RunTex 20 Miler
I arose at 4:30 in the morning to head to Georgetown for the RunTex 20 miler, which was starting at 7:00 AM. It was about 35 degrees out and wouldn't be over 40 before gun time. The sun wouldn't be up yet either. But at least it wasn't windy.
The race started and ended at Georgetown High School. Peyton and I got out of the car and walked around a while before finding out that the high school was open for people to stay warm inside. I stretched and tried to use the bathroom. Didn't work. Might spell problems later...
I headed towards the start line as 7:00 was approaching and looked for port-o-potties nearby. Heard that the start time was pushed back to 7:30. Well at least the sun will be up. Went back inside again. Went to the bathroom with more success. It’s good to be hydrated.
I lined up wearing my normal shorts and a black long-sleeved running shirt. Was shivering at the start line. Was funny to see the full gamut of people in tights on every limb, layers over that, and hoods, as well as some people still wearing short shorts and no shirt. Are you kidding me?!?
The race started and I took off at what I thought was a moderate pace. Saw a pair of thirysomething guys holding steady and followed them. They introduced themselves, seemed friendly. Said they'd be trying to hold a 6:15 mile pace. I was going for 6:30 today. Figured I'd follow them for the first 4-5 miles, then let them go. Good to earn yourself some buffer to play with later, and I always start fast, whether I mean to (or want to) or not.
Somewhere between 4 and 5 miles I let them go. They were only getting away from me slowly. Pretty much exactly what I wanted. My hands were still really cold and my thighs felt kinda cold too. Should've worn my longer shorts today to keep the cold air off of them.
We turned north and all of a sudden I was cold. There was a 7 mph wind coming out of the north. That's not much and will hardly slow you down at all, but compared to heading south, that's a 14 mph difference. And when it's cold out, you feel that. Got through the wind after two miles and started warming up again.
The course was described as mostly flat, some good hills but nothing terrible. That was mostly accurate, but there were lots of what I'd call inclines and declines. Not too bad really if you know how to handle it. There were a few steep ones, but they were short enough that they weren't hard to handle.
At mile 8, I felt my stomach turn. Nooo!! It was slowly getting worse. I told myself that I wasn't allowed to use a port-o-potty until after mile 12, and only if it was affecting my speed. At mile 12, I was still hanging in there, and somewhere between mile 14 and 15 I made it go away by making myself think of something else. I really think a big part of it is all in my head. Was hurting me pretty bad for a while though.
I was still holding a 6:30 pace with almost 30 seconds to play with after 15 miles. Didn't feel too bad. As long as I didn't hit the wall in the last five miles I'd be fine. After the 17 mile marker, there was a long uphill that lasted about 3/4 mile, and 1/4 mile of it was pretty steep. Slowed me down a bit and took it out of me by the end. Made it to mile 18. Still ahead of pace by 20 seconds. I got this.
With less than a mile to go, I was at a street crossing. There was a cop in the intersection to stop cross traffic when there were runners coming and let them go through in the gaps of runners. He stopped a few as I approached, 2-3 on each side. I ran through dramatically blowing kisses to the cars with both hands. Less than 30 seconds later, some guy caught me from behind and told me that was the best traffic crossing he'd ever seen. Then he asked if I wanted to join him in chasing after a group about 40 seconds ahead of us. I was just cruising, so I told him to go take it.
At the end of the race, you approach the high school from behind and see the finish line about 30 yards to your left. But noooooo, you have to run all the way around the school the long way instead. I know that it wouldn't be a full 20 miles if you didn't, and it was only another minute and a half of running, but it was such a tease. I ran easy through the finish in 2:09:31, 29 seconds faster than my goal. Yesss! Peyton was there cheering me on.
I got my medal and walked around a while, partaking of the post-race food. Took off my shoe since my toes were bothering me again. Went inside the high school and stretched. Put my warm-ups back on since it was still only about 44 degrees out and my body was cooling down.
I found the results. Didn't win my age group this time. Some ringer from Colorado, likely a pro, came in and kicked my ass to the tune of over 11 minutes. But I won my age group among those in the Austin Distance Challenge, tacking on another 8:34 to my lead, bringing my lead to 22:51. At this point, the guy behind me has to beat me by about 40 seconds per mile in both of the remaining races. Barring disaster, not gonna happen.