2013 IBM Uptown Classic 10K Race Recap

Last weekend was the 19th Annual IBM Uptown Classic and my 4th time running the 10K. This was one of my very first races in Austin back in 2010 and I make a point to run it every year. The weather is always great, the course is fast, and it’s the perfect event to kick off the fall racing season.

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The morning started off fairly early since we needed to pick up this girl from downtown. She mentioned possibly taking a cab to/from the race and I immediately suggested being her chauffeur for the morning. That would have been a pricey trip and I was fairly certain Amy wasn’t an axe murderer. Can’t really say what she expected of Brad and I, but there wasn’t much hesitation as she hopped in my car at a downtown street corner. From internet friend —> IRL friend, in .05 seconds. I’m always surprised how awkward it isn’t when you meet someone IRL and already know everything about them from their blog and/or Twitter. I mean, it should be really weird – but definitely isn’t.

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We met up with Jeanette and Trinity pre-race and talked about how last year at this time we were just starting the Austin Distance Challenge. Overall that was a really fun experience, but I’ll never do it again unless Decker pulls a Houdini and disappears. That half marathon stole a significant piece of my soul.

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Brad and I didn’t have a race plan since we were using it as a training run, so we took it mile by mile. We spent much of the race leapfrogging Jeanette and Trinity, crossing the finish just behind them. No PRs for any of us but it was still a great morning. I specifically remember cruising along at mile 4 with a giant smile plastered on my face, truly enjoying every step of the race. It’s runs like these that remind you just how much you love the sport.

One note on the course: it definitely changed from last year. I remember seeing a note about it on the website and at packet pickup, but didn’t look into it. The race usually starts at the IBM complex, runs through the Domain, and winds back around to IBM. This year’s course was in the same general vicinity but unfortunately doubled back on itself several times. Definitely wasn’t a fan of that.

I’d like to think this will be fixed for 2014 but have heard rumblings this might be it’s last time at the Domain. Not sure why, but I have a feeling it has to do with the race being a part of Run Austin’s plan to turn the city into a premiere racing destination.

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One of the reasons I like this race so much is that it isn’t downtown. Not as far from my house and the course is different. Don’t get me wrong, I love downtown – but a majority of ATX races (Austin Half, Cap 10K, Turkey Trot, etc.) run the exact same route. This girl is a fan of variety!

Either way, I’ll be back next fall. If this one isn’t on your racing calendar, it needs to be.

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IBM Uptown Classic & Luke’s Locker Presents: Runner’s Happy Hour

My favorite 10K of the year, the IBM Uptown Classic, is just three short weeks away. This Wednesday Luke’s Locker will be holding a Runner’s Happy Hour and all are welcome!

Luke's Locker

There’s a 5K Fun Run at 6pm, followed by a performance from Leopold and His Fiction at 6:30pm. There will be snacks provided by Rudy’s and Honest Tea, as well as awesome giveaways! (ahem, ACL passes!)

BONUS: If you wear a race shirt from a previous Uptown Classic

IBM Uptown Classic Shirt

OR register for the 2013 race on Wednesday, you’ll receive 15% off all apparel & footwear (including sale items)

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Now, who is coming with me on Wednesday night? 🙂

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.

2013 Austin 10 20 Start   YouTube

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 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.

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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!

Rogue 30K Logo_final

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?

2011 IBM Uptown Classic 10k Race Recap

To recap the race goals:

Goal A: Beat last year’s time

Goal B: 1:10 (11:17 pace)

Goal C: 1:07 (10:48 pace)

Goal D: 1:05 (10:29 pace)

Carly and I discussed the race a bit on Saturday during our run, and one of our non-negotiable goal was to run the entire race without stopping. We both agreed breaking an hour would be phenomenal, but probably not too realistic. Carly said even 1:05 would be a great time. We were on the same page.

Packet pickup was quick and painless at Luke’s Locker in downtown Austin. Here’s the contents of the swag bag and the race tee:

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Race season started off with a bang!

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We made it to the race site about 20 minutes before the start. The great thing about the IBM Uptown Classic is that while it draws a decent sized crowd, it is extremely organized and everything is executed well. This year marks it’s 12th anniversary.

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Ready to run!

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After the national anthem, the YMCA began blasting from the speakers and it was time for us to kill 6.2 miles.

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An early mistake we made was starting too far back. It was really congested and hard to settle into our pace. After struggling through the masses, we passed the Mile 1 marker in 10:31.

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We then headed into the Domain which gave us something to look at and distract us from the race for a few minutes.

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We covered mile 2 in 9:45. Sub-10 pace? Awesome. We kept on truckin’, full speed ahead.

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We flew through mile 3 in 9:25.

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The race also had a 5k option, and as we ran next to their finish chute I heard “Melissa loves to sweat!” from the announcer over the loudspeaker. Why yes, yes I do. Want your own I ♥ Sweat shirt? This sweaty girl is the creator!

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Mile 4 was a speedy 9:23.

Mile 5 is where things started to get tough. We encountered a grueling hill, and I heard a few expletives fly out of Carly’s mouth as it first came into view. My thoughts exactly.

We didn’t stop to walk, just kept focused on powering up the hill. Once we came over the top, my legs let out a few expletives of their own. I was SPENT! I wanted to walk so badly but kept going – it’s almost over, suck it up Melissa!While we didn’t stop running, our pace still dropped dramatically for mile 5: 10:40.

Halfway through mile 6, I glanced down at my Garmin and realized finishing under an hour would be out of reach. (Although, if it weren’t for the hill I think that goal would have been attainable.)

Mile 6 was another sub-10, 9:53. Once we passed that mile marker, we kicked it into high gear and hauled ass towards that finish line as fast as we could.

Official Finish Time: 1:01:36

We were ecstatic! Doing the happy dance all of the way back to the car. It was a 12 minute PR for me, and 9 minute PR for Carly.

I can’t think of a better way to kick off race season.

October 2nd marked our runniversary – it has been officially one year since our first race. It’s incredible how far we have come as runners in that time, and I’m glad we crossed the finish line next to each other yesterday.

8 & Eggs

While this week was a cutback week, I still had 14 on the schedule. I’m racing a 10k on Sunday, so I figured the least I could do would be to log 14 total for the weekend.

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Carly and I headed out at 7am for our 8 mile run. We practically danced our way onto that trail, celebrating the crisp 60 degree temperature. 60!! It was a bit of a shock at first, but once we starting running we completely embraced it. It was so nice to finally run in something other than a sauna!

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The run was effortless, the miles ticked away quickly, and we were done before we knew it.

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Cheetahs run Texas

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Post-run we were ravenous, so we headed to the happiest place on earth for supplies.

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Eggs Benedict, here we come!

But not before we got a little caffeine in our system

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We were tempted by the new Salted Caramel Mocha coffee, and decided to indulge. So incredibly worth it – delicious.

Back home we got to work on our breakfast feast:

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And the finished product:

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Absolutely what we needed.

It was a great morning, and spent the remainder of the day resting up for our first race of the season. We both have our sights set on new PRs!