Run for the Water: a Ten-Miler to Remember

Your brain during a 10-miler:

Mile one: alright, let’s make this a good race.”
Mile four: “gee whiz, I hope the next 6 go by fast.”
Mile seven: “can I just be done already?”
Mile nine: “when can I do this again?”

That pretty much sums up my experience during the Run for the Water 10-miler.

Ready for race week with my fave pupper.

Don’t let the inspiring beneficiary, spot-on swag, or nice course amenities fool you – this race is a tough one. Despite the challenges at hand, the Run for the Water is an excellent way to sprint into race season.

My #flatrunner for the race.

Here are four reasons to run the Run for the Water next year:

  1. A healthy challenge. The course rolling hills and a monster of a massive hill during the final half of the race. You’ll feel accomplished no matter if you PR or just finish.
  2. The beneficiary. The race benefits the Gazelle Foundation, which provides water to people in Burundi. Can you imagine being without clean water? This seems like a basic human resource that everyone on the planet deserves access to. You can also donate the cost of your finisher shirt to the cause.
  3. The scenery. You’ll enjoy a mix of Austin landmarks (like Lady Bird Lake, Mozart’s and a view of the Austin Skyline, as well as some lovely neighborhoods. The course runs through Tarrytown, an affluent, hilly neighborhood with an eclectic mix of beautiful homes with gorgeous views when you crest the hills.
  4. A top-tier post-race party. The party is located at one of the best spots in Austin – S. 1st Street – where you can bask in the glory of downtown, looking back at all you accomplished and refueling before heading back home.
Tired, but feeling accomplished

How’d I do?

I’m honestly not ashamed to say I ran the slowest race pace I’ve run in a long time. I attribute this to a couple of non-race-related factors as well. My headphones crapped out before mile 4, which was AWFUL. I also wasn’t feeling my best after an impromptu night out with some dear friends the night before – call it run/life balance if you must. That hasn’t ruined a long run before, but it’s a little different when you’re trying to perform your best.

Overall, the Run for the Water is one you need to plan for, but one that you definitely should plan for! If you make sure to incorporate consistent hill work into your training, I think you’ll be in good shape.

Check out the race here and see you out there next year.


Picking up running? 5 pieces you need.

It’s a new year and you’ve decided to run a 5k this year. Or maybe a half marathon.

Awesome decision. When I decided to run a marathon, I couldn’t even run more than two miles at once, so you’re in good company if you feel unsure how to get there. I accomplished that goal less than a year later, and I learned a few things along the way that might help you accomplish yours!

These initial pieces will help you get started with your journey, even if you’re on a budget.

1. Shoes.

Running shoes are an investment, so visit a local store near you to get fitted. You might not realize which shoes are right for your foot type, and you don’t want to spend a huge chunk of change online to find out you bought the wrong shoe. Local stores usually will allow you to exchange shoes if you run 5-10 miles and find out the shoes you brought home don’t work. You can also purchase older models if you are looking to save some money. In terms of brands, I’m partial to Brooks because they consistently last for 300-500 miles, and are less expensive than some flashier counterparts.

2. Good Socks.

You might be thinking “seriously, why do I need special socks?” A good pair of socks with targeted compression is a game-changer; you can start with just one pair. The socks provide extra cushioning and help the blood circulate in your feet, so you don’t feel as tired and recover faster. Case and point: before I started using Feetures socks, I my feet would start hurting 4-5 miles into a long run, and they would be sore the next day. When I ran with my first pair, I went without any pain for close 12 miles, and felt 100% immediately after, I kid you not.

3. Tracking Device.

Garmin has a variety of great options for every budget. The affordable Forerunner 25 (less than $100) includes basic GPS and activity tracking. If you want something that looks a little more like an activity band or standard watch, try the vívosport or the vívoactive 3. the benefit for these is that they have more robust activity tracking data, with the inclusion of GPS for outdoor workouts. I personally own the Forerunner 735 XT, which also has the ability to load workouts right into your watch, estimate your workout effort and recovery time, and track swimming and cycling activities (and a ton of other stuff).

4. Safety.

Get some runner’s mace. You never know what you might encounter (animals sometimes freak out)! And make sure any clothing you buy has something reflective on it.

5. Headphones.

Running is a bouncy activity, and a lot of headphones come loose easily. In a pinch, the Panasonic ErgoFit Earbuds are some of the best budget buds out there. If you’re willing to invest, the Bose Soundsport Bluetooth Headphones have great sound quality, are comfortable as heck, and decent battery life.

That said, what goals have you set? I’d love to hear! Let me know in the comments.

FYI: FREE TO RUN uses affiliate links, so if you choose to make a purchase, we may make a small commission (at no cost to you). Thanks for helping us keep the lights on.


Decker Challenge: a Hill of a Race

At the bottom of a really tough hill, looking up, you may question why you run. That point may also come halfway up, as your muscles scream for mercy. But the reason people do it because of the feeling of finally making it to the top. The pain subsides, you can see for miles and you realize the downhill is going to feel incredible.

Apparently, the Decker Challenge Half Marathon is known for some punishing hills.

You may be surprised to know that after running the third race in the Distance Challenge series, I can confidently say it’s one of the first races you should try in Austin.

Don’t let the hills intimidate you – the race was truly designed by and for runners of all levels.

Here’s why:

  • There were reasonable hills.Everyone gets to the point where the same routes become too familiar and they want more of a challenge out of running. The course was a reasonable challenge, because only a couple of hills were really that steep. The course didn’t have steep, short hills back-to-back, so it felt much easier to pace yourself.
    • I ran a 5K in under 30 minutes – a personal record for me regardless of the race – so a PR is possible.
  • The course doesn’t get too packed. There are only about 1,000 runners in the field. The start line is always a little packed, but the crowd spreads out a little bit after about 1/2 a mile or so.
  • The post-race party was easy to navigate.The wait is 10 minutes for a free massage, there was no line for the photo backdrop and there were plenty of snacks. It was awesome!
  • There were a good amount of water stations,with Nuun at each station and porta potties spaced throughout each water stop. The race was in such a remote area that you could end up in a hairy situation if they didn’t space them out well. Race management thought that one through well.
  • High-energy volunteers made the crowd support possible.There were some really spirited groups that came out to cheer runners on. Note: if you’re looking for a race that has a really big-city feel with big crowds, this may not be it.

The perfect weather, combined with the just-challenging-enough course and none of the irritations of much larger courses make this one tough to beat.

As you may have seen on Instagram, I’ve been checking off all the boxes as part of the Austin Distance Challenge this year. If you’re not familiar with the Distance Challenge, it’s a race series through the Austin Runners Club to encourage local runners to tackle long distance races on a regular basis.

So far, the Distance Challenge has encouraged me to try several new races, which has been a good change of pace. Check out my recap from the Run for the Water 10-miler – a much more difficult race if you’re looking for an even bigger challenge.

What races are you looking forward to this winter?

Next stop for me is the 3M Half Marathon, and I can’t wait!

June Training Update – Global Running Day

In June, I set out with a simple goal: to beat my May mileage total. Well, within the last week of June, I beat it… but then work got in the way and I took an unexpected week off.

Here’s what June looked like for me in terms of running.

Total miles run in June: 23.3

Week of June 25:

Body Pump | Yoga | 3.1 mi.

These 3.1 miles were technically part of August; however, it wasn’t a total loss, as I got in some cross training via classes. I find yoga to be an important part of my running schedule because it helps me tap into that zen frame of mind.

Make sure to try out Acai Hut if you’re in the Austin area.

Week of June 18:

3.5 mi. | Yoga | 2.5 mi.

Between a day trip to a family reunion and a weekend trip to Galveston for a wedding, it felt like there was no down time in June, but I got a few quick workouts in this week, which felt good.

Week of June 11:

3.6 mi. | 2.1 mi.

Again, one of those weeks where getting close to 6 miles in felt like an accomplishment. I will say, though, that one of the highlights of my summer has been running as close to dusk as possible in the downtown area. It’s amazing because of the bats (and now I’m kicking myself for not having a good photo from June). At dusk, the bats that live under the bridges take flight, which is kinda gross if you really think about it, but mostly cool because it looks like smoke coming out of the bridges. This is the week I first discovered it (and had a chance encounter with a water moccasin that was terrifying as well). Good times. 

FYI – my favorite coffee these days is Cafe Nena’i, because they have amazing Argentinian pastries to go with it!

Week of June 4:

2.4 mi. | 3.9 mi.

This week was super fun – I celebrated Global Running Day with a local group run, sponsored by the Austin Half Marathon. While it was 96 degrees out, it was awesome to get a little reminder of what racing feels like on a regular ‘ole Wednesday. 

Tired at the end of the run, but I made it!

How has your summer been? It’s hard to believe the downhill side of summer is here.  

FREE TO RUN is a participant in the Amazon Associates program, which allows me to make a small commission on products you purchase and keep the lights on, at no cost to you. All opinions are my own.

 

Top active wear picks from Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale!

Note: this post contains affiliate links, which allow me to make a small commission on products you purchase at no cost to you. Basically, if you find something you like, it helps me keep the lights on. All opinions are my own.

Alright, who’s excited for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale? As many of you may know, this sale is an awesome way to stock up on clothes and shoes for fall, and it comes just in time for back to school shopping! I set aside a little money each year to stock up on some fall clothes, because there’s nowhere else you can find next season’s clothes at last season’s prices.

This year, I wanted to explore what’s in it for the active gals like myself. I’m always on the lookout for multifunctional pieces that are great for running and can be worn outside of the gym. Selection of athletic wear in store is actually somewhat limited, so I’ve scoured the website to find the best pieces (so you don’t have to!).

Side note: some of these products may be temporarily sold out, but I’ve noticed that after the first week, stock tends to be replenished when things get returned. Especially because a lot of these items are pretty niche and don’t have as much stock as the mainstream stuff, I’d check back if you don’t see your size right away – that’s what I’ll be doing, anyway!

Yoga to Brunch

Okay, this outfit is going to be my new Friday morning yoga outfit, because I will not feel like a complete slob putting Women’s Bp. Stitch Curve Hem Cardigan and Women’s Adidas Gazelle Sneaker on as I roll into the office. I admit, these Women’s Sweaty Betty Zero Gravity Print Ankle Leggings are a splurge, but they are so pretty and I don’t have anything like them. I can’t wait for them to get here. Smartwool also makes uber breathhable socks, and these Women’s Smartwool ‘Hide And Seek’ No-Show Socks, Size Medium – Black will look nice with the sneakers. Oh, and the Women’s Zella Crop Swing Tank comes in three different colors, so I may have to buy them all. It looks really lightweight and perfect for summer and spring (even though it’s a fall item)! The Women’s Brooks Just Right Seamless Racerback Sports Bra will go under it perfectly.

Run around Town

I’m swooning over this Madewell scarf, and just had to find a way to take it with me to the gym. I think it’ll complement these running shoes (which are a neutral, if that’s your correct fit) and these tights that I LOVE. I actually recently got the capri version in my Mercury Mile box and can’t stop wearing them. The bomber jacket is very trendy right now and so comfy. I think it will go perfectly over this adidas tank and Brooks sports bra (make sure to check out the details on each one – the Brooks’ back is awesome, and the logo on the tank is very subtle, which I love.).

Form and Function

This collection was put together with both pieces you’ll find me running in this winter, and items that I plan to take with me when I travel to Europe this fall. Killing two birds with one stone is essential when you’re traveling, so it would make perfect sense to use these when you’re traveling for a race or something like that when you don’t want to pack multiple outfits for one day. This Zella top is so flattering and feels very breathable, and the sports bra looks super comfy if you don’t need a lot of support, while these trainers would be perfect for long days of walking or going to a class. I can’t wait to try these new socks and I’ve had my eye on a Hershel backpack for awhile. And, on yeah, it’s tough to find a good technical pair of leggings for less than $75, so these Brooks leggings are a pretty good deal (and I love the quality of their gear).

What pieces caught your eye? Let me know – looking at this post during the preview period has made me so excited that I’m dying to chat with people about it. Cheers!

 

Currently Wearing: Mercury Mile Review

Disclosure: I received a complimentary styling fee for Mercury Mile and a discount on any items I kept as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.[/caption]

I’ve been toying with the idea of trying an in-home styling service (think Stitch Fix or Trunk Club) for some time now, and when I saw Mercury Mile on social media, a similar service specifically for runners, my interest was peaked (shout out to Runny Legs, because I distinctly remember her review). To my pleasant surprise, BibRave partnered with them just a couple of weeks later, so I knew it was something I had to try.

The Craft shorts and Kari Traa top went so well together.

My experience!

The whole process, from start to finish, was easy. Since this was my first trial, I got to fill out a fun style profile to give my stylist a sense of what I was looking for. Then, I selected my shipping date and I was finished.

Let me just tell you that I love ordering boxes when I don’t have to shop for their contents. Something about getting a surprise in the mail feels a little like Christmas or a treat-yourself-day. I checked tracking repeatedly as soon as I got the notification that my box was in the mail, which was super prompt. The day finally came when my first Mercury Mile box arrived!

Checking out my stylist’s notes.

Mercury Mile sent me a total of five items (there’s a star by the one’s I kept):

  1. Craft Eaze Jersey Shorts 
  2. *Kari Traa Nora Singlet
  3. *Adidas How We Do 3/4 Tights 
  4. Run Janji Uganda 4″ Middle Shorts
  5. *Body Glove Pali Tank

Everything I kept.

They nailed it.

My goal was to refresh my running wardrobe with some pieces that I’d feel great about wearing running around town as well as during my runs/other workouts. 

The stylist, Helen, threw in a lot of pieces that seemed really versatile, but had a little something special about them that made them unique. I felt like Helen really tried to anticipate what I’d be interested in – she included a brief reason why she picked each item for me. In the future, I think this will even give her a better sense of what my preferences are.

View of the back details!

The other thing I loved about this services is that I got to try a variety of brands that I wouldn’t have known about. I LOVED the Body Glove tank and Adidas pants that Helen picked out, and I didn’t know they made anything quite like these really athleisure-friendly technical items.

Side note – if you feel like you really like something and feel like you need a different sizes, I ran into this with the Adidas tights and the return process was quick and simple. I just emailed them and they were on it!

Daisy was over it, but I was not!

A note on what I didn’t keep:

While I felt these were all high-quality products, but I discovered I am pretty picky about the shorts I like. The Craft shorts didn’t have built in underwear, though I almost kept them just because they’d be cute for casual wear. The Run Janji shorts were adorable as well, but the fit was a little off on me and I didn’t think it would be solved by switching out sizes.

The Body Glove top and Adidas tights go so well together!

In conclusion…

I’d absolutely recommend this service to anyone who wants to try something new and refresh their running style. Like I said, the stylist really listened to my runner profile and tried to get me out of my comfort zone a bit.

You can try the service for yourself by visiting MercuryMile.com. The code “BibRave10” gives you $10 off styling fee, and the remainder will go towards whatever you decide to keep. So for $10, what do you have to lose?

Have you tried Mercury Mile? Let me know what you thought in the comments. 🙂

9 Texas Girl Tips for Hotter-than-Heck Summer Running

This post contains affiliate links, meaning FREE TO RUN receives a small portion of proceeds from your purchase, at no cost to you.

Independence Day is tomorrow, which means it’s officially summer! Since Texas temps get up into the 100’s on a regular basis for three months of the year, I figured it was high time I shared how to stay cool when all you want to do is bathe in Chick-fil-A lemonade.

Especially if you have your sights set on a fall race, those summer miles have to get done somehow. Here are nine practical tips to help you beat the heat if you can’t stand having an exclusive relationship with the treadmill.

  1. Work up to it. Like any good training plan, it all starts with a mile. You can try running the same distance once a week, then graduate to a longer distance when you feel better about it, or you can see how long you can run outside and add on a little bit each week. If you can only take one mile, maybe you run more frequently than normal, but run shorter distances.
  2. Hydrate. All the time. As a lifeguard, we were always told that if we were thirsty, that meant we were already dehydrated. I try to drink at least a full 8 cups of water each day. I overheat much less easily/see a HUGE difference on the days when I meet my goal. If you get sick of water/want more electrolytes, nuun and Ultima are two of my favorites (full review of Ultima here).
  3. Invest in some key lightweight apparel pieces. I’m not someone who feels comfortable in a sports bra and shorts, so this also makes a huge difference. Here are some of my favorite tank, short, sports bra, hat and sock options.
  4. Time your run with the sun. If you must run outside, try to run as close to dusk as possible, or go in the morning before the sun gets too high (pre-9 a.m.). I prefer the evening because it’s less humid and I’m not a morning person. Even when sweating buckets, I appreciate the cooling effect of sweat evaporating (gross, I know); it somehow feels less muggy.
  5. Bring a towel. Especially if you’re running in the morning, wiping that sweat off of your body will help add to the cooling effect.
  6. Wear sunscreen. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You need sunscreen! Don’t put yourself a an increased risk for cancer. Here’s my favorite facial sunscreen, and here’s a zinc-based option if you prefer that.
  7. Sunglasses. Not only do sunglasses make you look and feel awesome, but blocking the sun from your eyes is helpful for your vision. I also find that it helps keep the sweat out of my eyes. I’m currently loving these from Shady Rays!
  8. Eat lighter. I enjoy eating lower carb/less heavy foods during the summer, because it helps me avoid that really sick feeling when you’ve eaten too much. Feeling better helps motivate me to power through a workout.
  9. Face the inevitability of indoor running life. At least some of the time. Finding a gym with good equipment has really helped here; one of my prerequisites is finding a gym with a track specifically, and second is working TV screens on the treadmills.

That’s everything I do! Let me know if you have any other tips in the comments.

P.S. If you’re planning to do some shopping this holiday, here are a couple of good promos that run through the 4th:

New Balance will give you $10 off $75 + Free Shipping with code FIRECRACKER (some exclusions apply). Runs through 7/7!

Lorna Jane is offering 30% off when you buy 3 or more items with code BUYNOW30. Runs through 7/8!

May Training Update – Amping Up the Cross Training

After the Cap 10K, I really felt like I needed a little bit of a mental break. I had a great race, but I’ve been training for one thing or another for quite awhile now. Even if you’re not perfect with training or staying on a consistent schedule, it’s still mentally taxing.

However, for my birthday, my husband got me the new Garmin Forerunner 735XT, which I absolutely love so far. Just having this updated piece of gear has helped me stay motivated without having a goal race in mind, because I’m able to learn more about my running with every workout. I feel like a completely different runner in a good way. I originally had the Forerunner 220 (newer model is here) before making the switch to the Vivosmart HR+, and liked the Forerunner with the exception of no activity tracking. Now that I’m back with the Forerunner series, I’m remembering how intuitive it is to use. There are so many more robust features (intervals, specific workouts like biking and swimming, recovery times, etc.) that I took for granted when I made the original transition to the Vivosmart series.

Basically, I’ve been playing around with different combinations of cross training (CT) and running, trying to rethink what schedule works for me to keep a little bit of variety in my life. Burnout is a real thing – I love running, but I don’t like it when I feel burned out, and CT helps with that.

Here’s how May shook out.

Total miles run in May: 20.2

Week of April 30:

2.1 mi. | yoga

I had a great run this week. I’ve been feeling strong on each run (even on the treadmill, I’ve been averaging 5.8 mph), and it’s been helpful to have my new watch. It assesses the perceived effect that each workout has on your cardiovascular training, so I can keep pushing myself to the next level.

Beautiful flowers from our Mother’s Day brunch with my MIL. Happy belated Mother’s Day to all of the amazing moms out there.

Week of May 7:

1.6 mi. | 2.1 mi.

I may have only clocked 3.7 miles this week, but I made each one count by pushing it a little bit with some speed intervals. Sometimes you just have to do the best you can to make it to the gym and make each workout count. Quality seems more important to me than quantity of workouts, and so far the data from my watch is backing that up.

My outfit: Tank | Tights | Shoes

Week of May 14:

3.1 mi. | body pump | 1.9 mi. | 3.1 mi.

Felt like I was getting back in the swing of things, and capped off my fit week with the Beef Team retreat over the weekend. It was a lot of fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed our 5K Sunday morning (even though the humidity was killer). Everyone is so encouraging.

Have I also told you guys how much I LOVE body pump? Talk about a killer workout. My arms have gotten so much stronger (even though I can barely make it through a class sometimes) since starting body pump.

Week of May 21:

2.9 mi.

I guess 8 miles the week prior was too much? I had some major elbow soreness from body pump that persisted for a week, so I definitely skipped out on strenuous CT. And then it was just a really busy week – I was on call for work, had to travel one evening, etc. and that didn’t leave much downtime, much less, workout time.

If there’s one thing I love about warm weather running, it’s the scent of honeysuckles/jasmine/whatever this is in the evening. It is intoxicating.

Week of May 28:

3.4 mi. | 5.4 mi.

3.4 miles in the 90-degree weather wasn’t as bad as you’d think, and it was awesome to be back outside for a run. Or at least, that’s the story I’m telling myself. Getting back home afterward, my face definitely told a different story. A coworker even saw me during my run as I looked like death, I found out the next day. Technically, this is June news, but I also put in my longest run since the 10K over the weekend, which felt surprisingly easy. Every time I have a good run like this, I wonder if I could qualify for Boston. Anyone else do this?

Cool graffiti on the trail last week.

The highlight has definitely been the last week, and it has reminded me how much I enjoy distance running. I don’t think I could be a strictly 5K runner – they’re just not long enough.

How did your month shake out? Cheers to warmer weather (and learning to tolerate it).

FREE TO RUN is a participant in the Amazon Associates program, which allows me to make a small commission on products you purchase and keep the lights on, at no cost to you. All opinions are my own.

Currently wearing: FlipBelt Crops (& promo code)

Disclosure: I received a pair of FlipBelt Crops as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.

Clumsy girl confession: I’ve come to hate carrying things in my hands on my run. Holding onto something like my phone became such a pain after a while, because I constantly drop it.  A lot of leggings provide some sort of key pocket or temporary solution for this, but due to the ever-changing sizes of phones, I feel like there’s always something that doesn’t fit in comfortably, or there’s something to carry. And, of course, other options have a tendency to cause chafing on my hips or bounce.

No more, I say! No more.

Sure, you can just suck it up with these things, but if a seamless solution existed to mitigate these issues, why wouldn’t you try it?

When I was given the chance to try the FlipBelt Crops, I was initially just drawn in by their looks – they seemed like a cute, high-quality pair of black running tights with a decent amount of storage. If they didn’t work out for me, I felt like I’d still come away with something good. After trying them, I realized how thoughtfully-crafted they were.

Not too running-focused, not too gym-focused… just right. 

The FlipBelt Crops are the goldilocks of workout tights. 

The FlipBelt Crops are perhaps the first truly successful multi-functional workout pants I’ve ever owned. I wore them to yoga and had zero issues with them being flexible enough (yes, this can be an issue with other running capris). I was even able to get in a couple of warm-weather miles beforehand wearing the same outfit. So convenient.

With a full waistband of pockets, including a zippered pocket on the back, they’re just so freaking functional. I realized this especially on Cap10K race day, because I wasn’t constantly worried about dropping something. I could slide my things into the handy pockets; they felt incredibly secure, while remaining easily accessible. 

Down dog? No prob.

Here’s everything else these fancy pants have to offer: 

  • The material is a breathable, moisture-wicking, stretchy material. It’s not unlike the material dance leggings are made out of. 
  • I ordered a small, per the sizing chart, and they fit like a glove WITHOUT BEING SEE THROUGH! Hip hip, hooray.
  • The actual design is really flattering, with stitching detail around the calves and a mid-rise waist. Even with my phone in the pocket, I didn’t look like I had a big pooch.
  • I was worried the tights would ride up or down because there was no drawstring, but they stayed in place during my runs.
  • Even though there was no drawstring, my sisters with love handles will rejoice, because there was no unflattering elastic waistband!
  • There’s also a subtle reflective logo on the shin – good for safety purposes.
  • While I generally didn’t worry about my belongings falling out, because the waistband felt perfectly secure, I found the additional key clip on the right side gave me added peace of mind. 

I don’t know how they did all of these things, but these pants are magical.

No more chapped lips during races.

 

The only thing even slightly disappointing is the lack of color options and lengths. Speaking of lengths, I’m 5’2″ and these fit like a 3/4-length tight, which I prefer.

However, I believe they are a fairly new addition to the FlipBelt line up. My selfish hope is they’ll expand this product line, because I can’t keep these washed often enough and am ready for my second pair.

The FlipBelt Crops are comparable to other running tights in terms of price, at $89.99, and with the code BIBRAVE, you’ll get a 25% off discount on the Crops at flipbelt.com.

What’s your goldilocks, can’t-live-without running item?

Cheers to looking and feeling stylish and comfortable at the same time!

Statesman Cap 10K 2018 Recap and Review

Disclosure: I received a race entry to the Statesman Cap 10K as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.

Just two weeks ago, I capped off my 2017/2018 training season for the summer with the Statesman Cap 10K here in Austin. It’s the largest 10K in the great state of Texas, at 23,000+ attendees, and it takes place in April of each year.

Personally, it’s my favorite way to stay motivated through the end of spring, since the best running months in these parts are roughly September through April. The crazy Texas weather has been different each year I’ve run it, which is part of the adventure, in a way. This year, it was quite chilly (between 40 and 50 degrees is RARE for this area, especially after February), but still amazing!
Hey there, Leo Manzano! 

Pre-Race

Per usual, signing up was easy, and I really appreciated that the Cap 10K provided a $5 off discount code for friends to use.

I was also impressed by the expo this year. In years past, it’s been smaller, though still significant when you consider it’s just a 10K. However, the quality of vendors at the expo was even better than in previous years. They had a lot of natural product companies with samples, a fairly expansive Cap 10K store, races later in the year providing discounts and running stores offering great deals (Garmin products were $50 off at one booth). It’s a fun opportunity for someone who’s dipping their toe into races to see all a race weekend has to offer.

Packet pickup itself was line-free and simple. Swag this year was a women’s or men’s tech shirt in a pretty blue color, sweat towels from one of the sponsors and finisher’s medals. Obviously, you don’t receive the last one until you cross the finish line.

Race Day!

Parking is tough every year. Last year, we lucked out and found some of the free parking in the TxDot lots, but we had to get there quite early. This year, when we pulled up at 7:30, parking was nearly gone. They ended up opening the stroller parking to the public (which also felt kinda weird) and we got a free spot. Moral of the story: take public transportation or get there about an hour early if you are wanting free, close parking 2 blocks from the start. And if you get there less than 45 minutes early, prepare for lots of traffic to find paid parking spots.

Race start time is 8 a.m., so it’s not a super early morning (yay!). Finding corrals is also easy, and there’s a staggered start. Corral B started on time at about 8:10, which they controlled effectively.

 

The Race Itself

If you’re looking for an awesome crowd and awesome music at at least every mile, this is the race for you. If you’re looking for a bit of a challenge with a whole lot of scenery, this race is also for you. The course is lively, and goes through some of Austin’s most scenic areas, like the Capitol and Lady Bird Lake, with some tough hills! I’ve said it before – look back at the SEA of people at some point – it is an incredible sight.

Great aid stations are just under 1.5 miles from each other, and they had Nuun on the course this year.

I clocked in this year at 1:02:27, which was pretty awesome! It wasn’t quite a PR, but I was still proud. I’ve improved my time by more than four minutes over the years.

Post-Race Party

The Cap 10K finish line festival was another Texas-sized party in 2018. Food trucks were lined up with delicious post-race meals and coffee. Auditorium Shores had a lovely view of the skyline and more live music to enjoy. We sampled a few things, but it was quite chilly out, so we headed back home sooner than usual.

I’ll be back again and again and hope you’ll join me next year. You can sign up right now for just $35!

What’s your favorite race distance and why?

Cheers to keeping at it through the best and worst of the weather!