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.

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

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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.)

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

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

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

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Our glorious, delicious haul.

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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.

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

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And  handed out our Austin souvenirs.

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Ready as I’m Going to Be

Or at least I’m packed.

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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:

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(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.)

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Look at those beauties!

We ended up with a maple bacon and a Crunchberry.
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Then we decided to stretch out our sore legs and walk the 2-ish miles to Allen’s Boots.

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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.

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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.
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These were the winners.

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

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

But the fries . . .

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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

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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 . . .

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.