Tuesday Things

Caution: 100% randomness lies ahead. You’ve been warned.

I ordered a new Erin Condren planner. Surprisingly I actually used the 2012-13 one for the entire year, which NEVER happens when it comes to planners. Pre-EC I’d buy three or four generic ones a year and then toss them in our office after a month. Erin Condren is the BEST. What’s not the best is the wait time between order and delivery. But I guess it’s a small price to pay for a personalized planner. Sometimes I don’t understand how I became such a nerd.

I’m no longer a FitFluential Ambassador. To be honest, this was a long time coming. I truly appreciated the opportunity but in the end it just wasn’t for me. That’s all I’ll say about that.

Summer running is the freakin’ devil. Last summer I dealt with the heat by running after 9pm when the temperature was only 90 degrees but because Brad’s alarm goes off at 3:45, we can’t run that late anymore. We’ve also been having the dogs run with us and (unsurprisingly) they’re heavily panting with side-tongue pretty much a quarter-mile in. Ugh. Fall, I’m ready for you.

Texas Summer

The secret menu at Torchy’s Tacos is not to be missed. Last weekend when Paula was in town we made a trip to Torchy’s for dinner. I hadn’t been since they unveiled the secret menu so ordering items from it was a necessity.

Torchy's Secret Menu

On the left is the Ace of Spades, which is jalapeno sausage and grilled brisket topped with a fried egg, green chile queso, cotija cheese, sour cream, more cheese (!!) and Diablo sauce. This one was REALLY good. If I knew it was going to be bigger than their normal tacos I probably would have only ordered one. And then Paula wouldn’t have yelled at me for not finishing my dinner.

On the right is the Trailer Park Hillbilly Style which is fried chicken, chorizo, chopped bacon, green chiles, queso and poblano ranch. I’m a sucker for an amazing ranch so this one was the big winner for me.

Watching the bats from a cruise is much better than watching from the bridge. Austin is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. FREAKY. Almost every night between March and October roughly one million bats leave their home under the Congress Bridge at dusk in search of food. I’ve seen them several times from the bridge, but Paula, Brad and I decided to take a cruise out on Lady Bird Lake to watch them last weekend.

Congress Bridge Sunset

The cruise was only ten bucks and worth every penny. Added perk: BYOB! We packed a cooler full of beer and headed out on a cruise around the lake.

I made a dent in one of my 2013 goals, which was to revamp the office. I spent a good portion of Saturday locked in the office organizing like a mad woman. Back in February we bought a bigger bed for the master bedroom and a few things had to be moved into the office. And when we’re cleaning the living + dining rooms, a lot of things get put into the office and we just shut the door. Suffice it to say, that room is damn mess. Well, WAS. Turns out there is actually a floor in there. Who knew!

I’m really loving this Solemate Portable Speaker.

Solemate Portable Speaker (2)

Brad and I pretty much cleaned the entire house on Saturday and this speaker moved with us from the patio to the office to the garage. We played music from our phones using the Bluetooth but you can also connect it to your laptop or iPod. It was nice to bring it from room to outside without having to worry about it being plugged in! You can also answer phone calls or chat via Skype through the speaker, although I haven’t tested that part out yet. The sound is great and the battery life would have lasted our entire cleaning spree if it wasn’t for that hot mess in the office.

Solemate Portable Speaker

Disclaimer: I received the Solemate Portable Speaker from Jabra in exchange for reviewing their product. All opinions are my own. And my opinion is that this thing rocks. Literally.

The puppy is getting way too big, way too fast.

At the rate she’s going, I should be able to ride her like a pony around the backyard next month.

Nothing’s Finer than a Shiner {especially after 13.1 miles}

I’m sure race envy will rear its ugly head at some point, but for right now I’m really relishing the fact my life this summer isn’t tied to a training plan for a fall marathon. Like, REALLY loving it.

A few months have passed since my last race and it’s been nice to run only when (and for as many miles) as I want. In the back of my mind I knew there would be a fall 13.1 but wanted to enjoy the beginning of summer and easy miles.

I loosely drafted a training plan back in May and didn’t open it again until last weekend. And then on Tuesday I registered for a race:

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Running this race in 2012 didn’t quite pan out so I knew it needed to happen in 2013. Since Brad and I are pretty much in love with this beer, it only seems right to travel a little over an hour from Austin out to Shiner for the race in November.

As a creature of habit, I generally default to the FIRST Run Less, Run Faster training plans. Nearly every plan I’ve created over the past two years has been an even mix of speed, tempo, and long runs. But the first time it truly failed me was last summer while preparing for Philly. Nailing the paces I needed on 400s and mile repeats in the humid 95 degree evenings of summer was nearly impossible and every run was a struggle. I had set myself up for failure with RLRF.

I dug up my training log from Marine Corps in 2011 and poured over it. Since it was my first marathon and still fairly new to running, I dropped most of the speed workouts and subbed in easy runs. So I ran easy on Tuesday, tempo’ed on Thursday, and long on Saturday. The plan didn’t include any paces – I ran by what I felt was “fast” for me on any given day. That probably sounds absurd to you but it worked. Now that I’m looking back, one week my tempo pace was 10:45 and then a couple weeks later it was 10:15. I was getting faster and it wasn’t forced. And I wasn’t getting injured. (IMPORTANT!!)

The TL;DR – I’m going back to basics for Shiner.

Shiner Half Marathon - Training Plan

Low mileage, slow build, no paces – but still only running 3x per week. Because that’s what works for me. And if it ain’t broke? Don’t fix it.

Oh and while I was tweaking this plan to my liking yesterday, I remembered another little race which I should probably plan for:

Houston Half Marathon Registration

Oh hey Houston, guess I’ll be seeing you in January! Since technically a 12 week plan would start on October 27th, I’ll probably take a small break post-Shiner and run maintenance mileage through December to keep my fitness level up. Logistics on that front are TBA, but most importantly – I’m in for Houston!

Houston Half In-Training

And now that I’ve registered for two half marathons and my credit card is cowering in the corner begging me not to use it again in the near future, it’s your turn:

What is your fall goal race? Do you have to travel or is it local? Where does your training plan come from: a coach, the internet, or do you create it yourself?

Tuesday Things

1. I registered for my first 2014 race.

Austin 2014

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.

Boston :: Run to Remember

I still cannot wrap my head around the events that unfolded yesterday in Boston. This is the third time I’ve attempted writing this post. Normally when rendered speechless I can count on being able to put pen to paper and let the words flow. But in the past 24 hours it’s been impossible to collect my thoughts.

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The first time I laced up a pair of running shoes I was unaware of the amazing, tight-knit community I’d become a part of. Runners are incredible people, as are the spectators that line race courses across the country. I can’t help but think of the many times friends and family have waited for me at the end of my races. Never in a million years would I have thought a horrifying event of this magnitude would occur at the finish line, a place normally reserved for overwhelming joy.

I can tell you this for sure:

I will not quit racing.

I will not stop running.

I will NOT be afraid.

If anything, what occurred on Boylston yesterday has ignited a fire in me to run stronger, to run faster. I will run for those who can’t and run for those who lost their lives.

Run for Boston

I will run to remember. And I will never forget.

Boston – you are in my thoughts and prayers.

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.

Shiner-Beer-Run

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.

Shiner Beer Run

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?

Keep Austin Hydrated {2013 Nuun Hood to Coast Application}

Last year when Nuun announced they were putting together teams again for Hood to Coast, I knew I had to enter. I had stalked Twitter for updates and read recaps post-race the previous year, incredibly jealous of the women chosen to run for my favorite hydration company.

My secret weapon is procrastination. Whenever I leave something to the last possible minute, I seem to get the best results. A huge case of anxiety and maybe a panic attack, but the best results nonetheless. Nuun had tweeted last year about not waiting until the last minute to submit so the app could be viewed with fresh eyes. I liked the sound of that! So I rushed to throw together my app and sent it in.

And then I wasn’t chosen. I knew I should have spent a little more time on it and turned it in last minute like the original plan.

So this year, that’s exactly what I did. I started brainstorming early, compiling a list of ideas, consulting internet friends, taking photos, doing research, driving all over Austin, and teaching myself how to use Movie Maker. The completed video is a labor of love. I spent a lot of time tweaking it, getting it exactly how I wanted and making sure my love for Nuun was properly conveyed.

On Sunday evening, just a few hours before the deadline, I uploaded the video to YouTube and clicked ‘Submit’ on my application for a chance to run Hood to Coast with Team Nuun in 2013:

 

Nuun’s 2013 Hood to Coast Team will be announced on April 17th. Wish me luck!

2013 ZOOMA Texas Race Recap

Last weekend was the Texas edition of the ZOOMA Women’s Race Series. It was the culmination of months of training by our Muscle Milk Light Athletes and Ambassadors alike.

Race day started at 4:30 for me since I wasn’t staying on property. I definitely recommend staying at the Hyatt Lost Pines if you can! The resort is gorgeous and you can stay cozy in your bed right up until the last minute on race morning. If you don’t stay at the Hyatt, there are several parking options for you.

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I parked at Cedar Creek High School around 6am and hung out in my car for a bit to stay warm. The forecast has called for a warm, humid day with a chance of thunderstorms. However, it was a windy, chilly (for my Texas blood!) 50 degrees that morning. I dressed for the former, which would come back to haunt me later. Close to 6:30 I hopped on a shuttle over to the Hyatt.

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A few of us met up at the information tent pre-race for a photo op:

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Caroline, Erika, me, Kelly, Rhonda

Before we knew it, it was time to head to the start! Everyone (with the exception of Ashley and I) was running the half so they jumped into the starting corral and got ready to go.

ZOOMA Countdown

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About a week before the race I made a decision to run the 5K instead of the half. After a hill workout on the treadmill my right arch was giving me a little trouble. I had the same issue after Philly and Decker, but fixed the problem by changing shoes. Then it came back. So anyway, I dropped my race distance down to the 5K just to be safe.

ZOOMA Texas 13.1 and 5K Course Map

The 5K course isn’t nearly as hilly as the half, but still enough to be challenging. It obviously wasn’t going to be a PR day with my angry arch so I took it easy. It’s been a long time since I took on such a short distance – last summer maybe? I actually kind of miss it. In fact, this resulted in a 5K race registration for Brad and I on April 21st.

Anyway, back to ZOOMA

When I made the right onto Pope Bend, I saw someone in the not-so-far-off distance pickup the Mile 1 sign that had blown away and put it back on the side of the course. I don’t think this was exactly where it was supposed to be because when I passed the marker, my watch registered 0.75 miles. Now I know there are all sorts of things that can alter Garmin accuracy, but to be off a full quarter mile seemed a bit much. IMG_20130323_075042_929

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When I passed the Mile 2 marker, my watch beeped simultaneously. So we were back on track! Just in time for this beautiful hill.

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After that it was pretty much flat for the remainder of the course so I cruised along and rocked out to my music.

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Passing the start line on the way to the finish…

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Done! Official finish time was 39 and change. Not my fastest showing but I really enjoyed the race. The atmosphere of ZOOMA races just can’t be beat!

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I positioned myself at the finish line with Erika and watched for a few of our friends to come through.

Here comes Carmen, a member of last year’s HEB Girlfriends Program:

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And fellow ambassador Ashley:

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The wind was really whipping at this point and after stopping running, it was really cold (again, it’s all relative – my southern blood has a different interpretation of “cold”). It was time to hit the post-race refreshments and grab a cup of coffee.

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But I got distracted on the way…

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If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, this shouldn’t surprise you in the least bit.

Wine at 8:30am? Don’t mind if I do!

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And THEN I made my way to the coffee. My priorities are certainly in order.

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I downed two cups in attempt to warm up a bit before heading out to spectate the half marathon but with no luck. T-shirt and shorts was perfect to race in, but not so much for hanging around afterwards!

Erika and I camped out near mile 10 near the entrance/exit of the golf course so we could see runners at both spots.IMG_20130323_095731_794

Lisa, from Growing Up Mo

Once all of our Muscle Milk athletes and ambassadors had come through, we headed to the finish.

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Love this shot of Nora’s daughter
running in with her!

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Muscle Milk Athlete Nora and ZOOMA Ambassador Lisa

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ZOOMA Ambassador Missy

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Kelly, Rhonda, Shannah, Nora, me, Lisa

I am so proud of all of the Muscle Milk Light Athletes and Ambassadors. Every single one of them has inspired me over the past few months and I’m so thankful to have met them. They are all amazing!

Please check out their ZOOMA Texas race reports to hear how it went:

Nora In the Books
Missy Race Report, Sort Of
Lisa ZOOMA 2013 Race Report – A Calling
Leigh Ann ZOOMA Texas Half Marathon Recap: Battling My Demons to the End
Caroline ZOOMA Texas Half-Marathon – I did it!
Jennifer Race Recap: My Take on ZOOMA Texas

And a huge congrats to fellow ambassador Jennifer Fisher who won ZOOMA Texas!

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It seems this year’s ZOOMA training and race flew by SO fast. While I ran the half last year, the 5K was a fun change of pace. I’d highly recommend either race distance. Don’t be discouraged by the hills – I saw quite a few women walking around with PR medals.

What other race will give you a water bottle AND a yoga mat in your race packet? This year’s tee is an awesome color and the fit is PERFECT (not too short or super tight). I’ve been using the cute bag to carry my lunch to/from work.IMG_20130331_085031_748

Grab a few of your closest girlfriends and register for the 2014 race!

Texas « ZOOMA Women s Race Series

2013 LIVESTRONG Austin Half Marathon Race Recap

Yesterday morning I ran my third LIVESTRONG Austin Half Marathon.

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223I’m going to end up buying this one once all the photos have been uploaded, so don’t get upset that I borrowed it, MarathonFoto.

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While 3M may be my favorite race in town to really race, LIVESTRONG Austin is my favorite race to run. It starts just north of the Capitol building, runs south on Congress past many amazing restaurants + bars before turning to come back into the city on South First, heads west on Cesar Chavez to Mopac and then takes 15th Street back east to end up finishing just south of the Capitol building. It’s an awesome way to see this amazing city!

LIVESTRONG Austin Half Marathon Course

The course isn’t flat or fast, in fact, it’s pretty damn tough. Rolling hills miles 1-3, uphill miles 3-6, downhill 6-9, uphill 10-11.5, a little downhill followed by a hill that will make you cry at mile 12, a little downhill to recover and then back up the San Jacinto hill to the finish.

LIVESTRONG Austin Half Marathon Elevation

The weather was absolutely perfect yesterday – 42 at the start and roughly 55 at the finish, with beautiful blue skies and bright sunshine.

Miles 2-6

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Miles 6-9

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Miles 9-12

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Mile 12 (where “The Hill” lives) – Finish

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From my 2011 recap:

Austin Half Marathon Enfield Hill

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What I thought of the Enfield Hill:

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Austin Mile 12

Austin Finish 2

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And, DONE!

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Austin Finish

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Overall, I highly recommend this race, whether it be the half or the full. It might not be your goal race for the year or a super speedy PR-producing course, but I can promise you will NOT be disappointed. Everything from the expo to the finish line is incredibly organized and well executed. There may be hills but the course is scenic so there’s a lot to keep your mind off of the elevation side of things.

Never been to Austin? Sign up for the race, book a hotel downtown, and take in all this great city has to offer. You will eat the best food you’ve ever had in your life while you’re here. Yes, IN YOUR LIFE. No exaggeration. You’ll fall head over heels for the Live Music Capital of the World – I guarantee it!


The finish line of the LIVESTRONG Austin Half Marathon also marked the end of the Austin Distance Challenge. Brad and I covered 61.7 miles worth of races between October and yesterday, side by side, stride for stride. (I still feel bad that his first half marathon was Decker. Yikes!)

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If Brad thinks he’s going to hide four chocolate chip cookies behind his back in the picture and not get caught, he’s clearly mistaken. Busted.

I loved every minute and mile covered together over the past few months. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish in the future!