Race Report // 3M Half Marathon (Austin, TX)

3M Half Marathon
Austin, Texas
Sunday January 21
Race Start: Cloudy & 64  // Feels Like 63 // Wind S @ 10 mph // Humidity 92%

Up at 5:54 AM
Fueled at
6:00 AM 14 oz Muscle Milk (160 calories)
6:30 AM 14 oz. Muscle Milk (160 calories)
7:00 AM 3 Clif Shot Bloks (100 calories)
7:30 AM 3 Clif Shot Bloks (100 calories)
8:00 AM 3 Clif Shot Bloks (100 Calories)
8:30 AM 3 Clif Shot Bloks (100 Calories)

Salted At top of race and every :30 minutes following without fail.

It was NASTY muggy.  I wore running tights (which turned out to be a poor choice, more on that later) and a t-shirt.  I also carried 26 ounces of water with a nuun tablet and crystal light.  I didn’t stop at any water/electrolyte tables until mile 10.  By that time, I’d consumed all my fluid and stopped at the mile 10 Nuun station and had them refill my 26 ounce water bottle with Nuun water and consumed that 26 ozs in the last three miles.

I started out too fast, but didn’t realize it until I hit the first mile marker.  I knew my HR was elevated, but I let it sit there, because I knew the first mile and a half was hilly, so I attributed the elevated HR to the hills, not the pace.  Turns out I was wrong.  But the quick start didn’t affect the rest of the race.  I pulled back and right before mile 3, found a groove/pace I could settle into.

One of the really interesting things for me was, there are three uncomfortable hills in this race.  Every year I’ve run it, I’ve dreaded them.  The first is at the beginning, because the start line is on a hill, then the other two are at different points during the race.  All three, I didn’t feel in my legs.  My legs were strong this year, and even though I had to pull back in order to not roll over into high Z3, I handled the hills without the usual “my legs are going to die, I need to walk” thoughts.  It was really kind of cool.

I haven’t been on a scale in a couple of months, because scales make me mad.  I’m doing the work and eating according to what doc says, I should see the scale moving down.  And when it doesn’t move down, I get discouraged.  BUT, my body is trimming up.  I know this because my pants don’t fit right anymore.  I had to buy new jeans earlier this month because my low rise jeans are REALLY low rise because they were falling off even with a belt on.  I tell you that because around the 5K mat, I realized that my running tights were sliding down, even though I had pulled them up and tied the string tight, they were still slipping and chafing and I knew I was going to be miserable when it came time to take a shower.  This was something I couldn’t plan for because who knew that tights that until that moment had never chaffed me would chafe!?!?  I love the tights, I race in them in winter months and run in them when I’m running outside in sub-60 degree weather, but apparently that was the perfect opportunity for the tights to remind me to ignore the scale and instead pay attention to my clothing…message received.

012418 3M Marathon.jpg

I struggled in mile 8 & 9, not because of HR or strength, but because it was so dadgum muggy that I was physically uncomfortable.  Even if I’d been running naked, I still would’ve been miserable.  THIS is why I will NEVER have dreams of racing in Hawaii in October with all those other great triathletes.  Humidity and/or heat and I are sworn enemies!

Additionally, I stopped fueling 1.5 hours into the race, the humidity was too great and my stomach wasn’t taking it.  I did the same thing at MCM, although I did it unintentionally at MCM.   I’m not sure how to fix/overcome that stomach shutdown.  I know I NEED fuel and acquiescing to my “closed for business” stomach is not a sustainable way to cope.  I need to work on that.  And I think the warmer it gets, the more opportunity I’ll have to push myself to ignore the stomach.

At mile 10, I tried to shake off the humidity funk and I told myself that I had a 10K to go, so I needed to pick it up.  And I am REALLY proud to say that mile over mile, I negative split those last 3 really proud of that.

The best part of the race was right after I started the final 5K, it started to rain as the opening strains of "I can see clearly now the rain is gone" piped through my headphones.  I smiled HUGE and laughed at the "glitch in the matrix" that made that happen!

My only negative about this race is heart rate.  My legs felt strong all the way through the race.  Even after the race, I was walking around like a normal human being (except when I had to go up and down stairs) there was tightness but there was not the hobbling: “take me now death” pain/discomfort that is the usual after a long race for me.  I was so strong, but my HR slowed down the process.  That’s infuriating.  AND on top of that, I thought I ran faster than last year (which was a total crap fest) but I didn’t.  I was looking at the wrong year when I was comparing times.  AND I actually ran slower than last year, but I ran stronger than last year…I WALKED a lot last year.  I cannot reconcile that, and it makes me disappointed and angry.  What am I not doing?  Or what have you told me to do that I’m doing wrong/or not at all?  I’m not sure how to process this one, I’m disappointed.

post script to this post: my coach and I are currently looking at different stressors that may be the cause of the elevated heart rate.  There are so many variables at play and all are being considered.  While I wasn't happy with my speed/performance, I'm relieved I have a coach who knows what he's doing and is strategically helping me address the issue!



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