An Athlete’s Perspective is a blog series of event and/or training experiences written firsthand by the athletes themselves. An Athlete’s Perspective is a completely unscripted and raw look into the mind and daily life of an athlete as they prepare for their next race. Readers will discover training regimens, eating tips, gear recommendations, and an uncut perspective into the lives of people like you and me.
From Australia to Austin
By: Mike Marshall
I live in Brisbane, Queensland Australia. I’m married to Kylie and am the father of 2 boys, Zach 9 and Jake 6. We are now four weeks away from racing in the Austin Marathon and 5K race. How we got to this point started about 12 months ago I decided that in 2017 I wanted to set a goal to run some marathons and see exactly what I could achieve with a targeted focus.
My background in sports had been “on pause” for the past 12 years while we started the family and may have extended a bit too long as I “enjoyed the life” of excess and “normality” (ie not getting up at 0400 and being constantly tired, sore and irritable like all hard training endurance athletes). I had never really specifically trained and “run” a marathon, I had completed a bunch as part of training but these were always part of a “bigger IRONMAN picture” so I was not fully focused, trained, or tapered during these races and I suppose that’s what lead to the goal.
This goal seemed to fit well with the family as they all showed interest in getting involved. We decided that the “main event” of the year would be the Honolulu Marathon in December followed by a Hawaiian Christmas vacation (sounded perfect end to a year of hard work).
I set about training utilizing the Under Armour Connected Fitness Apps, Map My Fitness, Record, and My Fitness Pal to monitor, review, and hold me accountable throughout the process After so much time away from training I was substantially “well-conditioned” (read: overweight).
As the year progressed I started to see some improvements in both running and the weight front, racing a half marathon in May and a marathon in July where I managed to record the same time I ran 12 years prior despite an epic “blow up” at about the 33K mark.
From July onwards the focus was solely on Honolulu. As the last 11 weeks approached I saw on the Map My Fitness App a challenge for the month of October: The Under Armour Australia “Reward your Run” Challenge. The concept was pretty simple, most KM in 28 days, two sessions per day, min 20 mins per session, max four hrs. The major prize for Australian residents was a trip for 2 to the Austin Marathon in 2018 and for those in places 2-100 a pair of shoes. I figured I would enter the challenge to help “keep me focused” on the training for the marathon and given the volume I was running figured I might end up winning a pair of shoes if I was lucky. I got off to a slow start in the challenge as I was away and missed the first day (as it was my rest day following my long run the day before) and I was planning on racing the approaching weekend. At the completion of the first week of the challenge I found myself in about 5th position and looking at what I had done and the gaps figured I might be able to do a bit better than what I thought. Pretty soon I found myself focusing on achieving the most KM per day so I could to “Get to Austin.” The KM increased and the fatigue set in. My family were a huge support to me throughout the challenge and we were trying not to “Dare to Dream of Austin Marathon.”
At the conclusion of the challenge I had racked up 878 KM and was declared the winner. We now found ourselves Austin bound in 2018. This challenge helped me prepare well for a good performance in Honolulu in December 2017, but also gave me something further to focus on heading forward. With Honolulu ticked off, the work is truly underway with the goals set for the Austin Marathon.
Glad to say that thanks to the Under Armour Australia “Reward your Run” Challenge not only will I get the opportunity to race the Austin Marathon, but my wife and boys will also race in the Austin Marathon 5K. Needless to say, we are all super excited to get this opportunity to go halfway around the world to race and experience a city like Austin.
The reality of racing in Austin is what is motivating us all to prepare and train hard for which I expect is the whole point of the event being held. The Austin Marathon event seems to be comprehensive in bringing in a complete experience of the city and state which is super exciting for an Australian family. Would love to hear the suggestions for post-race meals, parties, and experiences so we can capitalize on this opportunity at the Austin Marathon thanks to Under Armour Australia.
If you see me out there say “Gday,” if I am not too out of breath you will probably get a “Hey Mate” back.