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Amber Wadey registered for the Distance Challenge after realizing that she perfectly fit the profile for the “average” DC runner. She participated in an ARC member interview earlier this year and we’ve asked her to let us follow along as she runs the series by contributing her race reports to our blog. We hope you enjoy sharing her journey!


I’ve lived in Austin for over a decade and friends have been telling me about Run for the Water for years, but I have NEVER been ready to run 10 miles by early November. Even these past couple of years as I’ve been training for half marathons, the Turkey Trot has been the kick-off for my longer distance training runs. Of course, in previous years I have never considered myself a “real runner.”

This year, I’m a runner. An average runner, but I have the confidence to know that I can go 10-miles. I’m not saying I thought it would be easy. I don’t focus on hills or speedwork the way I know I should but I’ve been feeling strong, having added cycling and group workouts to my regular yoga practice and weekly mileage. I was more thankful than I’ve ever been in my life for daylight savings time as I laced up my shoes for my longest run of the season (so far).

As a newbie to the Run for the Water, I will admit I made a few rookie mistakes. I was so focused on “falling back” an hour and getting the start time right that I didn’t pay quite enough attention to the rest of the event logistics. By the time I parked, found the starting area, and waited in line for the port-a-potties, it was time to go and I found myself at the back of the pack. It took a full 5 minutes to move up to the start line and I spent the first couple of miles weaving through crowds of walkers. Once the 5k broke off there was more breathing room, but it wasn’t until nearly halfway through that I found my pace group.

As we headed into Tarrytown we encountered some pretty significant hills, but what goes up must come down, and every uphill was followed a nice downhill where I was able to build speed and make up lost time. Hill after hill, turn after turn, we made our way through to mile 7, where we emerged back onto Lake Austin Blvd. As much as I enjoyed running by all those beautiful homes, it was such a relief to be back on a straightaway, headed toward the finish line. My legs were getting tired and by mile 8 my hips were feeling the effort. Thanks to an abundance of water and gatorade stops and a nice breeze, I was able to power through those final miles at my goal pace.

My other rookie mistake was losing my Distance Challenge wristband, but I was clearly not the only one. Iram and everybody from the Austin Runners Club was so gracious in replacing wristbands, handing out our hard-earned magnetic puzzle pieces, and getting us through the VIP snack line quickly. I would not have signed up for this race if it weren’t for the ARC and I am so incredibly grateful to have found my way into this inspiring and supportive community.

Help me avoid rookie mistakes at the Decker Challenge and share your logistical and training advice with me and all the other newbies out there!