I finally finished marathon #7! It took 3 tries. It was a long time coming and it was hard. It took 3 days before I felt mostly normal again. By Wednesday I could stand up and sit down without whimpering or using my arms. Stairs were no longer to be feared, but walking down was still uncomfortable. The massage at the chiropractor hurt so good, and I felt a lot better after. I didn’t run at all until yesterday, and my legs still felt all those marathon miles when I did. Tomorrow I’ll go back to running before work.
Travel down to Austin went well, all the St. Louis Team in Training people had just happened to book the same flight without talking about it ahead of time. I caught the shuttle to the airport hotel I was staying at the first night just as it was about to drive away. If he hadn’t been trying to drive off with the back doors open I’d have missed it and had to call the hotel back and have them send him back right away…and I would have had to wait around 20-30 minutes. Luckily I didn’t have to jump in, but I did have to yell at him to get his attention before he drove off.
Free breakfast at the hotel and some family members (second cousins if you’re wondering) who decided to drive to Austin for vacation since I was running, gave me a ride to the expo and lunch. They also spectated a little at the race, though they only caught me near the finish. Lunch was at Green Mesquite BBQ, which looked like a little under the radar treasure, but since it was once on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives it wasn’t really. (I didn’t know that until we were eating, we just sort of stumbled on the place.).
The expo was crazy so I just grabbed what I needed and stopped at the TNT booth and got out of there. I got to the hotel and settled in and then went to the pre-race Team in Training inspiration dinner. During dinner the all too familiar cramps of that lovely time of the month hit. I was expecting it, but it wasn’t welcome. At least I run better on the first day of my period than the day before, cramps aside. (There was a minor not cramp related issue by the end of the race, but I’ll spare everyone the details)
Race day dawned misty and comfortable temperature wise. I felt good, but it wasn’t until late in the race I really believed I was going to finish. Just recently I’ve developed an odd issue where the collar of my right shoe is rubbing and pressing on the bottom of my right inside heel bone. I have no idea why this is suddenly an issue since my shoes aren’t that old but not new either. I thought maybe the shoe got bent a little from side lunges, but I don’t think that is actually the problem.
My running buddy John and I set off at a good pace, and chatted much of the race away. We stuck together until the very end where he stopped to kiss his wife before the finish and I kept going so I finished a few seconds in front of him. During the race we counted some of the more interesting things we saw.
15 people in onesies, all of whom were spectators (only one of those was a baby)
5 people dressed as food items, a banana and a taco running the full marathon (both of which beat us), another banana as a spectator and two cliff gel packets at the aid stations where those were being handed out. Late in the race the taco was just ahead of us so we heard lots of “Go taco” and “Mommy, look, there’s a taco running”.
1 guy spectating in a long pink nightgown. (worn over regular clothes)
We also saw several people pushing strollers running, a few dogs running on leashes (apparently that is allowed in this race?) and I saw one guy running on a running blade…he also beat us.
This isn’t a RNR race but Austin is a music town so they had lots of bands and music groups along the course. Near the end of the full a bagpiper was standing in the median under an overpass we ran under. Clearly taking advantage of the acoustics to make a loud instrument even louder. It was good though. I think there were as many people out just playing on their own as there were race sponsored music stations.
I didn’t catch a lot of the scenery. It all blurs together. It went from being super crowded for the first 12 miles to lonely when the half split off, even the crowds of spectators all disappeared. We went up and down rolling hills the whole time. Austin has a lot of murals, which were interesting to see.
Not even one of the better murals (this building was apparently supposed to be torn down in December according to a countdown clock in the front window)
We ran past the University and the Capital. Even the flat parts of the race weren’t actually flat. We still held a steady pace until about mile 22 where we faded a little but not badly. Mile 25-26 had a killer hill, I didn’t want to walk because I was SO CLOSE to the end but I just couldn’t make it to the top running. It seemed like the steepest and longest hill of the whole race. I ate more than I ever have in a marathon, 5 gels, a cookie, a slice of an orange and two bites of bacon. The orange was at mile 23ish and one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. Bacon is good, but I confirmed that I don’t really like it when I’m running. Nuun was the electrolyte drink and I was concerned about adjusting for the lack of carbs from that source but I think I more than made up for it. I also used some Eduralytes. For once I didn’t get an awful headache post race. I did work hard on shaking out my shoulders and making sure I wasn’t clenching my teeth or fists, but it looks like in general I can go even heavier than I have been on food and electrolytes. Good to know I can run a marathon without getting a headache later. Late in the race I was trying to do the math on how close I was to my PR – I knew I wasn’t going to make that, but for a little while I thought I’d be close. Then I realized I was about 10 minutes slower than I’d been thinking. That still meant that at mile 23-24 I felt good about finishing under 5 hours. That was before I saw the giant hill – but even with that I was safely under 5. My final official time was 4:55:02. I am very happy with this, especially since the race was so hilly. My PR is on a mostly flat course. I really wish I could write a more detailed, orderly race report, but my mind wanders all over during a race and it’s hard to remember the details and where and when things happen. So you get a wandering RR not a mile by mile account because that’s how my mind works.
I was a bit happy to be done and successful with marathon #7.