Texas Hill Country
October 12, 2020
Taking the Challenge
10 years ago, I completed a series of races called the Austin Distance Challenge. Six races, each about a month apart, starting with a 10k and working up to the Austin Marathon. My goal at the time was merely to make the podium in my age division, and in the end, I won my age division and came in 2nd overall. The guy who won was an accomplished collegiate cross-country runner, was about 6’3”, and had legs up to his face. By the end of the series, his cumulative time was a whopping 30 minutes faster than mine. He beat me by 15 minutes in the marathon alone. I never stood a chance. But I’d still accomplished even more than I’d dared to dream.
After that, I stopped paying attention to the ADC. I figured I’d never win it outright, and I didn’t live any longer. On top of that, I fell out with running. I’d already accomplished essentially every running goal I’d ever had, which was to run a sub-3:00 marathon and to run Boston. I started biking more, did a triathlon, then moved away from Texas. The ADC became something I did once.
Eventually, I got back into running, mostly on trails, and moved back to the Texas Hill Country. Last year, I ran the Austin Marathon, and out of curiosity, I checked to see if the ADC was still a thing. It was! Then I saw the results. Shoot, I could do that. They were good, but not that good. For the past 3-4 years, if I’d joined and taken it seriously, I might’ve won. Should I give it another shot?
What the hell.
$300-something later, I was registered for all five races. Yeah, it’s down to five. The 10k has become a mere 5k, and the 20-miler is gone. Which is a shame; I liked that distance. Now there’s no distance between a half-marathon and a marathon. That’s a big difference!
The funny thing is there’s another race I’m strongly considering, coming up awfully soon: Cactus Rose 100-miler. It’s in between the first and second races, which means my races this fall will go 5k, 100 miles, 10 miles. Kind of a swing there.