Austin 3M Half Marathon/Gluten-Free Austin

I ran the 3M Half Marathon on Jan 25th in Austin, Texas and it was a great run and really fun weekend.   I met up with a friend from grad school and we covered a lot of ground in addiiton to the 13.1 miles on Sunday.  Here are just some of the highlights of the weekend.

I arrived late morning on Friday to cold and rainy weather which I did not expect. I had a vision of sun and 70s, but no problem, anywhere without snow is good.   I met up with an Army buddy of mine at Hopdoddy burger joint on South Congress a.k.a. “SoCo” area.  The burgers here were delicious and they serve their own house-made gluten free buns!  Anytime I go to a new city I like to check out the GF options in town and treat myself to some great gluten free bakeries and restaurants.  www.hopdoddy.com was so good, i went back again on Sunday before leaving town.
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After lunch I picked up my friend at the airport and checked in at the hotel.  We stayed up by the Gateway shopping / Arboretum area north of the city because it was walking distance to the start of the race.   We went by the Texas Running Company and I ended up buying some Hoka Constant running shoes – the gal there gave me a whole run down on how they are great for marathon and half marathon.  I’m going to give them a try.    Dinner we tried Maudie’s Tex-Mex on W. 7th.  We had to wait about 20 minutes or so but the food and margaritas were worth it.    Then on to the Hole in the Wall for some live music.  Good music but it was literally a dark, semi-seedy hole in the wall bar.  But apparently a famous landmark of the Austin music scene.
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Saturday we covered a lot of ground.  Around 9am it was still in the upper 30s/ pushing 40F so we went by Target and got some cheap grey sweatshirts for the race.  “Team Hanes” was ready to rock.  We did a nice 3 mile loop on Town Lake, a runner’s paradise and the one thing that I miss most about the city.   We hit Joe’s for breakfast and it was delicious.  We were at the downtown location but drove across the river to the SoCo location for gluten free pop tarts.   I had a lavender-fig pop tart, and it was an out of body experience that I cannot even begin to describe.  Here’s a picture of the pop tart.   (Did I mention that I took a hundred pictures like a total tourist).
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We went by the capitol and Texas History Museum to pick up our race numbers.  Here’s our Capitol of Texas Selfie.
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Then on to the University of Texas Co-op for some UT swag.  I got a “hi, how are you” t-shirt and some post cards.  The main drag by campus has changed a lot.  Also if my current gig doesn’t work out, I can get a job at Jenn’s Copies–that’s Jenn with two N’s.  They are everywhere.  Back up to the hotel to kick up our heels for a bit before dinner.   For dinner we went with a gluten free and pre-race standby, P. F. Chang’s.   Then we had to see Interstellar at the movies, for our traditional pre-race movie night (to get off the feet and relax).    And in Austin, if Matthew McConaughey is playing at the theater, you simply have to go.   I give the film a thumbs up.   We laughed, we cried, I was stressed out about the ‘dramatic’ scenes. We cried some more.  Good movie in my opinion.
Enough about the food and around town, how was the race?  Chilly start, sweatshirts came in handy, it was only in the lows 30s.   The course is almost entirely downhill and billed as fast–and it was really fast.   It started up at the Arboretum/Gateway area and finished with a run through the UT Campus and finish line just steps from the capitol building.  I had a great run and didn’t realize that I was moving along at a pretty good pace (for me).  There was a slight hill around mile 9 but otherwise it was downhill as advertised.  The standout feature of this race is the ginormous goodie bag!  A huge sampling of 3M products, here’s a pic of everything included: Scotch tape, lint roller, scotch brand kitchen sponge, recovery drink mix, glass cleaner, Post-It notes of course!
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Post-race we went down to Snack Bar Austin for some brunch back South of Congress. Snack bar was very cool decor (if i may call it decor) and they serve gluten free french toast that was delicious!  (pictured above!)  We cleared out of the hotel and returned to SoCo for live music at the Capitol Club, and a final burger at Hopdoddy before heading to the Airport.
Great race in a fun place.  I would definitely recommend this race and may come again or in February for the Austin Marathon and half.  And this was my first time running outside since January 1st with all the snow in Boston!
– Jenn

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