I had my first post-baby half marathon experience on Sunday. Fortunately, I have a great story to share!
The Race: The 2014 Freescale Austin Half Marathon. I signed up while I was pregnant as a way to motivate myself both during and after the pregnancy. Mission accomplished.
Training: I had my first post-pregnancy run at 4 weeks post partum. I started training for the race at 6 weeks post partum and followed a modified 12 week Hal Higdon training program. I had a really positive training experience, save a brief week-long IT Band injury. For the most part, I did my runs when I could, but they usually occurred at night. Once George hit the three-month mark, and was sleeping and eating regularly like a champ, everything got easier and I began running in the mornings on the weekend. I did almost all of my long runs outside, taking advantage of our unusually cool weather.
The Course: The half-marathon course is hilly and very, very challenging. Well…at least for this sea-level gal! The course starts and ends around the State Capitol and weaves it way South and through part of downtown. The course isn’t shaded, but that wasn’t a problem since the weather was quite overcast. There is a HUGE hill just before Mile 12 that is a BEAST. I took the hills slowly, but confidently, and never walked during the race.
Race Amenities: This is a great race with lots of course support. There was plenty of water and Gatorade along the course, along with Gatorade bites. There were plenty of volunteers and terrific crowd support and signage. There was also plenty of security and I never once worried about my safety. In the past, the post-race chutes have been chaotic…but not this year. Due to a redesign, everything post race was seamless. It was very easy to make it through the photo area, the medal distribution zone, HEB food tables, gear check and to the tent where they were distributing finisher’s t-shirts. They were also distributing bottles of Evamor water post race — my favorite water!
Fueling: I was in a rush before the race (I pumped for 25 minutes, then fed George before dashing out to the start line) and didn’t get a chance to eat beforehand. I did manage to down a Gatorade Prime on my walk over though. Thankfully, I had a bag of Honey Stingers in my fuel belt and ate one after crossing every mile marker. I chugged water and Gatorade all weekend and felt very hydrated during the race. I consumed water at every offering during the race too.
My time: 2:14:30 — a 10:16 pace. I definitely slowed over the course of the race and lost some steam during the hills. Even still, I am glad to have a new baseline time and look forward to getting faster. For now, I’ll happily take my new PR! As it turns out, my 2014 race time is faster than my 2012 race time. Go me!
My Support: I was thrilled to see John and George between miles 8 and 9 on the course. I am so grateful that John took great care of George during the race, as well as during all of my training runs. I am a lucky woman.
Running the Austin Half Marathon was a great way for me to get back into running.I thoroughly enjoyed my training and the race. In a perfect world I would have woken up a bit earlier to eat breakfast, but in the end, not eating didn’t do too much damage.