Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My First Marathon, Ok Half Marathon, Ok So I Just Watched...

...But, I was part of a runner support team, so I was still kind of sort of a participant.

If you read this blog regularly, or if you know me for-reals-like, then you know that I got a wild hair about 7 months ago and started running. My husband, John, is an amazing athlete and has been coaching and encouraging me as I take on running.

I was trying to come up with a special treat to thank John for basically being the best husband in the world. I saw one of his friends was entering the Austin Marathon. John is currently training for a marathon, so I offered up a quick trip to Austin, so he could enter the Half and test his progress. John was totally on board.

If you look closely, you'll see the entire Congress St. Bridge filled with runners. The "pack" was never-ending and, well, packed.

The race was huge, more than 20,000 runners! There was 5K piggy-backing on the event, but I decided to skip it. This weekend was all about John and with a physical challenge like this, you really do need a support team. So, I planned, mapped, drove, carried, photographed, cheered, fed, hydrated and filled tubs with ice.

These are the leaders passing 2 miles. You can tell the 2 in the front are Half-Marathoners because their bib numbers are white. Marathoners were black.

Then the pack came by, and came by, and came by. High fives all around! It really was fun to watch. I was using the Austin Marathon ap to track John's progress, but there were so many runners, I never saw him at the 2 mile mark.

You could tell a lot of runners didn't take themselves too seriously and were there to have fun. Here are the duck hat ladies.

And, this guy who was making a video of the crowd as he ran, and encourage us to cheer and ham up for him.

And, the guys with no pants.

And, OMG, is that Santa! Looks like running has been good to him!

I used the pace runners (this group is running fast enough to finish the full marathon 3:20, the half in 1:40) and the ap, but I missed John again at the 8.5 mile mark. Sigh, so I booked it to the finish line via a short cut and crossed my fingers that I'd see him at least once.

And I did! The ap said I was 15 minutes early, but as soon as I edged up to the finish line shute, I saw John come around the corner! There he is, in the blue, making a strong finish.

I've never seen John so wiped out after a run. He really pushed himself. He will disagree, but he did GREAT. His goal was to finish somewhere between 1:50 (the best he was hoping for) and 2 hours (the slowest he'd be happy with). He finished in 1:55:47.

What he didn't realize when he set these goals is that Austin is a really, really tough marathon and half. It's super hilly. So hilly, in fact, that when we drove it the day before, I nearly stalled out the car a couple times.

This was John's first Half Marathon, so (for now, at least) this time is his lifetime personal record. It's one, I think he should be proud of.

See more Austin Marathon pics on my Flickr photostream.

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