Sunday, September 27, 2009

Silicon Sunday

The 2009 Austin TEA Party

I went into today's Silicon Labs Austin marathon relay wondering if I've really lost a yard of pace since last year, if I would regret yesterday's 23 mile run, and if we could do enough to win the Governor's cup for the second year in a row. Well, I answered all questions and also got to enjoy some good food and beer - great deal, eh?

There were 543 teams competing this year, but I figured that our biggest divisional competition would be of my own making. When I was putting the teams together I packed all the fast people into two teams - the Austin TEA Party and TEAMo Cinco. Looking at the lineups we were very evenly matched across the board.

Members of TEAmo Cinco

I was running the second leg (a 10k) for the TEA Party, and we had four of the five guys who'd won the cup last year back to defend it, so we weren't going to give up without a fight.

I didn't get off to the best of starts when I realized just before my leg that the socks I'd put on this morning weren't running socks. Oh well, there was nothing I could do about it so I just figured I was having a stupid day!!!

My fellow Brit James took the first 12k leg for us, and with Eric going out for TEAMo Cinco it was a great duel between two well-matched speedsters. They both ran sub-7 minute miles, with Eric coming in about 15 seconds ahead of James.

I took the handoff from James and started to chase David down - yeah, I rarely need much motivation to go out too fast, but David and I run together regularly. He's a top guy, a good friend and I'm well aware of what a strong runner he is. So I knew I needed to close the gap fast.

He seemed to be running effortlessly whereas I was running hard and didn't seem to be closing very quickly. Eventually I caught him about half a mile in and he settled in on my heel. I looked at my Garmin when I hit mile 1 and saw 6:46 on the readout. I blurted out something like "shit, that's way too fast". David replied "thank God for that" and we both had a laugh over it.

Running together worked well for us as we pushed each other. I tried to drop him on the uphill climb to the capital, but when I looped back down Congress he was still clamped to my heel. I was enjoying our little duel, with bragging rights at stake!!!

We turned onto Cesar Chevez for about a mile and a half, and by the time I reached the turnaround I'd opened up about a 10 second gap, and then I hit the gas. Every time I heard feet behind me I was convinced it was David, so I kept upping the pace until I crossed the finish line in 45:24 (7:18 pace) and handed off to Ron.

Last year I ran 46:08, so I got my answer on the pace question. No I haven't lost it - it's just in my head. That's good to know :-) David finished strongly not far behind me, smashing his 10k PR in the process, so we were all happy.

Now that my run was over it was time to socialize. I enjoyed myself wandering around our teams, cheering people on and checking how the TEA Party were doing. Turns out we did very well. Ron, Shawn and Bill all put in strong runs and we finished in 3:07 (43rd overall) to win our division and the Governor's cup again (following a bonehead chip mixup which was completely my fault, but which Runfar quickly rectified). TEAMo Cinco came in at 3:17 to take second place (63rd overall), and two of our other teams took 4th and 6th.

We all retired to the beer garden with the cup for a few cheeky brews. Turns out it holds just the right amount of Heineken. Good times.

Austin TEA Party with the cup

Yours truly

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