So last weekend a small group of us headed south for the Austin Marathon. While the OKC Marathon will always be the most special to me for myriad reasons, I love, love, love out of town races! There is little more exciting than the week-long anticipation, waking up ridiculously early the morning we finally head out (but not so early that Starbucks won’t open within a half hour of driving), and finding that perfect driving music to take you straight to the expo. I have this traveling thing down! Or so I thought…
My plan was the same one that has worked unfailingly many times before. I'd work as late as I needed to on Friday so I could be ahead going into the next week. I'd come home and put my favorite bedding sheets in the wash, put less favorite bedding on the bed, and pack using the packing check list I'd printed out earlier. Henry then gets a little extra play time before unnecessarily setting the alarm clock and climbing into bed to lie awake for the next six hours. Sleeplessness aside, it sounds pretty good, right? It was right up until I realized that I forgot to print out my list at work and somehow thought my memory could be trusted.
He hadn't even started the ignition when I announced that I felt like I was forgetting something. Shoes? Got 'em. Garmin? Got it. Gum, carmex? Of course. Then you're set! I resigned myself to the idea that I had the essentials and settled into the drive, Starbucks in hand. Gloves! I forgot gloves! At this point, we were already in Texas and I was okay with that. Gloves are pretty easy to find. I'd just pick up a pair at the expo. Or two pair, since my hands threaten frost bite at any temp below 70.
So seven hours and two Starbucks later, we meet part of our group at the expo and finalize the dinner plans, pick up our packets, I get experimented on with this rolly thing to the amusement of my traveling companion, and we head out to explore the streets of Austin for a couple of hours. We made it as far as Sixth Street before stumbling upon a little dive called the Dizzy Rooster (which for some reason I kept calling the Fuzzy Chicken, I mean Rooster, Damn it Dizzy Rooster!), with a really great guitarist covering old country songs by request. We ended up staying there until dinner. We were going to run these streets tomorrow, so why ruin the surprise, right? And who could possibly leave this bottle-cap decorated, honky-tonk place with the musician large in both physical and audible presence and his well-deserved tip bucket?!
Fast forward through dinner and we head over to meet one of my most fantastic cousins at this fundraiser she helped organized to pick up her house key. By the time we finally make it back to hers, the clock is inching toward 10pm and we're putting on PJs and getting ready for the race the next morning. And this is where I discover that "something" I was forgetting. "But it was gloves, and you bought two pair at the expo," you're saying to yourself right now.... Nope. I am sitting in the back bedroom of my cousin's house in my PJs at 10:00 the night before the race with a pair of running shoes, a tech shirt, a sports bra, six pair of gloves (as it turns out I somehow packed four pair), and no shorts. "Well, at least my hands will be warm even if my ass freezes off!" I joke to myself. Luckily, I always have yoga tights on hand and wasn't forced to trek through downtown Austin in my knickers.
The race itself was spectacularly hilly, had undying crowd support, and was very Austin-like in its steady supply of live music on the course. I started slowly, which is pretty typical, and concentrated really hard on listening to the two voices in my head. No, I don't need a really strong dose of medication...these are just words that have been said repeatedly to me over the past few months. "Don't hurt yourself. I want to run a marathon with you," says Voice One. It is immediately followed by Voice Two telling me to "Quit charging the hills!" Let me tell you, they don't speak rhythmically, so it's hard to get a steady stride going to these two! In any case, my muscles loosened, I was uncharacteristically careful, and 13.1 sweaty miles later, I crossed the finish line feeling great and only 8 minutes off my PR.