Austin 3M Half 2018 Recap

Hello from the other side…of the second hardest half marathon of my life. This was my 9th Half ever and the 7th that I really raced (I treated both Nike Women’s Half San Francisco 2015 and Fred Lebow 2017 as training runs due to injury and low mileage, respectively).

Pre-Race: I had peanut butter and banana on toast with some canned iced coffee from local spot Cuvee. Gabby and I took a Lyft to the start (our driver was impressed with our early morning activities) then met up with other PPTC folks. Bag check was easy and portapotty lines weren’t too long. Then came the corrals, or lack thereof. I waited for friends, then realized there was no way to get close to the 1:55 pacer without shoving my way.

The good: Miles 1-5 were great. Having only been in Austin a few days, I had no idea where we were North of the city (somewhere near The Domain?), so I just took in the sights. Like the industrial office parks. The width of the roads early on (everything’s bigger in Texas?) let me pass folks and get closer to the pace I wanted early on despite the crowded start.

The bad: Pretty much as soon as I hit the 5th mile, everything started to get tough. My legs felt heavy and my breath was a little more labored. I was pushing hard to maintain the same pace. I had a gel around mile 6, but that obviously wasn’t enough to save me. I also had 2 salted watermelon Shot Block chews at some point. I declined the Bacon Station, but maybe I should have partaken.

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 10.33.11 PM

The ugly: Mile 10 and its last major hill. This course has a net downhill, but you never quite feel like it throughout the rolling hills. I am delighted to say that there are absolutely no photos of me on the course. I looked like death at the finish.

Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 10.01.14 PM

Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 10.00.56 PM

It was raining again at the finish, so I grabbed my medal and goody bag and shuffled 1 whole mile up the hill to Gabby’s to shower off. That mile was not easy, despite drinking some Gatorade.

Final time of 2:02:46 which actually makes this my 4th fastest half marathon despite what I consider a ‘bonk’ in the second half. Not bad.

Don’t worry, we got Gourdough’s after!

I was pretty sore that day and the next but did an easy recovery run around Austin to see more of the riverfront trail.

I needed some time to recover both physically and mentally from this race. Not every race goes the way you want for a variety of reasons, so I’ve tried to reflect on my training and preparation and race execution. On to the next one.

Advertisements

Austin 3M Half 2018 Training Weeks 9 and 10

After hitting a one-week mileage PR 12/29/17-1/5/18 of 39.5 miles in 7 days, my training motivation slipped and my planned 2 week taper kind of became a 3 week one without a final long run. Whoops!

Week 9: 11.2 miles over 3 runs. Final “long” run of 5 miles, where I found some money. I also ate some really delicious things with my friend Lori on account of her instagram @girleatsnyc.

Banh Mi and Chicken Poutines at 375 Fries

Donuts Galore at Stax Ice Cream

Ube Ice Cream in a Fruity Pebble and Condensed Milk Glazed Donut at Stax

Week 10: My travel began to Austin for the Half. But first, Disney World! And Universal Studios! I ate everything.

I walked around a lot in Orlando but didn’t hit up the fitness center. I did eat Mickey ears ice cream, Dole Whip on top of pineapple upside down cake, and half the menu at Le Cellier steakhouse in EPCOT Canada.

Dole Whip made even better with pineapple upside down cake (had this twice in a day)

Dumbo Forever

Ears and more ears

I flew from Orlando to Austin on Wednesday the 17th, just missing an ice storm by a day. I did a shakeout run on the hotel treadmill once in Austin but hadn’t brought enough cold-weather clothing for their surprise post-ice storm cold snap.

Austin 3M Half Expo

Getting our bibs at the Expo

I also ate a lot of queso and brisket.

Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ

Torchy’s Tacos Visit #1

Banana Pudding at Holy Roller

17.1 miles including the Half Marathon and a cool-down mile afterward. Race recap to come!

Richmond Marathon 2017 Race Report

Ok, finally. I think many of you already knew from Strava or other forms of social media, but I had a great race on Saturday 11/11/17. This post will be a little light on the images because my parents were so busy cheering (and it was cold before and after) that they didn’t take any photos and I didn’t run with my phone.

Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 8.43.53 PM

Start: It had dropped below freezing the night before and was still in the low to mid 30’s for the 7:45am start. I wore a longsleeve cotton shirt and pajama pants as my throwaway clothes over my PPTC tech t-shirt, Lululemon shorts (same outfit as last year’s NYC Marathon), makeshift arm warmers, DarnTough socks, and Lululemon gloves (a Christmas gift from a friend last year). I ended up choosing my Brooks Launch 4s as my shoe since I did most of my marathon miles in them, especially the last 8 weeks.

IMG_4338

Flatlay from the night before sans cold weather accessories

Screen Shot 2017-11-19 at 10.24.23 PM

Miles 0-7: My corral (#4) was pretty crowded, but we got off to a decent start 6 minutes after the first wave did. We turned a corner and then we were running west on Broad street. And boom, at mile 0.5, there were my parents cheering in the median. Nice! I took the first several miles faster than I meant to, closer to a 10:00 pace than the 10:15-10:30 I meant to do.

I meant to take a gel at 45:00 but due to the spacing of the water stations (every 2 miles, I believe), I held off until closer to 1 hour on the clock. I started with a Salted Watermelon Gu, one of my favorites. We were climbing up a hill at Mile 6 but I didn’t notice too much, as I was chatting on and off with other runners, I had started behind the 4:30 pace group, then I passed them, they passed me, and I passed again. At Mile 7, there is a significant downhill after crossing the James River to go from the West End to the South Side. This felt great. I spent the next couple of miles along the river taking in the beautiful views and sunshine. I chatted up a woman wearing a JMU long-sleeve (my alma mater) and took in some of her cheers as my own. If I do another Richmond race, I’m definitely rocking the purple and gold.

IMG_4342

Miles 8-15: South Side was fairly uneventful, as I was mainly trying to not overdo the pace. After we climbed out from the River, I still felt pretty strong. I chatted with a runner from Chicago who was shocked at my choice of shorts and a NYRR employee. I had my second gel of the day, Toasted Marshmallow and it was AMAZING. I hadn’t tried it before (I know, nothing new on race day) but it was delicious. Around the half mark, I took some mini gummi bears from one of the candy stops. We ran alongside traffic for several miles of Forest Hill Ave and Semmes Ave, which I didn’t love, but some of them lended us cheers or music. Right as we turned to take the bridge back north across the James River, my parents surprised me at the 15 Mile marker. The bridge is fairly windy and an incline, but the boost from my parents helped so much. I had also latched on/decided to draft a couple who was also shooting for under 4:30 but wasn’t with the pace group. On the bridge, the pace group caught up to us, then we peeled away and I never saw them again (spoiler alert).

Miles 16-20: I still felt good but tentative, as I expected things to get harder in the 20’s. I slowly ate my mini gummi bears and had another gel, plus water every couple miles. We ran through some more familiar territory of West Main Street, then past the Diamond on Boulevard. I remember still feeling strong and passing people who were starting to fade. The stupid grin hadn’t left my face yet.

Screen Shot 2017-11-19 at 9.47.09 PM

Miles 21-25: These miles turned out to be both well-populated by great spectator groups and the ones where I felt great and realized I was going to surpass not only my A goal of 4:29:xx, but my A+ goal of 4:26:03 (a 30 minute PR from NYCM last year). I believe that in lieu of a 4th gel, I just had a single Salted Margarita ShotBlock and increased the blue Powerade consumption since the frequency of the tables increased. I supplemented this with a banana from a nice lady around Mile 22. I turned down the beer and other junk food on offer, as well as the pickle juice. I had told myself to hold off the pace from miles 21-24, then up the gas if I was still feeling good. My parents showed up for the 3rd time at Mile 23.5 and I yelled to them “See you at the beer truck! Hurry, I’m picking up speed!”. It was true! See my splits above after Mile 21; I knew the end was near and almost nothing could stop me.

Screen Shot 2017-11-19 at 9.47.24 PM

Extra gels in my pocket can’t slow me down

Mile 25-26.2: There were a few small bumps/hills before the big finish. At 25.5, I was passing people left and right and really turning on the juice when a woman told us the finish was “around the corner”. Well, we knew it wasn’t. I heard a girl comment on this and despite running at my half marathon pace now, I agreed with her and we talked about how we hate when people shout stuff like that about the finish when we just want to SEE the finish. I turn to look at her better and boom, she’s an internet running group friend! I managed to choke out my name and we both screamed. What are the odds? I knew we would get the final half mile in together, and boy did we ever. The downhill was ours. All of the pictures are of me talking to her (lol) and flying down faster than my 5K pace. We hit the finish, threw up our moose ears, and were done.

Screen Shot 2017-11-19 at 11.27.32 PM

Final: I hit the clock at 4:21:34.2, which apparently rounds up to :35. I beat my A+ goal by 4 and a half minutes, which still seems unreal. And I had the best time doing it! Everyone I talked to on the course was sweet and beyond pleasant. The crowd support was impressive for a marathon of this size. We were handed our medal, the blanket, and the mug, plus a bottle of water.

IMG_4340

Screen Shot 2017-11-19 at 9.47.44 PM

Then I went off to find my parents at the Beer Truck. Sure enough, I beat them there. I grabbed a slice of pizza and some blue Powerade. I didn’t have my ID, only a sweaty $20 bill, so I couldn’t even get a beer. By the time they arrived, I was able to change then requested that we skip the beer and get straight to Bottoms Up Pizza, the source of my favorite pizzas from my Sweet 16 to my high school graduation. They actually had a table open and I had a Southern Tier Imperial Pumpking, a huge slice, and some Oreo pie to go.

A million thanks to everyone who has commented here, on my Strava, or out in the ‘real world’ plus my parents who cheered and cowbelled so hard. Y’all the best.

IMG_4339

Until next time, Richmond! 50 weeks until NYC Marathon!

 

Week 12 of Richmond Marathon Training, 10/9-10/15

Cutback week with 28 prescribed miles from the NYRR Virtual Trainer (which again, is Sunday-Saturday for me since my goal race is on a Saturday).

10/9: Another Chicago run along the Lake Front Trail. 6.5 miles total, mostly trail instead of road. I hopped off the main path and went around the golf course, which provided some great views.

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 9.57.50 PM.png

10/10: 4.25 miles along the Hudson River Greenway to a class at RowHouse with a friend. I miscalculated this run as closer to 3 miles, then had to hustle my way up. Surprise progressive run! I struggled during class (I got there at 6:30 on the dot and hate being late), then we refueled with Sushiritos after class.

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 9.59.28 PM

Check that 4th mile of surprise and horror

10/11: Rest day

10/12: 5.4 mile RunCommute along the Queensboro Bridge then in Central Park to a bar (Bob’s Your Uncle, formerly The Ding Dong Lounge which I frequented in my grad school days) on 106th and Columbus for my friend Allison’s birthday. I had a Breckenridge Agave Wheat beer and some garlic knots.

10/13: Rest Day

10/14: Long Run in Red Hook. I left no pier unturned on this one. The run up 15th Street from Smith to Prospect Park was horrifying (you can see where my pace slowed at miles 7 and 8). I ended the run at Woodwork to watch the Arsenal game with some friends, then shuffled home after a couple of pumpkin beers. 11.3 miles during the main part of the run, then 0.67 home from the bar. I’m going to round up for the full 12.

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 2.59.53 PM

So. Many. Piers.

At night, I went to a bachelorette party and we had some amazing dishes at Bangia in Koreatown (corn cheese pajeon! spicy pork and mozzarella fried rice! soy garlic boneless wings!) then got gummis and Strawbeeritas for karaoke before dessert at Paris Baguette. I had the kouign amann and devoured it. I hope to bake more this winter once I settle into my new kitchen, but I think croissants and koign amanns are still a bit above my pay grade/skill level.

10/15: 3 recovery miles on the gym treadmill. I wanted to watch football but the only TV showing that was in front of the stationary bikes, so I suffered through the end of the movie Taxi with Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah. I might have squeezed in another mile or two otherwise.

Total: 31.25 Mon-Sun miles. Prescribed 28 miles Sun-Sat and I hit 28.25. Success!

Week 11 of Richmond Marathon Training, 10/2-10/8

5 weeks left until the marathon! Alert! This was supposed to be another higher mileage week with the longest run to date at the end.

10/2: 3.7 miles at home while my Dad rode his new bike alongside. This was awesome! I’m already plotting future bike ride/long run routes for home.

img_4280

10/3: Tempo park loop at night.

10/4: Rest Day

10/5: 3 on the treadmill, then off to Chicago. I wish I had woken up earlier to do a few more miles but had gone out the night before.

10/6: ~4.2 miles along the Chicago riverfront, which my Garmin then Strava turned into the following “6 mile” route. It felt great, though! And it was fun to see so many other runners. I was really glad I took the architectural river tour last year, as it really helped me get my bearings.

Screen Shot 2017-10-09 at 8.34.51 PM

I ran across maybe 3 of these bridges

22290007_10214538357323282_5515802222083917361_o

Rainbow Cake from Goddess and the Baker & Nutella Brioche from Eataly

10/7: Longest long run of this training cycle so far: 19 miles along the Lake Front Trail to its northern terminus, then onward up to Loyola before turning around. I was trying to avoid the part of the Lakefront below the Chicago River because the big pre-marathon 5K was happening down that way. I still saw a ton of runners doing shakeout runs and others doing their long runs and felt that great sense of community that comes from getting up before dawn to do our thing.

img_4286

Sunrise along Lake Michigan

Obviously my Garmin paces aren’t exact, but I felt really good almost the whole time and was throwing down a lot of miles at goal marathon pace of low 10:xx. I flagged a tiny bit at the end, then Beyonce’s “Freedom” came on. Then “Formation”. Then I put on the Sleigh Bells – “Demons (Diplo remix) and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face or tone down the speed in my legs. It was one of those I FREAKING LOVE RUNNING kind of runs and exactly what I needed after a sluggish Bronx 10 Mile and extra 7 miles.

img_4288

Then I went to Pizzeria Due for some pepperoni deep dish and a Goose Island 312. I didn’t realize Pizzeria Due was related to Pizzeria Uno. Whoops. Gotta say, Lou Malnati’s was better.

10/8: Spectating the Chicago Marathon. I walked at least 8 miles and found PPTC folks at 3 different spots. I got Italian Beef from Portillo’s and quite a few beers after.

22228341_10214553472261146_2916936962616573063_n

Total: 36 miles M-Sun miles out of a prescribed 41 Sunday-Saturday. I need to get my Sunday recovery runs back into rotation! I’m happy to have gotten this many, but only have 1 more week that will be higher than this.

 

Week 10 of Richmond Marathon Training, 9/25-10/1

Week 2 (of 2) of increased work hours and missing more weekday runs. Fortunately, this was a cutback week.

9/25: Rest day. Felt a little beat up after 17 on Sunday, but felt pretty good. I’m hoping to do more recovery runs the day after my next super long runs.

9/26: Easy 4 in the morning.

9/27: After bowling with coworkers for an event I had planned, I took off for a runcommute to meet with the Brooklyn Beer Runners. I made it over 3 miles the less-pretty way (aka not along Kent Avenue and the Greenpoint/Williamsburg waterfront, but along McGuinness then Nassau then Union) then hopped in the G. Ran home, grabbed cash and sour patch kids and a protein bar, then made it to the bar for a delicious W3 (wheat beer with hibiscus) from Transmitter Brewery (which I had just run over an hour before when along the Pulaski Bridge).

9/28: I woke up early to go on a run but skipped it then had a 14 hour day at work, hopefully for the last time. Ouch.

9/29: Rest day

9/30: 11 beautiful miles, mostly on trails in Richmond. I did all of the Buttermilk Trail and loved it. Falling leaves, mountain bikers, and water. Also hit up Belle Isle and Brown’s Island and some pedestrian bridges.


Went to Publix after for a sub and was not disappointed in it or their sweet tea or their raspberry lemonade. Then ate a lot of Italian food and drank a lot of Pinot Grigio at my Dad’s retirement party.

10/1: Rest day. Stopped by Richmond Running Company, which is a JackRabbit affiliate, and used $45 of my $60 store credit to get some Brooks Chaser 5″ shorts. Excited to try these bad boys out this week! Long sleeve and shorts running weather is finally here.

Total: 19 miles out of a planned 28. If this is my lowest mileage week of 16, so be it.

Week 7 of Richmond Marathon Training 9/4-9/10

9/4: Labor Day. I woke up in the beautiful woods of Evergreen, CO to the sound of the leaves rustling and the roosters crowing. I’m kidding about the last part but there were chickens on the chalet property. I had enough time to get a run in before the post-wedding brunch, so I managed to make it to the lake and go around. Parts of the trail were closed and crossing the street with few crosswalks and some blind curves was pretty terrifying. But these views and fresh mountain air!

9/5: Early flight back to NYC, then after a nap, I managed a park loop for 5.5 miles.

9/6: The rain picked up a ton in the evening, so I headed to the gym for some treadmill miles. Despite watching the US Open (Madison Keys vs. Kaia Kanepi), I could only mentally get through 4 miles, but it was alternating easy run pace with my goal Bronx 10 Mile pace.

9/7: I attended the US Open and got to see Venus Williams vs. Sloane Stephens then Madison Keys vs. Coco Vanderweghe. I had 2 honeydeuces to drink but should have held out for Fuku, because my fried chicken grilled cheese from Melt was not worth the wait. I also ate way too much from Ben & Jerry’s but discovered how good their salted caramel blondie flavor is.

9/8: Mile High Run Club’s The Distance. I had a slightly late start and just got 5.5 miles in, but it felt like a great workout and I hit some fast paces.

9/9: Connecticut Day

Sculpture Building

Robert Indiana sculpture

Phillip Johnson’s Glass House

img_0320

Tomato Pie and Clam Pie from Frank Pepe in New Haven

9/10: I woke up late and wasn’t feeling so hot, so had to move my long run to Monday. I did 4 miles in the late morning before finally getting groceries and seeing IT at Alamo Drafthouse. Clowns remain scary.

Total: 21.7. Would have been 31.7 if my long run had happened where it should have.