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

Austin 10/20 Expo

Yesterday at lunch I made the trip out to Norris Conference Center to pick up my packet for the Austin 10/20. The 3M Half Marathon expo in 2012 was held there but I still managed to get all turned around since I was coming from 360 rather than 183.

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The expo opened at 11 and I arrived shortly after that. There wasn’t much of a crowd at all which made getting in out extremely easy. Once you entered the conference center, you picked up your bib (or register, if you hadn’t already) in the room on the left.

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Then you headed across the hall to the expo, where you pick up your shirt. When I registered I went up a size to be safe, but for once a race had shirts that were true to size and it ended up being too big. The volunteer swapped sizes out for me without a problem and then hit the expo.

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The vendors were the usual suspects: SPIbelt, Spartan Race, CEP, A-Line, Marathon Charms & Gifts, and Active Sol Eyewear. Texas Running Company was there selling shoes and apparel.

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I made two loops around the room to make sure I didn’t miss anything and then headed out.

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I really liked the shirt this year. Honestly, I’m not that picky – as long as it isn’t white, I’m okay with it. They had gender-specific shirts, which is always a nice perk.

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Now I’m on a mission to update my playlist. My iPod has been loaded with the same songs since January and I’m pretty sure I’ve beat it to death. This one already landed a spot:

Completely unrelated to running, but after seeing them perform at ACMs I need to get tickets to see The Band Perry ASAP.

Fall Racing Decision :: Will Run for BEER

It might seem a little premature to be talking about the fall racing season as the spring one hasn’t even wrapped up yet. However, the racing scene in Austin pretty much shuts down (with the exception of 5Ks) after April. The Austin 10/20 is coming up this weekend and then I head to NJ the first week of May for the Long Branch Half.

Upcoming Races

And after that, I’ve got nothing on my radar.

SO! It’s time to think about the fall. Every year since I started running I’ve done a fall destination race. 2010 was Disney’s Wine & Dine Half, 2011 was Marine Corps Marathon and 2012 was Philly Marathon.

I had a few half marathons in mind for 2013: Hartford, Wineglass, Mohawk Hudson River Half, OUC, ZOOMA Cape Cod. But after mapping out our travel schedule for the rest of the year {with Nuun Hood to Coast tentatively penciled in *fingers crossed*} we realized a fall destination race probably isn’t in the cards.

The plan for the next 13.1 is to stay semi-local. I’m 90% sure we’ll be heading south in November for the 2013 Shiner Beer Run.

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This race combines two of my favorite things: running + Shiner beer. 4 complimentary frosty beers at the finish for each runner? A medal that doubles as a bottle opener? A race that starts and finishes at the Spoetzl Brewery? I’m having a hard time coming up with reasons NOT to run this race.

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My sub-2 goal might get pushed to the beginning of 2014 considering the arch issues I’ve been having lately. Long Branch is not going to be a PR attempt and I’m absolutely okay with that. It’s part of a vacation to New Jersey to see my family and I’ll just be happy to see how far the area has come since I was up there in November post-Sandy.

If I had to guess, I’d say my sub-2 attempt will be at 3M in January 2014. But that’s REALLY far away, so we shall see!

Do you have your fall goal race picked out yet? Is it a destination race?

Five Things Friday

I have way too many random thoughts to be contained in a normal, paragraph driven post. So I’m jumping on the ever-popular X Things XXXXday wagon today.

1. I probably can’t even explain to you how excited I am for The Great Gatsby to hit theaters. (May 10th!!) Which is surprising considering my excitement to read the novel back in high school was pretty much nonexistent. The second trailer was released yesterday, but I think the first one is still my favorite. So I’ll show you both.

 

2. I’m back to square one with running shoes. I know, you’re probably not surprised. Despite what most may think, I’m not constantly buying new shoes because of my desire to always own something new. It’s simply because the ones I buy? Don’t work for me. I trained in the fall in a pair of Brooks Adrenaline 12s. They worked fine up until Philly Marathon and the Decker Half. After that point, my arches ached and required icing after every single run. I then transitioned into a pair of Mizuno Wave Inspires and the pain went away… until the week before ZOOMA. This time it seemed to travel from arch to the outside of my leg. Took a few days off and ran again – same problem. So I dropped from the half to the 5K at ZOOMA and ran in a pair of Pure Cadences that I use only for short runs. SO! I’m back on the hunt for a pair of shoes. The never ending saga. I’ve probably talked about this eleventy billion times on my blog but I promise once the problem is fixed, I’ll shut the hell up about it!

Brooks Ravenna vs Mizuno Wave Creation
Any recommendations for a flat-footed runner with a penchant for pronating?

3. I’m in love with the new Nuun flavors. new-nuun-flavorsAt first I thought I loved Cherry Limeade the most. I highly recommend mixing 1/2 tab of this one with 1/2 tab Kona Kola – it gets me through the afternoon slump at work. Then came Lemonade and it just tasted like SUMMER. It won me over with its effortless pairing with vodka and fresh lemon wedges. That is, until I tried Watermelon. It slightly edges out the other two. Unfortunately, that was the only flavor of the three that I DIDN’T buy a 4-pack of. Well until yesterday. Should be arriving by EOD on Monday. Whew, crisis averted.

Haven’t tried any of them yet? For a limited time, Nuun is offering a Summer Sampler that includes one tube of each new flavor.

4. I’m running the Austin 10/20 again this year.
austin-1020-bib-and-medalMy 2013 racing schedule started out really heavy and by the time the Austin Distance Challenge had wrapped up, I was ready to sail off into the sunset on a racing hiatus. I had roughly a month between the Austin Half and ZOOMA but apparently that was all I needed to want to race again. I was bummed that I had to downgrade to the 5K at ZOOMA and after some thought, decided to squeeze another race between now and the Long Branch Half Marathon next month Enter the Austin 10/20. I ran this race last year and it. was. AWESOME. I shouted its praises on pretty much every social platform I’m on because I enjoyed it so much (and even made it on to their Participant Feedback page!) So I signed up again.

5. BASEBALL IS BACK!!

2013 Boston Red Sox

Inaugural Austin 10/20 Race Recap

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Friday on my lunch break I headed downtown to Luke’s Locker for the Austin 10/20 packet pickup.

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One thing I really appreciated about this race was they provided six different dates for packet pickup: Friday & Saturday the weekend before the race and Wednesday through Saturday of race week. This made it super convenient to make it to packet pickup on whichever day worked best for you.

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Packet pickup was very efficient and I was on my way in less than 5 minutes. Under Armour was a race sponsor so both the bag and tech tee were furnished by them. Packet contents were nothing to write home about, but when are they ever? I did, however, enjoy the personalized bib and race program.

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As I mentioned earlier in the week, the forecast was less than desirable for race morning. It only became worse once Sunday morning rolled around.

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When the alarm went off at 5am I was overwhelmed with “I don’t want to run today” feelings. I was tired, thirsty (um, never good the morning of a race), and just plain cranky. I listened for thunder or even just rain hitting the roof. Nothing. Deep down I was hoping the race would be cancelled so I could head back to bed. But it was dry as a bone outside and the Austin 10/20 Facebook page mentioned nothing about cancelling or postponing.

I left the house nice and early at 6:20. Yes, the race started at 8am, but I’ll be damned if I’m one of those people whining about sitting in traffic because I left the house late. I was one of the first cars parked in the garage at the Domain and killed some time by tweeting and inhaling a Honey Stinger waffle. Or two. It’s hard to say.

I drank a glass of banana Nuun before I left the house, drank a water bottle of lemon-lime Nuun in the car, and was STILL thirsty. I had citrus fruit Nuun in my handheld as well, and a backup tablet in the zipper pouch for a refill. It was going to be hot, and I was determined to be prepared.

At quarter after 7 I made my way to the starting area and did a warmup mile. It was at this point I realized my headphones were shot. I could hear music but the lyrics were missing. This infuriated me beyond belief – I know, first world problems. I thought my kickass playlist would have helped me snap out of my cranky non-racing mood but nope. Not a chance.

The race started just after 8am and roughly 7,000 runners took to the streets of Austin. I slowed down for my first walk break at the Mile 1 marker. I was angry. I thought about how close I still was to my car. I could run back, head home and get back into bed. Pretend this whole morning never happened.

But I trudged on.

I zoned out for the next mile but when I came up on Mile 3? The rage returned. I just did NOT want to be running. I was taking far too many walk breaks and it was clear my heart just wasn’t in it. I made a command decision to throw all time goals out the window and just FINISH. Oh and maybe you’re wondering about that additional 10 miles I was supposed to run that day. Yeah. They didn’t happen.

I ran when I wanted to and walked a ton. I bumped into a few friends out on the course and chatted it up with them. This helped make the time go by a little faster. It never rained. Well it did, but I was already on my way home at that point. In the end, I’ve ran a half marathon faster than I ran/walked those ten miles on Sunday. It happens. Not all races can be great ones. I FINISHED and that was all that mattered.

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Aside from my little temper tantrum, the Austin 10/20 was a phenomenal race. Dare I say better than any Rock n Roll race I’ve done? Yes. Absolutely, 100%. The course wasn’t very exciting but with two bands rocking out on each mile, they kept everyone’s spirits up. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t expect much. It was an inaugural race and 9 times out of 10 anything that can go wrong, will. With the exception of the long BBQ & Beer lines at the finish (and possibly running out of bananas? I saw that on the Facebook page) I really didn’t see any major problems. Here’s what I posted on their Facebook wall post-race:

Incredible race this morning. I was beyond impressed with how everything came together logistically, especially for an inaugural race. Bands were great, volunteers were plentiful, tons of water stops to keep us hydrated, cool towels during the race AND at the finish, awesome presence on FB keeping everyone updated – the list goes on. I’ve run races that have been put on for years and couldn’t come close to the race you delivered this morning. I will 100% be back next year. THANK YOU!!

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Austin 10/20, I will be back for redemption next year.

What would YOU do?

Sooooo… this weekend is my 20 miler. Let’s not talk about how this should be my THIRD 20 miler, okay? Thanks.

My last long run before the New Jersey Marathon. Seriously I’m still in shock it’s almost May already. How the hell did that happen?

This weekend I’ll also be running my first 10 mile race, the inaugural Austin 10/20.

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From the website:

It’s time to run ten and celebrate the distance! Ten miles is tough, ten miles is different, ten miles feels great. It’s an accomplishment to finish and a challenge to race. You can walk and wheel and join the field as the Austin 10/20 hits the streets. Take a detour from the usual race path and check out the cool ten mile distance!

Twenty stages will be on course filled with live rock ‘n’ roll music from local Austin bands and we’ll have a great headliner at the Finish line too! The Austin 10/20 puts a stage every half mile along the route, right up close for our spectators – you! We’ll have some really hot local bands and more music per mile than you have ever seen. Austin is well known for a great music scene, you will see it on the course!

If you’ve put two and two together, you noticed how the race is only 10 miles and this girl needs to be running 20. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to tackle this yet, but I have a few ideas:

1. Run 10 miles pre-race. This seems like a brilliant idea in theory, until you start considering how early you would need to wake up to get those miles in before the 8am start. Also, where would I run? It would have to be somewhat near the race course so I could finish my 10 and then cross the starting line soon after. Hmm…

2. Run 5 miles pre-race, then race, then 5 miles post-race. I’m not even sure why I think this should be listed as a logical option. Post-race there will be celebratory beer! And entertainment! Everclear, to be precise. Did you know they were still together? Because I didn’t.  And food! The chances of me actually heading back out for 5 more miles is slim to none.

3. Run 15 miles on Saturday. Then race on Sunday on tired legs, but not like “I’m running 25 miles in a row” tired legs. Still, this would be the highest mileage I’ve ever done on consecutive days. Is this something I want to try 3 weeks out from 26.2? Not sure. But it WOULD let me run “only” 10 miles on Sunday.

4. Run 10 miles on Saturday. Then race on Sunday on tired legs, but 5 miles less-tired than option 4. This is the short-term, low-stress option. It’s also the long-term, high stress option. The “Oh my god I never did a proper 20-miler this training cycle” option. Anxiety attacks ensue. Hyperventilating will occur. But for this weekend? I’d be all, “oh I can knock out two 10 milers, noooo problemo”

Remember the last time I tried to split up 20 miles between a race and a training run? Yeah. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again.

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If you were in my shoes Brooks Adrenalines, which option would YOU choose?

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