We left Houston on Friday right after work and headed to the in-law's house in San Marcos. We
Our first stop was the Expo. I had forgotten that the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon was now sponsored by Livestrong. Kinda easy to remember when you see this plastered all over the place:
I have to admit that the Expo is one of my favorite parts of marathon weekend. I love checking out the vendors and shopping! I loved this shirt...we have little joke in my group of running peeps about being a badass, so naturally I sent this pic to the gang:
I ended up not buying it. Instead, the hubby and I were suckered into buying these:
Yes, you've seen them on TV. They're supposed to do amazing things for your balance, recovery, etc. Yeah, and I have some lakefront property in the Sahara....but the hubby convinced to to give it a try. Suckers. I also bought a couple of these cute headbands (thanks to June for the review on her blog!).
This is the swag from the Expo....love, love, love the computer bag! And, we also received a special SPI belt in honor of the race's 20th anniversary.
After the Expo, we checked into the hotel. Here's the view from our room...we could see the Capitol building, as well as the clock tower at the University of Texas (which we Aggies call t.u.).
Here are a couple of other pics from downtown Austin....
Next, we headed out to meet my awesome cousin and her husband for an early dinner. They moved to ATX a few years ago and scoped out some restuarants in an area of Austin on South Congress, also known as SoCo. Dinner was yummy!
After dinner, we headed for paradise...also known as "Hey Cupcake!", where I bought a cupcake for the post-race celebration the next day.
Here we are in front of the cupcake trailer. Apparently there's a trend in Austin that I didn't know about...they take an empty lot in a trendy area and line up a bunch of trailers and trucks (think ice cream truck type trucks) that sell food. So, what we call a "roach coach" in Houston is trendy and cool in Austin. See what I mean about weird? :-) They sell everything from Sushi to shaved ice to cupcakes. We saw a couple of other lots like this along the race route the next day.
After cupcakes, we headed back to the hotel, set out of our clothing/gear for the race and called it a day.
It was great staying in the hotel that was only a few blocks from the start line, because it meant we could sleep in a little! Here's the hubby before the race...he doesn't look nervous at all.
We headed over to the race start, which was right next to the Capitol...talk about an awesome sight!
It was warm - close to 70 degrees. And humid as heck. Oh, and windy too! You can see the flag on the capitol (on the right-hand side of the pic above) and it's standing straight out. If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know I hate warm temps and humidity. Perfect race conditions for me are closer to 40 degrees...but, I tried not to complain. Afterall, this was the Hubby's 1st race and I was there for support. Here's a really lousy pic of the two of us (darn camera phone!)
And one of the Hubby warming up...
We lined up with a pace group and waited for the race to start. Finally, we heard the National Anthem and the crowd got quiet. After about 15 minutes, we started to move forward and cross the start line. Little did I know, the race route was going to be pretty crowded the entire race.
We were almost instantly greeted by an incline. I'm not gonna lie, it sucked. The 1st few miles were all hills. By mile 3, we both agreed that we would more than likely not hit our goal pace. We had done no hill training. None. Hills on a cold day would have been bearable. We would have groaned here and there, but we'd suck it up. Hills combined with warming temps, humidity and a bit of wind and we were losing some of our umph with each mile. But, I have to give the Hubby props - he handled the hills like a champ. I wanted to walk up a few of them, but he kept running and that made me keep running, too. He's been reading Chi Running, so he used some of the concepts in the book on the hills and it seemed to help. Around mile 3, I told myself that doing this 3 weeks after Houston was just plain STUPID.
Luckily, miles 4-8 were pretty flat. We seemed to pick up the pace a bit and make up for some of the lost time. Then, we hit some hills again. I started to think about how much I didn't want to do this and wondered how bad I'd feel with a DNF. I decided that I couldn't handle a DNF and kept trucking along. I also questioned whether or not I really wanted to do NYC in November. I'm still pondering that one.
Around mile 9, I started getting grumpy...honestly, I'm surprised it took me that long. :-) I starting walking up one of the hills. I tried to start running again before the Hubby noticed, but I got caught. Busted! I told the Hubby to go on, but he stopped and walked too. Later he admitted that he really wanted to walk, but didn't want to be the first one to stop running. By mile 10 we were happy to only have a 5k left. The worst hill came at the end of mile 11. It was the kind of hill that makes you want to punch the race director in the face and yell, "WHAT IN THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING????"
There was one more hill at the end, but by that point we didn't care. We started seeing the signs stating "800 meters", "400 meters", "200 meters" and sped up. Hallelujah, we were almost there!!! Finally, we could see the freaking finish. The hubby grabbed my hand and threw it in the air. Yes, we were one of those cheesy couples holding hands at the end of a race. It was great. ;-)
We got our medals, grabbed a little food and headed through the crowd to claim our finisher's shirts. We could hear the announcements about Desiree Ficker winning the women's race and Lance Armstrong competing in the half (it's his race afterall...). Exciting stuff! Here's a pic of the Hubby after the race...I am so stinkin' proud of him!
The shirts were cute (although the women's seems a little short) and the medals were great as usual.
After showering, we checked out of the hotel and headed back to the in-law's house where I enjoyed my cupcake. It looked prettier, but got a little banged up during the transport to the hotel and San Marcos...I promise, it was AWESOME!
After visiting with the family for a few hours, it was time to head back to H-town. We had originally planned to stay another night, but the Kiddo's holiday at school ended up being a make-up day for our "snow day" a few weeks ago. Can you tell the kiddo's had a lot of fun with Grandma and Grandpa? They were tired!
All in all, it was a great weekend and a great race. I'll give you some of my post-race thoughts about the race next time.