Above: I am only type A about my racing, as I get my gear organized (GPS watch, socks, singlet, shorts, shoes, gloves, arm warmers, hat, bib number, Gu, and pace chart). This pic was taken just before Memphis.

I am headed to Austin to compete in its half-marathon on Sunday. I am not sure how this event will unfold, seeing that I am set to log 12 miles today, and another 10 – 12 miles Saturday. My legs are not going to be fresh, but a 13.1 mile run for me is the norm The reality of course, is this: I am treating Austin as a training run in preparation for Boston. It is located in the hill country of Texas, making it the best place to train for the topography of the Boston course.

Here is what the Austin Post noted about the course:

A last thought about the course…

So, the hills. They scare people. They keep some runners from running Austin, quite frankly. I know runners that will only run “fast” marathons. But many of those courses are not necessarily as fast or easy as they seem, and, I think completely cherry-picking races kind of misses the point.

Personally, I’ve only run Austin four times, and Chicago, a notoriously flat, “fast” course, twice. Chicago doesn’t even produce an elevation guide, because there’s only one hill, with 800 meters to go in the course. After 26 miles, it’s really just funny. I love the Chicago Marathon – running it in 2006 motivated me to volunteer with the Austin Marathon, because of the way that city embraces and takes pride in the event.

But Chicago isn’t necessarily any easier than Austin. The hills here are tough, but they have two benefits: they allow you to switch up muscle groups, so you don’t pound nothing but your quads or nothing but your hamstrings into mush. They also break the distance into smaller challenges, and that’s what we’re in this for. Like JFK said, we don’t do these things because they are easy, but because they are hard. Or, like Han Solo said: “Bring ’em on, I’d prefer a straight fight to all this sneaking around.”

If you’ve trained properly, and if you’re disciplined and have a plan, then put your faith in those things – they’re stronger than the course, and so are you.