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Half marathon sale

February 26, 2018

After my last half marathon (3M Austin 2017), I was left conflicted about racing. I wanted to take a break from racing and stick to leisurely runs around the neighborhood. But lo and behold, Groupon sent me a deal for the 2018 Austin Half Marathon and, being the penny saver that I am, I signed up.

Along with the discounted price, there were some other good things about the race:

1. Carpool: my neighbor across the street was running the race too, so I hitched a ride with her downtown.

2. Startline: We were able to sneak in right to the startline thanks to a gentleman who propped the fence open.

3. Weather: it was mid-50s and stayed that way the entire time. A light breeze with a cool mist at the start. Perfect!

4. New headphones: I got to enjoy my Valentine’s Day gift – Bluetooth wireless headphones.

The EarPods are amazing! I forget I am even wearing them! No more getting my hands caught in flimsy wires. I can also wear them around the house listening to tunes while doing chores. Props to Eric for finding a perfect gift!

5. Finish: seeing my guys dressed in bright neon colors with a sign “Go, Mom, Go!” definitely was the highlight of the race and a much needed pick-me-up at mile 13.

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For leisure, I would not have run 13.5 miles (I am obviously not good at cutting corners, adding an extra .4 miles to the overall distance) and especially not at 8:25min/mile, so the race did push my running stamina.

On the other hand, some things were not as pleasant which I, nowadays, have very low tolerance for — I’ve turned into a “racing diva.”

1. Racing etiquette: the runners around me were mostly late 20s-early 30s males that some may refer to as beefcakes. They weren’t your typical slim, broken knees, tight hamstrings, weak arms runners, but instead Lululemon clad dudes who consume way too many protein shakes and spend too much time obsessing over their physique and fitness level. From fart clouds to overcrowding, those dudes did know the proper racing ettquette. My annoyance peaked when one of them tried to pass me on a tightly marked highway lane by saying “on your left” when clearly there was no room. With nowhere for me to move, he then said “I’ll come this way” and pushed me aside from the right. At this point I could not help but yell “of course you will! Just shove me over with your bulging bicep, why don’t you?!” I was wearing my headphones, so I did not hear his response nor did I care.

2. Course: I was excited to hear that a different company was organizing the race. The course I ran in 2014 was really hilly. I later found out the course was changed only for a full marathon (just before 13 miles, the half and full deviated, and half marathoners raced to the finish line, while full marathoners sadly waved us good bye. How crappy is that? I wonder how many fullers quit at that point?!)

I started off strong, even though it was an incline for three miles. Mile 8 was a hip replacer mile where I had to literally hold my right hip down to lessen the pain from uneven pavement.

I could not maintain my pace through the rolling hills after that but I still had enough to sprint at the very end, managing to beat my earlier time by 1 and 1/2 minutes. Chip time: 1:53:21.

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3. Recovery: As soon as I finished, the soreness kicked in. After over a week and numerous yoga classes, I am still not fully recovered. My regular five mile loop feels tough. Being a mom, I no longer have the luxury of post-race couch vegging. I am up and down: cleaning, cooking, washing, carrying and rough housing with my giant babies. I have lost the racing drive and my desire to compete with myself and others. I much more prefer my usual morning jogs as a warmup to a full day of endurance mom training that comes after that.

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I am writing this post as a reminder to myself: Next time I see a deal for a race (and there undoubtedly will be one) – resist the temptation to sign up! Instead shake things up by lacing up your shoes and heading to the Lady Bird trail while the boys play at Zilker Park. It’s a win-win for everybody!

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