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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Running… Texas Style!

This winter my big motivation was to escape the frozen plains, go somewhere warm, completely new and different that I'd never been with a little running involved.   Of course it had to fit into my crazy schedule of coordinating work, Jack's school schedule and life. The Austin 1/2 marathon was the perfect destination race and city to escape to.  It fell on Valentines / Presidents Day weekend, but was  about 1 month earlier than any other early season race I'd ever signed up for. One winter  decided to get ugly and nasty,  training for it became an adventure too. I flew off to Austin knowing I was short on speed, strength AND volume!  But I couldn't have been more excited for an early season race. 

I left chicago in an absolute white out. My plan to do an easy 30 min pre race run was blown out the window like the blizzard going across my front lawn making it impossible to see the other side of the street.
White Out!

 I quickly decided to run in TX once I landed and later found myself running here instead which was the smartest warmest and best procrastination decision I have made in a long time! 
Warm and Sunny


 I ran into my friend and fellow BettyDesigns teammate Erin Harvego on the plane. I didn't notice her until she got up towards mid flight. It was fun to catch up with her and very nice of her sister to give me a ride to my hotel. Chicago Betty's rocked Texas!

Race morning was perfect, once again being late to sign up for race or hotel worked in the best possible way. The only hotel with openings left was the one 2 blocks from the start. Darn. All I had to do was cross the street race morning with my coffee from the hotel lobby.   I loved this race, but was surprised at how big it was. It wasn't until the start that I hear there were 15000, runners between the 1/2 and full marathon but it was so well organized and friendly. Texans are so laid back and nice Ya'll!. I started the line not feeling super confident in my fitness thanks to blizzards, freezing arctic temps, crazy work schedules and more. One of my last long run days I spent more time shoveling 18 inches or traipsing through shin deep snow than getting solid running in. The long steady uphills over the first 3 miles or so helped solve the problem of me starting too fast like I usually do, but  found myself running a respectable pace through much of the race that I would have been happy with.  But the last 2  miles or so there were some nice big uphills that my legs and calves were surprised to see and ruined the nice pace I had going. I finished 6th/395 in my age group which I'll take with a smile on my face.  I have long since given up on feeling completely prepared for races anymore simply due to time and life, but also its been nice to spend time doing other fun things besides just spending every moment training. So I left the race feeling happy and satisfied but still motivated for more. 
Ouch

I felt like such a lucky girl all weekend.  A very special guy who I've been dating happened to want to come watch me race!!!,  and hang out with me on Valentines weekend. We had so much fun exploring Austin. I couldn't stop smiling all weekend!


Corner Star, bar  SMILING

My cousin Randy also lives there and came to take us to the absolute best post race recovery lunch I have ever had! I don't usually do BBQ post race!, but when I do I'll have pulled pork from the Salt Lick!  Omg this was so fun. Randy showed us around Austin, and gave tour of my Aunts gorgeous ….home/estate in the foothills followed by this amazing lunch.  It is quite popular and there was a very long wait but that just added to the fun!  Hanging out in the outside open area smelling this fabulous food smoking/cooking in the open BBQ pits,  live music and amazing company made it an amazing afternoon. 
My cousin Randy knows how to do post race!


I loved Austin, the race and will definitely want to go back next year. For now I am motivated to keep running and getting stronger, so hills late in a race won't be so much of a surprise. I don't have another race picked out yet but can't wait for winter to melt away and find another race to sign up for.  I know spring has to be coming soon!  I'm fighting off winter with flowers in my house, and buying knee warmers for outside rides and spring capris to hopefully run in a few less layers. Check out BettyDesigns for fun spring gear


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