This year's shirt - 40 armadillos for 40 years!
For the third year in a row, I ran the Statesman Cap10K race in Austin. Sunday marked the 40th year for this race, and they celebrated big with lots of extras, plus they had over 21,000 people participating - it was huge event, and so much fun. You all know that I am not a fan of hills, and the first three miles of this race are all hills - shoot, they even have a race-within-the-race on one of the hills, with a timing mat at the bottom and top, for runners to vie for the King and Queen of the hill - and this year was no different in how challenging just walking up hill after hill is for me, but I had the best time, and not only would highly recommend this race to everyone, I'll be back next year to run it once again.
We drove to Austin on Saturday morning to hit the expo - it's very well-organized and super easy to get your bib and race shirt. It wasn't crowded when we were there, which was just before noon, and both Jeff and I were able to get a free massage from a wonderful massage therapist named Heidi, courtesy of the race sponsor, Baylor Scott & White:
Jeff said his foot felt 100% better after she worked on him.
I asked her to work on my tight calves; she also showed me some stretches to do for that issue.
The expo was decently-sized; I ended up getting fitted for a new sports bra and I'll do a review on it once I've run in it a while. We ran into my old buddy Leo Manzano, so I asked him to sign my bib like he did last year. He gave me some tips for running up the hills (lean into them, and try to raise your knees higher as you run), and told me about what he's doing this week, which is trying to break a speed record in the 1500 on Saturday in Iowa...he's looking at somewhere in the 3:30 range, which seems impossible to me, but I hope he succeeds. I got a picture with him:
I think it's funny that I'm wearing my "World's Okayest Runner" shirt while standing next to an Olympic champion runner - hey, there's room for all abilities when it comes to running!
After the expo, Jeff and I went to a yarn shop (because big city means good shopping), and then had a late lunch, followed by a light dinner with Cary and Brian, and Cary's mom, Cindy. We couldn't get a free LaQuinta room at any of the nicer hotels in the city, so we stayed at an older one; about the only good thing I can say about that location is that it was really close to the start line.
Race morning dawned and we did our usual thing, which was to arrive by 6:00 am, park in our good spot, and then take a nap until 7:00. The weather turned out to be perfect - it was a little cold, with a bit of a north wind blowing, but I knew once we started running I'd be fine in my short-sleeved shirt. I was glad I'd brought a sweatshirt to wear beforehand, though! It was such a nice change from the unseasonably-warm race days we've had...even the humidity was a low 55%! The race began at 8:00 am, but because of the size of entrants, they'd implemented a corral system and estimated that our corral would start at 8:35 am, so we were just hanging around and didn't even get in the corral until well after the race started, which left time for some pictures:
Diane, Cary, and me - hanging out by the dumpster outside of the liquor store, LOL.
A news helicopter was hovering overhead and it gave me flashbacks of the manhunt in my neighborhood a few weeks ago! Luckily this was for the race and nothing sinister.
Renegades, represent! Jeff, Diane, me, Brian, and Cary.
Finally in the corral, but not going anywhere. I pulled out my phone for a selfie and I love this - three clowns and Brian's "oh we're really doing THIS" face - he's not a fan of getting his picture taken, but he's a good sport, considering he's friends with a blogger.
Shoe twins part one: Brian and another runner. These are On brand of running shoes - Brian really likes them. Someday I'll have to try on a pair.
Shoe twins part two: Me and another runner, who tapped me from behind and pointed out that we were wearing the same shoes - we bonded over them and of course had to take a picture. Because that's what female runners do, right?
We finally started moving, making our way toward the starting line. I will say that the atmosphere of this race is really casual - well, in our corral, at least. I guess if you were a really fast runner you'd be in the first corral and the mood might be a little different there, but we were all party city - people were in costumes, there were lots of dogs and strollers (although I think they were supposed to be in the corral behind us), entire families - it was very relaxed. Well before we reached the starting line, we could hear the announcer calling in the first finishers, which was funny (and holy moly, they were FAST - this is a tough course to actually race, and the first male finished in 30:31 while the first female finished in 36:46). We started at 8:44 am, so about 10 minutes later than the estimate, but no big deal, really.
Because the weather was so good, I kept my phone out to get a picture of the Capitol building as we ran toward it:
It really was a beautiful day for this race.
Diane, Cary, and I planned on being pretty low-key about this race; we were going to do our regular 1:30/45 run/walk intervals, plus we decided ahead of time that we would walk whenever anyone called it - and we knew that we'd pretty much be walking all of the hills, regardless of what our interval said we should be doing. Diane is tapering for her marathon and at this point, she's all about not getting injured before her big race; Cary is pregnant (hence the visit to the yarn store - I get to knit some tiny baby things!), and of course I am anti-hill.
So how did it go? It was wonderful. So much fun. We ran and chatted and hit all the water stations - I think there were more than last year, which was great - and truly, it was one of the best times I've ever had during a race. It's interesting how, if you let go of expectations and just go with the experience, what a difference that makes. For example, Cary needed a restroom break - I never ran when I was pregnant, but I remember having those "baby's making me have to pee" times so I can only imagine how it must feel to be running and have that happen. We were fine with stopping - we all paused our Garmins and headed toward the porta-potties that were just past a water station. What we found was a long line - there were five porta-potties, but a lot of people waiting for them...so we just hung out, chatting with each other and the lady behind us in line, and eventually we started running again. Cindy (Cary's mom), who was walking the race and had started in the corral after ours, came upon us while we were in line and was pretty surprised to have caught up to us, but like I said, we were there a while. However, zero expectations meant none of us really cared about the wait, although with such a backlog of people waiting, I do think they need to triple the amount of porta-potties along the race route.
We kept running, enjoying the live music along the route - again, since the weather was so beautiful, and not foggy or rainy, more musicians seemed to be out and were entertaining all of the runners. We continued to get water at every water stop, and Cary had one more quick potty break, but there wasn't a wait at that set of potties so we only paused for a minute or so there. Before long, we were in the last mile, which is nice and flat, but it was the most crowded with walkers that I've experienced in this race, and there were times when we couldn't run because the road was filled with slower moving people. Oh well.
We finally hit the finisher's chute and literally got stopped by clowns - a family all dressed up as clowns, with clown children in two strollers and all their clown accessories had stopped dead center to get everything adjusted, I'm assuming, for a good finish line picture. We got around them and were running toward the finish when I heard from the sidelines "Diane, Diane, Mom, MOM!" - I looked over and saw two of Diane's sons there and caught her arm to show her. She was surprised to see them; although they live in Austin, she'd told them not to bother coming because the race was so crowded. Well, they are sweet kids, er, adults, and of course they came, so that was really cool.
We crossed the finish line and while we were still moving through the chute, we were handed bottles of water, YAY! The previous times I've run this race, you had to search out water afterward and it wasn't close to the finish line nor was it very clear where it was located. I'd mentioned this in my post-race survey, and while I'm sure I wasn't the only one to comment on the water situation, I'm really pleased that they listened and made that change. We went in search of Jeff and Brian; I thought it was odd that we didn't see them at the finish line, as in previous years, but when Cindy had crossed, they figured they'd somehow missed seeing us finish as they knew she'd started after us, so they went to our preset meeting area. As it turns out, we lost 16 minutes while waiting for the porta-potties; because we paused our Garmins, we could see the time difference once the race results were posted. Funny thing is that my time this year was the same as last year, but I had a heck of a lot more fun this time, go figure!
Shirt, bib signed by Leo Manzano, VIP credentials - pretty sweet souvenirs from a fun race!
So because I am a famous running blogger (HAHAHAHAHA), the race director offered me access to the post-race VIP tent, which of course I accepted. I got Jeff on the list as well, but the rest of the
Wearing my VIP badge with all the rest of the cool people.
They had a nice spread of food, and even though we were going out to breakfast with our group, we got a plate to taste:
Hot food plus pastries and fresh fruit, and the best fresh orange juice I've ever tasted.
I noticed a small amount of medals laid out on a table nearby, so went over to investigate - this race doesn't give out finisher medals, so what could these be for? Turns out, they were All Year Runner medals for the 31 runners who've run this race every single year for the last 40 years:
...and here's two of the recipients! They did a little ceremony shortly after Jeff and I sat down to eat; it's another very cool way this race commemorated its 40th anniversary.
We didn't want to keep the rest of our group waiting, so we quickly ate and left the VIP area, only to hear that they were out of bananas for the regular runners, so Jeff went back in the VIP tent and got bananas for everyone. In years past, there's always been a finish line festival going on, with some activities for children, but this year the entire area felt much more welcoming and friendly, and had we not had plans for breakfast at Kerbey Lane Cafe, we easily could have spent some more time there.
One last group shot:
Me, Brian, Jeff, Diane, Cindy, and Cary...and please note the bananas, LOL
And then we were off to breakfast, where I had my once a year treat of Eggs Francisco:
This makes those Austin hills worth every step!
One last picture, just because the juxtaposition was too funny - Cindy is vegan, and the menu she got versus the menus the rest of us got...well, see for yourself:
To be fair, her meal looked pretty delicious, even without the Eggs Francisco.
This was the last of our spring racecations, and it was a great way to finish out our racing season. I'm already looking forward to next year!