The best part about doing the Austin Distance Challenge again is seeing improvements over the years based on the same race(s). I have hardly repeated any races, and yesterday I reaped all the benefits of knowing the course ahead of me. SO. MANY. HILLS. But I felt SOO much stronger this time around. I remember the corner at mile 8 from three years ago, where I finally felt a last push of energy, the strength and mental pep talk that got me through. I hit that point this time, and I knew I had it. Goal time or not, I was running this race stronger and smarter. And it was FUN.
This course was my first 10 mile race back in 2012. I had no idea what to expect out of my time. Then last year, I surprised myself with a super speedy Chicago 10 mile race (otherwise known as the race where my foot fell asleep). And yesterday, I barely squeaked out a minute PR on a much more hilly, wet and humid run. I held a steady 9:28 pace mile over mile and managed 8:45 for all three final miles. I also discovered that skipping down super steep hills is much easier (and way more fun) than actually running them. And even without my goal 1:30:00 finish, an 11 minute course record is definitely a feat I am proud of. Lots of progress in the past few years. Fingers crossed it means Decker will go smoothly next month!