I’ve never had the opportunity to stand on the sidelines for a major race before, and I think I picked a great one for my first. Many, many weeks ago my friend Julie tried to talk me into running the Austin Half Marathon while she ran the full, but I was just coming back from a super painful IT band injury and my miles were increasing slowly (sidenote: they still are). I didn’t think I could be ready to run, I knew I could scream and yell with the best of them.
We headed to Austin Saturday morning and hit the expo right at noon, with apparently ALL the other runners in Austin. It wasn’t super crowded but there wasn’t a whole lot of room to browse the various booths. I somehow managed to exercise self control and didn’t buy anything. I’m not really sure how that worked out.
After Julie picked up her packet and a few necessary purchases we decided to head over to the Zilker Botanical Garden. The weather was perfect (75 and sunny) and the walk was quite enjoyable.
The entry price was right for my frugal self, just $2 and there were plenty of photo ops. I imagine during the spring and summer there is a LOT more to see. I might have been disappointed if I’d had to pay more than $2 to get in. But since I didn’t, I was very entertained.
After our time spent among the giant butterfly chairs and super poke cactus (don’t ask) we spent a lot more time in the sun relaxing at what I think was Butler Park, but don’t quite me on that.
We had a delicious dinner at Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que, and it was delicious. I am constantly surprised by the amount of food I manage to eat. This meal taught me that I need to set my expectations higher.
Sunday morning dawned dark and COLD, I was so happy to not be running, though it did warm up quite a bit once the sun was up and shining. The race starts right near the capital, and we got there so early that very few runners were around. We kept asking each other where everyone was. They did show up and man was it PACKED.
I knew of at least 4 bloggers who were running Sunday and I had hoped to see all of them. I missed a few, but did manage to cheer loudly for others. As well as as many strangers as I could. I love that this race had personalized bibs, it made cheering for each individual runner a LOT more fun. I rode around the course, seeing Julie at various spots along the way. And of course, I made time for more eating.
Breakfast was a GINORMOUS piece of French toast and a mocha from Walton Fancy and Staple. I wish I lived in Austin, I’d eat this every day for breakfast. I’d also probably weigh 300 pounds, so it’s good I live over an hour away. The cupcake was Lemon from Delish, and it was just alright, nothing great but not bad. Just average.
I managed to not take ANY good pictures of anything along the course, blogger fail. But I did have a great time. The crowd support was pretty great in most areas, though some miles were very quiet. The course is easy to navigate around so if you want to see your favorite runners in multiple spots it’s not too challenging.
Several times throughout the day, the awesomeness of each and every runner amazed me. I knew less than 1% of the field, but I as I stood at the finish, I got teary eyed over the enormous accomplishment that these athletes had just achieved.
Maybe this was the first full marathon or half marathon for some, or the 30th for another. But the commitment that goes into training for a tough course like this is impressive. I wish I could have told everyone out there on Sunday just how proud I was to be witnessing the fulfillment of their dedication.
I will probably never run this course (I don’t really do hills), but I would gladly sign up as a spectator again.