Latest reviews by Katie Nolte

(2018)
"Keeping it Interesting"
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This is such a fun race! While it is "downhill to downtown", don't be fooled. There are a few baby hills in there every now and again. I do like them since it wake my legs up. Overall it is a smooth, fast course with people cheering all along the way since you run through public areas and neighborhoods. There are the random Austinites in costumes, playing music or handing out champagne outside of the UT campus (note to self- it makes things worse). It is definitely one that you can take in the views on, while having enough room to stretch out and find your pace.

The expo is alright- mainly a bunch of booths trying to get you to sign up for a time share, and the parking/traffic is always super annoying since it is in downtown. I always love the tech shirts since they look good and the material is very nice- not that cheap tech material.

I love the gels they offer along the course, as well as the huge finish line. I feel like the crowd is awesome and the finish is in the best spot- right in front of the capital. They have free shuttles to take you back up to the starting line so you don't have to figure that out, which is nice. I am not super thrilled about the lack of hotel availability in the area near the start line, which is why I am lucky we have friends that live close by.

Overall a very relaxing course, but one I recommend for either a first-timer or PR. I plan on being back, once my foot injury heals.

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(2017)
"Great Race"
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I just found out they added a 5k to this race! I have run it two times and thoroughly enjoyed it. For the most part, the roads are wide, but oh boy does this race get crowded. There are areas where it gets too packed and parking can be a challenge if you don't get there at least 45 minutes ahead of time.

The is a giant hill you run down at the beginning of the race, and of course have to come back up it with still a few miles to go, so it really gasses you. I always loved the shirts with the logos and they have music at Gruene Hall after. A disappointment I experienced on my second time running, was that they had beer and gels and other "thirst quenchers" but NO WATER! Seriously?! The first thing I want after a hard race is water, then I would be more than happy to drink a beer. They didn't think that one through.

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(2014)
"Overhyped"
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This was my first marathon. I must say it is quite different when you trained early mornings and learned to take layers off as you warmed up, only to get to a night race and feel like you have to layer up. This definitely made it interesting.

The expo was well-managed and smooth to get to (minus the lack of cabs and this was before Uber was ever really a "thing") and navigate through. I was easily able to change my corral at the expo (I had heard there was a hard 5:30 cut-off and was destined to pop up a couple corrals to avoid the dreaded pickup). The day of the event, was a quick walk to the start (you start over by Mandalay Bay, and my husband walked me over from our hotel, the Paris). The directions were pretty simple and my husband was able to be by my side to calm my nerves until I decided to enter the corrals. I was disappointed as Macklemore was the headliner concert, which I really wanted to see, but I was strict about my training and plan and refused to be on my feet more than I needed to before the race, so we only walked around the concert area. I wish it was post-race.

The half and full marathons were corralled together, which I didn't mind but had to remind myself that the other color bibs were not someone to "Race" against as they had half my distance to cover. As the sun started to set, the temperature started to lower, which actually wasn't as bad as I expected (even though it was below freezing when I finished). I think the cold actually helped my muscles.

For each wave they let go at timed intervals (this was perfect spacing!), they would shoot flames up and blast Fall Out Boy's "Light 'Em Up" so everyone got to experience the same start, which I loved. The strip was oddly silent. It was so strange to be running and seeing a ton of spectators and very few of them cheering. It was honestly very disappointing since I feed off the crowd.

The first half of the race was awesome- great views of the strip, nice and flat and even by Container Park, in which their grasshopper statue blew off fireballs. There were groups playing music and drumming on drums as we came closer to Fremont Street. Then, the split- signs to turn this direction for the half and continue on for the marathon. I doubted which one I should take for a split second, but pushed on. Once we left loud and exciting Fremont (the crowd was much better- I even had a tourist running next to me with his video camera haha), it got very quiet. It was almost a beautiful quietness, until it was too much. The course took us out into the "boonies" along dessert roads, past fast food restaurants, and soon, nothing but dunes. I was totally thinking about the last Dateline episodes of people buried in the desert. It was SO quiet (and I ran without music), and I was bored to tears for a lot of it. I had a lot of negative talk in my head since there wasn't anything to focus on, oh, and I barely missed that dreaded pick-up van.

This is the important part- I honestly don't think I would've finished the race had it not been for the FABULOUS, WONDERFUL, CHEERING volunteers manning the aid stations. They were my saving grace- they were the only ones out there in the middle of nowhere to give me the encouragement I lacked.

The volunteers were able to get me to the Stratosphere, where I knew I would make it as it was just "a bit" further. I had made it to the finish line at 5:18 (and some seconds), before the 5:30 cutoff (my main goal). The (i think) race director was there to high-five me and ask how it was and where I was from. He was so excited for me (but I also think overseeing the dismantling of the finish line, which I luckily was able to run under).

I was given a foil blanket and water and in my dazed state was directed to get a picture (which I am SO thankful for), and then was off to find my other half. Overall it was okay. It was painfully boring for the full, but I bet the half is nothing but fun!

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(2014)
"Tough Race!"
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This is such a killer race! I had run it on the inaugural race, with goals of completing the half. The hills were no joke- Old Pearsall Park in San Antonio would make me think I am in the Hill Country. Beautiful views after the first major climb, then you are too focused on the terrain to notice anything else. It is a fun race and very tough (annoying how in some areas the paths were so narrow you couldn't pass anyone/let them pass you). I had to drop out after the first loop (10k) due to gastro issues. There were turkey legs and Ranger Creek kegs for finishers to enjoy after. It really was a great race and I can't wait to try it again (but man that humidity will get you).

FYI the singlets they made (at least at the time- not sure if still the same) are amazing! The most perfect fit and since I had signed up early I got my name on it!

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(2014)
"Country Road Flat"
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When I participated in this race, it was still fairly new. It is an out-and-back course that goes down country roads (probably developed now). The course is flat, and so are the views. If you like a hot humid morning run, this is your run. I thought it was alright. I was pretty upset when I finished to find out the 5 & 10k runners took all the water. Pretty poor planning.

I would give it another shot in hopes they got the simple water part figured out.

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