Archive for December 30, 2010

The most recent update to the Austin Distance Challenge was posted this week.

The distance challenge is the 5-race series that I have been competing in that will culminate with the Austin Marathon on February 20, 2011.

The further I progress in the race series, the more I am starting to appreciate how helpful it has been in preparing me for Austin. For first time Marathoners, this series is tremendous. I would strongly recommend it to any local runner of any ability level wanting to run Austin.

The race distances are challenging with a 10K in October, a hilly 10-Miler in November, a hilly half-marathon in December, another half marathon at the end of January featuring a fast downhill course and of course the Austin Marathon on February 20th.

Each race and distance poses a different challenge for the participants. The IBM Uptown Classic is a first-class 10 Kilometer race on a speedy course. There are some hills thrown in over the last half of the race to test the runners, where learning about pacing and racing is important to run a good time.

The Run for the Water 10-mile race was one of the more difficult race courses I have ever run. Climb after climb the runners test their strength and climbing skills while still “racing” over the 10-mile distance. Longer than a 10K to really let it all hang out, but shorter than the half-marathon, where runners could really put the hammer down to test their fitness level. I loved this race.

Race number three was the Decker Challenge Half-Marathon on December 12th. In its 32nd running, this race was absolutely as advertised – as one of the most difficult half-marathon courses in Texas. Hilly, windy, cold – Decker had a little bit of everything and really prepared runners for what the middle miles of the Austin Marathon will be like.

All throughout the series for runners who are new to racing, the Distance Challenge provides valuable lessons are to be learned.

What a large “race day” experience is like. How to handle water stops. How to dress appropriately for the weather on race day. What it feels like to run at 10K pace, half-marathon pace. Even what it feels like to struggle over the final miles of a hilly course. All great practice for the Austin Marathon in February.

All participants in the Austin Distance Challenge are required to register for, race in and complete all five events. If you miss one event, you are out of the challenge. Again, a great lesson in stick-to-it-ive-ness and perseverance. Every runner who completes all five events receives an Austin Distance Challenge Jacket and are eligible for overall as well as age-group awards, similar to what you would find at a single running event or race day.

After three races I feel pretty good about where we are right now. Seventh Place overall in the Male Standings, 2nd in the Male 40-44 Age Group.

Overall Standings after Race 3 of 5

As much as I would like to place in the top 10 at the end of the challenge or even take home an age group award, I am much more excited about “how I have raced” than the results from those races.

At IBM we were able to chase down a goal set during the hot Austin summer of running a sub 40:00 minute 10K time earning my spot in the elite amateur corral at this Spring’s Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC.

At Run for the water, I was able to really test myself in the hills of West Austin and start believing that I was in fact ready for Decker.

At the Decker Half-Marathon I again surpassed my expectations by running a sub 1:27:00 half-marathon on a tough, tough course. That effort earned me a guaranteed spot in the 2011 New York City Marathon which I will be able to run with my good friends Winston and Bob in November. That will also by Landry’s first ever trip to NYC, and an opportunity for my then 15 month old daughter to see a real-live Broadway show.

Next up on January 30th will be the 3M Half-Marathon my final run before entering the 3-week taper period leading up to race day. 3M is a course where a smokin’ fast time is very possible if I am able to stay healthy over the next month. Something sub 1:25:00 is certainly “possible” given the right conditions and a little bit of race day magic.

Male 40-44 Age Group Standings

We’re going to keep pushing to see if we can hold on to that number two spot in the rankings above, but I’m sure Michael Andre’ Ford is looking at the same standings I am looking to chase me down. As for Brendon Cohoon, a 2:59:00 runner at last year’s Austin Marathon, congratulations Sir!

You are simply crushing out there right now, I look forward to raising a glass to you at the post race Austin Distance Challenge party. Just some tremendous running you are doing out there – you give this aging Marathoner something to shoot for down the road.