Speeding in Austin

In an uncharacteristic move I’m going to do the big reveal up front: I finished in 1:41:47!!  That’s a 7:44 pace and happens to be a new Half-Marathon PR by almost seven minutes!  Other milestones for this race:

·         First long distance race (i.e., Half for full Marathon) that I’ve run at sub-8:00 pace
·         First time I’ve ever sustained this pace for more than six miles
·         First net downhill race (there were still hills mind you)
·         First race that I showed up early for
·         First race I ran with heart burn

While I missed my goal time by 48 seconds, I will gladly take it.  Having run this race so well, having shaven off seven minutes from my PR, and proving that I have a faster runner inside of me—that makes all the effort worth it.  To keep things moving, let start with the splits:


Mile 1: 7:34
Mile 2: 6:43*
Mile 3: 9:20 (registered as 1.21 miles, pace: 7:43)
Mile 4: 7:42
Mile 5: 7:14
Mile 6: 8:10
Mile 7: 8:00
Mile 8: 7:52
Mile 9: 7:48
Mile 10: 7:56
Mile 11: 7:54
Mile 12: 7:28
Mile 13.1: 8:00 (7:14 pace)

Final Stats:
Distance: 13.1
Net Time: 1:41:47
Pace: 7:44
Overall Place: 544/4515 (top 12%)
Gender Place: 408/1915 (top 21%)
Age Place: 60/170 (top 35%)

*It was dark and I’ve kinda gotten out of the habit of wearing Fenny (my Garmin), so I accidentally stopped Fenny at Mile 2 instead of lapping.  This number is the difference between Fenny’s time and my chip time and reflects .82 miles that I had my watch turned off.


It’s getting harder and harder to remember what happens out there on the course.  I’ll scratch part of it up to not being as excited for Half-Marathons as I used to be, so I’m less attentive on the course.  Then this course wasn't scenic or particularly memorable—the real hallmark is the 300 meter net drop.  On top of that I was running with a much, much faster group this time around.  The 1:40 group is very different from the 1:50 crowd I’m used to.  There is little frivolity here: it’s a more hard-core-I’ve-got-pavement-to-kick-I-will-run-you-over atmosphere.  As the first time experiencing this it’s a bit frightening.

I ended up getting to the starting line way earlier than usual.  This wasn’t the best race in terms of pushing information out to runners—we ended up arriving for a 6:15a start, when the race really started at 6:45a.  But it all worked to my advantage.  First off, all the stress of getting there were off because there was no traffic and plenty of parking.  Second, there were no lines at the port-o-potties: I had my pick of clean, unused plastic out houses.

Over the next 45 minutes, runners arrived by the truckload.  Soon enough I was eating an apple (final food/sugar intake) and heading over to the starting corral with Wifey and our friend C.  I kissed Wifey goodbye and gave a hug/thanks-for-driving-this-early to C and then wiggled my way halfway between the 1:40 and 1:45 pace groups.  While standing there I felt the first few drops of rain—I was in complete denial because rain was not in the forecast and we were in central Texas (it just doesn’t rain here during the winter).  I had a flashback to the Portland Marathon that was all rain and then quickly shut that down—no negative thoughts before a race.

The gun fired and the corral swept me away—there was no false start or casual walk to the start line, these Texans go immediately from zero to run.

The first couple of miles were a negotiation.  I didn’t want to go out too fast, but I couldn’t go out too slow.  Heart burn appeared pretty early in the race and subsided for a brief time if I managed to burp—odd, no?  It wasn’t until the 1:45 pacer appeared over my left shoulder somewhere between Mile markers 3 and 4 that I told myself to stop dicking around and kick up the pace—if the 1:45 group was getting ready to pass me I was definitely slacking.

After a mile or so I got the 1:45 group behind me and out of ear shot, thanks to some long downhill stretches.

By the halfway point I saw that I was tracking pretty well on my time.   Probably because of that I eased up a bit and that’s why there are those random 8:00 splits at Mile 6 and 7.  But after Mile 7 I locked onto one guy wearing a San Antonio RnR Marathon shirt who seemed to be running at my goal pace.  I tacked onto him and let him do the driving.  (Look at me borrowing strategies from the elites!)

By Mile 9 I was in a full groove—I wasn’t necessarily hitting my goal pace, but I was cranking out as hard as I could.  I hit a series of songs on Liam (my iPod) that I could sing along to and I was that annoying guy singing loudly to music only he could hear.  My apologies to the more disciplined runners.

The last three miles went by incredibly fast.  There were no turns and it was all downhill.  I knew the PR was waiting for me, but because I had turned off Fenny for Mile 2 I had no idea what I was actually going to finish at, so I started throwing it all out there.   At the Mile 12 marker I went into free for all mode and must have passed at least a dozen runners.  After spurring off onto Trinity St there was a clear downhill view of the finish line five blocks away.  I didn’t get the tremendous kick that I normally get at the end of races (probably because I spent everything on the course) but I got a nice kick regardless and I was over the finish line faster than I thought possible.

I scoured for milk immediately after crossing the finish line—the heartburn was still killing me.  But no luck.  Wifey and C’s mom found me within a couple minutes of crossing the finish line.  After eating a banana and getting a few stretches in, I fought my way to the results board and scanned for a while to find my name.  I passed the 1:43s and the 1:42s.  I found my name finally—holy crap, those numbers are mine?  That blew me away.  I trained for a harder pace and I actually (more or less) did it, and in the process brought my PR down by seven minutes.  Insane.  A goofy smile spread across my face that I couldn’t wipe off.

We celebrated with a huge breakfast at Kerbey Lane Café where I was finally able to down about a quart of milk, followed by fried eggs over sweet potato hash, home fries, sausage, and Texas toast.  We napped until 3p as a delicious post-race food coma set in.


Biscuitman said...

Congrats on your PR! What's your next race?

Nitmos said...

Man, you are getting F-A-S-T! Great PR!