I truly wish I could’ve thought of a better title for this recap, but maybe just like my beat up legs, my brain is tired and useless. This past Sunday I ran the Austin Marathon in Texas (of course), knocking another state off the long list, though it wasn’t without a massive struggle. Austin, unbeknownst to me before the marathon, is considered “Texas Hill Country” (thanks to the gentleman on my flight home who filled me in on this fact one day too late). I had thought Charlotte and Jackson had hilly courses, but I was truly mistaken in my definition of a hill.
Instead of a play-by-play report of a fun weekend spent in a fun new city with my husband Shawn and several running friends, I thought I’d break the weekend up into “chunks”, because who doesn’t love the word “chunks”.
- The City of Austin: In my previous marathon experience just three weeks ago in Jackson, MS, bars and beer were few and far between. This was not the case in Austin. It seemed the entire city was NOTHING but bars and restaurants. Yes the LBJ Presidential Library is in town and full of culture I’m sure; however, we weren’t in the mood for no learnin’. We were too busy drinking, riding Jackalopes, drinking, eating sausage and tacos, drinking, and dialing random numbers left on Uno cards. The Red River ran through the city and the river walk did look lovely. Other than that, no real “natural” beauty to gaze at. There is a bridge over the river that is apparently home to bats in warmers months, which explained the mysterious bat theme throughout the town. I’m not sure where the Jackalope makes its home.
- The Expo/Swag: Not bad! I found a really cool “Run Austin” shirt that is super comfy. The race shirt itself was a great retro design as well. I don’t have a photo because I suck at blogging. Full marathoners also got a good pair of Under Armor running socks. The finisher’s medal also doubles as a belt buckle, which would be cool if I wore belts (my fat ass keeps my pants up just fine, thank you). Again, no picture of the medal because I suck, but take my word when I tell you it featured a nice scene of Austin, complete with BATS!
- The Course: Well if you enjoy running on slippery, hilly, concrete while taking in the fine sights of local fast food joints, then Austin is your marathon! Seriously, I can’t think of a single spectacular sight during the entire 26.2 miles, other than the damn steep hill leading us up into mile 26. There were no nice historic neighborhoods like in Jackson, or a jaunt through a local park like in Charlotte. Nothing but roads and restaurants. The crowd support was vibrant however, and included an anti-circumcision protester on a scooter. Keep Austin Weird, indeed.
- Best Moments: The aforementioned protester gave me a chuckle. I mean, his sign had emojis on it which proved his seriousness. I also liked when a volunteer shouted “See you all back next year!” and a runner responded, “Not me! These hills suck!” There we soooo many happy puppies on the course too. Austin is a very dog-friendly city. There were some beer stations but seeing as how I knew I’d be drinking my weight in beer after the run I passed them up. Lastly, it’s rare that Shawn is able to travel with me to my out-of-state adventures, so it helped to have him waiting for me at the finish line with a healing hug. That hug was followed by two very delicious craft beers in the beer tent.
- Worst Moments: Well most of the marathon was a bad moment. The lines to the porta potties were super long so it didn’t help that I had to pee three times during the run (no idea why or how, peeing is usually not my issue!). Until the half marathon runners broke off, the course was pretty congested which made getting ahead difficult. The scenery wasn’t much to take my mind off of the pain of throbbing legs. Around mile 22 I finally hit the wall and felt dizzy and weak. I gave up on my A Goal and settled into my B Goal which was simply to break five hours. I loudly cursed when I looked up and realized mile 26 was almost entirely up hill. The goodie bag of food presented to me when I finished had a fruit cup in it. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE DEMANDING FRUIT CUPS AFTER MARATHONS I DON’T GET IT! Seriously race directors, stop giving them out. No one eats them; we aren’t in elementary school.
Austin Texas is a fine town to party in but I wouldn’t run through it again any time soon. My finishing time was around 4:52, which was disappointing as I had wanted to improve on my finish in Jackson. The hills had other plans. I don’t have any other marathons on the horizon nor do I plan to for reasons I won’t go into here. It’s really difficult to change my mindset from constantly preparing for the next long run. Part of me wants to register for the Glass City Marathon in Toledo, Ohio and finally run a sub 4:40 for the first time in four years. The better part of me (Shawn) would probably kill me if I did. I may pick an early spring 5K to target and focus on short distance speed for the first time since…well, ever. I know short distances are nothing to sneeze at and take just as much training but this distance junkie might just relapse.
P.S.- I’d be a terrible wife if I didn’t mention that Shawn ran a 1:52 half marathon in Austin after not running for months and only riding his bike trainer. Shawn is a freak and we should all hate him (just kidding…a little).