2011 IBM Uptown Classic 10K Race

Dave finishing IBM 10K race in 2011
Dave finishing IBM 10K race in 2011

Running the IBM Austin 10K race has become something of a family tradition. We have not managed to run every year, but in the last ten years we have run four times.

This year I ran my best every recorded 10K race time. I completed the course in 1 hour and 4 minutes. Tomoko shot the elegant picture at the right shortly before I crossed the finish line.

The time of 1 hour and 4 minutes turns out to not be very fast for a motivated middle-aged guy. There were 55 competitors in the Men Age 50-54 division and with my herculean effort, I only managed to come in 48th out of 55.

I should also say that I ran much, much faster in high school. In 10th grade, I finished the three-mile Crystal Springs Cross Country Course in the hills above San Fransisco bay in 18 minutes and 30 seconds. It was a much harder course than the IBM Austin 10K course and I my performance was much more competitive. As I recall, 18:30 put me in the upper third of the 10th grade competitors. On the other hand, I also weighed in at 113 pounds in those days…

Tomoko with Tye warming up in 2011
Tomoko with Tye warming up in 2011

At any rate, back to the middle-aged men. This seems to be a very active and committed segment in the Austin 10K race world. We arrived about one hour before the race and I took about 40 minutes to jog slowly around the course to warm up. Almost all of the competitors warming up at that time were middle-aged guys. These guys were very serious. Very fit and trim. Dressed in impeccable designer running clothes.

Interestingly enough, there were no middle-aged women warming up, even though there were certainly plenty of middle-aged women in the race. Apparently, middle-aged women have bottomless reserves of on-demand energy available and they simply burst out of their silos like intercontinental ballistic missiles – no warm-up needed. Younger men also have rather different warm-up routines. In the picture above, we can see my son Tye warming up before the race. (Although Tomoko ran with us in previous years, this year she decided to focus on managing Tye and me)

Canine Cheer Leader in 2011
Canine Cheer Leader in 2011

The event itself continues to get better and better. The tents were larger than ever before. There were lots of spectators and cheer leaders (see photo at right). The Red Bull marketing team had a large presence. Luke’s Locker was a major sponsor of the race and provided the logistics for registration, timing tags and so on.

Not only did I run faster, this was also the first time that I actually enjoyed running the race.

About one-week before the race I started tapering off my workouts. My last run was only three miles and it was on Wednesday before the race. The race was on Sunday, October 2nd.

I also slowly adjusted my sleeping schedule. That is, I am not an early riser. I am more of a night owl and am generally allergic to getting out of bed in the dark. In order to optimize my race performance, I gradually shifted my waking schedule so that I would be able to get out of bed at 6:00 AM on the day of the race without feeling groggy.

Finally, I also recognized and planned for my natural middle-aged stiffness and allowed myself 40 minutes to jog around in circles and slowly warm up before the race. I also timed myself to use the porta-potty just minutes before the start of the race so as to not run the race while needing to use the restroom. This last-minute maneuver worked well, even though it was a little awkward that the Star Spangled Banner began to play while I was still emptying out – holding one’s hand over one’s heart while peeing inside an opaque plastic telephone booth is a bit odd.

Dave and Tye after race in 2011
Dave and Tye after race in 2011

With all this preparation, the race was amazingly enjoyable. I started at the back of the pack. With electronic chip-timing, it doesn’t matter where you start since all contestants get individually timed by the RFID tag at the start/finish gate. Coming out of the gate, I quickly stretched out to a reasonable pace, steadily passing people going up the first hill. The air was cool and crisp. The sun was shining. It was really pleasant. Miles 2 and 3 were even faster and still very pleasant and fun. Mile 4 was where I hit the wall, my pace dropped off considerably for miles 4 and 5. However, I was able to recover and run mile 6 at full speed again and sprint the last few hundred meters.

Dave after race in 2010
Dave after race in 2010

In the photo above you can see Tye and I shortly after the race. While I was just on the edge of dizzy during the final sprint, I had recovered within a minute or so. Tye and I simply relaxed for a while and listened to the music by local Austin musician Dale Watson.

For comparison, please examine the photo at right from the City of Austin Coroner’s files of me after the race in 2011. I had just returned from a long business trip in the Far East a day or two before. I weighed more than 200 pounds. I struggled through the race in 1 hour and 22 minutes – feeling like a corpse the entire way. This year’s experience could hardly have been more different.


Tye and Dave have a light breakfast
Tye and Dave have a light breakfast

After the race, Tye and I showered at Pure Austin Fitness on Braker Lane nearby. From there Tomoko, Tye and I went to Jim’s Restaurant on Research Boulevard for a light breakfast as shown in the photo to the left. Not quite shown is the vanilla ice cream milkshake (real milk, real ice cream) that Tye started off with as a recovery drink. Jim’s breakfasts are really nice. Our waitress was also really good at balancing an amazing number of plates on her arms and shoulders while delivering fresh hot food to the table.

I am really looking forward to next year’s race. In fact, I may even try to run a few other 10k races in the mean time just for fun.

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2 thoughts on “2011 IBM Uptown Classic 10K Race

  1. Hi, David,
    Long time no see!
    To my big supperise, you lost so much weight! Are you still the man I worked with before?! 🙂
    Congratulation! you finished this hard 10Km race. More practice, better life.
    I am fine and very busy since I changed my job. Currently, I am working for MentorGraphics, an EDA company, as technical consultant. I am happy with my job, to mentor the engineers in other company and deliver my knowledge to them.
    I am sure if I can have chance to visit your home. But I hope I can in some day. I will try your Whisky.
    Good luck, Dave! If you come to China, please let me know.
    Best wish to your family!
    Yours, Shaopeng.

    1. ShaoPeng,

      Great to hear from you! I am glad you are enjoying your new position with Mentor Graphics!

      Yes, getting in shape again has been a key benefit or my new life. I really felt during the run. The increased physical fitness was also very helpful during our recent vacation in Austria and Germany. We enjoyed touring by train, but that involved lifting luggage into overhead racks which can be dangerous if you do not regularly lift weights to prepare for that awkward lifting exercise.

      By the way, our company is off and running. The company name is “Asatte Press, Inc.” The word “Asatte” is from the Japanese: “明後日” or “the day after tomorrow”. The company is very small, but I am enjoying planning everything carefully and doing the hands-on design myself. We are going to make a series of integrated products which are anchored around high-quality traditional books. My wife Tomoko is a skilled artist. She does all the visual design. I take her results and convert them to XML and scalable vector graphics for production. I also do most of the English writing. We expect to have our first books ready for field trials early next year.

      You can see the beginnings of our website at (http://AsattePress.com). Right now, it is just the outer structure of the web site. However, that shell is implemented in HTML5 and CSS3 using the latest best practices and I have a 40-page written plan of how I am going to extend it step-by-step adding technology and services to support our business.


      David Hetherington

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