Pre-race: Since it was in Austin and I live near San Antonio, I did not want to make two trips (one to get my packet and one for the race), but I also did not want to wake up super early to pick up the packet today. So, I got a $35 (including taxes) hotel room and spent the night there after picking up my packet 5 minutes before the deadline yesterday. I actually thought the drive would be about an hour, but upon entering it into my GPS right before leaving, I realized it was actually 45 minutes farther. However, I made it in time. The goody bag was exciting for me, since I love post-it notes. It had a huge variety of different size/shape color post-its along with bandaids, tape, velcro, and other 3M products. Since I had some extra time after getting my packet, I checked in at my hotel and then scouted out the race location, including parking. The weather was a bit chilly, so I went by Academy Sports and picked up a $4 sweatshirt, $1 warm headband, and $.60 gloves (all of which I planned to ditch along the way). Dinner was spaghetti from Buca di Beppo, yummy.
Race day: I got out of bed at 5:10 this morning, although I’d been unable to get back to sleep after waking up an hour before. I packed up my stuff, ate a nutrition bar, downed some water, dressed, stretched, and then headed out.
When I got to the starting area this morning, I met up with a couple other people I knew and chatted a bit. When it was time to line up shortly before 7:00, I was toward the very back of about 5,000 (?) runners. I liked this since I didn’t feel crowded and was not in danger of getting trampled. Plus, it was chip timed, so it didn’t really matter when I crossed the start line. I’d only run one half before this one, in 2:29. My marathon first half split was 2:28. Since I had not run this distance since my marathon over 2 months ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect but hoped to PR or at least get under 2:30.
The course is known for its elevation loss, but the first 2 miles climbed gradually. After that, there were a few hills and gradual inclines, but for the most part, it was true to its word. I can understand why this course is known as flat and fast. 4 miles in, I ditched my sweatshirt. As I ran, as usual, I did mental math to determine what distance constituted 1/5,1/5, 1/3, etc. of the course, what time I needed in order to get under 2:30, where I stood (time-wise) in comparison with my goal, etc. When I got to the halfway point, I was on target to finish in 2:27 or so. I was feeling really good about this.
About 10 miles in, I realized that despite the large number of people, no one was passing me, and I could not even remember the last time someone had passed me; I figured it’d been about a mile (maybe). This boosted my confidence. Granted, lots of people (in my area of the pack) walked the hills, so even though I ran slow, I was still moving faster. No one passed me up to the 11 mile point either. Not long after that, the course was significantly downhill and I was feeling really good, so I sped up and passed some more people.
Mile 12 was very weird. I decided I was done with my gloves because I was warm, so I tossed them. However, I guess I was colder than I thought because almost immediately after I got rid of them, a chill came over my body, which was followed by a weird dizzying lightheadedness and my vision started to show weird moving stuff in the periphery. For instance, I thought there were 3 people running next to me, but when I turned to look, there was only one. I was kind of concerned about this as I’d never experienced it before and surely did not want to pass out, especially that close to the finish line. I also recalled that I had not filled out my info on the back of my bib, so if something did happen, I would not be immediately easily identified. Yikes. During this whole episode, the worst part which lasted about half a mile, two people passed me. I caught up to and passed the man about a minute later when he stopped to walk. I hadn’t gotten a good look at the girl since I had more pressing issues on my mind, but I may or may not have passed her. Anyway, with the finish line finally starting to come into sight, I sped up a bit (I’d slowed down a bit during my dizzy vision issue), and then sprinted from the 13-mile marker to the finish (.14 miles). During the sprint and leading up to it, no one else passed me, meaning that in the last 4 miles, only one person who had been behind me might have ended up in front of me. That was a crazy thought!
Post-race: I stopped my Garmin a few steps after crossing the finish mat, with an unofficial time of 2:25:29. My official time was 2:35:22. All in all, I was happy. I enjoyed the race.
I also learned something crazy based on the stats from the race web site (since there was a mat at the halfway point: I passed 195 people in second half of the race!
This was my 4th race so far this year! No wonder why I feel so broke.