Friday, May 31, 2013

Inaugural Austin in24 Race Report

I'm not sure I spelled inaugural correctly, but assume it would have little red squigglies under it if I didn't.
Kinda like squigglies has squigglies under it.

I am giving myself 30 minutes to write a race report that normally would take me two neurotic hours of re-reading and revisions.
But if I wait any longer, as the race was 3 weeks ago, I'll forget even more.
I want to add pictures, too, but that usually takes alot of time, too. We shall see.

Well back a few months ago, OK it was Jan 25th, we received an email about Big News:

Introducing The Back on My Feet in24 Austin Race Challenge! 

Back on My Feet is excited to announce that 20in24 will be evolving into the Back on My Feet in24 Race Series!  This has been a vision for the past 18 months.  Don't worry, the 20in24 you've come to know and love will stay the same, and we're thrilled to announce the The Back on My Feet in24 Austin Race Challenge (in24 Austin) which will take place May 11 - 12!  Early registration for in24 Austin is now open and we hope some of you will join us down in Texas for our inaugural event. Please enjoy 20 percent off any of the races with this code: 20in24Vet2013 *
Image removed by sender.
Here are some details about in24 Austin and please
visit the website to learn more:
  1. in24 Austin is a 5-mile loop instead of the 8.4-mile loop in Philadelphia
  2. Races are very similar: The Lone Ranger Ultra-Marathon, the Five-Person Relay Challenge,Sunset Run, and the Pajama LoopEarly registration is open.
  3. Back on My Feet launches its tenth chapter in Austin on January 28th
  4. "Like" in24 Austin on Facebook 
  5. "Like" Back on My Feet Austin on Facebook and "Follow" us on Twitter
A huge thanks to RunTex and ACE Cash Express for helping to make this happen. If you have any questions about in24 Austin, please contact us!

Your friends at Back on My Feet

And I agree, this is big news.
And I was kinda interested.

But interest would only carry me so far because if I wanted to participate in a new race in Austin, TX, there were several unknowns to clear up.
So we cleared them up.

Got flights.
Arranged grandparent tag-team childcare.
Setup rental car.
Would stay with my sister-in-law in San Antonio.

Did you know the Alamo was in San Antonio?
It is.

So the Alamo became part of the loose itinerary.
San Antonio also have a Riverwalk which is cool.
You pay money to park at the shopping mall? and then you can walk for a few pretty miles along a dirty river.

Oh, and stand on the bridges.

OK I'm a little off-track.

I also signed up for the race and ending up communicating with Back on My Feet representatives and Leah from Austin Fit Magazine. I think I was the only nut who felt a connection to the 20in24 so great that I wanted to travel down for this first race.
It was to show support for the first year, remembering that the first year in Philly was relatively quaint, and now it is nuts.
Hopefully, I would also attract others to the race, but I don't think that happened.
I don't have much running community influence. I don't actually race much these days anyway.

Well, OK, so we took the trip down and it was great.
I love flying too much. I love clouds. They look so alien and beautiful up close.

Hmmm, I think I keep saying "our" and "we" but haven't given enough information.
My wife also went down with me and along with spending time with her sister's family was excited to volunteer for, um, 15 hours? or so at the in24 race. How cool, I know.
I'd regaled her with tales of 20in24 volunteers who are just awesome. Now she is one of them.

I think the 20in24 is actually called the Philly in24 now. It is less tongue-twister.

I only have about 15 more minutes to type so on to the race stuff.

Oh, we also toured 6th street in Austin. I can't wait to go back.
I used Google Search with music recognition to discover a new band/album down there too.
Portraits by Wheeler Brothers
Check it out. I listen to it on MOG.

We are going back to Austin next year, not for the race, but need to swing by later at night when these cool little food trailers are open. And when live music is playing in the many, many bars.

So first two full days in Texas, we did way too much walking.
Walked alot in San Antonio, Riverwalk.
Walked alot in Austin day before the race up-and-down 6th street, mostly killing time until pre-race packet pickup.
Which I thought was mandatory day-before pickup.
But wasn't.

Oh well, it was cool saying hi to Back on My Feet at Rogue Running and feeling like the race was definitely on.

Arrived at Camp Mabry about 100 miles from San Antonio for the race on Saturday, May 11th.
OK it wasn't quite 3 weeks ago yet,  but almost.

Camp Mabry is an active military base.

I'm gonna change the format now and just list stuff.


Met Leah from Austin Fit Magazine (AFM) right after the introduction speech.
Army people were running on the same track we were running on.
During the Star Spangled Banner, there was no flag.
We had a moment of silence for victims of Boston. A race theme was Baustin Strong.
After the race, BoMF dumped a ton of size small in24 Baustin Strong shirts on us.
I used one for a birthday gift the next weekend. The kid was wearing it the very next day.
As the race was about to start, on the track, at the starting line, all of the Army people, I want to call them troops, cadets? ran through the starting line. You know runners can be sticklers for their sacred running territory, this was funny.
There were not many participants. 40 Lone Rangers, tops. 10 relay teams.
The first mile was a loop on the track, then a 5K on paved course, then the final mile was another loop on the track.
Our first loop, the course marshal didn't know the course and had us take a shortcut, we laughed.
I ran most of the 1st loop with the eventually women's winner, Shay.
I would have stuck with her for the 2nd and maybe more loops, but my hat blew off and I did not have the strength to pick it up and speed up for 20 yards to rejoin her.
I spent alot of time on the course with a guy named Axle. He was from Germany originally, then Tulsa?, then Austin. A pleasure to talk with both about running and particulars about Austin.
Axle can walk very fast for a significant distance.
I spent alot of time with Leah of AFM, mostly at the end. We talked about runner things like pee.
I spent a loop or so with eventual 3rd place male, Simon. He was very nice and always exchanged pleasantries as we passed by each other.
Here's a picture from the first loop with some of them in it.

There were many deer on the course after sundown. It was exciting.
The sun was blazing during the day, blazing. Only one really big cloud. I remember it. I exulted.
There was a very strong breeze on the track. I resolved to walk whenever the breeze blew into my face. That became a tough habit to break even while running in the days/weeks after the race.
I was so tired at one point in the middle of the night, I wanted to sleep on ANY elevated surface, for example a sidewalk. I walked for miles before finding an elevated surface, the porch of a house between the track and the highway. Conceivably, I'd still be sleeping there if I had not pushed on.
The race director and BoMF director is Joe. And he seriously won the 2nd day Pajama Run. He was so far ahead, I thought he was previewing the course. He did a great job with the race and had a very good attitude throughout.
When my wife's family arrived for the Sundown race, I was defeated and all but quit. I really wanted to sleep.
At my lowest grumpy point toward sundown I was super annoyed by a volunteer laying down in the middle of the course. But not annoyed enough to directly confront him. But annoyed nonetheless.
I ran my fastest miles just before 2 or 3AM because I was racing my wife back to the tent. She was wrapping up her volunteer super shift and I resolved that if I returned to the tent first, I was done and going to bed. I was concerned that neither of us would be rested enough to drive the 100 miles home.
We did stop at Bucky's the Beaver rest stop on the way home (and on the way TO the race for ice) and I hobbled something fierce to make it into the rest room. Then I hobbled more to mix the perfect cherry/vanilla Diet Doctor Pepper fountain soda. And I was starving but was too cheap to purchase anything good to eat. So I got one of those yogurt parfaits with granola. Good enough.
I shed a tear during a tired moment to Through the Wire by Kanye West.
I did not listen to much music along the course because by the time I "needed" it, there were only a few hours until dark.
Our nieces finished 1st and 2nd in their age group for the Sundown race. Is that what it was called?
No, it was called the Sunset Run.
Yeah, they are fast. Our 1st place niece fell descending the biggest hill and said she hit a tuck and roll and popped back up without a scratch.
I did a tuck and roll after falling off a high curb during a winter run and to this day have no idea how I did it successfully.
During the night at the race, in the valley, lowest elevation of the race, I heard a bird singing "Whip Or Whill" and confirmed that Austin does have whip-poor-wills, although I didn't see one.

I'm over my time limit, so wrapping up.

What Worked

I didn't get in many long runs ahead of this race, not like in year's past when I'd knock out an easy 20 on winter weekends. But I did have my 33 mile birthday run under my belt which provided confidence.
My running shoes, though too lightweight and half a size too small worked great. My feet felt fine.
My favorite running socks, which I can't find in stores anymore, worked great also, even though they have a few holes at the tips of the toes.
I did not get any notable blisters despite the heat. That's always a toss up, not sure why I get them sometimes. But I did not treat any blisters during the race.
I wore my make-shift legionnaires cap with an orange rag under my hat. Keeps the sun off the neck.
I wore a hat during the day, my head got a little warm though, so it was a compromise for sun relief.
I carried salt pills in a wrist bag, that was perfect.
Eating Pirate Booty, from an aid station, after almost every loop to get a little salt but mostly to fill my stomach to reduce sloshing.
I used, again make-shift, gaiters to keep debris out of my shoes and socks. Kept most stuff out of socks but particularly on the track, I had to clean out my shoes several times.
I walked almost every hill throughout the race and like I said, whenever the wind was strong.
I didn't stop at aid stations. I did stop at my tent but I wasted very little time at water stops.
This wasn't really my doing but the course was PERFECT.
OK, more hilly than my mind would have preferred but perfect. Only a 5 mile loop. And 2 of those miles were on the track at home base. That meant with the 5k portion of the course, you were never more than 1.5 miles away from the start. Mentally, that helped SO much because it was only a short distance before re-joining civilization. Huge boost. Huge.
Having family at the race. My wife the whole race. She needs to go to more races, more in24's. And she will. She's volunteering at Philly now.
Look how nice she setup my stuff in the tent.

Oh and Medical Tape to prevent nipple chafing. Flawless.
Back to family. Having my sister-in-law's family at the race for a few hours was priceless.
I ran a loop of the track with my middle niece (and ran to a distant tree with the youngest) and she was running faster than I'd like but it motivated me on every future loop on the track to push it for the same stretches I ran/sprinted with her.
Post race flip-flops. Nothing like setting your feet free. It felt so good.

And finally, I picked my worst daytime loop to take pictures around the base. I'm glad I did.

Yes, those pictures suggest more clouds than I recognized during the race.

What Didn't Work

Too much.
I was not acclimated to heat. It wasn't THAT hot, really, but it was hotter than the coldness we'd had back home lately. I don't do well in heat, period.
I failed to fuel properly. I did not commit to drinking Ensure after every loop like I know I must. I think later in the race, it contributed to my sleepiness and my sleepiness was resolved by a steady influx of cookies.
I failed to electrolyte/hydrate sufficiently. The at-times strong breeze made me unaware of how significantly I had been sweating. I learned that during those peak heat/sun hours, I need to double-up salt pills.
Because I had terrible cramps about 10 hours in. I almost seized up just straightening my legs while watching our nieces get their awards.
Heat rash. Dude WTF. I got a heat rash on my inner legs also 10 or so hours in. Show stopper.
But no problem, just change into my compression shorts.
Left them back at home. At Home home.
I'm serious, my wife and sister-in-law drove to a local Walmart and purchased the only pair of compression shorts and they fit me perfectly. That and 2 hours of rehydration got me back in the race.
Anything else fail?
You know, I actually did ZERO post-race recovery steps like consume protein and carbs, or ice bath or Stick my legs. And my recovery both same-day and days after was fine. My legs were OK.


I knew going into the race that I could knock out 75 miles.
I did not know that I would ONLY knock out 75 miles, 15 loops.
Too much time sidelined with dehydration and the heat rash. I could have walked through the dehydration but both at the same time knocked me down for about 2 hours.

I crossed the finish line, paced the final 5 walking miles, by my wife.
I was satisfied and proud of the effort and committing to the trip and experience.

My sister-in-law's family, Leah of AFM, and the BoMF team made us feel so welcome down in Texas, the trip couldn't have gone any better.
I'm really looking forward to the 20in24 in less than 2 months.

And I'm looking forward to visiting Texas again.
If things work out, I'd love to do the Austin in24 again. We'll see.

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