About Me

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Austin, Texas, United States
I'll make you laugh, or break my neck trying. This is usually accomplished with daily bouts of swimming, biking and running. A former "chub-a-holic," I got fit and healthy the good old fashioned way and went from a mid-pack athlete to top age group runner and triathlete. I'm a Writer and USAT Level 1 Certified Triathlon Coach. I guess that makes me part Tina Fey and part Jillian Michaels. Visit my coaching site at www.fomotraining.com

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Can you say PR??

Congratulations to my Gazelle pals and others who put together some amazing times at this year's 3M Half-Marathon. While the course was slightly more difficult than year's past, it's still a downhill course and fast as hell. It's definitely a gauge of people's overall fitness levels.

Last year, my running partner Amy and I, hammered this race with PRs (Personal Records) of 1:34:08. I've never been more shocked to run 13 miles at an average pace of 7:11. This kicked off what turned out to be a year of PRs in 2006. We talked about 3M all year long and how we laughed when Coach said we could do a 1:36. We thought--"NO WAY" and then turned in a 1:34. All year long, I grew stronger and looked forward to the potential of knocking my 1:34 down.

Well, it wasn't meant to be for me this year. Because of my nagging tendonitis, I pretty much decided against this race in early January. While it's one of my favorites, my PR right now is all about my "personal recovery." It didn't stop me from meeting Richard and Stephanie this morning to cheer for those we knew and didn't know. It was cold, but clear this morning in Austin. I had bundled up with two pairs of pants (running tights with track pants over the top). In the back of my mind, I thought I might hit the trail later for a couple of miles. I was also wearing a turtle neck, running shirt and running jacket with a hat and gloves. By running standards, I was pretty bundled up. By spectating standards, I was wishing I had on two pairs of socks!

So, there we were staked out at Mile 11 in Hyde Park by Richard and Stephanie's house. Elite people started coming by and we joked at how none of them even looked like they were breathing hard. Plus, to glance at them, it doesn't look like they were running all that fast, when in fact, they were hauling ass! We cheered for our usuals and shouted "Go Gazelles" whenever we saw the familiar logo. I had my Gazelle shirt on, but wasn't about to unzip my coat.

Finally, after several minutes of yells and cow bell clanging, I saw Amy. Actually, she saw us. I started running along side of her and she said, "I need you! I'm dying." (it was in that exhausted runner tone of voice) That attitude is so unlike her and I knew she was hurting. I'm not sure what I was doing, but I just kept running along side of her like the stay puff marshmallow that I was looking like in all of those clothes! I asked what she thought she was running and she said 1:33. That was a PR pace and I was not about to let her lose it. I just kept along with her in our sub 7min pace saying, "Focus...Focus...Focus..." I saw a woman that I recognize in our age group up ahead about 20 yards. I said, "See that girl in the gray tank top? She's in our age group and you're going to beat her."

"I have to catch her first," said Amy.

"We will."

By this point we hit some nice downhill on Duval and passed the 12 mile marker. One mile to go. I heated up quickly and had no idea if I was helping her keep the pace or slowing her down. I could feel my shin pain as it started to go, "What the hell are you doing???" I didn't care. We started picking off a couple of people so I knew we were doing ok. At 12.5 miles, we passed the woman in the gray tank top and never looked back. I kept with her until she entered the Finisher's chute and just kept shouting words of encouragement. Her finishing time:
1:33:17 She did it. She hit her PR by less than a minute! I looked at her official results and her first half was a 7:09 pace and second half was a 7:06 pace. Like I said, I have no idea whether we sped up or I slowed her down, but she did it and I'm thrilled. I can't wait to get back out there and train with her.

Not more than 30 seconds behind were Thon, Frank, Amy Farley, Renee, Anne and other Gazelles who had kick-ass races!! They should be so proud!

Funny enough, I was freaking EXHAUSTED after that unexpected two-mile sprint! I haven't done any real speedwork in months and my leg certainly let me know it. I went from Starbucks cup in hand to full sprint in .01 second. I hung out at the finish and congratulated a few friends on their finishes. I began a two mile jog backwards along the course and cheered for those that I knew and could recognize. As soon as I got home, I iced my shin for a while and immediately followed that with a heating pad. I don't know if it's the best solution, but it feels much better.

So, to all those who had a great race today, Congrats on your PRs. I may not have done the entire race, but I built some confidence with my own PR...I'm well on my way to a good "personal recovery." I'm still planning on running the AT&T Half Marathon on February 18th with Shawn. That, in itself, is good enough for me.


Anonymous said...

amy's story tears me up. that's really cool!

Mike said...

You were a good friend to Amy for doing that! I wish I could have been out there supporting all of the Gazelles.

Kay said...

Great 3M story! I was at mile 3.5 and at 9 cheering on my Austin Fit teammates. We had leftover salted potatoes, bananas and pretzels from a water stop on Saturday, so we handed them out along with Kleenex to whomever needed snacks & tissue.

Frank said...

It was great to see you out there!