My alarm was set for 4:45 am, but I was awaken at 4:19am 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. 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.
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.