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Tried so hard…

The Austin Half Marathon KICKED MY BUTT!  I felt mentally strong going into the race and truly enjoyed the first 9 miles, but then things went quickly downhill from there.  I finished with a 2:55:10 and a 13:17 avg pace.  Here were my mile times:

11:52, 12:04, 12:37, 13:27, 12:52, 12:51, 12:03, 12:13, 13:07, 14:20, 16:01, 16:06, 13:56, 8:57 (last .18 miles)

I went into this race hoping to run about what I ran for 3M (2:38) and if that wasn’t possible, hoping to hit under 2:40 or at least beat my slowest half time (2:42).  Well, I failed all of those goals!  I thought the crowds would be tough but they really weren’t.  It was SOOO much better than San Antonio in that regard.  I felt really good the first 3 miles but then the slow climb up southbound Congress started to wear me down a little bit. I still felt strong though.  Once we turned at 290/Congress and headed up the access road (another hill!) and turned right on 1st Street, I knew the next few miles were going to be the easiest of the race and I was ready for them!

Right before mile 6, I noticed a lady wheelchair racer struggling up one of the first hills.  She’d go a couple of inches and then stop.  I felt great, so I decided to go over and ask her if I could push her up the rest of the hill.  She said “sure!” so I did and then I gave her a good strong push at the top to give her some momentum.  I knew doing this was risky, but I had to do it.  We were all running with two legs and she was obviously struggling.  How could I not help her?  Afterwards I still felt pretty good and ended up doing great on miles 7 and 8.  Once 9 rolled around though, I started struggling some.  It wasn’t too bad yet, but I could tell I was hurting and I started getting worried about what the 10-13.1 would bring. I knew these were the hardest miles of the race and given how I was feeling, I knew it was going to be seriously hard and I was right (and then some!)

I ran (I’ll call it running – it wasn’t fast, but I was still going through the motions) up Winstead and I was HURTING.  My back was killing me and all I kept thinking was the worst was still yet to come.  I kept telling myself “run, run, run – don’t walk! don’t walk!”  I hadn’t walked in a race (or even a long run) since August 2010 so I didn’t want to start now.  I pushed myself up Winstead and thought Katie and my dad might be @ mile 10 and they were and when I saw them, tears welled up in my eyes.  I knew I was in trouble.  I gave Katie a hug and locked eyes with my dad, telling him how bad I was hurting and he gave me some encouragement and I kept going.  Katie even ran alongside me for a little bit. I wanted that to be the wind in my sails to get me through the next 3.1 miles but it just didn’t (and that made me feel even worse!)

From about 10.5-12.5, I alternated between running and walking.  My back was killing me.  I’d close my eyes, running or walking, and thought I could just fall over and be unconscious.  That’s really how I felt.  It was so defeating.  The hill on Enfield was BRUTAL.  I walked it, but even that was a struggle.  I was so disappointed in myself.  I knew once I walked once, I’d probably not be mentally strong enough to not walk again and I was right.  Maybe I hit “the wall” that I’ve been told about.  Felt like a wall!

I decided to try and run the flats (ha – there weren’t many) and downhills and walk the uphills if absolutely necessary.  Around 12.5, I picked it up and didn’t walk anymore.  That last half-mile I was going super fast, which showed me my mental game screwed me up because if I had that level of energy left in me, I could’ve given more those last 3 miles.  Damn.  But I ran like crazy that last half mile and when I crossed the finish line, I was spent. Done. Wow. Yuck. Ouch.

I walked/hobbled over to the Rogue tent and saw my teammates.  I found out most of them walked at the end, too, and that made me feel better.  The temperature, the humidity, the wind, the hills, and I hate to admit it, but pushing that lady up the hill in the wheelchair, all impacted my time.  If I had to do it over, I still would’ve helped her, but maybe I should’ve slowed things down those next couple of miles to regroup.  Not sure.  So I’m glad I did it, but I didn’t perform as well as I had hoped.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Wade Pettengill
    February 21, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Awesome job. Somethings are more important than your time. Bet that lady in the wheelchair told a bunch of people about your kindness. Karma is now on your side and it’s more powerful than any sports drink. You should be proud……

    • February 21, 2011 at 8:19 pm

      Thank you, Wade! I looked her up in the results and she was the only half-marathon competitor in a wheelchair. Big thumbs up to her for doing it. I can always use some good karma =)

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