By: Sam LaBrie

The 3M half is my favorite road race.  Nothing else comes close.  I ran it first in 2008, shortly after moving to Austin. My previous PR was a 1:24 in near-ideal conditions the year before in St. Louis. I had been training with Gilbert’s Gazelles for a few months and my goal race was the Austin marathon. I heard 3M was a fast course and decided to go out fast.  If I died, so what, it wasn’t my goal race anyway.  I ran even 6:10 miles, got to Duval, and was able to speed up on the last couple miles, finishing with a shocking 1:20:15.  I set HM, 10K and 10 mile PRs during the same race!  The combo of gentle downhills, few ups, few turns, and cold is unbeatable.  It’s also fun with the big crowd where everyone is so happy to be running that fast in January.

I didn’t run in 2009, mostly because I didn’t want to tarnish my 2008 time.  I ran in 2010 and, despite uneven training and the wind-delayed start, finished with a solid 1:22:42.  Last year I signed up, but was laid low with IT band problems for a couple months.   It took me a while to get back to running and I spent the summer training for and running an ultra. When I finally got back to trying to run fast, I wasn’t fast.  I could fake it for a couple intervals, but was a long way from racing form.

I joined the Rogue group coached by Carmen Troncoso in order to regain some speed and fitness for 3M and shorter races.  The training was hard, with more tempo and strength running than I have ever done.  The toughest workout was “Avocet,” 3 repeats of a 3 mile hilly loop that you run at an effort level like a half marathon. I got through it all, with motivation and support from a fun and fast group. We pushed each other and kept it together for 4 solid months of training. We ran the new 3M course several times, getting lost and arguing if it was easier or harder than before.

Well, the hard work was worth the effort.  If this had been a team competition, we would have won.  I think 16 of us placed in either overall or AG categories.  Chris K. 3rd overall, Scott M. 1st AG, and Greg B. 1st AG were particularly impressive.  Robert and Shannon were the fastest relay team.

I decided to match my 2010 time, so started with 6:15 pace. I managed to stay within a few seconds of that, except for a mile on Great Northern (why?) and a mile on 45th, with the only real uphill. I tried to speed up once on Duval, but my calves were tightening and all I could do was maintain.  I came in at 1:22:23, 4th in 45-49 AG, better than 2 years ago, and better than I thought I could do by a couple minutes.

Running well was certainly fun.  But I enjoyed being around others who were having a good day and those moments are what I keep coming back to:  Hugo Llorens with a huge PR, fast Gazelles Scott (1:17) and Joseph (1:18) going by me at mile 2, Coach Amy and her student Jesus going 1:21 and 1:19, Jesse Devlyn and his 13th consecutive 3M, the amazing Scott and Greg show, the crowd of smiling Rogues at the finish.


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