My apologies for the prolonged hiatus. The last two weeks flew by and I wasn't home more than a few hours at a time. With the funeral, travel for the Austin half marathon, work obligations, and training, I really haven't spent much time at home. It's times like these that I'm happy I have a small apartment and no pets because it would have just added to the list of things to do. Spring always seems to be the busiest time of year for me. I think it may finally start slowing down after the marathon. Until then, I'll just have some fun, train for OKC Memorial, and work my way into a more normal schedule when summer hits.
Last weekend I traveled to Austin, TX, to run in the Livestrong Austin Half Marathon. I used this as a training run and a gauge for where I'm at in my training. I left Austin with a renewed confidence in my goals for OKC, but the race itself left a bit to be desired. I don't know if I'm spoiled from OKC's half marathon but I felt the race wasn't very well ran. My friends and I got caught waiting in line at the port-a-potties before the start of the race because there were not nearly enough for the amount of runners in the race. Due to this I started the race way in the back, about 12 minutes after the gun. I was stuck in a pack of runners who were running around a 2:10 half marathon pace and it forced me to spend most of the race trying to pass people. I ran most of the race outside of the course so I could have some running space. I felt really comfortable and controlled when I had some room and felt really strong. The course is a lot hillier than my normal running routes so the fact I managed a 1:45 with pretty easy effort shows I'm well on my way to running a PR in April. Another complaint was the lack of warning for water stops. There were no big signs or visual cues for upcoming water stops and many times I was forced to slow and cut across the course to pick up hydration. It was another factor in a less than ideal race. The course was really crowded too. It rivaled Chicago in the lack of open running space, but you expect that in Chicago where they have nearly 40,000 runners. Overall I think it's a decent course, I just wish they would address a few issues. I love Austin so I could see myself running it again, but next time I'll make sure to get there a lot earlier to get in my proper pacing corral.
Yesterday was my most recent long run. I ran 15 miles at Mitch Park in Edmond, OK, which is a nice trail with some rolling hills. It was the first time I had run there and I was pleasantly surprised. It's about a 30 minute drive from my house so it's not a convenient place for me to run, but I definitely see myself going up there on weekends when I need to get in a long run by myself. You can pretty easily make a 5-mile loop out of the trails system. The run went really well. My calf muscles are starting to show some perpetual tightness, but overall I feel pretty healthy. I'm trying to stretch and foam roll my calf muscles to alleviate some of the tightness, but it's only a small concern at this point. We're now 8 weeks away from the marathon so the next five weeks will be crucial when I hit my heavy mileage. I'll start inching up that ladder this week when I am scheduled to run 33 miles. I'm going to try to squeeze in at least one bike and one swim this week as well. I have a few evening obligations this week so it may require a few early morning sessions on the trainer and in the pool.
I'll pick my February charity in the next two days and report back with my choice. I hope you all have a great start to the week. Run happy friends.