Oh shoot. I thought I had posted about Austin, but I didn't.
So. The race was hard! I didn't look too closely at the course leading up to the race, but the night before, at around 10:30, I read the little description that came with the registration goody bag. Oh no - hills! And all of them after mile 8! Noooooooo!
Have I mentioned recently that Alameda is utterly, completely FLAT? I think I could chug along for quite a while on flat ground, but hills are another story completely. We have to get in the car and drive somewhere to train on hills, and that doesn't happen too often. So I was a little thrown at this news. But actually, I'm glad I didn't know sooner - I already felt that I hadn't trained sufficiently for this race, and the knowledge of the hills just would have made me even more nervous, without increasing my ability to improve my training... at that point, it was just one of those "it is what it is" kind of things.
Anyway, it was awesome to meet up with all the other Cure JM runners in the pre-dawn hours of race day.
Shari Hume, one of the cofounders of Cure JM (first row, third from left), really likes the "fist in the air" look; the group was happy to oblige.
Then there was nothing left to do but just, well, do it. My mamajog buddies weren't able to join me on this one, so I ran with Shari for a bit but she's just a TAD more advanced in the running department (she qualified for and ran Boston!) and much faster than me, so after a couple miles she had to leave me in her dust. I ran the rest by myself, which was just fine, actually. There was plenty of entertainment along the way, both official and unofficial, and I just kept chugging along. Around the halfway mark, the Cure JM cheering section was waiting:
I finally show up, hug my girl (and my boy, and my husband), and rev up the crowd before I leave (I figured that my little parlor trick of increasing my hand to the size of a frying pan would get them really excited):
Then it was just 6.7 or so more miles of one foot in front of the other. Right as scheduled, the hills started at mile 8. Okay. Just do it. And do it again. And again. Okay, got it.
I knew I was getting close to mile 11, and I was pretty sure I'd read that course leveled out again after that, so I was getting excited... only two more miles to go, and they'd be flat... I was starting to get pretty tired so it was a welcome thought... well. Imagine my feelings when I turned a corner to see the 11-mile post, and a another big old hill stretching right on up behind it. Ugh. Okay. Just do it... and I did... gave myself another pat on the back and another "hallelujah, that must be it for the hills" moment.
Well. Clearly, my memory about what I'd read of the course was ALL wrong. After slogging along another mile, I was looking forward to sighting the 12-mile post - a most welcome sight for the half-marathoner - evidence that you're ALMOST THERE!
Well. Once again, I turned a corner, and this is what I saw:
Now, this image is small, but if you look very closely, right near the center is the 12-mile marker. And it's hard to miss the big old hill stretching on up beyond.
To the planners of the Austin Half Marathon course: this is just plain rude. Putting a big old hill this late into the race is one thing, but to map it so that the thing is heralded by the 12-mile post - normally a beacon of hope to weary hoofers - come on, really? Just. Plain. Rude.
So I moped and whined on the inside for a minute or so, then just bucked up and did it. I didn't run fast, but I did run it. No walking. And then, finally, finally! the course leveled out - even went at little downhill, I believe, although at that point I was a little too delirious to tell you for sure - curving past the historic capital building and finally FINALLY to the finish!
All photo credit goes to the fabulous Julie Caine, with the exception of the 12-mile hill of torture - that one was mine. Special thanks to Ms. Caine, who once again donated her image-making talents to Cure JM - you are the best! And if you want to view more photos from the race, or from the amazing Cure JM educational forums and events that took place the previous day, check out our Flikr stream. Over $180,000 was raised for continuing research of juvenile dermatomyositis... thanks once again to everyone who helped, and WAY TO GO Cure JM!!