February 19, 2013

Austin Marathon

I've finished my second marathon!  While overall I had a better experience than I did in Dallas, it was not any easier.  The Austin course is super hilly and very challenging.  I took a break after Dallas to enjoy the holidays and recover.  Training has been going pretty well and I've just completed the Rogue 30K, which while not a stellar showing, gave me a good sense of where I was at both physically and emotionally.

I had a good plan, was feeling pretty good, and was prepared.  I started out well, sticking to my plan and not starting out too fast.  Everything was going pretty smoothly for the first 10 miles.  Around mile 10, I had to pee.  I had passed by every other port-o-can at the aid stations because I didn't want to wait in any line.  By this point in the race, we were still in the urban, non-residential area that didn't afford anywhere to stop and relieve.  Finally, I found this bank of port-o-cans positioned on this hillside on the side of the road just before mile 10.  There were a couple that had no line.  I veered off and went straight to an open one.  My momentum that carried me into the port-o-can also enabled me to realize that it was not firmly situated on this hillside.  As the door closed behind me I felt the whole thing start to tip and I had this moment of panic.  Was this how my race was going to end?  Upside down in a port-o-can at mile 10?

Fortunately, it didn't end there.  It, along with my help, righted itself and after a brief stop was back on the course.  As I approached the half-marathon split (where the half-marathoners turn off) I knew that my race was just about to start.  It was here where the hills were to begin.  I got myself in the right frame of mind to handle one of the most talked about stretches of the course, Exposition Blvd.  My strategy was just to maintain and get through the hills.  If I didn't maintain my pacing, it wasn't a problem.  I'd be able to get back on pace later.  Just don't let the hill beat you.  You still have a ways to go.

I got through Exposition pretty well and was feel pretty good.  As I turned off of Exposition and on to 35th street, I started to feel not so good.  Things started to go downhill from here.  I started slowing down.  The IT Band started getting tight and painful again.  I struggled through the next 8 miles as best I could.  I was losing my momentum and the pain was increasing.  As we made our way back into downtown, I decided I would push it and try to finish strong.  I was going to leave it all out on the course.  I saw my parents at one of the turns.  A passed a couple (in the race) who had just gotten engaged about a mile back.  I saw my coach at the top of the big hill leading up to the turn to the finish.  As I made the turn to the finish, I felt empowered by the energy of the crowd, which lined the street.  I was running with all I had.  As I was making the final turn, I saw my wife.  I gave her a high five and she gave me some encouragement.  I crossed the line strong and feeling accomplished; like I had left it all out there on the course.  In the end, I finished in 4:40.  As 17 minute PR!



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