be happy if I could just run 7:00 pace. I exceeded my goals and couldn’t have been any happier. The course was through some residential areas with a very long straight away from mile 7 to the finish. I mean really long straight away. Overall, it was a great race and I’m happy with how my 5th half marathon went, especially after two hard marathons. image
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Amy and Stacey rocked their races!! It was such a fun morning! Afterwards, I hurried back home and Matt and I took the kids to the Valero Texas Open (PGA tour) on San Antonio. I was tired from the morning but it was awesome to spend sometime as a family since Matt works such long hours.
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Oh! And thank you to those whole voted for me in the Sweatybands contest, because I’m excited to announce I WON!!
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Not a bad weekend to have won my first race ever and to have won a contest!!

Question:
Have you ever won anything? What’d you win?

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Did I Mention?

I love sweatybands!!! Like love love love!! They have a Velcro backing which keep them from falling out. I have run two full marathons with them and I’ll never go back to my old headbands. You better believe I’ll be sporting my sweatybands during tomorrow’s marathon. Speaking of which, I would really love to win a set of sweaty bands with your help!!! You can vote once a day! I’m currently in third, and well lets face it. I want to be first!!
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You can vote here: http://www.sweatybands.com/en/hot-looks?pid=%7BA78FCD61-E21E-4878-8152-32D28A133901%7D&hid=%7B09C80A52-A563-4EB8-89ED-F5B8D3C7685C%7D#sthash.J8JWChTx.gbpl

Aside

Taper Madness

Taper week sucks. Tapering, running a marathon and then tapering and runningย anotherย marathon in a span of two weeks really sucks. I’m itching to run, but can’t. I am interested to see how I will feel come race morning this weekend.ย 

ImageThat’s right folks, a thunderstorm is predicted!! I really hope the marathon gods are playing tricks on me for now. Since I ran an easy 4 yesterday (7:41 pace), I’ll do a light speed session tomorrow of 2 x 1600 and call it a day for a total of 4. I really miss putting in some 50+ mile weeks and it’s only been 3 weeks since that’s happened ๐Ÿ˜ณ With a half marathon on the calendar at the end of March, I hope to be working on my speed. With two toddlers, I am forever grateful for my Norditrack treadmill. It has been my saving grace, and I absolutely have grown to LOVE treadmill running. Ill have to devote a whole post for my love of the treadmill, and hopefully you too will grow to accept what many dread!

Austin Marathon Recap

Austin marathonMy alarm was set for 4:45 am, but I was awaken at 4:19amย by my sister texting me good luck. I immediately got nervous.

I was nervous in the weeks leading up because I wanted to do well so badly. I got up, made coffee and tried to settle my nerves with breakfast: a clif bar and banana. By 5:15am, my friend Taylor (running the half) let me know she was on her way, and by then there was no chance of backing out.

We left my house and drove the 20 minutes to Austin, each of us sharing our goals, and fears. I knew in my heart I was trained for a 3:25, but after Rock and Roll San Antonio, I was second guessing myself. Like San Antonio, it was humid. by the time we were ready to start, the temperature at Austin was 59 degrees, 10 degrees cooler than the start at San Antonio back in November. I started with the 3:25 group with the goal to drop them by mile 20.

The first long stretch up congress is a gradual incline, which isn’t felt until after turning onto 1st Street. It’s crucial to hold back and avoid flying down the downhill of S 1st Street to save energy for the later miles. Turning left onto Cesar Chavez (previously LIVESTRONG mile), we encountered a sea of spectators. The marathoners and half marathoners split shortly after.

The course was well marked, well supplied and well staffed. They set you up so you can truly run your best race.ย I alternated water and Gatorade at every single stations and consumed gu at miles 6,12,18 and 24. Austin marathon is a very hilly course but I never once felt defeated. All those “hills” I ran on the treadmill were really paying off! I knew that miles 13-19 were tough, but I kept going. I never once slipped behind the 3:25 group. My friend kim waited for me at mile 20, and we took off running 7:08-7:20 for the last 6 miles. Crossing the finish line in 3:21:26 was like a dream. I had done it. A huge 14 minute PR in just three months and a BQ. I couldn’t believe it.image
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I am forever grateful to kim. Having run the Austin half marathon twice, I was relieved to not have to run up the huge hill (equivalent to 8 stories over a quarter mile) at enfield road. Marathon amneisa must have set in afterwards because I registered for the full marathon for 2015 just one day after finishing 2014.

The course support is amazing. There was never a desolate spot on the course. Spectators handed out pastries, oranges, and even beer! People lined the streets from their own homes to cheer the runners on. It was amazing. I finished 12th female overall, 4th in age group (25-29) and 143rd overall. I surprised myself. I have Army Marathon in 8 days and I am still debating whether to race it and try to beat 3:21 or just take it easy.

Decisions, decisions.