12 December 2010

O Come All Ye Faithful...to the Decker Half Marathon

Yesterday we finally put up the balsam swags we ordered from L.L. Bean a while back. We decided to tie them to the columns instead of using the built-in hangers so we wouldn't have to nail into the columns, and by the time the last one was up (after an impromptu break to clean out the gutters), the sun had shifted and I wasn't able to get a picture. No worries, I told myself, I'll get one in the morning. But I was forgetting that this morning was the Decker Half Marathon, and by the time I got home from that (plus breakfast tacos with my running buddies), it was even later than yesterday. To avoid taking a picture into the sun, I had to stand in the shadow of the garage, so I can't show you the whole house, but I can show you our handiwork:

While I was forgetting things, I also forgot that I was planning to go to work yesterday. Just completely forgot!

But back to this morning's race. What can I say about Decker? There probably isn't a mile of the entire course that's flat. It's known as Austin's hard half-marathon, so I knew I wasn't going to set a personal half marathon record out there. I was shooting to run it at my marathon goal pace (although this was a hillier course, so it's kind of apples and oranges). But I kept finding my pace creeping down 30-45 seconds/mile, and after trying for the first half to back off, I eventually decided to just go with it and see if I could sustain it. Around mile 9, it started to get really tough, but I had built up enough of a cushion to come in a few minutes under my goal time and two minutes faster than the same race two years ago.

All year, I've been struggling to regain my speed. The year that we took off to build the house set me back quite a bit, and I haven't been able to do any race, any distance as fast as I did at my peak (spring 2009, when I was training for the New Orleans Half Ironman). After getting faster and faster for my first three years of racing, it's been discouraging to fall short every time over the last several months. (I don't run for the sake of running; I get no endorphin high; I don't find it at all meditative. I really don't love running at all. Some days I don't even think I like it. For me, it's about the challenge of putting in the hard work and seeing the improvement, which is most easily tracked through race results.) Since this is the only marathon I ever plan to run, I hate the thought of doing it at anything but my best. In addition to simply being the first PR (personal record) I've set in ages, today's race was the first indication that I might really be back.


  1. I'm impressed that a half marathon is something you can forget is on your calendar; I stressed about every 5K I ever ran (and hope to get back to stressing about them again someday). Congratulations on the PR!

  2. I hadn't actually forgotten that it was happening -- just that it meant I wouldn't be home during the early morning hours when the light would be best for pictures. I definitely make the most of day-before-race-day: drink lots of water, eat lots of pasta (two meals yesterday), keep my feet up as much as possible. Now I'm making the most of afternoon-after-race day....

  3. Awesome - I guess this means that you'll be in great shape for that Cornish Triathlon in June?