Very few drivers out on the road today before 6am. Texas is frozen. I drop Sandy off at Austin Bergstrom for an early flight easily enough. My next target is New Braunfels to run a 5K and meet up with the Johnsons for the Braunfest beer tasting and lunch. The drive though across Ben White to I35 is an icy death trap. There are three major overpasses between the airport and the interstate. Early responders are busy at all three bridges cleaning up catastrophic crashes. I can’t imagine why anyone would drive faster than the 15 mph I’m doing across this ice, but these cars are totally smashed. Multiple cars at the first two sites, just one at the overpass exit to I35. Even at my slow speed, I’m in a controlled slide between the fire trucks, police cruisers, and wrecks. Still, I make it safely to New Braunfels by 7am.
Only 68 runners line up for the race. I might place. The rain is holding back and 35° is not that unpleasant for running. I layer two t-shirts and wear a ski cap along with gloves, and I’m comfortable. Eight runners dart out ahead of me at the start. After the first mile, only two remain ahead of me. I’m stunned by my initial pace – 6:36 for mile one. I hope, and actually expect, to run a 7 minute pace and did not want to start off this fast.
I catch Clay Coleman, the runner in second place, at the half way point. He follows close behind as we head up a hill, but then fades. Felix Acosta, the runner in first place is a good 20 seconds ahead of me and looks strong. I focus on running my own pace and cross mile two with a 7:00 even mile. I feel fairly strong myself but don’t want to race too hard. I plan to run another 5K tomorrow. Still, I make a move to close the gap and am able to close on the leader a bit. My surge gives me a 6:54 final mile. Felix finishes 15 seconds ahead of my 21:24. He’s a bit younger than me and I’m happy finishing in second place.
I meet up an hour later with Ray and Letty for the beer tasting. They’re feeling pretty good about their son recently being accepted into the UT School of Engineering. They figure it was the billion hours their son put into his robotics club that got him in. Oh, and he’s smart. My favorite beer of the day might be the Hefeweizen from Guadalupe Brewing that was served post race with chicken wings. After drinking our limit of beer before noon, we head over to the Friesenhaus for an authentic German lunch. The waiters speak mostly German. I order the Schleswig-Holstein Snitzel. And more beer. I’m going to need to run that 5K tomorrow.