Austin Marathon? Done! 🙂
I’ve run eight half-marathons and I’ve run the Austin race twice. Last year, I signed up for my FIRST marathon because I didn’t have a good reason not to (though I did have lots of fears). The Ascension Seton Austin Marathon was this past weekend and if you missed it in the title – I did it!
As an Austin Marathon Ambassador, I helped promote the event and volunteered at several expos while receiving free race entries and gear. It was my second year being an ambassador and it was lots of fun! This race has been a big part of my life for the last seven months, and I loved convincing my friends to run the race, training and sharing my journey, and being a part of the race day.
This post will tell you all about my marathon training, how the race went, and what I’m planning on doing next!
I started training for the marathon last summer as I was preparing for the wedding. My training schedule started on August 31st but with the wedding and honeymoon, I knew official training would be slightly delayed. I re-started training about a week after we got back in October. I ran about two to three times a week and did a cardio workout, usually spin, once a week.
For my long runs, I ran around my neighborhood and with my friend Ashley who trained for the half-marathon. I started dropping into Rogue Running’s Saturday runs and sometimes ran with my friend Sarah who’s in one of their running groups. The farthest long runs I did were 18, 20, and 22. They were all tough but I felt energized by them. I ran a big range, from a 9:50-minute mile on a short run to a 12-minute mile on a long run.
In Texas, running in the winter is more enjoyable than in the summer. After a while, I got used to the cold and even ran better in it. When I say cold, I mean in the 40s. Doing cryotherapy during my training helped with the cold too. But, there were plenty of mornings I chose to stay in bed than go run in the cold!
After every long run, especially farther than my previous farthest distance of 13.1, I was in awe of what my body was doing. Running started becoming easier and my endurance grew. From August to before my marathon, I ran about 302 miles of practice!
As for diet, I didn’t really have a set one, though I moderated my consumption of sweets and alcohol a little more. You can probably gather from my post about what I ate for dinner that I typically make healthier choices and avoid processed and fast foods. Some days I felt like my hunger was insatiable!
Austin Marathon Recap
It was good, strong, hot, and terrible.
My first goal for this race was to finish. If I was running strong, I wanted to finish in under five hours. If I was running very strong, maybe I could keep a 10:30-11 minute pace.
First, the numbers! Here are my splits from my bib chip:
- 5K: 32:26.2
- 10K: 1:03:31.0
- 15K: 1:37:15.7
- 20K: 2:10:45.2
- 13.1M: 2:18:36.9
- 25K: 2:48:26.9
- 30K: 3:25:58.6
- 35K: 4:10:59.7
- 22.5M: 4:21:30.7
- 40K: 4:56:13.1
- My chip time was 5:12:11.6, an 11:55/mile average.
- I was number 1969 out of 2867 marathon finishers.
- The average marathon time for 958 women was 6:46:23.14. The men’s average was 7:30:18.57 for 1909 people. (The men’s marathon winner ran a 2:28:11 while the women’s winner ran a 2:55:17. Wow!)
- There were 165 females in the 30-34 age range.
- My watch says my pace ranged from 9:51 (mile 5) to 16 (mile 21, I think I had a restroom break?).
Now, my race recap.
I started the race with Ashley. (Remember we ran the half together last year too.) She was doing the half, so she was going to run much faster while I needed to pace myself. That was hard! She flew off around mile five or six. I ran a solid and a bit fast 11 miles. After that terrible hill around mile 12 and breaking off from the half-marathoners about to finish, that’s when the dread set in and I thought wow, this is really happening!
I can’t remember a lot of the run because it was mostly mundane and all I was thinking about was moving forward. BUT I do remember seeing friends along the course and it made a big difference in motivation. Will and my friend Abby scootered around the city with their signs and I saw them at miles 7, 12, and 19. My friends Brooke and Scott (and their two-year-old Hazel!) were a nice surprise around mile 9.5. Ashley finished her half and met me in miles 21 and 25 to walk/run with me.
My mental game was strong throughout but my body started breaking down around mile 20 after struggling since mile 18. I had run the second half of the marathon at least three times before, so I knew the route and I remembered how strong those practice runs were then. But no matter how much I wanted to run, my legs hurt incredibly and my knee felt like it was about to pop off, something I hadn’t felt before. I ended up walking a lot of miles 20-25. I think now a lot of the struggle was I was becoming dehydrated because it was much warmer than I was used to.
From miles 24 to the finish line, the spectators were in full force with plenty of water and encouragement! I found a second wind and my body was ready after the walking break, so I sprinted to the finish line!
Some things that might have affected my race:
- I didn’t work-out the week before because I didn’t make time for it.
- I started antibiotics three days before the race. (Kaira nipped my lip and I had to get five stitches. The doctor said running would be ok.)
- I hadn’t been sleeping well three days before the race.
- I was running 2-3 times a week instead of the recommended 4-5.
- The temperature at the start was 52 and by the time I finished, it was in the 70s.
- The stitches were sore during the race.
- I knew I needed to keep a 10:30 pace to have enough energy at the end, but I did a few of the early miles at 9:50-10 pace, which was maybe too fast to have the endurance at the end.
I ran a marathon! That is a really cool accomplishment to me. (Updated the life list!) I also wish I had run a stronger race and it’s the competitive side of me knowing I could have. I over-analyzed the race above so that if I want to run another marathon one day, I can remember what I need to do and plan for to make it the best race possible! I spent the first few days after the race bummed, but I’ve stopped beating myself up about my performance. I’m proud to be a marathon finisher!
After the race and the day after the race, I wore compression socks and did a lot of laying on the couch. My feet were swollen, my legs were sore, I was trying not to be dehydrated, and my lip/stitches were sore. But I have all my toenails and I didn’t get seriously injured, so that’s a plus.
The good thing about my slower race is that I wasn’t as sore as I could have been! Recovery went a lot faster and I felt “normal” again after three days. This was very different from my original recovery plan that included an ice bath, whole body cryotherapy, and compression therapy.
(The below photos are from the Austin Marathon Expo. They had some really cool photo opportunities, including neon backdrops and a wall with every runner’s name.)
Even before I ran the marathon I was thinking about what was next. That’s what happens when your big fitness goal is accomplished in the second month of the year! (My other fitness goal is to do yoga twice a month.) I want to continue running and even with how tough it was, this race didn’t scare me away from doing another marathon!
Should I start training for next year’s Austin Marathon? Should I start training to PR a half (PR right now is 2:17) or run a sub two hour half this year? Should I sign up for the next Austin Distance Challenge (five races in five months)? I’ve already run more than 13.1 miles two months this year; should I do it every month this year?
During a long run, I was talking to my friend Sarah, who has big running goals in the next year, about running and she warned me that it gets addictive. How do I know? I could easily say yes to all of the goals in the previous paragraph. I’m currently in the best shape of my life. Why stop now?
ARE YOU IN? If you want to join next year’s Austin Marathon (5K, half-marathon, or marathon), the prices are at their lowest right now! Sign up now and make it happen!
P.S. I’ve had a complicated relationship with running. Take a look at all my running posts here!