Austin Half Marathon Recap

  Feb 27, 2017  |  #Austin

As you may know, I ran the Austin Half Marathon last Sunday. It was my first race of 2017. I didn’t particularly train for it, but moreso signed up (and convinced Ed to join me) as an excuse to go to Austin.

Austin Half Marathon

Oh, Austin. You totally through me for a loop. I kind of like going into races blindsighted. As a Type A person (I realize this is the complete opposite of what a normal Type A person does), it decreases anxiety about thinking about the race and course. I actually don’t freak out before races and I’m pretty calm. I don’t have a “must eat” list for the night before, I don’t have to wear the same race socks or shoes, and I don’t have to plan out every detail the night before. Together, Ed and I are pretty unprepared runners, compared to most.

So, as a forethought, I realize that I am telling this like a story. I hope it makes it more interesting for you.

crepes in Austin

On the day before the half marathon, I ate ice cream for breakfast (on a crepe), walked 10 miles, did not scope out the course or even look at a map, and ate ice cream before going to bed. Now, I am not saying I recommend this, but my priority in coming to Austin was also exploring the city and food. Ed prioritizes running, I prioritize food.

We explored South Congress Street and got tacos for lunch.

Torchys Tacos

We decided to check out the Corporate Whole Foods for our pre race dinner. We thought it would make sense to have everything available so we could choose what we wanted. I ended up getting a carb heavy bowl of veggies, coconut rice, butternut squash mac n cheese, and some chicken. Ed doesn’t do chicken before a race (bad experience I guess?) so he went with pork and short rib. We always end with something sweet, so we scoped out a local ice cream shop for dessert before walking back to our hotel. We got some ice cream (Mexican Vanilla with Chocolate Chips for me), walked the two miles back to our hotel and got ready for bed.

Amys Austin

I did lay out all my clothes and started to think about what I would do if it rained (there was a 50% chance of rain/thunder showers in the morning). Of course, you may be able to guess given my lack of preparation above, that neither Ed nor I packed rain jackets. I had a light long sleeved jacket that I was planning to use if it did rain, but it did not have a hood and I just figured I’d have to suck it up if it rained hard.

pre race Austin half Marathon

Luckily, that didn’t happen.

BUT, one could argue that what did happen was even worse. At 4:45, we woke up to dry roads (!!) but 95 PERCENT HUMIDITY. YUCK. It was miserable.

I made a little oatmeal with half a banana and some peanut butter and ate it along with some coffee, before doing an 8 minute warm up and stretch. Our hotel was a quarter mile from the start (amazingly convenient), so I headed to the starting line 5 minutes before the race went off. We were starting with the marathoners and immediately, I felt bad for them with this weather.

Austin half marathon

The first mile and a half was rough. It was uphill, up South Congress Street. Those first 15 minutes plus the humidity had me sweating through my shirt by mile two. We then took a turn right and were going through some side neighborhoods. There wasn’t much to see here, and we weren’t near the city center. I was feeling okay at this point and maintaining a decent pace. There were some smaller up and downs through the first half of the race, but I was maintaining a semi consistent pace. I was starting to feel weaker though, and knew it wouldn’t be a fast race for me.

I crossed the 10k mark at 46:52 (7:26 pace), but after that, I started losing it. My legs felt dead, I was hot and tired, and my pace slowed considerably. I took my huma gel around mile 8, which helped a little bit. I had a few more fast spurts, followed by slower spurts, but overall, I was losing ground.

Excuse these informal race photos that I’ll just insert here…

Austin half marathon

I stopped and walked 3 times during the final course of the week (all at steep hills). While I typically don’t walk during races, I just didn’t have the gas to get up them and I needed a break. I remember my face when I saw the final hill around mile 12. I was thinking, “Uhhh…I have to go up that? Like, seriously?” This seemed to be where many fans lined up, and I saw some great signs about running up hills, but I couldn’t conquer it without walking a bit.

My last ¾ mile was flat, and we were running through the city streets again so that was exciting. I crossed the finish line in 1:44.52, with a dead even pace of 8:00 per mile. I was 6+ minutes slower than my half in December!

Austin half marathon

Lessons Learned

I think that in each race, you can learn so much about yourself. I learned that even if you think you can’t continue, you really can. Runners are inspirational, and will keep motivating you throughout the race. I learned that patience is key, and that those people in the crowd really do make a huge difference! I also learned that it’s okay to walk. As a competitive person and former college athlete, this was hard to stomach initially. But, no one judged me, I caught my breath and finished the race.

And to brag on my husband for a minute, he came in 4th overall! He was 6 minutes slower than he planned too, but I told him how awesome a top 5 finish was!

And hey, it was still a fun race! And the after race party was pretty great. And the race is all about the experience.

Austin half marathon Austin half marathon

I’m linking up with Hoho Runs and Misssippipiddlin for the Weekly Wrap!

Best part of your weekend?

What lessons have you learned from a tough race?

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30 responses to “Austin Half Marathon Recap

  1. There are races that you are all business and are goal races, sure I get that but dang we miss out on so many things in so many cities if we are on a strict diet and routine before a race.
    So glad you had a great time in Austin and at your race, I’d say that is success anyway you look at it!

  2. Congrats on a great finish!
    I used to be the same as Ed with eating certain foods before a gymnastics meet- there were some things that I just couldn’t do before I competed! Glad you had a fun time in Austin and had a great first race of the year 🙂

  3. Congratulations on finishing such a hilly and hot race. I prefer that to rain, but both can be tricky. I’ve learned the most from horrible weather races because they teach me that I’m tougher than I think I am 🙂

    1. I enjoy a light rain, but a heavy rain is definitely challenging. I think that underlying lesson is so important – we are tougher than we think and we can get through more than we realize.

  4. Humidity is the worst! Unfortunately, we live with it here for the majority of the year (6-8 months). I’ve never gotten used to it and it’s always a pretty humbling experience during races. So AWESOME JOB running in the Texas humidity. Congrats to your husband as well. HIs 4th place finish is very impressive. Austin is a very nice city. I visited there twice when my aunt lived there. At least you had a lot of good eats to pick from! Thanks for linking, Sarah!

    1. We loved it – it is such a fun city with great food. Yes, humidity is so tough – I should know from training in NC, but we weren’t expecting it in February. Lesson learned!

  5. And….. what did you think about Austin!? I know you’d been wanting to get there for a while now.
    I don’t see anything wrong with any of this. Its good to test out a new “pattern” – maybe that means not planning something or going at something in a new, relaxed way – at least once to see what does or doesn’t work. Its all lessons learned and no harm done. Plus you still made an amazing time and maybe even were humbled by the experience. Ed is just not a real human, isn’t he. You married some sort super hero/elf/star trek/magician/matrix man.

  6. Sarah, you had an amazing time! It’s especially incredible to me to think that you informally trained for it and you went into it with such an openness. You pushed through, and that’s incredible.

    I love going into races without a strict eating plan, but I do kind of know what doesn’t make my tummy happy before/during/after a race.

  7. That’s awesome Sarah! From a novice runner, I’m seriously impressed with your pace. And obviously Ed is a superhuman, right?
    I have never been to Austin or even Texas, so I most enjoyed seeing your eats from this trip 😉

  8. Racing in humidity is the worst! I actually wrote a post once about how hills and humidity are my least favorite running conditions. There have been a few half marathons when Ive have to walk because of the hills being so steep (and going out to fast, along with hot/humid weather…) Looks like a fun trip to Austin! Congrats to you and Ed!

  9. That’s a great finish time, considering you said you didn’t really train for it LOL I agree…every race teaches us something about ourselves. I have had many races go great (leaving me feeling confidant in my training) and I have had many races be a total struggle from the start line (where I learned that I still can grit it out and rely on my endurance to finish…even if it’s much slower than I’m usually capable of doing). And, there have been a lot of races that start out great, then tank in the second half and vice-versa.

  10. Congrats to you and and to your hubs for placing 4th overall. That is awesome! I never view the course before a race. So those hills would have been a surprise for me as well. My friend ran the full there the other year and said it was a pretty challenging course.

  11. Great job to both of you! Hills are tough on a normal day but when you aren’t feeling the energy they really suck! You still did awesome and congrats to your husband!

  12. Sometimes the first thing I check on my weather app before I run is the humidity because 90%+ humidity makes every run so much harder. Good for you for pushing through the tough weather conditions and congrats to both of you and Ed for his top 5 finish! Your pre-race eats also sound so delicious- I like your priorities! 😉

  13. The year I ran Austin it was warm and humid as well! I’ve definitely learned that I don’t race well in those conditions. You did amazing! And on a nice cool day you’ll feel like you’re flying!

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