Monthly Archives: April 2012

Race #10: Austin 10/20

Last weekend, Maggie and I drove to Austin for a very fun race!  The inaugural Austin 10/20 – 10 miles with 20 stages.

The race was Sunday morning so we drove out Saturday morning to have some time to explore Austin.  We started out on South Congress for some coffee and shopping.  We passed an animal rescue and I fell in love with this little guy.

His name was Moe.  They said he was a corgi mix.  I tried to convince my husband (via emailed videos) that Bailey needs a sibling, but it was a no-go.  How could anyone say no to that face?

We ate at Home Slice Pizza and then headed to Luke’s Locker to pick up our race packets.  This being the inaugural race, I don’t think they were prepared for the crowds at packet pick-up.  There was a long line outside the store, and it took almost an hour to get our packets.

Once we had our packets, we headed out to our hotel to check-in.  We were staying at Habitat Suites, just north of the city, to be a little closer to the start of the race.  Habitat Suites was advertised as an eco-friendly hotel with “edible landscaping” – fruit/veggies that you could pick and eat.  Sure enough, there was a kumquat tree just outside our hotel room!

I had never tried a kumquat before.  They were similar to oranges.  Interesting to pick your own and just eat them!

Similar to Embassy Suites, Habitat Suites had a happy hour with free drinks and appetizers.  We snacked a little and then headed to dinner at Titaya’s Thai.  It was good, but didn’t quite to compare to my Houston favorite (Nidda Thai).  After a stop by Half Price Books, we headed back to our hotel to get ready for bed.

There was some traffic getting to the race, but we found a parking spot and headed to the start line.  Another sign of an inaugural race:  limited porta-potties at the start line.  The lines were so long, we quickly gave up and made our way to our corral.  It was 15 minutes to start time, and in almost 5 minutes, we weren’t seeing any movement in the lines.  It’s a good thing it wasn’t an emergency for either of us – we may not have started in time!

After a brief delay (they said for safety reasons), we were off!  The weather looked like it was going to open up and pour any minute, but it held up with just some light sprinkling.  We passed three bands in the first mile alone, and it was very motivating.  We heard others around us complaining about the humidity.  It was definitely humid, but not bad by Houston standards.  The first two miles flew by quickly.

  • Mile 1:  9:29
  • Mile 2:  9:30

There were no water breaks until after 2 miles, and I definitely needed water by then.  We briefly walked through each water station, but ran most of the rest of the race.

Although they advertised that this was a flat course, I would not have called this flat.  Maybe flat by Austin standards, but I felt like at least half the race we were running slightly uphill, and there were a few short steeper hills.  At one point we were struggling up a hill, and a spectator encouraged the group of us, saying, “It’s all downhill once you get to the light up there!”  We did slow down a little bit over the next few miles, and took our gu at the beginning of mile 5 when we saw a water station coming up.

  • Mile 3:  9:45
  • Mile 4:  9:51
  • Mile 5:  9:58

The first half of the race seemed to fly by, and I was excited to see that we were keeping a pace under 10 minute miles.  But we weren’t taking many walk breaks, and although I was feeling strong, I wasn’t confident I would be able to keep it up for another five miles.  The bands along the way really did a lot to keep my energy up!  Somewhere around mile 7 I had a really bad stomach cramp.  I felt a stabbing pain just below my chest.  I’m not sure what  caused it, but we took a short walk break (less than 1 minute), and the worst of it seemed to pass.  I tried to just breathe through the rest.

  • Mile 6:  10:01
  • Mile 7:  10:14
  • Mile 8:  10:02

The last 2 miles looped us around back toward the starting line.  There were a lot more spectators here, and I was getting excited to be so close to finishing.  There were some good signs at this race.  A few little kids were holding signs that said something like, “My dad owes me big – he said Bieber would be here” and “Mom – you always said to finish what you start – finish this!”  According to my Garmin the course was 0.30 miles long, and according to Maggie’s it was 0.20 miles long.  Either way, we had a strong finish!

  • Mile 9:  9:45
  • Mile 10:  10:01
  • Mile 10 – 10.31:  2:54 (9:15 pace)
  • Total:  1:41:33 (9:50 pace / 10:09 official pace)

It was an awesome race!  Unfortunately, we didn’t get to enjoy our triumphant run across the finish line – the girl right in front of us decided to stop right before crossing the finish line.  I’m not sure what was going through her mind, but we almost ran her right over – you can see me trying to squeeze in beside her:

We collected our medals, some water and fruit, and then headed to the car to drop our stuff off before coming back for the concert.  Another complaint about this race – no hand sanitizer in the restrooms!  Luckily I had some in the car.  We walked around a little bit, but it looked like the main food stand was the free BBQ.  The line was super long, and I wouldn’t have been able to eat it anyway, so we decided to pass and went to wait by the main stage for Everclear.

The concert was awesome!  My 16 year-old self (who loved Everclear) would have been very jealous of my 26 year-old self who got to be 2nd row at the concert.  They played a lot of their old classics and I absolutely loved it.

Maggie even caught a guitar pick!

It began to pour during their last song, so we took off.  We found a Denny’s on our way out of town for our traditional post-long run breakfast.  It was a successful weekend in Austin, and I would definitely go back for this run again next year!



Race # 9: 4 the Park

The 4 the Park race is a 4 mile race at Memorial Park, to benefit the park.  I wanted to run this one last year, but it was right after my half marathon, so I never registered.  It was a last minute decision this year (I registered the day before), but I’m glad I did!

My race packet came with a free tree to plant and a buy-one-get-one-free coupon to the Counter Burger.  I think they have the best veggie burgers in Houston.  Since I registered so last minute, they only had large shirts left.

I wasn’t sure what the parking situation was going to be, so Pat got up to drop me off at the park about 45 minutes before start time.  I could have driven – there were only 2,000 runners and plenty of parking spots still open!  But it was nice of him to drive me.  I walked a little over a mile to get to the picnic loop, where the race was starting.

The mayor gave a speech before the race, and then we were off!  I’m not sure what got into me.  My training runs have involved a lot of walking.  I can’t remember the last time I ran 4 miles straight.  My goal was to try to run most of the race at a 9:30 pace, and then pick it up at the end if I had anything left in me.  But as soon as we started, people were passing me left and right, and I saw that my pace was under 9:00… and I wasn’t slowing down.

I finished my first mile in 8:55.  I felt good, but I was sure that I was making the rookie mistake of starting way too fast, and was prepared for a much slower three miles following that.  But after the second mile, I saw another 8:55 flash on my Garmin!  And people were still flying by me in a constant stream.  This was a fast crowd!

I slowed down a bit during the third mile, and took a walk break through the first water station I saw.  Even with my walking, my third mile was 9:03.  There was an up and back.  Although I thought I must have been in the back of the crowd, I quickly saw there were plenty of people behind me too.  But I felt energized to try to finish strong.  I ended up taking short walk breaks through each of the 3 water stations.  I was thirsty and wanted to be sure to stay hydrated.

The last mile was tough.  I kept telling myself how great I was doing and willing myself to keep moving at the same pace.  I wanted to stop to walk, but I didn’t.  I tried to mentally pick people ahead of me, and tried to pick them off.  My final mile was 8:49.

I was so proud of myself!  This is the first race I completed in a pace under 9:00, although my official pace was 9:10.  But according to my Garmin, I ran 4.12 for a pace of 8:55, so I’ll go with that 🙂

My splits:

  • Mile 1:  8:55
  • Mile 2:  8:55
  • Mile 3:  9:03
  • Mile 4:  8:49
  • Mile 4.12:  8:24 pace
  • Total:  36:43 (8:55 pace)/ official:  36:40 (9:10 pace)

According to the race results, I ran the first 2 miles in 9:15 and the second 2 miles in 9:05.  I came in 46 of 175 in my division.  I was thrilled with the results!

After the race, I wandered around the food tents.  They had a lot of great options!  Breakfast tacos from El Rey, a chicken dish from Chatters, smoothies, fresh fruit, free massages, and more.  I was impressed with all the options!  It looked like they were going to have music too, but since I was on my own, I decided to head home.

Since Pat dropped me off, I planned to walk home.  I told him if I wasn’t home by 10am, to come looking for me.  I thought it would be just a 2 mile walk home.  I alternated walking/jogging.  I made it 2.3 miles and realized I probably had another mile to go.  I was so happy to see Pat’s car coming – he came looking for me early!  Between the walking before and after, and the race, I ran/walked a total of 7.5 miles.

I will definitely run this race again next year!  Did any other Houstonians run this race this year or in the past?