After the RnR San Antonio debacle I immediately decided I needed to A) hold off on my first full marathon. Which most of you know, I pulled out of the Austin Marathon and decided to wait until June to knock out my first 26.2 (The San Francisco Marathon) and B) I needed to register for another half-marathon to redeem myself. It was a no-brainer what half-marathon I was going to choose. The 3M Half-Marathon! This race has been on my running bucket list since I started running. I wanted it to be my first half last year, but travel logistics were going to be too expensive for a gal who was (at the time) planning a mostly out-of-pocket wedding, so I ended up running Columbia instead. This year, since I now live in Austin it was an easy decision to just go for it.
I set some mighty goals for myself with 3M. I really wasn’t okay with running my first full marathon this Summer without having run a sub 2:30 Half-Marathon. I just wasn’t going to accept a time any slower than that. Plain. and. Simple. It was a pretty big goal to make. If I crossed the finish line in 2:29:59 that would shave 30 minutes off of my half-marathon time in under 9 months.
The 2-3 weeks leading up to Sunday I was feeling less and less confident about the race. Work ate my life, and I missed two long runs because of work and other life events. I tried to make up for my long run last Monday and did 8 miles at a pretty easy pace and felt good. I still had no idea what 13.1 was going to bring me, though.
When Saturday rolled around I wasn’t even sure if I was going to be able to race. I had planned on hitting the expo before work, but was woken up by my boss calling me in early. Great…. All day I was so anxious. Terrified I wasn’t going to get out of work early enough to make it to the Crowne Plaza Hotel by 6pm. Around 5:30 I even went outside and had a moment where I cried a little. I was certain my chances of racing Sunday were o-v-e-r. I got out of work at exactly 6pm. When the expo was closing. Fantastic. I didn’t know what to do, so I just decided to speed across town and see if they would let me get my packet. What was the worst thing that could happen? They say no?… At least I tried… I get there, and everything is taken down except for the registration/cashier booth which was being stripped down as I walked up. I’m sure my words were a jumbled mess because I was FREAKING out, but I explained my situation. They could see the panic in my face and gave me my bib and t-shirt. I wasn’t able to get my swag bag, but screw it. I got what I needed. Insert huge-ass sigh of relief here.
Sunday morning started at the crack of Dark-Thirty. I decided to take the metro to the start area since the finish line was literally 6 blocks away from my apartment and there was no sense being shuttled back to the car from where I live just to drive back over this way. I looked at the weather and died a little. I was pleased as punch that the chance of rain seemed to disappear over night, I was not impressed with the fact that it was 35 degrees with headwinds that made it feel like 25. I THOUGHT I MOVED TO TEXAS, Y’ALL!
6:45AM is not a time I am used to and not a time I want to start a race. I am not and may never be a morning person, but I was surprisingly alert jumping up and down at the start line trying to keep myself warm. I had planned on ditching my jacket at gear check, but when I was still freezing my booty off I decided to just keep it on. If worse came to worse I would just tie it around my waste and bring the 90′s back. I was thankful at the start line to have kept it on. Mostly for the thumb holes that were keeping my hands a little bit warmer than they would have otherwise been. While hanging out I was shivering soo bad! The wind was wipping around all over the place, and the nerves of “oh god the last few weeks of training have been terrible” really kicked in. I decided then and there that my biggest priority for this race was just to push myself as hard as I can and leave it ALL on the course. Even if I didn’t make my goal, at least I’d be able to say I gave it my all.
We were off! The course starts wayyyy north by Mopac and Capitol of TX Highway, in an area of Austin I am absolutely not familiar with what-so-ever.
The first 9ish miles are ‘downhill’. It’s a nice, easy, downhill course that doesn’t take too much of a toll on your legs, and sometimes isn’t even noticeable at all.
Every couple of miles you can see your time during 3M. This was awesome.. I ran with my Garmin, but it was nice not to have to worry about it. I’ve never run a race where you can see your splits that often. I was surprising myself during the first 10k with how comfortable I was maintaining a faster pace than my goal. I live in West Campus, though. I knew the last stretch of the race had some pretty decent sized hills. I had to reel it in so I’d still have momentum going into that section of the race.
Mile 9 is where the bigger hills come in. We turned on to 45th street and we were running directly into the part of town I know like the back of my hand. Unfortunately, this didn’t really make the hills any easier since it was toward the end of the race. But, it was really cool that the last stretch of the race was something I know and see every day.
These hills hurt. It’s a cruel joke that all race organizers are in on to always make the last stretch of a distance event, up hill… I kid I kid. I just tried to tune out the pain and focus on the beautiful surroundings. Running down through campus and up MLK is a beautiful view. On Deen Keaton you get a beautiful straight on view of the Austin skyline and you cross the finish line to a beautiful view of the Texas Capitol building.
I finished in an official time of 2:28:34!! PR baby!!! I DID IT. Sub-2:30.
I’m really proud of myself for just letting it all loose on the course. I may not be very fast. I may very well never be, and that’s okay because I IMPROVE all the time. I’m constantly growing as a runner, and that’s all that matters to me.
and just so you have an idea of how windy it was. My hair was super hhawwwt after the race. The back was pretty much sticking straight up. haha
Absolutely a fun fun race!!! I’ve never run a distance race in my home town. Columbia and DC were both only an hour away, but still. It was a really neat and stress-free experience! Not to mention 3M SURPASSES it’s reputation! It was a great race, so incredibly well organized. I may be a little biased because of my situation, but the volunteers were amazing. I’m so thankful they let me get my bib, even though I was absurdly late, and I’m sure they were exhausted. I saw the swag bags and they were packed with goodies, since 3M makes like, everything!
There were even some food trucks in the finisher’s area, but I didn’t stick around to eat anything. Once I stopped moving I was absolutely FREEZING. The space blanket didn’t protect my face from the winds All I wanted to do was change into something warm and head to brunch! lol
If you want to run a half-marathon with a fast course, beautiful finish, huge medal, and organized to a T… 3M is definitely a great choice!! I plan on running it again next year, for sure!