Yesterday, January 25th, I raced the 3M Half Marathon in Austin. 3M is Austin’s 2nd biggest half marathon (next to Austin Half) at 7,000 runners, and is notorious for its fast (mostly downhill), point-to-point course which runs from North Austin south to the shadow of the capitol building. 3M was the biggest race that I’ve put on my calendar during the build-up to the Boston Marathon in April.
The gear I chose for race day:
Team Rogue adidas singlet
Team Rogue adidas short tights
Icebreakers Merino gloves
Swiftwick 4″ socks
Skechers GOmeb Speed 3
My plan going into the race was to really be aggressive on the friendly course. I was able to pull off a 1:20:50 on the Decker Challenge course in December, so I knew that I would easily be able to go under 1:20 at 3M, which boasts a net downhill of about 300 feet. I decided to try and hang with my teammate and fellow Rogue, Chris McClung, who was planning to start the first mile conservatively at around 6:00/mile and drop to 5:50/mile from miles 2 through 10 with whatever we had left reserved for the final 5k.
When the gun went off at 7am, I quickly realized that things were not going to be executed as planned. The first mile heads north up Stonelake Boulevard on a slight uphill before turning east on Braker Ln. At the 1 mile split, we were at 5:53/mile. I was right on Chris’ shoulder in a pack of probably 20 runners. I stayed right on Chris until mile 2, which beeped in at 5:41. I felt that things were getting a little out of control for this early in the race, so I backed off and let a gap form between much of the pack and myself. This is one of the hardest things to do, psychologically, in a race. Although it was hard to drop off and slow down, I felt it was the best move for me to run the best race possible.
Luckily, my teammate, Amy Shackelford, and the legendary Chris Kimbrough had the same idea about this race. We cruised together through much of the next 8 miles or so. Most of our miles averaged right above 6:00/mile, and I was nervous that I had wasted all of my energy on the first 2 miles of the race. We made the turn east off of Shoal Creek onto 45th Street and the slight hills that accompany it. Chris and Amy started to develop a gap on me that grew to around 50 meters by the time we approached our turn south onto Duval. It was right around this turn that I ran by my coach, Steve Sisson, where he called out to me to “Roll with them. Focus on good turnover.” It’s amazing to me how we inherently know to have good leg turnover when running fast, but it makes all the difference in the world to hear it from your coach.
Upon turning south onto Duval, we climbed the hill and I managed to close the gap on my amazing teammates. The last two miles of the race 5:43 and 5:46, respectively, and the three of us were able to cross the finish line within about 20 seconds of each other. I crossed the finish line in 1:17:26, a PR by 3 minutes and 24 seconds.
Things are feeling really good at these early stages of the Boston training cycle. I’m running about 80 miles per week, doing 2-3 workouts, and doing a 20 mile long run just about every weekend. I think consistent, hard training with proper rest and nutrition is going to give me the big result that I’m hoping for on April 20th. I want to thank my coach, Steve Sisson, my teammates on Team Rogue, and Skechers Performance for all of the support.