eliot's combined family and running when he went down to austin, texas, last weekend for the livestrong marathon. and, as any good road trip must include a nod to the local food scene, he also reports on the local carbo-loading opportunities :D
EAT & RUN - A Gathering of RelativesThe LIVESTRONG Full/Half Marathons & Paramount 5K - Austin, Texas
February 17, 2013
Eight of us met in Austin in February to EAT & RUN. First, I’ll give a shout out to our hosts; my sister Faith and her husband Dan. Second, here’s a shout out to the runners: my wife Jen, my siblings Daniel & Faith, and my cousins Denise, Cari, George & Don. What can I say? I think my cousin Denise pretty much summed it up best on Facebook with her few words about the weekend, “reuniting, reminiscing, childhood memories, food trucks, candy crush, 1st runs, camaraderie, support, medal envy, rolling hills, casseroles, Rudy’s, fine wines, new memories, aching legs, LOVE.”
EAT - For those of you who have never visited Austin, this is a must do. Being the State Capitol and the home of the Longhorns, Austin is a young and vibrant city with a cozy town-like feel. There is something for everyone … whether it is finer dining on 2nd Street vs. the food trucks OR the hustle & bustle of 6th Street vs. the serene setting of the Town Lake. To steal a phrase from my cousin George, “Austin is the food truck mecca.” So, on this trip, we focused on outdoor eating at the local food trucks (Gourdough’s Donuts, Mellizoz Tacos, Dock & Roll, and Chi’Lantro) and on local beers from Austin Beerworks. We celebrated Cari’s birthday while pasta-loading on Saturday night at La Taverna. And, our post-race dinner highlights included two specialty casseroles from the Casserole Queens of Austin, tasty take-out Texas BBQ from Rudy’s and selected fine wines from my brother-in-law’s large stocks.
RUN - There is something for everyone on race day too. All full, half and 5K runners use the expo, share the same start (5K start is after the full & half marathoners) and cross the same finish line. It is a rarity that every runner can share in the same excitement of the start and finish on the same race day.
This is a race report so here is my shortest version. My race plan was pretty simple: Bank a minute or two in the first half, hold pace (+/-) for the second half; BUT, cut back for any reason whatsoever to save myself for the DC full in March. Austin is in ‘Hill Country’ so I expected and planned for the hills. Rollers and net down the first 3 miles, significant up from 3 to 6, significant down from 6 to 9, long net up and rollers from 9 to 20, net down and rollers for last 6 with a bump near the finish. What I didn’t plan for was a very necessary porta-pot break at mile 3 (which cost me a minute) and the blisters that formed on both feet bottoms at mile 12 (at the place where my big toes join my feet). [I need to figure this out before DC … laces too loose, wrong shoe/sock combo, etc.] But, I pushed ahead and hit the half in 1:44:11, almost at plan. It was also my plan to give back 10 to 20 seconds per mile for the next 6 or 7 miles and then to make up whatever time I could in the last stretch of downs and rollers to the finish. At about mile 17, the 3:30 pace group caught me earlier than expected and that had an impact on my state of mind. Although they were 7 seconds under pace (I heard), this was not to be the day for my PR with 3 more uphill miles, followed by 6 more miles to the finish, 2 distracting blisters, full sun, rising temps, and DC next month. Decision made to make this a training run so I didn’t attack ups or downs to save my feet, walked water stops, stopped to eat, and hit the porta-pot again. I neared the finish to the cheers of my family and by reflex gave them the “Hook ’em Horns” sign. I am in Austin, you know. With that energy, I sprinted to my finish of 3:48:14.
Everyone finished in fine form and special congratulations go to my brother Daniel for finishing his first half marathon and to my cousin Don for finishing his first race at any distance (5K). By the way, Don took 2nd in his age group.