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An Athlete’s Perspective is a blog series of event and/or training experiences written firsthand by the athlete 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.

My Return to Austin

Preparing for Downhill to Downtown

by: Becki Spellman

2nd place 2008 Austin Marathon (2:43:43).

I can not wait to arrive in Austin! The city holds a special place in my heart. In 2008 I begged my way into the Austin Marathon as an elite. It was my first marathon, and while I was unsure about my ability over the distance, I wanted to compete well to thank John Conley, the race director at the time, for the opportunity.  That day, I qualified for the 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials.

I have since gone on to have nine successful years of running, qualifying for the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials. And it all started on the streets of Austin. If I hadn’t already adored Austin for its quirky, fun loving vibe, that race would have made me love it for sure. So coming back on January 22nd is very exciting for me; I am hoping Austin has a little magic left in store for me! I know I will pour my heart out on the course, take some chances, and hopefully come home with a PR!

Training has gone well, I have gone through a different cycle than I have in the past. I came out of the fall very strong, having run four marathons in 21 months, and wanted to work on some speedier things. So I made up my mind to come into the 3M Half under-cooked on the mileage side with more speed in my legs. I have averaged between 60-70 miles per week and have had some of the faster tempo runs I have been able to do in years.

2016 Olympic Marathon Trials (2:44:44).

I am eager to put my mental and physical strength to the test and see what I am currently capable of. As the nerves start settling in over the coming weeks, I will remind myself of the opportunity. It’s a privilege to be able to race and test my limits. I will remind myself of all the times I wanted to back down in training but instead told myself, “No one is going to hand this to you. You do the work, you meet your goals.” I have had to tell myself that countless times, and I am stronger for it. I coming into the 3M Half Marathon with hopes of a new PR (under 1:16:05). I know it will be a fun weekend, full of amazing people, an awesome race, and all in a place that I love!

To everyone racing, enjoy celebrating your hard work!  When the race gets tough, remember you are tougher! Good luck on race day! I am so excited to chase down goals alongside you!

Running the 3M Half Marathon? Read what these professional endurance athletes have to say.

Several athletes who have been accepted to the Austin Marathon’s Elite Athlete Program are running the 3M Half Marathon as a final tune-up before race day. They’re using this race to test various race strategies, lock in their hydration and nutrition plans, and attempt to PR (like many of you!).

The following athletes (marathon and half marathon champs, Olympic Trials Qualifiers, and Masters’ Elites) have provided tips to get you to race day and help you perform better on race day.

Mark Pinales.

Mark Pinales – “Always maintain positive self-talk. Tell yourself out loud that it will hurt, that it will be tough, and that it will push you. Most importantly, tell yourself that you can do this and that you are good enough. Something I say to myself throughout the race to calm my mind is, “Relax, stay focused, and keep pushing.” This will program your mind to be ready for the pain and help you embrace it, knowing the ultimate reward is at the finish.” (2016 Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Half Marathon Champ)

Chris Kimbrough – “Stay confident in your fitness. You’ve put in the training and hard work so stay focused on the goal!” (owns Masters’ titles in the 8K, 10K, and Club XC)

Joel Harris – “Be free and have fun!” (2016 Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon Champ)

Becki Spellman (cover photo) – “When motivation is lacking make yourself go just one mile, and more times than not you’ll end up feeling more motivated and get in the entire run. If not at least you went for a run!” (3X Olympic Trials Qualifier)

Do you have any training tips you want to share with other participants? Share them on our Facebook or Twitter page and we will make sure they get passed along! Use #downhilltodowntown17.