One Last Austin Post

Our last day in Austin might have been our best, most memorable day.

If you’ve read anything about the food scene in Austin, I’m sure you’ve heard of Franklin’s Barbecue.

Untitled

If you told me I’d have one of the best times ever waiting in line for food, I would not have believed you.

Untitled

But this wasn’t just any old line.  Chairs were provided (at least for the first 50 or so line-waiters), and not only was drinking allowed, but drink orders were taken and fulfilled.  Since it was a Tuesday, we felt comfortable getting there on the late side – around 8:30.  We managed to snag some of the last few available chairs and a shady spot under the stairs.  Mike set off to find some snacks and (adult) beverages for us while I held our place in line.  (I didn’t realize until after he’d left that you could order drinks from Franklin’s while you were waiting.  We needed breakfast, anyway.)

Untitled

At first, the line was pretty quiet, but three hours and a lot of beer later, we were all fast friends.
Untitled

Untitled

Almost at the door!

Untitled

It was amazing how friendly the servers were considering how many people they must have to deal with each day.

Untitled

We were feeling pretty victorious at having conquered the line and made it inside.

Untitled

Our glorious, delicious haul.

Untitled

We tried pretty much one of everything, but if I ever go back again, I’ll just get brisket, brisket, and more brisket, and maybe a rib or two.  (Everything was great, but the brisket and ribs really outshined everything else.)  The brisket had a wonderful, black pepper crust and just melted in your mouth.

We had to head home the next day to the snowy, Northeast.

Untitled

We stickered up our cars – a lot of work for a sticker!

Untitled

And  handed out our Austin souvenirs.

Untitled

Ready as I’m Going to Be

Or at least I’m packed.

Untitled
We’re leaving tomorrow morning.

I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time and big chunk of change at the Expo.

Then carb-loading and meeting some past winners at the pre-race dinner.

Then finally getting the show on the road on Monday.

And especially post-race celebrating!

Austin Boot Shopping

Do you have a bucket list?  I do.  I made it years ago and add a new item to the list every once in a while.  I admit that some of the items don’t appeal to me so much anymore, but #18 was still definitely on my radar:

Untitled

(It’s supposed to say “Buy and wear”)

After the previous day’s marathon, I had half of that mission accomplished, so I was really looking forward to completing it.

We needed some fuel first though, and I had spotted a Voodoo Doughnut shop earlier in our explorations.  I wanted to be sure to check it out post-marathon.  (Heavy donut in the belly beforehand probably not a good idea.)

Untitled

Look at those beauties!

We ended up with a maple bacon and a Crunchberry.
Untitled

Then we decided to stretch out our sore legs and walk the 2-ish miles to Allen’s Boots.

Untitled

We were slow, but it was a beautiful day, and it was nice to revisit our running route with a more relaxed pace and mindset.

Untitled

I was pretty overwhelmed by Allen’s vast selection of boots, but the saleswoman, Elise gave me some few tips, and I was ready to dive in.

I narrowed it down to about 3 or 4 pairs and tried those each on a few times.  Putting on and taking off boots is hard any day, but with post marathon soreness, it was not pretty!  I was glad no one was watching.  Elise checked on me a few times but didn’t hover which I liked.
Untitled

These were the winners.

I couldn’t even wait to get back to the hotel to put them on.
Untitled

Even in their first wearing and with a mile or so to walk back to the hotel they were comfortable.

Someone had recommended Hopdoddy’s to me on the pre-race shake out run.  It just happened to be right down the street from Allen’s, so we popped in there for an early lunch and managed to just beat the long lines.

Untitled

The burger was amazing.  We got the “Primetime”.  It was the best burger I’ve ever had.

But the fries . . .

Untitled

Wow!  Just wow!  So good.  These were the truffle fries with a healthy helping of some kind of deliciously salty Parmesan cheese topping.  I forget now what the dipping sauce was – truffle aioli maybe.

Untitled

Mike met some new friends on the way back to the hotel.  We did go back to the hotel after lunch to rest up a bit and make a plan for the evening.  A plan that was supposed to involve much less walking.  However . . .

Mike, who, as far as I know has no bucket list and up until that day had no aspirations to buy or wear cowboy boots.  I mean, I couldn’t even picture it.  Somehow the hour we spent in Allen’s must have rubbed off on him because he wanted to go back for a pair of his own.

So back out we went.  We had to stop and “rest” on the way there.

Untitled

We enjoyed these drinks at a cool little place called The Snack Bar.  I’m not sure if it was part of it, but it was right next to The Austin Motel which looked really interesting in a hip, nouveau retro kind of way.  I’m going to check it out as a place to stay if/when we go back.

Untitled

Mike got his boots.  We got so into the whole Western thing at Allen’s that we almost bought the hats, too.  I planned to dare to wear the boots when we got back home to the Northeast no matter what, but I knew I wasn’t brave enough for the hat.

Untitled

Mike couldn’t wait to get home to put on his boots either.  (He’s worn them almost every day since we’ve been back.)

Untitled

Our plan was to try them out dancing at The Continental Club.

Untitled

The band, The Peterson Brothers, was great, and we did dance just a little bit, but we were the only ones dancing.  The music was pretty blues-y.  Maybe you just don’t dance to that.  At least we didn’t very well.

It was a great day!  I think we put in at least 8 miles on our tired legs.  Not the brightest idea, but we had fun.  Next time, we’ll Uber at least some of it.

Finally – Austin Marathon Recap

Wow, this post has been on my mind for such a long time.  I was on a roll blogging about our trip in February then kept finding excuses to put this one off which pretty much prevented any other blogging because, of course, I wanted to be chronological.

Don’t worry, we’ve still been running and definitely eating just not necessarily at the same time.  I finally lost my tolerance for cold which has reduced the appeal of the breakfast run for me.  I just can’t warm up again once we stop to eat.  Thank goodness warmer weather is just around the corner.

So, The 2016 Austin Marathon . . .

Untitled

The Before Pic

One of my favorite parts was milling around in the middle of the city with thousands of other runners while it was still dark.

There was no traffic, of course, and even though there were a lot of people, there was plenty of room to spread out, so it just seemed peaceful.  The capitol building was beautifully lit up at the top of Congress Street.

Untitled

See the Capitol Building in the Background?

There seemed to be a feeling of relaxed anticipation – the calm before the storm.  Maybe that was just my feeling, but after months of getting ready and thinking about the race, (agonizing over my training times, wishing I’d skipped a few more cookies, etc.) and getting more and more nervous by the day, I was relieved to be on the verge of just. doing. this. thing.

Untitled

Once the National Anthem started, my nervousness came rushing back.  Then finally the starting gun went off and minutes later we crossed the start line, and we were RUNNING!  Even though I could swear it was still dark when we started, it felt like sunny midday by the time we crossed the bridge and started up South Congress street.

My first mile was great, but by mile 5 I was kind of falling apart.  I hadn’t been able to eat much before the race – too nervous – so I had my first Gu.  I knew Mike was somewhere behind me.  I thought about trying to wait for him in hopes that he would help motivate me to keep going.  By mile 7 or 8, the Gu kicked in, and I felt okay.  (Note to self – eat before the race – no matter what!)

My confidence really wavered during the whole race – feeling great one minute, feeling like I couldn’t finish the next.  I think it was around mile 12 when the half marathon split off.  It was so hard to make myself stay on the left for the full!

We had a friend there cheering us on at around mile 18 or 19.  Looking forward to seeing him really helped.  And it was a pretty great feeling once I reached the last 6 miles.  I took about 3 or 4 walk breaks which I’d never done before, but it sure did feel great to walk and drink my water and eat my Gu without being out of breath.

Finally, I was running through the UT campus and on the last stretch.  There was one more really ugly hill during the last mile then I was able to sprint down the hill to the finish.  What a relief!  My slowest marathon and probably my hardest.  I finished in about 3:58.  Nice to stay under 4 hours but almost 15 minutes slower than my previous slowest marathon.

Untitled

We made it!

And you know what?  It really didn’t matter.  I was still just as ecstatic as I was when I completed my other, faster marathons.  I had exactly the same feelings of relief, accomplishment, and that indescribable post-race euphoria.  As I get ready to run Boston IN TWO DAYS, I keep trying to remind myself that.

The race itself was really well organized.  I actually can’t think of a single thing to improve in that area.  The spectators were awesome.  I was pretty jealous of quite a few groups that were partying in their yards while watching the race.  One group was drinking mimosas, and I almost stopped and just hung out with them for the rest of the day.  The signs were all very entertaining.  I can’t believe I’d never seen this quote before, but there were quite a few signs that said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right”.  That hit home for me, since I was having such a mental struggle during the race.

The course was really hilly!  It was described as having “rolling  hills”.  We both thought that Texas was super flat, so it couldn’t possibly be as hilly as The Maine Marathon.  We weren’t worried about the hills at all.  Apparently, Austin is in “Hill Country”.  Oops.  There weren’t any hills that I remember that were particularly steep (although I hear there’s a killer one on the half marathon course) – it was kind of like the accumulation of them just snuck up on you.  The first 2 miles or so were almost all uphill (which I had read), and I started too fast as usual which I think might have been part of my problem.

We had been more worried about the heat.  You can’t exactly train for that in Maine in January.  It turned out to be quite nice – in the 50’s with a bit of a breeze.

We will definitely do this race again!  Well, maybe.  Lots of other places to visit.

Whew, finally finished a blog post.  Thanks for reading.

20-Miler

Don’t worry we didn’t pull a Pheidippides after Austin.  We’re really still here, and I still plan to blog about the marathon and the rest of our trip because it was really great, but life moves on.

I’m in the midst (or really end) of getting ready for Boston.  I finished my last long run today.  It was supposed to be on Sunday, but it was Easter and we were visiting my dad in major-hill-country, so I postponed. (I’m following the Hanson’s training plan which has you run 16 for your longest, but psychologically, I feel like I need to do at least 20.  This is my shortest long run, since my first marathon.  Eeek!)

I even decided to take the day off of work for it.  Got to get those priorities straight, right?  It was pretty nice not to have to rush.  Sadly, my pace shows that.  Oh well.  This Boston is not going to be my best.  My training has kind of fallen apart since oh, about Thanksgiving time.  I just can’t seem to hit my miles per week.  Maybe it’s time to capitulate and switch to just 5 days a week?  My current thinking is that fall marathons will be my thing.  So much easier to train in the light and warmth of summer mornings.

It was a nice run today anyway.  My toenails hurt.  It’s our second 60 degree day so far this year, so I’m wearing my flip flops.

I ran to Higgins Beach.  My first time running to Scarborough.  I remember the first time I ran out of Portland into a different town.  Seemed like a major big deal to me to run all. the. way. into. ANOTHER. town!

12/21 Bridge Run

Terrible Pic but Mike’s First Crossing into SoPo 12/2014

Since then we’ve run to Falmouth, South Portland, and Cape Elizabeth a gazillion times, Westbrook once or twice, but never to Scarborough, so that was kind of cool.

Untitled

Here’s Higgins

I wasn’t really sure where I was going, but when I reached the little (closed up for winter) store where Mike, Frank, and I got highly-recommended onion rings a summer or two ago, I knew I was close.  It was nice to hear the crash of waves as I approached the beach.  As I ran by Higgins Beach Inn, I remembered being near there on a summer evening and hearing live music on their porch.  I have to investigate whether you can go there for a drink (and music).

As I’ve mentioned, I love an out-and-back because it’s so nice to be on the way back, but I swear I don’t remember going down the hills on Sawyer Street that I had to go up on the way back!

I’m not sure if it’s a best practice, but I recovered with a hot bath and our last Shiner Bock (we purchased here in Westbrook Hannaford of all places as a nod to our Texas trip).  We were out of protein shakes.  Beer is the next best thing.

So tomorrow is April.  Yikes!  As soon as that calendar rolls over, my nervousness (“nervcited” as my 8-year-old calls it) for Boston is going to increase exponentially.  Still, now that I’m a veteran, I don’t think I’ll be as nervous as last year.  Plus, there’s not much I can do now to change my fitness level.  Just got to do those last few runs (not that I’m counting, but 106.5 miles left) and try not to pig out too much.  I’m enjoying a mimosa to celebrate my last long run, but no more until April 18th.  Anyone else out there doing Boston?  Want to meet up?  Ride the bus to Hopkinton together?  I’m in Corral 3, Wave 1 (Wave 3, Corral 1?)

I’m excited about the expo.  I’m planning to set aside $200 from my next two paychecks to blow there.  Funny thing about last year. We looked around at the first “room” and were surprised that that was “all”.  Then we crossed some threshold, and it was like an oasis of running paraphernalia in the desert.

If you haven’t gone to the pre-race dinner, definitely do that.  It was pretty awesome to have previous winners and Olympians plop some pasta and salad on your plate.

And, hey, have you seen this?  It’s got to be a joke, but when I first started reading, I was like, “wait, what?”.

Happy Running.  Hope to be back soon with the rest of Austin and some Boston adventures.  Next up after that, Chicago.  Anyone else in?

Mike got in to Beach to Beacon.  I didn’t.  Typing on my dang phone was just too slow.

 

Austin Marathon – Pre Race Day Continued

We were feeling pretty good about everything after our great pre-race shakeout experience.  We ran back to our room to shower and change then headed back out to meet Mike’s best friend since kindergarten, Pat, who drove from Houston to meet up with us.

Untitled

We met up on 6th St.  We were pretty hungry so we hit up the first place we came across, B.D. Riley’s.  The food was not great, but we enjoyed our local beers and some various whiskeys.  With the high from our great morning and the celebratory feeling of being with an old friend, our vow for a low-cal, chem-free day went right out the window.
Untitled

It didn’t take Mike long to get pretty jolly and hit up the musician for requests.

After lunch we moved on to Banger’s.  I had heard overheard someone talking about their “Manmosas”.  It turns out those are only for brunch on Sundays, but we loved the place anyway.  They had like a million beers on tap, so we tried Pat’s recommendation of St. Arnold’s Lawnmower, and later Mike picked us out a Fat Bastard.
Untitled

I loved the boiled peanuts which I don’t think I’ve had since we lived in South Carolina over 17 years ago.
Untitled

I’m not a huge fan of sausage, but we had to try it at a place famous for it’s sausage.  Mike picked out the rabbit sausage, and it was actually very good.

Untitled

The live music was great.  I wished I’d stopped to appreciate it more, but I was too focused on having fun with Mike and Pat.  After a while, I decided that I’d had too much fun and headed back to the hotel to chill and hydrate.  Mike and Pat continued the fun but still managed to get back in time to run a marathon the next day.  More on that another day.

Austin Marathon – Pre Race Day

I was really nervous for this race.  I hadn’t trained as well as for my other races and had been eating like a pig since Thanksgiving.  I skipped almost the entire pre-race week of running, so when we saw that there was a group run that morning, we jumped on it.

I was actually a bit sluggish when the time rolled around.  We had to find the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue – wherever the heck that was – but Mike was motivated, so he tracked it down for us.  We weren’t sure what to expect – a huge group – or no one else but us.

I had read that Dick Beardsley would be hosting the event, and I immediately recognized that slim, elite runner build when we arrived that the meeting spot.  Even though I knew he would be hosting, I didn’t really expect to be able to talk to him.  I’m kind of shy, and I figured there would be lots of other people vying for his attention.  However, when we arrived, there was just a handful of people milling around, and Mr. Beardsley came right up to us and introduced himself – so cool!
Untitled
He spent quite a bit of time chatting to us before we started the run – such a down-to-earth, friendly guy.  We really enjoyed talking with him.  I couldn’t believe we were standing there (calmly – for the most part – I look pretty dorky) next to the 33 year Grandma’s Marathon record holder (meaningful to me especially, since Grandma’s was my first, and ironically, that record was broken the year I ran it).  I really hadn’t known much else about him, but check out his story.  It’s pretty interesting.

We finally set off on the run, hosted also by Bobby Overton from SpiBelt – also a super nice guy – especially considering his task of herding us cats.  (We both felt a little guilty that Mike was wearing his new FlipBelt.)  I wasn’t sure what to expect from the run either.  Some of the other participants looked like they might be around our same pace (you never really can tell by appearances), but I was pretty sure that even though it’s been almost 34 years since his exciting Boston Marathon finish seconds behind Alberto Salazar, Mr. Beardsley could probably still set a pretty darn good pace.

We set out on a nice, easy run.  I was even able to run up ahead to snap a photo.

Untitled

We ran along the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail which was really beautiful.

Capture

Our route (also includes getting there and back from hotel and a detour to the Expo)

Mr. Beardsley told me how part way you used to have to go up on the highway and back down, but they’ve since made a beautiful boardwalk to connect those two ends of the trail.  We got to run along that and had beautiful views of the city from there.  I got to run with my new friend, Dick, the whole way to our turnaround point.

Untitled

We had a great conversation, and he even recommended a few marathons to me (Fargo Marathon and Dick Beardsley Marathon – he was very humble about it being called that).  I kind of felt like I was hogging him, so I chatted with a few of the other runners on the way back.  One of whom was none other than Henry Rono, a 5000 meter record record breaker in the 70’s and 80’s – among many other accomplishments.  He was also very humble and interesting to talk to.

It was great to be in the midst of such running fame, but the other people in the group were friendly and fun, too.  One guy was running his first marathon, but quite a few of the others had run Austin before and were able to give us good advice about the course and about where to visit in Austin.  (Thank you for your advice about the speed bumps and your recommendation of HopDoddy’s!)
Untitled

What an amazing experience!  I was happy to have done the shakeout run, since it helped me remember that I did still know how to run.  But more than that, it got me excited about running again – what a great community and a great way to interact with people.  You already have something in common.  Somewhat surprisingly to me, the conversation that Mr. Beardsley and I had about running wasn’t any different than I conversation I might have with any other, average Joe runner like myself – the nerves before a race, the gear, the locations.

Happy running!