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!
- Run Free Texas 80s 8k
Another year of the Austin Distance Challenge kicked off this past weekend with the Run Free Texas 80’s 8k. This was the first year I’ve run this race, and I very not-smartly never looked at the elevation map beforehand. And apparently Cedar Park is HILLY. I still somehow managed to squeak out an almost 5 minute PR with a 44:29 finish.
Looking back on year 1 of the ADC, I was still so new to running. I have come so far since that first race. I am really excited to see the continued growth from race to race as this season’s challenge progresses.
Lessons learned so far:
- Running with friends is always better. They push you past everything you thought you could do.
- Even after hardly running the week of the race, I have so much more endurance and strength than I thought I did. Years of continual running really does reap benefits.
- I don’t always need music. This has been huge for me, since I used to rely on it so much.
- Hills really do make you stronger.
- Neon really does make you faster.
Race #2 coming up in a month!
A cool front is finally heading our way this weekend. It is going to be a relief to run in something cooler than 85 degree temps with 90% humidity. Please and thank you. Fall running has been a very slow, sluggish start with the weather combined with a crazy schedule. But you make it work how you need to. And running is the best therapy for pretty much everything else.
It has been an entire year since my last marathon and I am itching to race again, despite being slow after a summer break. I am officially signed up for round 2 of the Austin Distance Challenge and have a few specific goals for this training cycle to manage all the craziness.
Stick to what works. I am a morning runner. My body likes it better. My routine is easier. I eat better throughout the day. It just works. Yes, a few days are night runs, but I have realized in order for training to be effective, I need to just go with what works. That also goes for my training plan and diet. I am switching things up a little bit from past cycles, but the key elements are the same.
Know when to let go. Training won’t be perfect. Miles will be skipped. Miles will be added. It will be crazy hot. And crazy hilly. The key is to know when to just go with the flow and start over tomorrow. This is extremely hard for me to do, so maybe writing it in public will help me stick to it!
Don’t do it alone. I have trained for all four of my marathons mostly by myself. Not this year. I found a friend crazy enough to race it with me, and since it is her first marathon, it will be an extra fun journey running with her through all the insanity that is marathon training. And the accountability will be a much appreciated benefit this time around.
Who else is looking forward to it finally feeling like fall? Any other crazies doing the Distance Challenge?