Well folks it happened. Personal worst race probably since the Frederick Half Marathon almost a year ago. Personal worst 10-miler to date. And none of it was the race itself’s fault.
I really didn’t even want to write this recap. There really isn’t much to say because I had such a hard time enjoying and paying attention to the race course because I was so miserable. I had debated just leaving it at “this race sucked for me I don’t even want to talk about it here’s a picture of the medal at least I finished but I don’t feel like I earned it the end.”
I don’t know what’s up with my running lately. My last three long-distance races have gotten slower and slower. I ran the 10/20 at a slower overall pace than I did the RnR Dallas Half last weekend and I got in a good, not too heavy week of training in between.
But my legs felt like lead and around mile 4 my stomach just decided to bail on me.
I’ll try to focus on some of the good things:
I got into Austin around 2pm and hit the Expo, which was small but decently stocked with good vendors. It was the last couple of hours of the Expo so, pro-tip, they had marked down all their official race merchandise just to try and clear stock, so I got a sweet half-zip long-sleeve for $25 marked down from $60. Nice! After the Expo I went to the Harry Ransom Center at UT Austin to explore an Alice in Wonderland exhibit – y’all know I love me some Wonderland.
Afterward (pictured above) I checked into my hotel for the night and had dinner at a restaurant next door to my hotel, North by Northwest (haaa get it). The race was in the north part of Austin which was much more shopping center / recognizable chain-heavy than the rest of what I’ve seen of Austin (South Congress, Barton Springs, Downtown, and the campus area). But the food was good if not great, there was a musician starting to play just as I was finishing up, and the weather was gorgeous so I had patio seating. Perfect, right?
I was going to go to bed early but I was so restless and couldn’t sleep. I slipped out to go to BookPeople, Austin’s largest independent bookstore, to quiet my mind. Bookstores always relax me. I spent two hours just wandering around drooling over all the books I wanted to read. Finally I decided I really did need to go to sleep so headed back to my hotel having narrowed down my huge armful of wants to just 2 books.
Obviously I was super excited about my ridiculously fun race outfit, primarily brought to you by Rock City Skirts. With spring in full bloom here in Texas I was celebrating color and fun on this race. Unfortunately it turned out a little like Nike Women’s when I had a super photogenic outfit going and ended up passing every race photographer like I wanted to shove them over. There was no running happy in this cheerful little outfit. I felt really stupid later dressed so fun and having no fun at all.
Also, for the record, I think Austin is fantastic but I also think it takes itself way too seriously. I literally walked by a couple on my way into the corrals that, as I passed, I could hear saying, “Oh my God, seriously?! What the fuck is she wearing.” Um, sorry emo hipsters, but fuck you. I saw like one other girl wearing a sparkly skirt and everyone else was all business. Lame.
The morning surrounding this little comment wasn’t much better. I woke up late, hurried into my race gear and shoveled in my breakfast, and, following the directions of our super confident hotel check-in clerk, set out on foot for the start line, only to find it really was not so walking-distance friendly. It was further away than he said it was, and I was already running late, plus, when you tell someone they’re crossing the highway, they generally trust that you mean there’s some sort of walker friendly over or underpass. Not literally picking their way through the grass on the side of the highway. It was more like a hike to the start than a walk.
Upon arriving at the start I realized I had forgotten earbuds and noticed a cramp in my stomach and a cramp in my butt. Awesome. The longest I’ve gone without music before is 5 miles. This was gonna suck.
But for the first mile or two, I tried diligently to keep up my mood. I felt like the 10:30-11 minute pace I was working at was tough as balls, when normally my race pace is in the high 9’s or low 10’s at least for the first few miles (I always start out too fast). I hoped my heart rate would settle in, but it was really tough without music. Music helps bump my heart rate up with the adrenaline I get from loving loud music so much. The “20 bands in 10 miles” thing the 10/20 was advertising wasn’t really helping. It’s not like they follow you through the course. You pass them, enjoy them for maybe the three minutes you can hear them, then it’s quiet again.
I tried to distract myself with listening to the chatter of the people around me, but my stomach ache was getting worse and worse. It’s an issue I’ve had on several runs, starting after RnR NOLA and persistently becoming a little worse with every run. Sometimes it flares up even when I’m not running. It’s not crippling, but it’s agitating and now that it hasn’t gone away, becoming worrisome.
The one major highlight of the course was the band around mile 5.5, fronted by a chick who was amazing, had amazing stage presence and an awesome punk voice, and I passed them as they played Green Day. If I am narrowing them down from the “band guide” from the Austin 10/20 page, I think the band was Rain on the Aftermath.
In the end, I finished. I pretty much threw in the towel about a half mile after the 8 mile marker and walked most of the rest of it, running for as much as I could before my stomach just started yelling at me again. I crossed the finish line, took my medal, and trudged the mile and a half hike back to my hotel room in misery.
Let’s examine some factors:
- Not being able to sleep the night before
- Inconsistent training, though it has been happening
- Long walk to start
- Rushed through getting ready
- No headphones for my own music to pump me through some of the harder parts
- Race was not as flat as advertised – not the hilliest course ever, but definitely had some long stretches of inclines
- I’ve never really raced well wearing compression – might need to keep it to just a recovery tool
Okay, but. None of these were things I haven’t dealt with before, and yet this was the slowest pace I’ve raced at besides at a Disney race. My official finish time was 2:05:59, a personal worst for the 10 miler by over 10 minutes.
So, I’ve made a doctor’s appointment to see what’s going on with my body. It is tomorrow morning. Cross your fingers it’s something easily fixable. The motivation to workout is finally back and yet my body is saying no. And that is hugely frustrating.