2013 Shiner Beer Run Race Recap

Shiner Beer Run

We almost didn’t run this race. All week the forecast called for high winds, cool temperatures, and rain. 38 degrees isn’t exactly standard Texas weather, considering it was 89 on Thursday evening as I drove home from work with the A/C on. And I don’t mind running in the rain when it’s warm, but when it’s that cold? Eh, not really that interested. I took a few polls on Twitter and changed my mind more times than I can count between Wednesday and Saturday. Crazy thunderstorms Thursday night had me saying “no freakin’ way!” but the calm, somewhat dry morning on Saturday at 3:30am helped me make the final decision: we were heading to the Shiner Beer Run.

Race Day Wear: Poppy Lux Layer, Oiselle singlet, Lesley Knickers; also added a throwaway sweatshirt and gloves, neither of which I was able to toss. Definitely warmed up in a mile or so, but once we started running into the wind there wasn’t a chance in hell I’d part with the extra layer.

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The city of Shiner is two-ish hours from our house so we left at 5:30. Packet pickup was available during the week at 2 locations in San Antonio or the Shiner brewery itself, but since we live so far away we opted for race day packet pickup. The ride out to Shiner was long and boring, with a lot of country roads and views like this:

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Pre-Race: We were able to score a perfect parking spot across the street from the brewery, allowing us to sit in the car until 5 minutes before the start. This was clutch. Also pre-race I made a quick bathroom stop and somehow the drawstring of my pants disappeared inside of the waistband. Massive fail. I spent the ENTIRE RACE hiking up my pants. ugh.

Swag: Awesome, some of the best I’ve seen. The shirt was a Brooks Podium tech tee and I loved the design – AND the color. Glad some races are starting to move away from white shirts. We also got koozies, an iron-on decal, bandana, and pretty sweet cups at the finish line to hold our beers. And it should come as no surprise that the finisher’s medal doubles as a bottle opener.

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Race: Ugh. The first two miles were through town and neighborhoods, but after that? Absolutely boring. Very hilly with lots of cows, horses, and farmland. Miles 2-6 were uphill into the 20mph wind. Even though you were running, you actually weren’t moving at all. We ran with our heads down, holding onto our hats and headphones. The wind was an issue pretty much the entire time (unfortunately never at our backs) and light rain came in later miles. The race coordinators had reminded us repeatedly of what to expect at mile 6/7 and I expected to hate it… but it was actually my favorite part of the course. They were on a gravel/dirt path and my legs welcomed the change from the asphalt. The last 3 miles of the course resembled the final miles of ZOOMA Texas and were basically a death march. To be honest, the entire race was a death march.

There was a fair amount of spectators lining the course despite the weather and the course being somewhat inaccessible to cars. Everyone was super enthusiastic, offering high-fives and words of encouragement. There were plenty of water stops and two fuel stops: one had GU gels and one had GU Chomps. The course was clearly marked, with markers at every mile and arrows painted on the ground to ensure you wouldn’t make a wrong turn.

Post-race: What we’d been looking forward to for 13 miles!

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Each runner gets 4 (yes, 4!) beers at the finish. Shiner had a few of their regular brews on tap, as well as limited edition White Wing and seasonal Shiner Cheer. I loved the options!

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As for food, everyone received two huge smoked sausage links: one on a french roll and one in a tortilla. Strange, but hey – this was a Texas race. There was also potato salad but I wanted nothing to do with food that wasn’t warm.

We went on a tour of the Spoetzl Brewery and had the rare opportunity to see production in progress (usually it’s shutdown on Sat/Sun, but was kept open due to the holiday next week).

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After the tour we grabbed another round of beers and checked out the race merch tent. It was all Brooks items so while that meant great quality, it also meant higher prices. Last year’s race tees were on sale for $10 but seemed like an odd purchase for someone who didn’t run in 2012. Our final stop was the brewery’s gift shop, where we were able to grab a beanie and two coasters for $20. Pretty affordable for touristy items!

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Overall: Unless you’re a freak of nature and hills are your jam, this really isn’t a PR course. The weather is Texas is so unpredictable (as previously mentioned, comparing Thursday to Saturday) and last year’s race was hot and humid. My recommendation is to approach it as a fun run with friends and enjoy the post-race party. It’s super organized for only being in its second year. If you love Shiner Beer, you’re going to love this race – PR or not.

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Looking Ahead & Reevaluating My Goals

While reviewing my training log in Google Drive on Monday night I realized the Shiner Beer Run was NEXT WEEKEND. Obviously I knew it was soon since we recently flipped the calendar over to November, but  didn’t realize just how close it was until counting long runs between now and race day. Yikes.

Shiner Beer Run

Shiner was supposed to be my 2013 goal race but it’s been downgraded into a training run for Houston in January. We’ve done all of our runs with the dogs (the puppy desperately needs this time to get some energy out) and while the miles have been at a decent pace, we’re still taking breaks every mile or so for the dogs.

dogs on the run

This hasn’t prepared us enough to properly “race” Shiner, so we’ll be using it as a training run. After next weekend, I’m going to start doing treadmill runs during the week to supplement our puppy runs. This way I should be able to get in some speed/hill work that will boost my potential to run a fast race in Houston.

Do I think I’m going to go sub-2 in Houston? No I don’t. And I’m okay with that. It was a lofty goal I hesitated to put out there in the first place – but it’s still a goal.

Do I think I’ll PR in Houston? I’m not sure. My 13.1 PR was set last year after a really strong marathon training cycle. I’m nowhere near that fitness level right now. And I’m okay with that.

Life happens. Things came up that were unexpected (like adopting a super high energy but ridiculously adorable puppy!) and sometimes I chose those things over my running goals. I chose to bring our dogs on all of our runs because I absolutely LOVE exploring Austin with them and how excited they get when I lace up my running shoes.

So, am I disappointed that this 13.1 won’t be the grandiose race I expected it to be? A little bit. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to run strong and enjoy every scenic, hilly mile through the Texas countryside.

There are a lot of exciting things on the horizon and I’m really excited to see what 2014 has up its sleeve.

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?

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.

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?