Saturday, February 26, 2011

Austin Marathon Race Report

In the days leading up to the Austin Marathon, I was very anxious for race day knowing I tapered well, felt rested, and was in good enough shape to PR, but at the same time, worried that my right knee would flare up and possibly cause a DNF.  Turns out my knee was the least of my worries.

Austin Marathon/Half Marathon Expo
My family went with me to the marathon's expo on Saturday.  It was packed.  To keep it short, the expo was fun, but we stayed a bit too long for our 2 year old daughter Lacey, and she let us know it.  Between her tantrums, I ran into Bart Yasso.  As a long time subscriber to Runner's World Magazine, I've read a lot about him, and was hoping I would get the chance to say 'hi'.  We talked for a good few minutes, but I had to break off the conversation due to the aforementioned 2 year old.  So what happens when your 2 year old has a melt down in a public place?  If you're my wife or I, you take lots of pictures of the act for posterity.  I've included one below.
Bart Yasso and I at Expo.

Lacey going Postal,
 and me trying to hang on.

My wife, Lora, and our friend
Keri from California pictured
at our hotel.
The whole idea to run Austin came from a childhood friend of my wife's named Keri.  Her and her husband flew out from the San Fransisco area, and we hung out for the weekend together.  She reads my blog, so to Keri I'd like to say, "It was great to see you again after 9 years.  You rocked the marathon.  Hope to run another with you in a couple years.  Maybe next time you'll babysit our little ones so Lora and I can hit the clubs. :-)"
Blogger meet up with Jim pre-race
with Texas Capitol in background.
As planned, I was able to meet fellow blogger Jim from 50 After 40 for the first time before the race.  He posted a very detailed review of the course and the city on his blog.  Although we didn't start the race off together, it took us over 4 minutes to cross the starting line once the gun went off.  We then spent the first couple miles wasting energy trying to get around all the slower runners who didn't line up according to pace.  We both agreed the next crowded marathon we do, we'll line up more toward the front.  Our expectations before the race was that I would be running a faster pace than him, but he caught up to me after mile 13, and we ran the next 4 miles together before I told him to go on.  We spent most of our time on the run together talking about blogging and marathoning.  It's kinda ironic we live about 3 hours from each other, but he drove 12 hours, and I drove almost 10 hours to make our rendezvous possible.
Mid race.  Feeling pretty good
at this point.
As far as how the race went down for me...  It was an up and down race just like the course.  I started off feeling good, but my pace was off a little due to the crowd of runners and the first 5 miles going uphill into the wind.  After mile 5, we turned around and ran a few miles downhill and with the wind.  Not suprisingly, my best splits came at this point (about 30-45 seconds below MP), and my heartrate actually went down.  However, I was starting to work up a real sweat from the heat/humidity, and the worst hills were coming up.  I wish I took some pics of the hills on this course.  They weren't long, but they were over a 10% grade and right after you finished one, another wasn't too far behind.  I finally bonked around mile 20 where the race starts a gradual decline toward the finish.  Despite having the easy part of the course on my side, I was still slowed by the headwind which totally cancelled out any benefit I had from the downhill part of the course.  After mile 22, any hill I got to larger than a speed bump, I resorted to a brisk walk to get to the top.
Jim and I tearing up the road.
Finished in front of the Texas Capitol.
Nice photo op.

Jim and I now BFFs

Keri has a determined look as she's about
to chick a guy 40 yards from the finish.
Austin Elevation Chart from my Garmin

2Slow4Boston Austin Marathon Stats
Chip Time3:40:36
Overall Place550/4820
Age Group89/490
Average Pace8:25
One year ago, a 3:40 would've been a PR by 5 minutes.  Now, it is a bit of a disappointment being 5 minutes below my current PR, and PRing (BQing) is one thing that drives me to train hard.  However, my finish time is only on paper and doesn't take into account the hills and the adverse weather conditions (60 degree temps, 90% humidity, headwind from South).  On a different course on a different day, I have little doubt of narrowing my BQ margin and running a sub 3:30.  Looking at my overall place, 550th, is in the top 11%, and that is probably the highest ranking I've achieved for a marathon.
Bart Yasso deja vu

I saw Bart Yasso all over the place on race day.  Here is a random pic from the finish line area, but I saw him a couple times along the course, and he was at the finish line to greet the runners as they completed their race.  Right after I took this picture, we shook hands.  Not only did he remember me from the expo, but he remembered my name too.

Kinda hard to see from the picture to the left but I'm taking an ice bath.  I guess my hotel had pretty good water for the ice cubes to be clear.  I stayed in the ice water a little over 10 minutes.

While I'm on the topic of the bathtub, check out the shower head in our hotel room.  I swear it's the shortest one I've ever seen/used.  Did they have midget plumbers plumb the rooms?  Maybe a rookie plumber, or maybe they were trying to save on copper pipe.  There is obviously room to spare towards the ceiling.
I leave you with a couple pictures of a cave we toured
while vacationing in Austin.
Almost pretty enough to be wallpaper.


Anonymous said...

Congrats on your race, that elevation chart looks BRUTAL! Your form in your race pics looks magnificent. I'm sorry you didn't make your goal, but it looks like you had a good time and still had a fantastic time with some really tough conditions. I bet that ice-bath felt good!

misszippy said...

That looks and sounds like a tough day out there--but you made the most of it. Congrats for turning out a great time.

Love the meltdown pic and the shower pic. Bet contorting to fit it after running 26.2 was lots of fun!

A Prelude To... said...

Great report! First - I LOVE that picture of Lacey going postal. Hilarious!

That's cool about Yasso remembering your name. Can you imagine how many new people he met that weekend??

I love that you and Jim were able to run together. Too funny about living 3 hours away, yet traveling 10 miles to meet :D

Detroit Runner(Jeff) said...

Great report. Love the detail. You and Jim are awesome. Wish I could be that fast. I would love to meet Bart as well. Remembering your name - how cool! I mean he must meet at least 10,000 people that weekend. The BQ is right at your toes but holy cow what an incline - 10%. I probably would not have signed up seeing that elevation change.

Rose @ Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri said...

I hate too short showerheads. And they seem to be everywhere. I mean, if it's too tall, no one loses, but too short? Awful.

Char said...

That elevation shows a really tough course. It wasn't the type of course to be getting a PR on so well done on your time.

Paul said...

Glad you had a fun time down there...Austin is fun.

Hills..ugh! Humidity...ugh! Easily a PR race if it was flat and cool.

Re: shower heads. When I remodeled our house I put the shower head high enough that I don't have to crouch.

ajh said...

Laughed out loud at that shower head! Lots of great pictures!

Nelly said...

Sounds like it was a great experience! Like everyone I was cracking at the pic of Lacey going postal, haha And the shower head pic is hilarious too, is it designed for people 5 feet tall or something? haha

Sounds like you had a great race overall, the elevation profile looked brutal, and with humidity and a headwind that is rough. 2nd fastest marathon is really fast. Like you say, I bet you will beat your marathon PR soon and get close to that BQ time...

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

Great job considering a tough course! And, great city to run in!! Sorry you missed a PR, but wow, you still ran a great time!!!

Jim ... 50after40 said...

A week ago (at the time I'm writing this), we were standing at the starting line, dreading the hills of Austin. Running together for a few miles was one of the funnest things I've done in a marathon, hopefully we can do Prarie Fire together some day or something!

It was great to meet you and your wonderful family - the shower pics were hilarious! You're too hard on yourself about the race - it was a GREAT time and that was a tough track!

Hopefully we'll get together again soon! Great race Jon!

Christi said...

What a great lookin' family! I am glad that you had a good time in Austin even if you were not completely happy with your race. 11% is a great finish standing!

FYI, I hate short showers also. Seems like that is standard in hotels.

The Slow One said...

Wow! That elevation map is a little insane for a marathon. Good job!!

Chris K said...

I am 100% sure you can run a 3:30 with the right conditions. Austin could not have been more different than my cool and flat Surf City U.S.A. race 3 weeks ago. I'd bet the farm on a 3:30 for you.

BTW, Jim looks like Jim Harbaugh, eh?

Don't forget, I "officially" gave you the Stylish Blogger Award.

Katie said...

Congrats on an awesome time with those hills!! Find a flat course and you've gotta PR :) FYI: Running an 8 min pace at 10% incline is the equal effort of a 5:47 pace on flat road. :D

Big Daddy Diesel said...

COngrats again on your race

Yuck, looks like 10 miles going up hill, that is not fun for me

Being Robinson said...

awesome report. nice shower shot. um, how did THAT work out?! haha. congrats again, hope to see you soon.

Jill said...

Wind and hill - boooo! I guess you gotta expect that in Austin so just chuck this race up to a "trainig race" and focus on the next :). Nice work and wow, I love the family pic at the bottom!!!

Vava said...

Congratulations on a great race and a terrific time! Just found your blog via Nelly on the run and can totally identify with your profile statement about taking up running on account of injuries incurred from other sports. When people ask why I don't play this sport, or that sport, my stock answer is that I can only go straight. Perhaps you're the same?

Anyway, best of luck on your journey toward a (now tougher) BQ. I'm also too slow at the moment, but that's the primary objective for me as well.


The Boring Runner said...

Congrats! Man, I didn't realize that the elevation of that race was as brutal as it looks. AMAZING that you were able to get it done!

I LOVE the picture of Bart as well as of the melt down....and the picture of you in the ice bath....and of you in the shower. Actually, pretty sweet pictures all around!

shannon said...

Congrats on the Austin Marathon finish! The elevation chart looks a bit daunting, nice job with the 3:40. Love, love the picture of you in the shower! I'm going with the "trying to save on copper pipe" scenario! :)

Nelly said...

Thanks for the comment on my blog about the trail run I did last week! That run really was amazing. The sky and the weather was perfect. I might need to back off a bit on long runs like that, my body is not liking me right now after doing 13 miles today, haha Hopefully you are recovering after your marathon!