Elf Pub Run

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Earlier this week the 3M Half Marathon celebrated their 20th Anniversary by hosting a pub run, Elf-style. The event popped up on do512 [if you’re in the Austin area, you need to follow them on Twitter and/or FB – you’ll never miss a thing in town] a few weeks ago and since Elf is one of my [and everyone else’s] favorite Christmas movies, I knew this a pub run that couldn’t be missed.

Elf Pub Run Collage

I’d tell you the route we ran, but I think 3M narrated it best:

So, grab all your “buddies,” meet at the Paramount and then “pass through the seven layers of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gumdrops, and jog through the Lincoln Tunnel.” Okay, okay…so it’s more like through the swirly twirly layers of downtown Austin construction, across 6th street (if you see gum there, don’t eat it, it isn’t free candy), around the Frosty tower, until you can follow the scent of the “world’s best sausage” and follow it to Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden at 79 Rainey Street. Once there, grab a pint of “holiday cheer” – a.k.a. complimentary local Austin beer and a sausage wrap from Banger’s that will be available for purchase for $8 cash. Then make your way back around the Frosty Tower, across 6th street (don’t hug anything there), through the swirly twirly layers of downtown construction, and back to the theatre for more “holiday cheer” a.k.a. complimentary local Austin beer and a 7:45pm screening of Elf.

There were approximately 300 runners so they sent about 20 of us off at a time, leaving a couple minutes between each wave. Downtown was decorated for Christmas so that definitely made the run more festive, despite the fact that it was 80 degrees outside (WTF Texas).

There were volunteers along the way holding signs with funny sayings adapted from the movie, like this one:

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I didn’t wear my Garmin so I have no idea how far we actually ran to/from Banger’s, but obviously not far enough that a couple beers would make the trip back miserable. Our drink ticket got us each an Austin Beerworks Pearl Snap Pils, which surprisingly wasn’t bad. When I saw they were pouring light beer, I was disappointed – but it ended up being pretty decent. After that round we made the executive decision to skip the “World’s Best Sausage” and check out the 100+ beers on tap inside.

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Um, I have trouble deciding what beer to have when there’s only 5 options on the menu… but 103? It took me ten minutes to make up my mind! They’re organized into categories like “Hop Heaven” and “Dark & Roasty” which was super helpful for the ones I had never heard of. There was a java stout calling my name, but the thought of drinking it and running afterwards just didn’t seem like a good plan, so I ended up with Founder’s Brewing’s Dirty Bastard scotch ale. It was REALLY good and had tons of flavor. Brad went with Sixpoint Global Warmer, which was good but super fruity.

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After that round, we switched back into running mode and made our way back to the Paramount. Everyone received 2 tickets back at the theater which you could redeem for beer, popcorn, or other concessions. They were also handing out gift bags that included a water bottle, beer koozie, Texas-shaped Post-Its, and a 3M Half Marathon magnet. Oh and before the race they handed out reflective armbands to all of the runners. For a $15 pub run, I definitely think we got our money’s worth.

Before the movie started, race director John Conley awarded free entries to 3M in 2014 to the five best festively dressed runners. Loved Mr. Narwhal, very original!

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And if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen this gem:

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“It looks like a Christmas tree!” We act like adults approximately 5% of the time.

Tuesday Things

1. I registered for my first 2014 race.

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Using that word “register” fairly loosely considering I didn’t have to put out a dime for next year’s Austin Half. Race organizers were trying to bring in some more registrations (possibly down due to their previous title sponsor and Lance’s PED scandal in the media – that’s just my opinion though) so they ran a BOGO one-day deal: register for the 2013 race and they would comp your entry into 2014.

Austin Marathon One-Day Deal

Brad and I jumped on that IMMEDIATELY. For once in my life, procrastination paid off. I don’t expect that to happen again. Ever.

In any case, this race is one of my favorites in town and I’m excited to run it for the 4th year in a row!

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2. I entered the lottery for another race in 2014.

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I went back and forth on this one probably a billion times. It falls on the same day as 3M, which has the fastest half marathon course in Austin and is where my current 13.1 PR is from. As much as I’d love to run 3M again, I was itching to try something new. Obviously running Houston will be a little more expensive since it requires a hotel stay and 3-hour drive, but the change of scenery will be worth it.

And if my luck plays out the way it does 99.9% of the time, I won’t get selected in the lottery and will be running the 3M Half Marathon for its 20th Anniversary.

Either way I’ll be racing on January 19, 2014. Location: TBD.

3. I’ve become slightly concert obsessed.

I’ve seen more concerts in the past six months than I have in probably my entire life. It started last fall when I saw Jason Aldean & Luke Bryan in San Diego. Holy crap. SO MUCH FUN. Country concerts are so much better than most Top 40 artists because they actually sound the same as they do on the radio.

615971_10100183422831305_388190108_oWe came back from San Diego and immediately bought tickets to see Brantley Gilbert in October. And Easton Corbin in November. And Chris Cagle in December. It helps that the venue we go to sells tickets for $8-12 so it’s not like we’re breaking the bank.

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Then in March the Austin Rodeo happened. We saw Kip Moore one weekend and Gary Allan the next.

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Last weekend we saw George Strait, Miranda Lambert, and Martina McBride put on a killer show in San Antonio. And two days later I bought tickets to see Justin Moore in July. And the day after we jumped at the chance to get tickets for Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert at the new Austin 360 Amphitheater in September. Then in October we’re going to see Jason Aldean, Jake Owen, and Thomas Rhett in Dallas.

AND! I saw Fallout Boy at Stubbs on Sunday night. They don’t quite fit in the country genre but the show was A LOT of fun.

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Hi Pete Wentz.

So yeah. I may need a concert intervention at some point. But it’s so hard to say no when tickets are only ten bucks!

4. We added a new member to our family.

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Meet Sox! We’ve been talking about getting another dog for quite awhile now and finally pulled the trigger on it this week. I freakin’ love her. How cute is that face?! I’m fully aware it might be less cute when she starts chewing on my running shoe collection. But for now … how cute is that face?!

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Bo isn’t too sure what he thinks of Sox yet. Probably has something to do with him being 104 pounds and her only being 10. She’s basically a toy.

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Our love for the Red Sox isn’t apparent at all. {Boston Red Sox}

5. I’m flabbergasted over this “Tebow to the Pats” announcement.

I have no doubt that Belichick has a plan up his sleeve, but I’m still in the WTF phase of acceptance.

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That seems about right.

Maybe in signing Tebow Belichick & Brady can get some inside info from him. Like why God hates the #Patriots so much in recent years.

And that too. Find out for us, would ya Tebow? K thanks.

2013 Austin 10/20 Race Recap

On April 14, 2013, I ran the second annual Austin 10/20, a ten-mile race in North Austin featuring twenty live bands along the course.

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I crossed the starting line with a bum arch, low performance expectations, and a killer playlist. The race was only a few weeks before the Long Branch Half so I needed to get in 10 miles, but this definitely violated my “quality over quantity” racing rule I put in place for 2013. Oops.

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Weather: 61 degrees and 90% humidity (apparently Garmin Connect logs the weather now?) The humidity was surprisingly bearable despite how high it was but once the sun came out later in the race it felt a bit warm.

Course: The course was very similar (if not identical) to last year’s, although I don’t particularly remember the out-and-back on Mopac. I’ve made it pretty obvious that out-and-backs are my least favorite so you can imagine how *pleased* I was around mile 8ish. Especially since that’s when the sun decided to come out. In any case, it’s possible I completely blacked out during the Mopac portion of the course last year.

The course is partially a combination of the IBM Uptown Classic 10K and 3M Half Marathon, starting in the Domain, running through the IBM Campus, out on the Mopac access road and finishing back in the Domain.

If you’re interested in a course tour, I uploaded all photos to a race album on my Facebook page.

One of the best things about this race is the amount of local, energetic bands spread out over the ten miles. Unlike most of the big box races I’ve done, all of the bands on the Austin 10/20 course were actually playing when you ran past them. What a novel concept.

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Candlebox played at the post-race after party. Did you know they were still together? And releasing albums? I had no idea.

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I met up with a couple friends at the finish to watch the band but we dipped out shortly after in favor of a bottomless mimosa brunch. I’m fairly certain we replenished our calories (and then some) in record time.

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Overall: Once again, the Austin 10/20 put on a fantastic race. I’m not sure how they do it, considering they’re only in their second year, but it’s quite impressive. If I had one complaint it would have to be that they ran out of wet towels on the course. It didn’t bother me this year since it was still pretty cool at that point but had it been any hotter I think runners would have missed them.

Last year I said I’d be back in 2013 for redemption. With my arch issues I wouldn’t exactly call this year redemption. Maybe there’s a shot in 2014. Third times the charm?

California friends: the 10/20 race series is coming to SoCal! The course runs through Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas. Registration is $65 and race day is February 16, 2014. Austin 1020 California

2013 3M Half Marathon Race Recap

Austin’s 3M Half Marathon is one of my favorite races and I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off racing in 2013. I mean, with an elevation chart like this, how could you go wrong?3M Half Marathon Elevation ChartThe temps on race morning were 35-40ish. Race start was scheduled for 6:45am, so we were parked by 6:25 and made the short (windy!) walk to the race site shortly after. It really wouldn’t have felt cold that morning – the weather was actually PERFECT – but the wind made it worse than it actually was.

3M Pre-Race with Paulaphoto courtesy of Paula

We dropped speedy Paula off near the 2:10 pacer and headed to the back of the line where we’d be able to settle in to our “fun run” pace.

3M Pre-Race with Bradphoto courtesy of Paula

We had absolutely no time goals for this race (although secretly I wanted to get Brad in under 3 hrs, which would be ~30 minute PR) and since it was only his second half marathon, we were planning to just run and have fun.

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from the 3M Half Marathon Facebook Page

3M Half Marathon Course Map

3M is a point-to-point race. It starts in North Austin at the Arboretum, right in front of NXNW Restaurant on Stonelake Boulevard, and runs south through Shoal Creek, along Mopac, past the University of Texas, and finishes just north of the State Capitol.

It’s by no means a scenic course, but the elevation more than makes up for it. The first nine miles are “mostly” downhill. I say mostly because there are a few minor uphills but you hardly feel them. The elevation map 3M provides is a little bit different than the one from my Garmin:

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For the most part, the course was exactly the same as last year. Except for one thing:

3M Half Marathon Course 2012 vs 2013

In 2012, 3M was held on the last weekend of January. This year, it was held on January 13, which happened to fall on move-in weekend for the University of Texas. Rather than continuing down Duval and running through campus as usual, we made a left onto 26th, right on Red River, and then a right on MLK to take us back towards the finish line. Unfortunately, this added an unwelcomed hill around mile 11. If there was a spot we struggled, it was certainly during this stretch. My legs were pretty fatigued once we made the turn onto Red River and the downhill didn’t feel as easy as it should have.

Paula finished quite a bit before us (you need to read the speed demon’s race recap) so she stationed herself near the finish where she could see us come in.

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We managed to sneak in under 3 hours, landing Brad a new PR!

And I’m borrowing this one from MarathonFoto in all it’s watermarked glory because I like it but not will-pay-$34.95-for-it like it.3M Half Marathon Finisher Photo

And then a non-stolen photo (unless you count me jacking it from Paula) of her and I before brunch:

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And the standard post-race shot with fellow Austin Distance Challenge runners, Jeanette & Trinity:

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Yet again 3M put on a great race! With roughly 7,000 runners, it’s the perfect size – not too small, not too large. The race start is self-seeded and everyone seemed to line up accordingly. Water stops were well-stocked and had plenty of volunteers. APD did a great job of blocking off the streets and rerouting traffic so we could get our 13.1 miles in that morning. We waited less than 5 minutes to hop on a shuttle back up north to grab our cars, so that process was efficient as well. Absolutely no complaints from us!

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If you’re looking for a January race which pretty much guarantees you a fast finish & PR, the 3M Half Marathon is one worth looking into! Registration opens June 1st for next year’s race, which will be held on January 19, 2014.

2011 3M Half Marathon Race Recap

2012 3M Half Marathon Race Recap

Exiting the Comfort Zone

In reflecting over the past year of running, I can’t help but be disappointed with my race (and even training) performances. 2012 started off with a bang, knocking out a 5K PR on the first day of the year and a 23-minute half marathon PR on the last weekend of the month.

After that though? Things sort of fizzled out. My half marathon times gradually slowed, I stopped racing shorter distances, and after a not surprisingly spring burnout, I ran myself right into my first ever DNF at the New Jersey Marathon. After getting my ass kicked at the Spartan Race, I took a full month off of running. This ended up renewing my love for the sport and fueled the fire to begin training for the Philadelphia Marathon.

Halfway through July I began to reassess my goal time for Philly. The 90-degree evenings were beginning to take their toll on me at the track and my long-run pace was nowhere near what it should have been. I’m not the fastest runner to begin with, so to say this was discouraging is an understatement.

Once September rolled around, I threw all pace goals out the window. My goal for Philly was to finish. I registered Brad and I for the Austin Distance Challenge, putting races on our calendar every month through the middle of February. We knocked out a 10K and 10-miler in October, I ran Philly in November, and then finished an incredibly hilly half marathon in December. I closed out my running year on December 29th with the Operation Jack 10K, as I do every year.

So now I’m here. It’s January 8, 2013 and I’ve got a blank slate for the year. So how am I going to tackle it?

Here’s the plan:

  1. {spring} Focus on the half marathon distance. I really want to get my PR (2:14) down. Ideally, I’d like to get it under 2:10 at the Long Branch 1/2 Marathon in May. (NJ Marathon course redemption? I think so.) I have 3 half marathons in between now and then (3M, Austin, and ZOOMA) but plan to use those as training runs. Long Branch will be my spring goal race.
  2. {fall} run FAST. Yeah, this one is kinda huge. A sub-2 half marathon. Coming from someone with a (year old) 2:14 half PR, it’s terrifying to consider crossing that finish line in 1:59:59 or less. Sure, I have other race goals for the year – but this is the important one. Before December 31, 2013, I would like a sub-2 half under my belt. The race is TBD but I have the Shiner Beer Run tentatively penciled in. Any other suggestions for a fast fall half marathon? Open to traveling!
  3. Do NOT register for any full marathons. This one directly stems from item 2. I would like my half PR to be under 2 hours before registering for another full marathon. In other words, I’m shelving the 26.2 distance until 2014.
  4. Stop running races just to finish. Do you know what kind of problem this is? An expensive one. The city of Austin makes it incredibly hard for me to resist clicking that “Register” button. Obviously you can’t commit to racing every.single.race you enter, but I need to work on managing my schedule better. 4 half marathon in 4 months? Not necessary. It definitely makes achieving my goals harder by putting this much stress on my body. This being said, I probably need to adjust my 13 Races in 2013 goal. Quality > Quantity.
  5. Find the perfect pair of running shoes. Good lord, I’ve been searching long enough. Right now I’m running in Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12. Great shoe that keeps my shin splints at bay, but my arches HATE me after about 3 miles. Lose one pain, gain another. I also have a pair of the Mizuno Wave Inspire 9 that I bought back in November. They’re still in the box, with a fresh pair of Oiselle laces, ready to go! I’ll probably test them out at the end of January and hopefully (as long as I’m shin splint free) use them for the Long Branch 1/2 training cycle. Maybe they’ll be my perfect pair? Only time will tell but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
  6. Dig deep & exit the comfort zone. While reviewing my current PRs, I noticed the paces are VERY similar. {5K 9:29, 10K 9:55, 13.1 10:13} I nearly hit my 10K PR during 3M last year! I’d love to drop the 5K pace to high 8’s, 10K to low 9’s and 13.1… well you know where I want that one to be. I know I have more in me, but I need to dig deep, push harder, and exit the comfort zone. I need it to feel uncomfortably hard. I need to really RACE.

So that’s it. My running goals for 2013. My list of non-running goals is a work in progress, but I’m getting there. The running ones absolutely deserved their own post though – hey, this is Melissa RUNS after all.

Running in 2012 :: A Fun Q&A

I came across this 2012 running recap Q&A on Ashley’s blog last night, which was actually started by Amanda, and couldn’t resist joining in! This year certainly had its ups and downs on the running front but I think in the end I came out on the other side with a more positive attitude. Let’s take a look…

1. Best Race Experience: 3M 1/2 Marathon. I was absolutely blown away by my race performance at 3M. I thought I had no business running that pace during the first few miles, but as I hung on right through the finish – it was clear that running is {obviously} just as much mental as it is physical. I told myself I could do it, pushed through the discomfort, and came out on top with a PR that I didn’t think was possible.

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2. Best Run: A small, local 5K run with Brad. This was the beginning of Brad’s foray into running and it made me SO happy! Little did I know only a few short months later he’d agree to participate in the Austin Distance Challenge with me. I never thought the day would come where I’d run a half marathon with him, let alone 3 in 3 months!

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3. Best new piece of gear: Pro Compression socks. I had a few pairs of socks and sleeves from other various brands, but Pro Compression swooped in and won me over this year! Their products and customer service are seriously TOP NOTCH.

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I’m all for supporting smaller companies and I’m pretty sure I’ve done that this year since I now own every single color marathon sock they make!

4. Best piece of running advice you received:

“Don’t make excuses! Don’t call yourself slow. Just work hard, if that’s something you want, at getting faster. Don’t have huge goals – have mini goals, that won’t bring you down. Mentally its too much pressure.”

Sometimes you need advice, HONEST advice, to kick yourself back into gear. I’m very thankful to have Ashley to put me in my place when I need it 🙂

5. Most Inspirational Runner(s):

  • Jocelyn from Enthusiastic Runner. I started reading her blog about a year and a half ago, and it’s amazing how far she’s come in such a short time. She’s slashed over an hour off of her marathon PR and I can’t wait to see her crush Eugene in April 2013. {Read her Philly recap – hilarious!}
  • Lora from LV Runs NYC. She was plagued with injury during her recent BQ-attempt and is now making her comeback to running. Definitely another one to track at Eugene – girl is FAST! Also hands-down one of the most well-written blogs in my reader.
  • Lauren from Health on the Run. Another incredibly well-written blog, SPEEDY runner coming back from injury. 2013 has big things in store for her, like Operation #goodbye318. I don’t doubt she’ll smash that goal next year at VCM!

6. If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?

Humbling. Amazing. Fast. FUN!


I’m looking forward to cranking out the miles in 2013 and pushing outside of my comfort zone. And as I said in my Philly recap

I’m ready to put in the work. I’m ready to push hard. I’m ready to dig deep and run strong.

Austin Distance Challenge

Back in the fall of 2010 when I first embarked on my running journey, I discovered the Austin Distance Challenge. It was a bit ambitious for someone just starting out, but kept it in the back of my mind for the next year.

Once the fall of 2011 rolled around, I realized one of the races in the ADC fell on the same day as the Marine Corps Marathon, making me ineligible to enter.

That brings us to this year. Fall is just around the corner, and it looks like the stars may FINALLY be aligned for me to take part in the Austin Distance Challenge.

ADC

So what exactly is the ADC? It’s a series of six races of increasing distances leading up to the Austin Marathon & Half Marathon. Everyone registered for the challenge receives the following:

  • long-sleeved tech shirt
  • 1 year membership to Austin Runners Club
  • access to ADC VIP Tent post-race
  • invitation to Celebration Party in March

And pending completion of the challenge:

  • custom printed runners jacket
  • certificate of completion
  • Overall, Masters and Age Group Awards


Austin Distance Challenge Races

IBM Uptown Classic

October 7, 2012

This is a staple in my fall race schedule and is actually my goal 10K for 2012; I have my sights set on 6.2 miles in under an hour!

Run for the Water

October 28, 2012

Run for the Water happens to fall on the same day as a 20-22 miler for Philly Marathon training so I’ll probably run 5ish miles pre-race and 5ish miles post-race.

Decker Challenge

December 9, 2012

I’m not gonna lie: this race scares the crap out of me. Last year when I volunteered at IM 70.3 Austin, I caught a glimpse of the Decker course – holy freakin’ hills.

To quote Joe Marruchella:

The Decker Challenge is one of the longest running and most well-respected races in Austin.  A windy course with historically poor December weather on the lake, can make Decker a tough race.  But it is the hills that put the“challenge” in the Decker Challenge.

Decker Elevation

Photo Credit: Joe Still Runs for Dom

Sooo… yeah. That should be a fun race. Oh! And it’s two weeks after Philly. I won’t be breaking any records at Decker, that’s for damn sure!

3m Half Marathon

January 13, 2013

Another repeat offender on my race schedule, and most likely my half marathon goal race for 2013. 3M’s elevation chart is pretty easy on the eyes:

3M Half Marathon Course Elevation

Oh heyyy PR City. Can’t wait to visit you again in January!

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January 27, 2013

The Rogue 10K & 30K will be a new race for the ADC this year, and a new race for me as well. Since I won’t be training for a full marathon in January, I highly doubt I’ll be inclined to choose the 18 mile route. 10K for me, please.

And last, but certainly not least…

Austin Marathon

February 17, 2013

I’ve run the half twice now – incredible race!! Earlier this year I said I’d be taking on the full in 2013 but I think it’ll be 13.1 for the third time. Ashley is talking about flying in for it so we’ll most likely run the half together. Exciting!

And that’s all. Just a few races – no big deal.

Have you ever participated in a race/distance challenge like this? Fellow Austinites – have you ever done the ADC? Are you planning on it this year?

3M Half Marathon Expo

The 2012 3M Half Marathon Expo was held at the Norris Conference Center off of Burnet Road. It was somewhat of a hidden location and it seemed both locals and out-of-towners alike had trouble finding it.

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This was the first year the race featured an expo.

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As was the case last year, packet pickup was quick, efficient, and pleasant. All volunteers were friendly and helpful.

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The expo itself was quite small, and took only a few minutes to zip through the booths.

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The Austin 10/20 race was offering a $15 discount on the registration fee. I unfortunately wasn’t able to take advantage of this deal because I had previously registered.

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Also, I met up with these lovely ladies while I was there:

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Me, Tricia, Lesley, and Courtney (thanks for the photo, Courtney!)

Okay, now onto the goods:

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The contents of the bag were pretty similar to last years. As for the shirt, I’m not really a fan. It looks like an old, dingy white tee – when in fact it’s a pale grey color. I would have preferred a darker grey, with the race logo on the front, and the sponsors on the back. The “Fast. Easy. Fun. Run 13.1” on the front was clever, but seemed a little basic. Maybe I’m nitpicking. Overall, it wasn’t my favorite.

In case you missed it … 3M Half Marathon Race Recap

3M Half Marathon Finish

Race Recaps from Fellow Bloggers: Tricia, Lesley, Courtney

2012 3M Half Marathon Race Recap

Race morning kicked off at 5am with a large mug of coffee, PB&J, glass of Nuun, and sparkles.

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I took my time getting ready and felt completely relaxed when I left the house at 6:15. By 6:30 I was parked near the start and a heavy dose of nerves had hit me like a freight train. I was less than prepared for a great race, but this wasn’t my first race. It wasn’t my first half marathon.  I had finished a race twice as long and my nerves weren’t half as bad as they were that morning at 3M. I don’t know what it was, but my stomach was in knots.

At 6:35 I made my way to the start and arrived just as the National Anthem was being sung. I positioned myself in the middle of 6,000 runners and took a few deep breaths in an attempt to relax.

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Once the starting gun went off, my nerves started to subside and were replaced with waves of excitement. My first half marathon of 2012 was underway!

Obviously I had no idea there were pacers for the race because before I knew it, the 1:50 pacer had passed me. A quick glance at my Garmin showed just below a 10:00 min/mile pace. It didn’t feel too fast, but for the first mile I knew I needed to reel it in.

It’s worth noting I set my Garmin to only display 2 stats on the screen: total distance and average pace. I was too nervous to run without it while trying to PR, but needed not to be staring at my current pace for the entire 13.1 miles. I compromised with distance and average pace, and only allowed myself to check it when I hit a mile marker. Best. Decision. Ever.

We were able to watch the sun come up during the first mile and it was a gorgeous sight. The weather was perfect, a cool 42 degrees, which made it a great morning for racing. My playlist kicked ass – super happy with it. I didn’t skip a single song during the entire race!

3M-Half-Marathon-Playlist

By shifting the focus away from current pace, I was able to concentrate more on running comfortably and working on keeping my breathing under control.

At the 10K split (1:02 – hmm, pretty damn close to my 10K PR …) I ate an orange Gu Chomp. I’ve trained with these on countless runs, but for some reason my stomach let out a giant EFF YOU this time. It was enough to make me consider walking until I felt better, but I powered through. After a few minutes, the death feeling thankfully went away.

Miles 1-7 10:08, 9:55, 10:10, 10:11, 10:03, 10:00, 9:57

It was at this point I realized I still had not been passed by the 2:10 pacer. Was I really in front of them? I was pretty pleased with my performance up until that point. Aside from the Gu Chomp incident, I felt awesome and was confident I could hold this pace until the finish.

After mile 7, things started to get tough. I didn’t hit “the wall” but I was running out of steam. Of course I had a full package of Chomps, but I was nervous to see what would happen if I ate another. My A Goal was within reach, but could easily slip away if my pace slowed or I stopped for a few walk breaks.

Miles 8-9 10:14, 10:16

I caved and tested the waters with another Chomp. I was in the clear – for about three minutes. I was desperately looking for a port-o-potty just in case but there were none to be found. I took a few sips of Nuun from my handheld and hoped it would quiet the demons in my stomach. No dice.

The farthest I’ve ever run without a walk break was 7 miles. I tried to convince myself since I had beat that previous record, I could take a break to walk. Then I saw I was nearing mile 11: almost done! I wouldn’t allow myself to walk. I had come too far.

The 2:10 pacer passed me. Way to kick me when I’m down.

Miles 10-12 10:36, 10:16, 10:36

My pace was slowing considerably, but I wasn’t going to give up. I wasn’t going to walk. The finish line was SO close, I just had to suck it up and power through. I pumped up the volume on my iPod to drown out any negative thoughts. My heart was set on a brand new PR and it was going to be mine.

3M Half Marathon Photo

Official Finish – 2:14:32
Six minutes under my 2:20 time goal,
nailing a new PR by 23 minutes.

3M Half Marathon Finish

To say I was happy would be an understatement. I was ECSTATIC. Never in a million years did I think I would hit my goal. Maybe it was the Sparkle Skirt? I think 23 minute PRs are made of blood, sweat, and sparkle.

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3M Half Marathon Finish Photo

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Incredible race, 3M – I’ll definitely be back for round 3 in 2013. Well run, small race (capped at 6K), awesome volunteers, flawless logistics. If there was something to deduct points for, it’d be the race shirt. I’ll review that, as well as the expo, in an upcoming post. Overall, phenomenal day. Or maybe I’m just biased due to that MONSTER PR…

Up next: AUSTIN!

3M Half Marathon Goals

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Welp, it’s almost here. The 3M Half Marathon is this Sunday, and my lackluster training is about to shine through. Remember my well thought out training schedule which would yield a desirable 2:15-2:20 finish?

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Best laid plans. It hasn’t been touched since December.

It’s not that I haven’t been running – it’s just I haven’t been following a plan, per se. I run every Saturday with our ZOOMA Texas Training Group, but weekday runs have been fairly sporadic. Well, up until last week when training for the New Jersey Marathon started, but that’s a story for another post.

Bottom line: I’m not nearly as prepared for 3M as I would like to be. I give anyone who trains for their A-race/a full marathon/basically any endurance event in January HUGE kudos. It’s tough getting through the holidays and sticking to the plan. I learned this last year, even declaring “Overall, I really enjoyed the race and I look forward to doing it again next year – properly trained, of course!”  but apparently temporarily forgot as I chose 3M to be my 2012 half marathon A-race. Whoops…

With 13.1 miles looming on the horizon, it’s time to set some race goals:

Goal A sub-2:20 (10:40 pace)

Goal B sub-2:25 (11:03 pace)

Goal C sub-2:30 (11:26 pace)

Goal D Finish under 2:37, my current PR set in San Antonio

At this point, I’m not sure what will happen on Sunday morning. With a 29:46 5k PR and 1:01:36 10k PR, I think I definitely have a faster half marathon time in me. Is this time attainable for 3M? It’s hard to tell.

One thing is for sure though: I will be rockin’ a Team Sparkle traveling skirt. Maybe all I need for this PR is a little blood, sweat, and sparkle!

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Do you have an A-race in 2012 where you plan to blow your current PR out of the water? Do you have trouble sticking to a training plan through the holidays?