Today’s Austin marathon was blessed with fantastic weather. It was cool and clear and about 44 degrees Fahrenheit at the start. Awesome. I was dressed in shorts, two shirts, gloves, headband and hat. I also had on old gloves, and an old sweatshirt which I tossed to the side of the road shortly into the race. Katie came with me which boosted my spirits. We parked at Rogue. She was going to walk to Enfield & Exposition which is at mile 10-11 to see me there and is about 2.5 miles away. We parted just outside of Rogue with her walking and me running to the start to warm-up. I sat there for 30 minutes on the curb with my sweatshirt over my knees and legs to keep warm. I followed my coach’s recommendation and started with the 4:00 hour pace group or 9:09 minutes per mile. At 7 AM after the National Anthem we started. It took a few minutes to actually get up to and cross the starting line there were so many people. The runners went up South Congress to Ben White. This is a three mile long 250 foot high hill – not an easy flat start. The pacers, there were two of them, were carrying their “4:00” yellow signs and were right on time up the hill. At mile 2 my watch said 18:23 or about 9:12. Not bad since we had to weave through the crowd constantly, and pass the walkers – just why they didn’t start at the back of the pack amazes me. What were they thinking. At about mile 3 I saw Angie, a running classmate, on the frontage road between Ben White and South 1st. We said hi, but I was into my iPod to keep my mind off things. I never saw any other runner from our class the rest of the way. On the way down South 1st hill I ran easy but sped up. So mile 3 and 4 took 17:36 or 8:48 per mile. I realize that I was now about 40 seconds ahead of the pacers and couldn’t see them. I tried to slow down, but the next mile, at mile 5, was 8:30. Now I was a 1 minute 18 seconds ahead. Sheesh. OK, so what should I do. Stop and wait for them. Nope. I decided to run my own race – pacers be damned. But I needed to slow down yet mile 6 was 8:41. Still not slow enough. At the water stop I drank my Carbo Pro, and stuffed in my shorts the empty bottle which I would later give to Katie. I missed the next mile marker, at mile 7, but I saw that on the next one, at mile 8, I had run it in 18:10 or 9:05 per mile. Now that’s more like it since I was to run a 9:09 pace. Mile 9 was 9:09 too. Good I was holding pace about 2 minutes ahead of the pace group which I no longer was worried about. I just needed to keep my pace constant. Mile 10 was 8:57 and I felt that was within allowances and kept going. Here I turned on to Exposition and searched for Katie. I took off my headband and gloves and took out my Carbo Pro bottle to give her. Also the crowd was thinner since the half-marathoners left us at the corner. Our agreed upon spot was on the right side of the road about 100 feet from the turn. However when I turned the corner I realized that they had blocked off that side for cars. I scanned the crowd and didn’t see her. I scanned the left side too and nothing. Where was her purple top. Then I saw her jumping up and down ahead on the right and holding a sign that said “Run Daddy Run”. Whew, I was beginning to think about what to do with the stuff I was carrying if she wasn’t there. I handed it to her and I was off. Maybe it was the confusion of finding her, but around that time I missed mile 11 marker. At Mile 12 I saw my pace was 9:00 per mile, and had a Choco Clif shot at the water stop. Good I was still on course and now about 2 1/2 minute ahead of my expected pace. I didn’t stop at all the water stops. In the past I would drink too much and get bloated. The hills were happening, but I didn’t really feel them. At mile 13 my pace was 9:56. What! I was slowing down. I realized that I had to be careful. Now was not the time to slack off. Or was this it. Was I going to fail. I felt OK, but why had my time slowed down. Then all was answered, because at mile 14 my pace was 7:28. No way. No way, no how. I think they placed the 13th mile marker wrong. Or had I actually seen the 13.1, half marathon distance, marker instead. I don’t know. So at mile 15 I saw that my pace was 8:54. OK, I was again on pace, and now about 3 minutes ahead of my expected pace. Now the boring hard part began. Up Great Northern. The distance dragged on and on. I passed mile 16 with a pace of 8:54. Good, still putting one foot in front of the other. I turned the corner near Northcross Mall. Geezer, my coach was coming up. Mile 17 was 8:53. Then a yelling banshee, my coach, was shouting. “You’ve got 8 miles to BOSTON”. I said that I was “about 3 minutes ahead” (actually I was over 4). I saw the 18 mile sign up ahead and passed it with a 9:00 pace. It was time for another Choco Clif Shot. I was still on my plan. I was still going, but I still had a long long way to go. Those next miles are the hardest. My stomach started to ache. I was beginning to fail yet I didn’t want to walk, but my stomach worried me. We turned the corner at Morrow and started heading south and down hill. Mile 19 was 8:40. Oops too fast. Save it Bri for later. Now I was almost 5 minute ahead of pace. Mile 20 was again 8:40. The downhill was helping, but a few small but dreaded uphills were coming. I was now in the middle of the twisty little roads all alike near the University of Texas intermural fields. At mile 21 my pace was 8:39. Well I was keeping pace, but it was faster than I liked. However my brain had totally shut off. I wasn’t thinking I was just running. Moving forward. The pace was faster that I should be going, but I was without will to stop myself. All I knew is that I wanted to have those minutes in the bank if I had to walk later. I was planning on my last Clif Shot at 24, but at Mile 23 with a pace of 9:16 I took it. I needed the caffeine that it contained. I was slowing down. I was beginning to think that if I now ran 10 minute miles for the last 3 mile I’d still make it in time. Weird how your mind plays these games. Yet I continued to run. The hill up 41st to Duval was coming up. It had walked it in earlier marathons. I focused as I went up it. I said to myself that I wasn’t going to walk it. I turned the corner and headed down Duval crossing mile 24 with a pace of 8:54. Duval was the point where if I had anything left I would speed up. Well there wasn’t much left although I only had 2.2 mile to go. I crossed into the University of Texas campus at mile 25 my pace was 8:50. Most of my mind and body was numb with exhaustion. The last hill was approaching. It was up MLK to Congress and then up Congress to the Capitol. I started to walk. I knew I had the time in the bank. In past years I had walked this whole section – it is not something I want to remember. This year I worked so hard for so many miles for so many hours that I told myself that I needed to run, to shuffle, to do anything, but not walk. After a few yards I started running again. Up the MLK hill. Up the Congress rise. Mile 26 pace was 9:44. One of my slowest. But I knew on the other side of the Capitol building was a downhill and the finish. Like a stiff robot I ran around the Capitol and down the hill and into the final chute. I could see the clock up ahead. It read 3 hours 59 minutes and the seconds were ticking off 21…22…23.
Mile Expect Actual 1 9:09 [missed] 2 18:19 18:23 3 27:28 [missed] 4 36:38 36:00 5 45:48 44:30 6 54:57 53:11 7 1:04:07 [missed] 8 1:13:16 1:11:21 9 1:22:26 1:20:31 10 1:31:36 1:29:28 11 1:40:45 [missed] 12 1:49:55 1:47:29 13 1:59:05 1:57:25 long? 14 2:08:14 2:04:54 short? 15 2:17:24 2:13:48 16 2:26:33 2:22:42 17 2:35.43 2:31:35 18 2:44:53 2:40:35 19 2:54:02 2:49:16 20 3:03:12 2:57:55 21 3:12:21 3:06:35 22 3:21:31 3:15:19 23 3:30:41 3:24:36 24 3:39:50 3:33:29 25 3:49:00 3:42:19 26 3:58:10 3:52:04 M 4:00:00 3:53:51