13.1 Miles won and done. To sum up the Austin Marathon in one word: Hilly.
Finishing was surreal to say the least. I can honestly say that running for 2 and a half hours straight is something not easily done but achievable. And I did run the entire time.
Race started at 7am but this being the Austin Marathon and Half-Marathon, I had to be up at 4:15. Waking up that early was not hard due to the combination of nerves and excitement. I ran the half-marathon with my girlfriend, Jen*, along with her roommate Shannon and Shannon's dad. Shannon and her dad were both a little more psychotic than Jen and I and decided to run the full marathon. Ballsy, to say the least.
The race itself was incredibly fun. Starting off at our state capitol was incredibly cool as was being surrounded by so many other runners.
Getting the race started, it was tough to not start sprinting with all the anticipation built up inside of me but the notion that I had 13.1 to run made it a little easier to ease out of the gate.
So many people lined the streets and so many runners were alongside us the entire time that stopping never really crossed my mind. They had really cool signs that read "Run like zombies are chasing you" and "Worst Parade Ever." Bands played alongside the road and people cheered and held up signs. It was all so cool it made me forget the lonely 5K in Monahans where I pretty much ran the entire last mile by myself. The most inspiring sign was along mile 9 which was the Livestrong Mile. One spectator, a cancer survivor, held up a sign that read "You're running this for me." It was really hard to even fathom quitting after seeing that one.
Along the way, legs starting hurting a bit and the race seemed pretty endless but the entire atmosphere and running alongside Jen made it so much more fun and easy.
Even mile 12, which contained the biggest hill of the entire, was scaled and conquered. And seeing the sign that said "only 600 meters to go" was the sweetest thing I saw all day. Well, sweetest next to actually crossing the finish line. Official time was 2:35:05. Not too shabby considering I only started running in November and my longest run up to that point was 5.6 miles. Jen and I stayed together the entire time and finished with the exact same time. I can confidently say that I probably wouldn't have been able to do it without her. She made the hills a lot easier.
Upon finishing, we got our finisher medals, some food, cool swag and then waited for Shannon and her dad to finish up. We met up with other runners and congratulated others who finished.
Shannon and her dad finished up the full marathon together and we couldn't have been more proud of them. Seeing them definitely made me want to try a full marathon at some point soon.
And Lonnie and Brent will be happy to know that I managed to score a post-race beer courtesy of Shannon's mom. A woman, who I have to note, can party harder than most people I know.
Overall, I'm really glad I ran the Austin Half-Marathon. Despite the soreness all over my lower body, I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. Especially with such great company. I can't express how appreciative I am to Jen, my parents, Shannon, her parents, the city of Austin, all the other runners and spectators, and all of my friends who sometimes run with me but are always encouraging.
*One funny note was that Jen awoke at 1:15 thinking it was 4:15 and proceeded to enthusiastically brush her teeth. My immediate response to her jovial brushing was a gruff "What the fuck is wrong with you?"