Tag: half-marathon

The 2nd Half

13.1 Mile Club

This weekend, I did my second half-marathon. I was very worried about this one since I had problems on my first one – one that was on a very flat course. The Livestrong route is hilly. It goes up a long slow hill from the river to Ben White and then, in mile eleven, there’s a rather large hill on Enfield. What kind of sadist designs a 13.1 mile course with its largest hill in the 11th mile? Even meaner, there were more hills after that! Including two small ones in the last 600 meters. So not fair.

This was the event that was my original end-goal when I signed up for AustinFit with Corina and Lyndee. I remember thinking that the idea of walking 13.1 miles in one day was insane and that there was no way I’d ever be able to do it. Well, I have. Twice. And the really cool thing? I actually enjoyed the Livestrong race! I don’t know why it left me wanting to do more half-marathons when the Sugar Land one didn’t. Was it because Corina and Lyndee are such fun people? (Seriously, could not imagine people more different than me -they lapped up the cheers from the people along the sidelines and cheered back at them. Me? I always ducked my head and felt self-conscious.) Was it that the scenery along the route was more interesting? The fun crowds of people who came out to cheer friends and total strangers? I don’t know. But I felt strong during the race. I even felt strong going up that damn hill. (Well, strong and slightly on the edge of death, but a strong death.) Was it just where my head was at that day? I have no idea. It’s not because my hip wasn’t hurting, because it was. But I admit I’ve already Googled and looked at dates for other half-marathons in the area.

Given the hills, and my close to four hour time in the flat Sugar Land event, I was paranoid about not being able to finish in the four hour limit and, thus, not get my medal. I wanted my darn medal! To finish in four hours, you need to have a pace of at least 18 minutes a mile. Worried about the late hills, I decided to try for 17 minutes per mile to leave a bit of a buffer. So, as we crossed each mile marker, I would look at my watch and add 17 to the time it showed. I kept getting a surprise and moral boost by beating that new goal at each mile – even the one with the big hill.

Thanks to AustinFit for getting me up to 13.1 miles. Thanks to Lyndee and Corina for being great race walking partners. (And sorry for abandoning you around mile – just needed to go at the pace my body wanted me to.) Thanks to Brian for being around mile 7 and taking our no longer needed jackets and long-sleeved shirts. Thanks to all the people cheering along the way – I might have ducked my head and looked embarrassed, but I appreciated you.

My official Race results:
Division Place: 379/396
Overall: 9168/9326
Gender Place: 5225/5351

5K 50:22 min
5M 1:22:10 min
10M 2:45:11 min
Finish 13.1 mi 3:37:08 min
Pace 16:35/M/Mile

Endomondo’s version of the walk:

1/27: First half

Well, I did it. I did a half-marathon. That’s the short story, here’s the long one…

St Mary's Campus

Saturday, I drove to San Antonio and did a Volkssport event. It was on the St Mary’s campus – which is quite lovely, but the weather was awful so I didn’t take any photos other than the one above (with my cell phone). I only did the 5k version since I was going to be walking so much Sunday. I walked with a lovely older woman from Germany who’s travelled all over the world. It was great listening to her share about the places she’d been. Her favorite place? Northern Thailand.

After that, I had to hoof it down to Sugar Land as quickly as possible to pick up my marathon packet before they closed the pick-up site. I made it with 15 minutes to spare. Woot! Then it was off to my friend’s apt, a side-trip to Lush! and dinner at The Hobbit (Blackened Tilapia yumminess).


Early the next morning (very early), I headed back to Sugar Land for the race. I met up with Christine – a very nice lady from the AustinFit training group I’d been walking with. She offered to walk with me to: make sure I didn’t start out too fast and to encourage me to finish. Since she was walking with a broken toe and dealing with a very severe illness, there was no way I could wimp-out while she was still going. She was a fantastically helpful walking partner: doing her best to keep me calm about finishing within our set 4 hour limit (and the limit for the Austin Half) and encouraging me to keep going. Who knows if I would have made it without her. Thank you, Christine.

At about mile 10, I started having the weird heart things again – my heart rate was slowing down rapidly and then speeding back up. Every time it slowed down, I’d get very, very dizzy. At one point, I had to step off the path and bend over a bit to get my equilibrium back.

The hip was…there. It started getting grumpy around mile 6. I took another anti-inflammatory. It started getting really grumpy at mile 9. After that, I was too distracted by the dizziness to let the hip bother me that much.

I can’t figure out my total chip time from the official results, but I know we were under 4 hours since my Endomondo time was under 4 and I started it before stepping on the mat and stopped it after the finish mat. (I think they just lopped 2 hours off my time.)

So, where does this leave me? I’m still not sure that I’m made for long distance walking. But I also keep asking myself: isn’t that what this is about? Pushing yourself to do things you didn’t think were otherwise possible? Should I keep pushing or do my usual when faced with a tough situation:
1. Whine
2. Whine a lot more
3. Try and find a short-cut solution
4. More whining
5. In the absence of said short-cut solution, quit

Should this be the time when I refuse to quit? When I don’t look for a short-cut but instead keep plugging away? I don’t know. But I do know, I have a medal! (And it can double as a bottle opener – bonus!)


Info from Endomondo:

(We won’t talk about how I spent the rest of the day eating away the good I did my body/fitness with the walk….)

1/19: AustinFit Group walk

Saturday we had a very long walk planned for the half-marathon training walk: 12.8 miles. I got there having just had a few hours of sleep thanks to overnight tennis on TV (darn the time difference between the US and Australia). Once again, about 9 miles in, I felt like I’d had enough. The last bit had me miserable and grumpy. One of my fellow walkers said that I go out too fast. I don’t feel like I’m walking too fast at the start. The early pace is okay for shorter walks, but perhaps not the long ones. She’s going to try and help me pace better next weekend when I participate in the USA FIT Half Marathon. I’ll need to because if I walk in the Austin marathon like I did on Saturday, I won’t finish before the cut off time.

It’s hard to feel as bad as I did at the end of this walk and not feel like I’m failing. I keep having to remind myself that 2 years ago, I had a hard time doing a 5K. Having problems walking 12.8 miles is a huge improvement.

Info from Endomondo:

Info from HRM:
Effect: Fitness and max performance improving
Calories: 1284
Percent of calories fat: 26%
Heart rate average: 127 bpm
Maximum heart rate: 153 bpm

12/22: AustinFit training walk

I almost didn’t walk today. First, I’d stayed up way too late last night (and eaten far too many cookies, but that’s another story). Second, it was cold out! But, after hitting my snooze one time too many, I managed to get myself up, out and hurrying to make it to the start in time. It was so worth it. I feel better now than before the walk started – refreshed and full of energy. Yes, it was cold, but not windy or wet – crisp. Plus, I walked with and talked a the very nice Mary Nell. She’s walked 3 half-marathons this year. Talk about inspiring.


Info as reported by Endomondo:
Distance 8.44 mi (it was just 8)
Duration 2h:08m:35s
Avg. Speed 3.9 mph
Max. Speed 8.2 mph (*snort*)
Calories 945 kcal
Hydration 0.27L
Min. Altitude 406 ft
Max. Altitude 733 ft
Total Ascent 1190 ft
Total Descent 1158 ft

HRM info:

Effect: Maximal performance improving
Calories: 991
Fat Calories: 16%
Average heart rate: 143
Maximum heart rate: 196 (!!)

12/15: AustinFit training walk

I almost didn’t walk today. I hadn’t had a decent walk since last Thursday. First, I went out of town for the weekend – getting back late Monday night. Tuesday, I came down with a horrid cold and spend most of Wednesday and Thursday laying in bed coughing and sneezing. I woke up Friday, did a Walk-at-Home DVD (my head still felt too weird to walk alone in the great outdoors) and ventured in to work. I wanted to walk today, but should I? Would I make my cold worse? Should I conserve my energy?

The route today was just 7 miles, so I decided to go. If it had been a 10+M day, I can’t say the decision would have been the same. My goal was just get the walk in without worrying about time. Turns out that’s a good thing because I found out that when walking while not feeling well, your heart really gets going. It was beating, on average, 20 more beats per minute than usual. And doing this while I wasn’t going as fast as usual. I was a little light-headed a few times, but overall, I’m glad I went. I always worry about trips/illnesses undoing months of habit building. I wasn’t going to let that happen this time.


Info (as recorded by Endomondo)

Distance 7.63 mi
Duration 2h:01m:46s
Avg. Speed 3.8 mph
Max. Speed 10.6 mph
Min. Altitude 395 ft
Max. Altitude 671 ft
Total Ascent 1188 ft
Total Descent 1226 ft

Since I figured I’d be going much slower than everyone else, I brought my headphones and listened to some music. (Wearing headphones is usually discouraged for group walks.) So, here’s the playlist:

John Lennon: Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)
Buckwheat Zydeco: Ninth Place
Midnight Oil: Stars Of Warburton
Crowded House: Better Be Home Soon
Tracy Chapman: A Hundred Years
Violent Femmes: Promise
The Reivers: Dragon Flies
Peter Gabriel: The Family And The Fishing Net
Wilson Pickett: In The Midnight Hour
The Weepies: Not A Lullaby
Silversun Pickups: Broken Bottles
The Waterboys: A Boy In Black Leather
4 Non Blondes: Drifting
The Pogues: Gridlock
Patti Smith: Seneca
The Monkees: Pleasant Valley Sunday
The Turtles: So Happy Together
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Hey Tonight
Icicle Works: Reaping The Rich Harvest
The Weepies: How Do You Get High?
Talking Heads: (Nothing But) Flowers
The Beatles: Sun King
Comando Tiburon Ft. Mach And Daddy: Pasado Pisado
Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros: Mondo Bongo
R.E.M.: Zither
The Decemberists: When the War Came
Janis Joplin: Me And Bobby McGee
Concrete Blonde: Joey
Matchbox Twenty: Shame

I admit I was feeling pretty tired and ready to quit when “Pasado Pisado” came on. Not the best song ever, but one that always cheers me up because it reminds of watching the Spanish Davis Cup team’s drunken, table-dancing celebration after winning the Davis Cup. The best b-day I’ve ever had!

11/17: AustinFit group walk

An insane day of walking started with an 8 mile walk with the AustinFit half-marathon training group. Our route went from south Austin all the way through Hyde Park! If you had told me a year ago I’d walk that far, I would have said you were insane. Then again, if you’d told me that from Riverside to 45th was just 8 miles, I’d also say you were insane.


Distance 9.26 mi (really just 8)
Duration 2h:18m:26s
Avg. Speed 4.0 mph
Min. Altitude 404 ft
Max. Altitude 709 ft
Total Ascent 1494 ft
Total Descent 1472 ft