Ok so let’s talk about this crazy shit that I did Sunday. I think I will give, an hour by hour, maybe mile by mile, run down of my experience running in the Austin Half Marathon on February 14th 2016.
Just to recap a little, I got my entry into this race from a friend that was going to be out of town. She hated to see it go to waste, so having never done a half marathon before, I jumped at the chance to cross this item off my bucket list. Runners are strange creatures. To run 13.1 miles is probably viewed as just crazy to most people. But runners will willingly lay down anywhere between $60-$90 to participate in this so called “fun”. So to be able to partake in this fun, for free, was great.
At the beginning of the week, I got in my last long run of 10 miles on Monday. Did a tapering run of 4 miles on Thursday. And my rest days started on Friday. No nothing but stretching and rolling for two days. Saturday evening we went out and I fueled up! After a veggie burger, fries, beer and chocolate cake, my tank was full! Called it a night and went to bed early at 9pm. Slept fairly well except for being woken up by neighbors dog who was braking for about an hour straight (poor thing). Alarm was set for 5:05am but I was up and rolling by 4:45am. And I do mean literally rolling. Foam rolled out my legs, wedged the Lacrosse ball between my hip and the floor and went to town on both sides. Did a couple sets of squats as well. Then it was time to make my vegan, protein packed, recovery drink for after the race (I will include the recipe for that at the end of the blog). By then hubby was awake and in need of his morning coffee. So it was hurry up and get dressed, pack post race supply bag and head out.
By 6:15am we arrived at the race. Hubby sat with my for a little bit, then he went to go get breakfast and I went to go find the starting line. After following the masses to the starting area I realized, of course, I needed to pee! Ok, no problem. Wrong! Closest porta-potties to start had a huge line at them and a little surprise too. After waiting for maybe 5 mins I realized that, even though there were 4 porta-potties, only one was being used (or 3 other people were in some serious trouble). Finally, a random lady came through the line after she had done her business and told everyone that the other 3 porta-potties were locked for some reason and the one that was being used, was out of toilet paper. Wonderful. Well, I had to go. There was no way I could make it without going and I didn’t want to have to stop during the race. So I waited….. and waited….. and waited. As the time approached 7am, the announcer was telling everyone to get lined up. I heard the national anthem sung while waiting in line. Then, with 3 minutes to spare, it was my turn. I peed as fast as a could. Tried to drip dry (man, men have it so easy) and then flew out of the potty, turned on my Garmin and joined the masses heading towards the start. Not the way I would have liked to have started the race, but at least I wasn’t the poor 15-20 other full bladders still waiting in line!
The first 4 miles of this course are all up hill. It is gradual, but still uphill. A running friend had told me to hold back and run on the crown of the street. I took his advise and everything was pretty well, but slow (adv. pace 10:14). After those 4 miles, things smoothed out. We had a little down hill time. Then we got to mile 8 (adv. pace 9:55) and that’s when things got crazy again. Somewhere before mile 10 there was a huge, steep hill. It was one that kind of sunk up on you. The course made a sharp right turn and there was the hill smacking you in the face.
Now, somewhere between miles 11 and 12, we lost the poor souls that were crazy enough to do the full marathon. By that time I was hurting. Back around mile 8 my right knee started hurting (tight IT band issue from what I could tell from past experience). Then shortly after that (maybe around mile 10), my left knee joined the party (I guess so Righty wouldn’t feel left out). So by that point, watching the full marathoners go left, while we stayed right, wasn’t even fathomable for me. I was done. My knees were shot. But, those poor bastards had another 15 or so miles to go!!!! No thank you!
Miles 9 through the finish were a bit of a blur (adv. pace of 10:48). Or maybe it was just my brain’s way of throwing in the towel because obviously my legs had stopped taking orders from central command a long time ago. Right before mile 12 was the last of the grueling hills and it was a big one too! Then at last, miles 12-13.1 took us all back into the heart of downtown. We passed right in front of the Texas State Capitol building and then headed towards the final stretch.
It was amazing! Even though I was hurting pretty badly; to the point of tears and me repeating over and over again (out loud mind you) “only a little bit farther, only a little bit farther”, the sound of the crowds turned those tears into tears of joy. I found my last litter bit of energy and dug deep; sprinting toward the finish and literally yelling as I crossed the line and stopped my Garmin. It was over. I had done it. It felt great, painful, joyous, tiresome and a whole lot more all in one. I had earned the 2 glasses of water, 2 glasses of Gatorade, one banana and one awesome medal that I received! Overall time was 2:17:11. I hoped for it to be between 2 hours and two and a half, so I can’t complain!
I have to give thanks to everyone who was there to help me along the way. I saw my husband for the first time around mile 6 and he said he spotted me 2 more times after that plus he was who I got to embrace after it was all over. He was even sweet enough to carry my part of the way to the car because my legs didn’t want to carry me the whole way. And when we got to the car, he reminded me to slap my 13.1 magnet on the back of it (a proud moment for me)!
Also, my best running buddy and friend Aubrey was out there between miles 8-9 with her two boys. They spotted me and gave me a little push, that was needed in a big way. The signs they held up were the best! One read “Worst Parade Ever” and the other said “Don’t Poop Yourself”! 100% Aubrey humor and 110% the best running partner I could ask for! She should have run that race herself, because she logged pretty much all the same training miles that I did, because she did them with me!
And more thanks go to all the great people in my running group, Lifetime Run – North Austin. I received many text before and after the race, as well as great feed back via our Facebook page. And most importantly, from that group, is our coach (an personal friend), Jeff Bates. Over the past 2 years he has given me great tools and pushed me when I needed it. Without his help, I don’t think I would be running nearly as much, or as well, as I have been! Keep up the great work Jeff, and don’t ever let me slack!
As I finished up writing this, I must add that I had taken an Epsom Salt soak and some Vitamin I (Ibuprofen) as well. I had also started to roll and ice my poor side knee/IT band. I have horrible runner’s knee in both knees. I do have a massage scheduled for Wednesday, but I may need to visit the good people at The Tri Doc before then. And to give everyone an idea about how trying this course was for me, I must add that I usually run between a 9-9:30 pace. To have an over all pace of 10:24 speaks volumes! But I have no regrets. I also have no intentions of signing up for another half anytime soon, (but I’m sure I will in time)! For now, I need some TLC and rest days, but I can’t wait to hit the road again real soon!
Vegan Protein Recovery Smoothie (30g of Protein)
- 3 table spoons Hemp Protein Powder (I use a brand name Nutiva because it is one of the better ones on the market)
- 1 cup organic soy milk (would recommend Westsoy or Trader Joe’s brands because they are the only two that have just water and Organic soy beans in them)
- 1/2 cup frozen Black Cherries (I buy a bag of them at Costco)
- 1/2 – 1 banana
- 1 date
- pinch of shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup of almonds
I pour everything into my Vitamix and blend until smooth. Best served chilled.