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Round Rock Cross Country

Look at those boys in Jeff Graham’s 1978 drawing of five fit athletes enjoying their time in the sun running cross country for Round Rock HS back in the day.  From left to right, we are Doug Hall (RIP), me, Joe Cepeda, Robert Graham, and Johnny Martinez.  The countdown to my Austin Marathon is less than 30 days and I can’t help but reminisce on my training runs of fun times running in my youth.

My very first road race took place on a golf course actually in South Austin.  Doug Hall organized a handful of us on a Friday night and drove us down Saturday morning.  It was such a kick, a 3 mile dash over grass and water traps.  I ran it barefoot.  Doug and Rob were sporting the game-changing Nike Waffles.  That was the late summer of ’77.  The next spring we ran what really was technically my first road race, the inaugural Capitol 10,000.  I can’t leave out the 100s of runs along Townlake, now named Lady Bird Johnson Lake.  And my all-time favorite run is the coolest inner-city trail ever – the Barton Creek Greenbelt.

I had a nice run today on one of my favorite Boulder County trails – the East Boulder and White Rock Trails.  I ran 8 miles at what felt like a pretty good clip.  I went the 3 days prior without getting out.  Work has been like cramming for college finals; never-ending days of phone calls, powerpoints, copy/pasting between docs and spreadsheets.  I was prepared to train this winter regardless of the weather.  I’d snowshoe if that was all I could do.  I didn’t expect work to rule like it has.  My goals for the Austin Marathon have gone from beating my time in the Oct. 2010 Denver Marathon to simply finishing without walking.  Despite having lost the edge on my conditioning, I’m still committed to running it.  I’ve booked my flight.  My mom’s excited I’ll be staying with her for the weekend.

Today’s run felt so good.  The work week ended on a bad note.  All work and no recognition.  I presented a piss-poor PowerPoint to my VP on Friday afternoon and I felt exhausted.  Today’s run was like breathing for the first time.  The weather started out perfect – maybe 50° – and sunny.  I wore shorts and two shirts – one short sleeve covered by a second long-sleeve.  Both high tech fabric.  The wind picked up on the return and I would have benefited from having wrapped another long-sleeve shirt or light jacket around my waist.  Had I, I’d have put it on.  Likewise, my ears would have preferred a warmer fleece cap than the runners cap I wore.  But it was tolerable, I didn’t freeze.  The hills sheltered me from some of the wind’s wrath.  Halfway through my run, the Chinook winds dropped out of the Boulder foothills with a fierce velocity that nearly ripped the cheeks off my face.  My legs were warm enough but the sweat on my chest and armpits chilled me beyond comfort.  I’ll layer smarter next time.  I’ll need to put some thought into how to dress for Austin in February.  The humidity magnifies the cold.  I’ll take all my gear and look at what the locals are wearing.  It’s all about the gear.