Winter time is road race season in Austin, Texas. The weather is cool and sunny, and it's actually quite a nice time to venture out for some long runs. I've run three races in Austin so far this year.
Austin Gorilla Run 5k
Former Gazzanger Unji Udeshi was one of the organizers and race chairs for the Austin Gorilla Run, which was truly one of the most unique races I've ever experienced.
Proceeds from the race directly benefit Ugandans, Rwandans, and citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo in veterinary educational training, with the end goal of protecting the highly endangered Mountain Gorillas in Africa. In 1987 there were only 248 mountain gorillas alive in the world, but through the veterinary and conservation efforts of the MGCF, the population has nearly tripled to 720.Over 1200 of us dressed up in full Gorilla suits to "run" a 5K (for a very loose definition of "run"). Mostly we just goofed off and had a really good time.
Here's a quick pose in the Gazzang parking lot before the race....
Being the good gorillas were were, Larry (Gazzang CEO) and I took a break from the race to a little climbing.
I brought my dogs, Tiger and Aggie, who were a little skittish of all the goofball gorillas at first! They're really well trained dogs, and are running up to 15 miles with me at a time now. Kim took a ton of awesome pictures.
And our crew, unmasked and post race enjoying the Silverback Pale Ale from Austin's own Thirsty Planet Brewery... Unji, Larry Warnock, Liz Britain, Catelin Warnock, Dustin, Tiger, and Aggie!
Austin 3M Half Marathon
A few weeks later, I shucked the gorilla suit and ran Austin's 3M Half Marathon. This is quite simply my favorite race! This was my 4th running of the race. I think I actually first fell in love with running at the finish line of this race in 2004, which I finished in a blazing (for me, anyway) time of 1:48:14!
Well, I was a little shy of my personal best time, but I did finish in 1:59:07, which beat my goal of 2 hours.
I was proud of my time, but I was far more proud of my splits, actually. Almost perfectly negative splits! Negative splits mean that you accelerate your pace throughout the race. It takes quite a bit of discipline to perfect, and this is about as close as I've ever come:
Mile 1 9:56 Min/Mi Mile 2 9:30 Min/Mi Mile 3 9:38 Min/Mi Mile 4 9:29 Min/Mi Mile 5 9:21 Min/Mi Mile 6 9:07 Min/Mi Mile 7 8:58 Min/Mi Mile 8 8:46 Min/Mi Mile 9 8:37 Min/Mi Mile 10 8:44 Min/Mi Mile 11 8:35 Min/Mi Mile 12 8:27 Min/Mi Mile 13 8:18 Min/Mi Mile 13.1 7:53 Min/Mi
Austin Livestrong Half Marathon
This past Sunday, I ran the Half Marathon portion of Austin's Livestrong race, benefiting Austin native Lance Armstrong's awesome cancer foundation. Another beautiful, perfect morning for a run!
As usual, I wore my I'm Running Ubuntu shirt. As usual, it evokes a response, Austin having such a healthy tech community. Interestingly, though, this time I heard a lot more "Ubuntu...Linux...yeah!" catcalls than ever before. I liked that a lot, as it really showed how many actually recognized Ubuntu as a Linux distribution, rather than just a fun word to yell at someone running past them :-)
I beat my 3M time by 28 seconds, finishing in 1:58:39. Interestingly, though, this time I did not run negative splits. My splits were actually pretty flat, with my fastest mile (8:47) less than 30 seconds different from my slowest mile (9:16), which is fairly tight, compared to the 1m40s difference between my fastest and slowest mile in the 3M. It's a different style of running, trying to bang out the same pace mile after mile, than the negative split approach.
Mile 1 8:59 Min/Mi Mile 2 8:56 Min/Mi Mile 3 9:10 Min/Mi Mile 4 9:07 Min/Mi Mile 5 9:02 Min/Mi Mile 6 9:08 Min/Mi Mile 7 8:54 Min/Mi Mile 8 8:39 Min/Mi Mile 9 8:48 Min/Mi Mile 10 8:50 Min/Mi Mile 11 9:04 Min/Mi Mile 12 8:47 Min/Mi Mile 13 9:16 Min/Mi Mile 13.1 7:40 Min/Mi
So what's the point of this post? Get out there and get some exercise! Support a charity and run a race or two! Support your own cause (Ubuntu/Linux for me) by wearing a shirt and showing some pride for something you believe in!