2015 Run Free Texas 80s 8K

This was a PR (yay!) though a rather anticlimactic one since I got stuck behind walkers during my only other 5 mile race.  (I didn’t count the Autism Speaks 8K in May as a PR because the course was short.)  So I went into this knowing that a PR was extremely likely, which makes it a little less exciting.  I’m more proud of the PRs for which I had to train hard.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 5.01.19 PM

Before I go into the nitty gritty race details and a riveting analysis of my splits, let’s talk about my race prep on Saturday.  I picked up my race packet early in the morning at Rogue Running downtown and then ran 4 easy miles by the water.  Went home, grabbed some lunch, then headed out to meet some friends to go caving.  Doesn’t everyone explore caves before a race?!

The weekend of the 8K coincided with plans for a group trip to Inner Space Cavern a bit north of Austin.  We did the Hidden Passages Tour, which definitely did not involve legitimate spelunking or being crammed in a really tiny space.  We had to crouch periodically but otherwise it wasn’t very physically taxing, which was good for the day before a race. I was initially a little concerned about feeling claustrophobic but once we were actually in the caves it didn’t even cross my mind.  Taking pictures on an iPhone was a challenge — especially since each of us had a flashlight, which created some weird glares– but I think I got a few decent ones:

Also, there were antelopes and goats out back.  And a zebra, naturally.

Zebra butt

Zebra butt

Baby goat!

Baby goat!

After our cave tour (which took about 1.5 hours) we checked out a tiny brewery nearby.  I was a little apprehensive about drinking beer in the afternoon before a race day but I was careful about drinking at least as much water as beer and didn’t get a second beer until I’d eaten some mediocre lo mein from the food truck nearby.  I rarely drink more than 2 beers in a night– so it’s unusual for me to get a hangover with headache, nausea, etc.– but I think what usually does me in is getting dehydrated from drinking more alcohol than water.  I had two of the Texas Pecan Brown Ales (which I recommend if you are a fan of the 512 Pecan Porter like me) and I felt fine this morning.

Speaking of this morning, I woke up around 3:30 after dreaming that I couldn’t find the race start and then couldn’t get back to sleep.  It was weird because the race was in the same area as the Turkey Day 5K and this wasn’t a very high pressure race for me.  Really, the most thought I’d given it was to try running 7:30 for the first mile and go from there.  I think some of the anxiety stemmed from not racing for over 2 months.  I haven’t to do the early wake up, eat something that won’t upset my stomach, pin bib to shirt, etc. routine for awhile.

I got up at 5:30, had some coffee and a Clif bar, and hit the road a little before 6:30 so I could park at the stadium in Cedar Park before they closed the driveway.  It takes me 20-30 minutes to get to races in Cedar Park but I love that they always have ample parking and actual bathrooms, though the ones at the stadium were filled with crickets in various stages of life and death.

They weren’t cute ones dancing in top hats…

I warmed up with roughly a mile of easy running and some striders and headed to the start line.  As is typical for me at shorter races, I started off at a fast pace– 7:00– and then had to work to rein it in, especially because the first mile was mostly on a slight downhill.  After that the race was mostly long ascents followed by long  descents.  I did a fairly decent job of not falling off pace on the hills–I think the slowest time I saw on my Garmin was 8:10– but still think I need to run more hills.  On the other hand, I don’t think anyone passed me on the uphill portions of the race even though I felt like I was passed by a lot of people overall.  Once I realized sub-7:30 pace felt doable I just tried to focus on maintaining that pace, not dying on the uphills, and not overdoing the downhills.  In retrospect, I probably could have pushed more earlier in the race because (as seen in the splits at the beginning of this post), I still had some energy at the end.  I also narrowly missed an age group award 😦

Overall I liked this race and will happily sign up for it again next year as a tune up before the longer races towards the end of the year.  It’s also nice to have an 8K PR that’s a bit closer to my potential.  I ran 37:30 on a short course in May and knocked more than 30 seconds off of that time about 4 months later.  It’s motivating to know that my insane mornings at the track are paying off.  (The weather probably helped too– 70 and sunny today vs. a million degrees with humidity in May).

One of the reasons I wanted to run this race was to see what pace I can reasonably aim for at the Run for the Water.  Here’s what McMillan says:

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 6.55.08 PM

1:17:39 is 32 seconds slower than my PR (set on a flatter course than Run for the Water but with an undiagnosed stress fracture).  This is what sub-1:17 looks like:

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 6.57.35 PM

I don’t think it’s completely outside the realm of possibility?  Maybe with more hill running and tempo runs between now and November 1st?  Tell me in the comments if #sub117orbust is crazy.

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6 Responses to 2015 Run Free Texas 80s 8K

  1. Marie says:



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