Wednesday, November 17, 2010
This race was a big deal, but for a different reason than usual. My brother and sister-in-law had trained for their first half marathon all summer and traveled here from Louisiana to run the Rock n Roll half. The weekend was really about them and their first half marathon experience. Our family booked hotel rooms downtown, and Mom, Dad, Adam, Jen, Robert, and my little nephews Will and Henry enjoyed the marathon weekend together.
For Shelly and I, the Austin 70.3 was just a month ago. Still recovering from that race, Shelly and I didn't have any goals for this half marathon except to practice using the water stops (thereby leaving those "stupid belts," as my Dad so lovingly refers to our fuel belts, at home). Adam decided early last week that he'd run with Shelly and me. He had done all his long training runs at about a 10 minute mile, so that sounded like it would work. I was really excited about running with my brother!
The weather on race day was overcast and 55 degrees - perfect for running. Robert, Adam, Jen and I walked down to the start line together. After saying goodbye to Jen and wishing her luck (she was starting further back in the corrals), we met some friends from work in Corral 15. We had gone through some trouble to get everyone into that corral, but I'm not sure if any of us actually had plans to run together except for Shelly, Adam, and I. It ended up not being an issue. Shelly, Adam, and I took off to use the restroom about half an hour before the race started. The race started without us, and we never saw the others again that day.
We ended up starting with Corral 18. The race had a new course this year, which had its glitches. You can read in the news about the train that barreled through, forcing 2 corrals of runners to stop dead for 3+ minutes. We weren't affected by the train, but the new course has way more turns in the first mile than the old course. It was really hard to weave through all the slower runners and find a happy pace, and we ended up running the first mile in about 11 minutes. For the entire race, the course seemed even more crowded than usual. Perhaps it's because 3 of us were trying to stay together, instead of the usual 2.
Robert and his family were cheering for us at the Alamo at mile 3 (Jessica was running too, so Robert's mom and sister came to spectate - awesome!). The miles flowed quickly by, and soon we were running past my family at mile 8. Then we ran into King William and I started to realize that the race was going to be over soon, and that I wasn't tired. Usually, around mile 10, I start to fade and Shelly has to drag me to the finish line. Not this time! We kept picking up the pace, checking with each other to make sure that was okay. And it was!
As we moved closer to the end of the race, Shelly and I realized that we were going to get a new PR. After mile 11, we kept doing math, and we calculated that if we hustled, we could get 2:10. We crossed the finish line in 2:10:45. Not bad for a race that wasn't an "A" race.
We brought our own 11 oz. water bottles so that we could avoid the first few water stops, and that worked well. After that, we knew generally when the water stops were coming, and when Adam spotted one in the distance, we consumed our Gu and then walked through the water stop, drinking 3 cups each. It worked perfectly. We each consumed 3 Gu packs during this race.
Jen did well too for her first half marathon. She finished the race in 2:32, which is exactly the time it took me for my first half 5 years ago! I'm really proud of her and Adam, and I could tell that they were thrilled too. They're already signed up for the Rock n Roll New Orleans half, and I know they're going to enjoy it.