Anyone still wondering why Austin doesn’t hold many distance races in the spring? Today should clear up any confusion on that matter. It was 72 with 85% humidity as the Sunshine Run 10Kers lined up at 7am. Thank goodness it was overcast–actual sunshine during this race would have turned the whole thing into an oven. Or one of the circles of hell. Another benefit to the early start? The 5K wasn’t scheduled to start until 8:30, so the early birds didn’t have to scramble for parking spaces.
This was the inaugural Sunshine Run, formerly known as the Schlotzky’s Bun Run. Its out-and-back route started on Riverside just in front of the Long Center, then over the First Street bridge, west on First Street past Austin High to Lake Austin Boulevard via that little road that runs along the hike-and-bike trail, then left on Lake Austin Boulevard. The turnaround was about a quarter-mile past Exposition.
The 10K was a pretty small affair, only about 550 entrants. So once we were underway, the crowd spaced itself out pretty well. The bridge had a small incline, but once we crossed it, the street flattened out. The first mile went by quickly.
The drawback to out-and-back courses? Somewhere along mile two, around the back side of Austin High, the eventual winner passed me on his way back.
I slowed a bit as I climbed the hill from the Mopac bridge to Lake Austin Boulevard–as West Austin hills go, it’s not at all daunting, but the humidity did not make anything easy today. I’m pretty sure that Gilbert from Gilbert’s Gazelles was the guy cheering along this stretch, which helped me power through the last of the incline.
As I ran along Lake Austin Boulevard, I played chase with this couple who was running intervals. They’d pass me, then when they stopped to walk, I’d pass them. I couldn’t get enough separation when they were walking, so lather rinse repeat for about two miles.
Just past Exposition, I made the turnaround to run the whole thing in reverse. There were more water stops on the way back, which helped. At the second one, I drank a cup of water and dumped another on my head, then made the last push to the finish. I tried not to think about how awful my stomach felt, but I’ve never been good at zoning out and ignoring discomfort. I knew I wasn’t going to PR today, and I was okay with that. I just wanted to finish strong.
Halfway across the bridge, I saw B on the sidewalk–his bright green Hulk shirt caught my eye immediately. He shouted, then started running down the sidewalk next to me. He caught up with his dad (who’s still injured) and continued running alongside me. Down the little hill, then the final turn. I could see the finish line. I felt a surge of energy and picked up my pace. The 5K runners were lined up on the other side of the road, their race still fifteen or so minutes away. The announcer called some finishers’ names, but I didn’t hear mine. As I crossed, though, he said something about being glad to see all the Rogue runners out today, and since I was wearing a Rogue shirt, I figured maybe I got a shout-out there.
As I stood on the sidewalk waiting for M and B, a group of women asked me to take their picture. After I finished that, another couple asked the same. Guess who? The interval people. Go figure!
I was such a sweaty, disgusting mess from the humidity, I had no intention of inflicting that upon some poor restaurant. We went home and got cleaned up, then met some family for–what else–Mexican food.
And then the sun came out.