Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Great Race!

This has to be a post about more than a run. It encompasses an entire weekend, so please be patient!

We left home on Friday evening just about the time we had planned, after leaving our home in the capable hands of our daughter and son-in-law. We had a pretty uneventful trip, the only snag being stuck in traffic on 75 for about an hour, which delayed our arrival in Temple.

We spent the night in Temple, got up and had breakfast, loaded the car and went on in to Belton to visit with Rick's mom and aunt. They live in a nursing home there. It was a pretty good visit overall, and Rick's mom looks much better than she did the last time we saw her.

Then it was off to Austin. We called and found out that we couldn't check into our hotel until about 3:00 pm so we needed to find something to do in the meantime. We drove around and tried to find Capital Camera - a favorite place of Rick's back when we lived a lot closer to the Austin area. After NUMEROUS calls to Google we were finally given the phone number of a store that sounded similar. When we called the conversation went something like this:

Us: "Is this a camera store?"
Them: "No, this is more like a photography studio. Maybe we can help you, what camera store were you looking for?"
Us: "Capital Camera."
Them: "Oh my, that store has been out of business for YEARS! Ummm, there is another store for professionals that might suit you, Precision Camera." we went. (After another chat with Google, LOL).

After the camera store we thought we would try to find Mellow Johnny's...Lance Armstrong's bicycle shop. Another call to Google....unfortuately, every time I asked for Mellow Johnny's they tried to find "Miller, Johnnys"! Pretty funny...I already knew where my Dad and brother were! We had been there one other time so off we went to find it from memory. After some driving around we were able to locate the store. We spent some more time looking around there and determined we were pretty close to the hotel, so we decided to go ahead and see if we could get checked in.

After FINALLY locating the hotel, we successfully checked in an hour early and got our room. We also got a map of the 10K route. The start line was right outside the front door of the hotel! That was BONUS!

We were then off to visit with my "Austin" family. We went on out to Jonestown where my sister and her husband live. My Mom and Dad park their RV there when they aren't off seeing the U.S. (and sometimes Canada by accident!). My niece lives right there as well, with her 8 year old daughter. My oldest brother and his family live in Cedar Park which is close by. When we got to my sister's house my brother was there, but unfortunately his wife and youngest son were up here in the Dallas area looking at colleges!

We had an awesome visit! My sister cooked baked spaghetti for us (our carb load!) with salad and toasted garlic bread and brownies for dessert. It was great. We sat around the table and visited for hours. I haven't laughed that hard and that long in a LONG was AWESOME! We had a great time. We didn't get back to our hotel until almost 10:00 and it was off to dreamland.

We got up about 6:30 so we could have a light breakfast - after all, it was part of the package! Then it was back to the room to get ready, check out our mail and etc. and get ready to run. We knew it was going to be cold this weekend so we had packed all our cold weather gear. I wore my long sleeve pink shirt, long black running pants, pink headband, pink Tahoe cap, and of course my running shoes...also my iPod and Garmin...I was ready to go!

We walked out the door of the hotel about 8:20 so we could be in the start area by the time the wheelchair race took off at 8:30. The temperature was 38 degrees but there was NO wind. It didn't feel that cold at all - just a little chilly.

Just as the wheelchair division started I realized I needed to go! I ran back into the hotel - but forgot to get the room key from Rick...the line for the public restroom was all the way from the back of the hotel to the front door so I just turned around and went back but by that time the starting group was so packed in that I couldn't find Rick! I was going to have to do this one on my own!

They closed the gates for the timed run and started the countdown. The gun went off. We stood. Finally we started making our way to the startline as I watched the clock overhead tick, tick, ticking away. It was at 5:39:9 when I crossed the starting line. (One of 6,644 timed 10K runners starting!) The course started out over the congress street bridge at a very slight uphill. I was a little stiff, but we weren't going very fast because there were just so many people! The route starts out at an elevation of about 468 ft. to slightly above 500 ft. at mile marker 1. At the road in front of the capitol building we made a right turn, ran a little ways then made a left so we could get to the back of the capitol. This was a steeper grade and we were up to about 530 ft. We turned again around the backside of the capitol building and there was a rollilng hill here. Not too bad, but you were beginning to feel it. Mile 2 was deceiving! At mile 2.25 you hit the worst hill in the race!!! You go from an elevation of 500 ft. to about 560 ft. in less than .25 miles. My legs were feeling the hills already, but I thought I'd be able to make it to the top when out of nowhere the group I was running in just stopped and started walking! I was right in the middle of the pack and they ALL stopped! There wasn't any way for me to get around them, so I walked too. I walked as fast as I could, and I was passing a few of them as best I could, but it wasn't easy. We reached the top of the hill and started running again. There was a pretty decent downhill here and that helped - although I have learned you just can't let yourself go on a downhill, you have to control your pace here too! At about mile 3.5 you get to the best downhill in the race. What a relief to let gravity do some of the work! I looked down and I was running at about an 8.5/M pace and it felt pretty good, although by now I was wishing I was in my short sleeve running shirt and shorts. When there isn't any wind at above 40 you really don't need all the cold weather protection. You should have seen all the cold weather gear along the course that people were discarding! Now we entered the flatest part of the course and here is where the burn hits. you know you are getting close, you are so tired, you've used so much energy on those hills it is hard to catch your breath... you just really have to push it on through. I kept running and made it through the 4.75 miles right on pace (right at about 10.5/M pace). I really felt like I might PR this one...after all I only had about a mile and 1/2 to go, right? Unfortunately for me mile 5 starts going up again! This is right on a major street, they only block off about 1/2 the street, so you have to stay within the cones, so it gets a little more crowded again and you have to do a bit more dodging of folks than you had been. From 5.25 to 5.5 is the worst of this part of the run... After that it is on a slight downhill to the finish. I was able to pick up my pace, but by that time I knew I was too far behind my goal to PR. The hill at mile 5 had done me in! I knew I was going to reach my first goal though - finish :) ! That I did! I actually did pick up the pace the last .2 miles to just under a 10:00/M and when I stopped my Garmin it read 1:07:45.32. My 3rd non-goal was to finish in around 1:07:45 so I was VERY happy. Rick was right there waiting for me too!

We got the official results when we got home. Rick finished in 1:00:14.5 for an average pace of 9:42/M! He was 104 of 182 in his division! I am soooooo proud of him!

I finished in 1:07:44.0 for an average pace of 10:54/M and was 83 out of 181 in my division, so in the top 1/2...I'm happy with that. I always look back and try to see what I could have done better, where could I have picked it up so I could have made that 7 a 6, but for this race, and those hills, I'm happy. I know I will get better with time, I'm just going to patient and it will probably come when I least expect it!

1 comment:

RVingGrams said...

It will get better.
So glad you guys came out to Mary's to see us.
Love you,

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This is about my life. My life as a wife. My life as a mother. My life as a Memaw. My life as a teacher. My life as a runner. My life such as it is.