Friday, February 25, 2011

Race Report - Austin Marathon Part II

Up and at em at 5am to get some nutrition in and take care of 'business'. I had laid everything out the night before so it was quick and easy. First things first we had gotten some Starbucks Via to get our coffee in the a.m. then I made some oatmeal w/ chia seeds in the little coffee maker thing w/ the plan to put my banana and Justin's Almond butter (those little packets are awesome for when you are traveling) in it, but when I tried to eat the oatmeal it just seemed too heavy. I decided to eat just the banana and almond butter and a few bites of oatmeal. As I've mentioned before I have trouble in the bathroom department and didn't want to bog myself down even more with a big cup of oatmeal. I felt fine about this decision and just rolled with it.

I still wasn't real sure what to expect from this race, but I do know myself well enough to know that I easily get caught up in the moment and I didn't want to blow myself up in the first 5 miles so I busted out my trusty sharpie so I would be reminded EVERY TIME I checked my pace on my Garmin that I have BIGGER GOALS this year.
Another little trick I played on myself (that worked beautifully)... I changed my pace reading from Current Pace to AVERAGE pace. I have a tendency to freak out if I'm going 'TOO SLOW" (whatever that is) and then push myself too hard to get back to whatever I deem as a 'good' pace at that moment. Having it set on average saved me.
Ready to head down to the start.

We are both from colder climates and everyone had been saying how cold it would be waiting to start. When we walked out of the hotel we both braced ourselves to be hit in the face with a blanket of COLD. It was maybe 60. Not cold for us! Yea. Our hotel was really close to the start so we just strolled down. 

This is the least anxious I have ever been before a race. I'm not sure what it is... normally no matter how much I tell myself I 'don't care' about the outcome I'm a wreck. This isn't my first time at the rodeo and I had limited expectations so I'm sure that played into my lack of nerves.
Getting ready to go line up.
I wasn't sure where to start... I was hoping for a sub 4 hour race, but wasn't sure how the day would play out so I started with the 4:15 folks. Turns out with a race of 20,000 (okay any race really) it really didn't matter where I started. :) I think some of the walkers started at the gate.

It took us a solid 15 minutes just to get to the start.. no worries. I just ran comfortably. My race report is pretty much summed up in that one sentence. Well, comfortable is certainly not how I felt for most of the race.

I started out just running comfortably and was easily passing a lot of people. My average time stayed at 9:08-9:15 the entire race. It moved from the 9:10 to 9:15 range during the last 7 - 10 miles so I definitely slowed down toward the end.

At around mile 7 I started to feel some dull pain in my hammie/glute area (my 'injury') and was thinking.. uhoh.. it's EARLY for that, but just kept it nice and easy. I thought I would use this race to really contemplate some things in my life. Every time I tried to let my mind wander I would kind of fall apart so for the four hours I ran (w/ no music I might add) I just thought "nice and easy, nice and light" .... over and over. By the end of the race I was saying it under my breath out loud.

Since I started with triathlon I don't really race anything with my music. I considered using it this time because I anticipated a bit of a mental struggle at the end as I limped through the last miles, but decided that I didn't need it. On the first long slow incline (maybe mile 2) I started trying to kind of talk to and encourage people and NO ONE could hear me. They all had headphones on. I was bummed about that. How are we to support each other if we're all dead to each other by way of music in our ears? Then I wondered what marathons used to be like before hand held music devices. Was there more talking and encouragement amongst the racers. Okay so maybe there was SOME space for thoughts.

I took one flask of First Endurance Vanilla Liquid Shot with me. Man that stuff is delicious. I carried it in my free spy belt that I got from the expo.. kind of like an endurance athlete fanny pack. It served it's purpose.. I didn't have to carry the flask until it got to the bottom when I carried it upside down in my hand to have the gel ready to roll when I needed it. I ran out at mile 18 and was thinking the last 4 miles might be rough if I didn't find something else between now and the finish. (Remember my breakfast of a banana and almond butter?) I did meet one man that chatted with me a bit right around this time and he offered me a shot block which I greatfully inhaled. About a mile later I saw them like an Oasis in the sky the Honey Stinger Guys. I grabbed two gels from them and carried on. When the time came I took one... OMG they were SO strong in honey flavor I almost gagged. The FE had gone down so nice and smooth that this was a shock. And I kid you not... my belly started doing flips about 10 minutes later. I was thankful that it was late in the game and I would certainly be able to get to the end without incident... what's that about not doing anything new on race day? :D

At this point I was pretty certain that despite my obvious limp I would make it to the finish. My feet and ankles were killing me. They always hurt some at this point, but they were really hurting. And everytime I hit a hill (which seemed very often) my hammie/glute acted up. I think my foot and ankle pain could be attributed to two things 1. We walked a TON the day before and 2. my shoes were essentially brand new! I was wearing the Avia Rhythms that I bought and had run approximately 10 miles in. I ALMOST brought the Avia Quest Lites that I recieved the day before I left and only ran in about 20 mins because they are so beautiful, but decided that the Rhythms had been tested longer and caused zero problems while I could tell the Quest Lites needed some more breaking in.

I used some TriSlide on my feet because my shoes were so new and I was worried that I might get some blisters. It worked like a charm and I had not one hot spot during the race. Another bonus to the Rhythms... I still have ALL of my toe nails. Last year I lost 5 toe nails. I'm pretty darn excited about this!

The last part of the race was down hill. And while I expected this to be a much needed relief from the UP hills that seemed to take up most of the race (long slow uphills) it was actually quite challenging.

One turn left and I'M HOME!

Final time was 4:04 and I'm happy about that. I'm glad that I got it through my thick head that this year was not the year for a BQ! If I had tried to hold 8:34 for any given time I'm certain (as coach said) I would have BLOWN UP by mile 10. I feel like I accomplished my two main goals 1. Don't injure the leg any further and quite possibly my hardest goal 2. FOLLOW COACHES directions!

Thank you to all my friends and family and TEAM TRAKKERS for all your support. I'm off this week then easing back into it all over the next couple of weeks. Triathlon season is upon us! T-2 months to my first race! (er, second race)

Anyone wanna hit Austin Marathon/Half Marathon in 2012? I loved this city that much. I would go back again next year!
How do you feel about music during a race? Do you use it!? I have to say the only people that cut me off during the race had ear buds in. I honestly don't care if people use them... but I likely won't.


  1. Anonymous10:32 AM

    Great work!! Thanks for the recap!

  2. Awesome race! So glad you enjoyed it and remembered your goals!!

  3. Great race Laura... you stuck with your plan! I loved reading how all of your gear worked well too! :)

    I carry my headphones in my SPI, but rarely use them. It's funny - when I used to "just run" I alway wore them. I guess triathlon has gotten me used to the freedom of running without.

  4. Congrats on finishing the marathon with ALL your toenails intact! :)

  5. Anonymous11:15 AM

    I LOVE the way the man in the white is gazing at you in the last pic. :) Congrats, Laura. Sounds like a good race for you in your head with no damage to your body!

  6. So fun to read! Great job on keeping calm. I know that's been a struggle for you.

    I hate running with music. I always run without. At what point during our day (at least mine) do I get to just hear *nothing*? I love hearing the waves of the puget sound or the wind in the trees. I relish not always having to be 'plugged in'. :)

  7. Congrats! Love the idea of writing "bigger goals" on your arm - what a great reminder!

    I used to train/race with music but stopped about a year and a half ago... and I've seen huge improvements. I think it works for some people, but for me it was more of a distraction. Also, for some really big races (Chicago Marathon), you just miss too much of the crowd/atmosphere by running w/ music.

  8. Great job! I cringed when I read you were taking the honey stinger. The first (and only) time I tried Honey Stingers was on a long run leading up the NY Marathon -- sent me into the woods to get some "business" done. The chews have 100% RDA vitamin C -- which can be an intestinal stimulant. Yikes! Lesson learned. Luckily it was just a training run.

    Austin is a town that I'd love to visit. Put me on the maybe list for next year! :)

  9. I'm doing Houston 2012 (if I can get in). Same state. Close enough. :)

  10. Great job! Glad you had a good time and loved the city so much. I've never been to Austin so it was fun to hear about it.

    Since I also started out in triathlon, I never even think about using headphones during a race, and that went for the open marathon I did too so I was suprised to see that pretty much everyone else had them. I, too, was kind of disapointed that I couldn't really talk to or encourage people because no one could hear me. This made having no music much more tedius than during a tri. I will probably use them during the half marathon that's coming up just because of that.

  11. Great race Laura and great job at sticking to the plan!

  12. Awesome job Laura! Have I ever told you that you look awesome in GREEN?

  13. Anonymous9:29 PM

    Nice work! Way to listen to the wisdom and not the ego. Obviously no music in a Tri, but I will listen to audio books "sometimes" during a marathon if I have no one to run with.

  14. Anonymous3:25 AM

    I agree with you. Being a mother, athlete and wife can take its toll on the legs. A great way to care for your legs is to see a podiatrists and go to foot spas.

  15. It feels great running as well. When I was sidelined with an injury, I missed running and competing.

  16. Comfortable apparel will aid in the recovery. Choose the one that suits you.