When I'd last run Austin five years ago the course was both faster and easier since it started twenty-miles north of the city and finished downtown, providing a gentle downhill for much of the course and an overall net elevation decline of more than 400 feet. Unfortunately, the growing logistical challenges of busing race participants, and dealing with the frustration caused by traffic jams on the surrounding narrow roads in the north Austin area caused race organizers to adopt the current course - which is a technically challenging looped course through most of Austin's many hills (see link). Nevertheless, though challenging the course was both interesting and achievable.
As with other recent successful recent marathons I made the decision to run with a pacing group, on today's occasion the 3:20 group since I was hoping to beat my prior personal record of 3:19:38 set on Houston's flat course one-month ago. The two Austin 3:20 pace group leaders did a fantastic job of keeping the group organized, motivated and encouraged. They demonstrated incredible running discipline and strength by holding an extremely consistent pace - whether running up or down hills. As I didn't possess the strength to easily match their pace on the steepest up-hills I ran behind the group at those points (though always keeping the group in sight), then caught them on the ensuing downhill. Even more-so than in prior marathons the pacing group was pivotal in allowing me to set my narrow personal record. Thanks again, pacers!!
- Another P.R. on my Newtons!
- Encouraged by Houston's recent success I ramped-up even further my use of Gu's Roctane (to one every three - versus every four) miles. Again, no stomach upset or digestive issues.
- Credit, again, to the Kenyan Way training program for my clearly improved personal fitness.
- I successfully used ThinkGeek.com's "spy" sunglasses with built-in digital camera and remote control shutter release (in my hand throughout the race) to capture these photos. While the picture quality is nowhere close to that provided by a conventional one-megapixel digital camera the quality was certainly acceptable!
- Official Stats:
Overall: 221/4039 (top 6%)
Males: 196/2462 (top 8%)
Division (50-54): 6/202 (top 3%)
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