Heading towards finish! Thanks Little Miss Runner Pants for the pics!
Are we almost there?!?
Spectacular finish on Congress Ave with the capital building as a backdrop.
Gag Reflex: “Profession of Love”
Video Performance of “Girl Talk”
…and we are merely players.” Thanks, Bill Shakespeare, for the life metaphor.
This weekend was full of performances, that’s for sure. The “Gag Reflex” Valentines Day shows went very well and I’m, once again, humbled and thankful to so many friends and hubster for skipping the usual cheesy Valentines Day routine and coming out to a random theater on the East Side of Austin for some low-brow comedy. Nothing says “romance,” like a good old fashioned sex joke! I was originally going to turn down these shows because of my Ironman training and Marathon the next day, but I’m glad I didn’t. I had so much fun the last few weeks of rehearsals and it re-ignited the passion for stage performance!
Fortunately, that passion carried over into the Austin Marathon on Sunday . I was operating on about three hours of sleep, zero taper and less-than-ideal nutrition planning. I never had any personal time goals, but as the day drew nearer, I decided to shoot for a 3:30. Fortunately, that was also the goal for a couple of Gazelle friends, Frank and Brian. When they invited me to pace with them, I couldn’t resist. They are much smarter than I ever would be with pacing with their mile by mile breakdown. The Austin Marathon course is, well…a bitch. They changed the course a couple of years back and I haven’t run this new course even though I’ve run parts of it thousands of times before. Hills, hills and more hills dominate the first half and those that go out too fast are usually brought to their knees by the end. It’s a “fair” course if run properly, but definitely not a walk in the park.
So, thanks to Brian and Frank, I ran the first half conservatively, leaving plenty in the reserves for part two. I must admit, there’s a moment where the Half and Full Marathoners split and it also happens to be one block from our house. There was a fleeting moment of, “It’s the point of no return. Make the turn and you’ve got 16 more miles of torture or just stop now and go make some coffee at home!” I, of course, chose to make the turn and head north over the hills of Exposition.
While the temperature was in the low 50s at the start, there was a pretty brisk and sometimes gusty wind coming from the northwest that was definitely a mental challenge for the first half. Plus, it’s tough knowing the course from beginning to end. Mentally, once you hit the 13 mile mark, your mind says, “It’s time to turn around and start heading back to the Finish Line.” However, this course continues to wind north AWAY from the Finish until Mile 17 when it FINALLY makes the turn East and starts bringing the runners back towards the downtown finish. I was so relieved at that point because there is some great flat/downhill portions. Plus, the wind was now at our backs (which I took full advantage of).
I gotta say, I was feeling pretty darn good during the second half of the course in general. Unfortunately, I did have to make a pit stop at Mile 15 and take care of some GI issues. Every time I would start to speed up, my tummy also started to speed up causing some major discomfort. (must’ve been that pre-race sushi)Instead of worrying about it the rest of the race, I went ahead and stopped at the restroom, took care of business and ran “worry free” the rest of the way!
The conservative 1st half allowed me the courtesy of blowing out (no pun intended from above paragraph) a serious negative split on the back half and a super-fast finish. I ended up passing the 3:30 group at Mile 24 and just continued to haul ass for the last 2 miles. Shawn ran me up the last final hill and I was happy to see him there. His energy lifted mine. I was ready to be done, but still feeling strong. The last mile was a blur of shouts, cheers and internal, “Where the hell is the freakin’ finish line?!?” moments. Needless to say, I was proud of this “performance” as much as I was proud of the comedy shows from the night before. They both provided that adrenaline rush, endorphin overflow and feeling of complete and utter happiness for me. Who could ask for anything more?
Here are the splits!
10: 8:11 (here comes the hilly section on Exposition)
16: 8:38 (restroom break)
26: 7:05 (hot damn!)
.42 extra towards finish: 6:17 pace!
Now that deserves an encore performance, don’t you think??