Thursday, February 17, 2011

Austin Half Marathon Looms Ahead - Part 1

I have my first half marathon post-baby, post-C-section, on Sunday in Austin at the Livestrong Austin Marathon.  Sophie just turned 11 weeks old yesterday. Even though I plan to run a slow easy pace, as I haven't done this many miles since last July due to the pregnancy, I still am a person who likes to prepare to run the best race I can. I study my old race reviews, the course maps, elevation charts, starting line corrals, the works! I like to memorize the course and prepare mantras to repeat to myself at different times on the course.

So here is my race review from 2009 (some course changes since then).

I tweeted my tips and mantras as I prepared today... about 2/3 of the way through the course, here's what I jotted down (excuse the shorthand since it was tweeted!)  Search #austinmarathon for tweets like these tomorrow.
  • ~18k runners w mass start, no waves. Line up early @ ur pace sign. Start corral map:
  • Cut ur race time - run the shortest possible course. Hint: Start 2 the right! 3 right turns before Mile 1!
Note this differs from some who think people get so pinched on the inside corner they prefer to go to the outside. I find it keeps me from going out too fast, is less of an issue generally at my back-of-the-pack pace, and tend to squeeze through runners pretty well.
  • At Mile 1 look left, u'll see the finish line structure a block away. Take a mental snapshot 2 carry u thru!
  • Don't go out too fast. Conserve energy, slow gradual uphill from miles 3-6 will be there b4 u know it
  • Miles 3-6, 200ft climb. I recall by mile 6 ur like "it won't end". Must remember down comes after up here, yay!
  • I'm ok if I lose a little time on mi 3-6 (uphill) bc I get it back in mi 6-9 (downhill).
More thoughts to come tomorrow! Since this is like my 20th half marathon I think, one mantra I'm using throughout is, "My body knows the distance." and "Trust the training".  Another favorite I often use is "Take what this race day has given me." meaning to do the best I can for the day's personal and environmental (weather as an example) conditions.

And yes, to those who just like to go out and run, this looks overly analytical. I'd love to know, informal survey, how do you prepare?


  1. Great tips! Wish I could say "trust the training". LOL

    Due to my lack of training, at the starting line, I always take a moment to pray for safety...for myself (particularly my body) and for the safety of others. I always hear of deaths after marathons. It's sad, but no one can predict when their body has had enough! :o(

    Am excited for you. Hope you have a fun and safe run!

  2. I love the half marathon distance. It sounds like you do too. I generally follow a race plan - although I have not for the one I am doing on Sunday. I always make sure I get my long runs in.

  3. Will be thinking of you Sunday.

    I definitely look at the course map and elevation. I also set myself a goal and determine general pace. And lastly, I usually pre-determine how much I'm willing to endure. If I'm going for a PR or milestone, I might be willing to suck it up more. I do not aim for a PR every race.

    I love the "take what this race day has given me." Great words. Some days its just not in the cards.