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Twisted XIt’s not raining.  It’s not even cold.  It’s as if God plans on attending SWSX, so suddenly the weather improves.  I meet up with Kenneth Hausman in the Twisted X Brewery parking lot for a rematch from last Sunday.  This Texmex brewery and brew pub is located on the edge of Dripping Springs, on the way out toward Driftwood.  With Ken is his friend and neighbor, 45 year old Steve Yacktman.  Steve is prepping for a triathlon and is using this as a speed workout.  Steve also runs $30B of investments at Yacktman Asset Management.  He said, when he makes a mistake at work, it typically costs him over $100M.  Despite the large turnout and fast looking runners today, Steve smiles broadly and calmly on the starting line.  No pressure here.  This is a video of him on Squawkbox at CNBC.

Steve YacktmanWe line up just behind the runners who we expect might run a minute per mile faster than us.  We’re capable of averaging 7 minute miles.  My goal is 6:45 per mile.  I really want to PR before flying home tomorrow back to altitude.  That’s a 6:42 pace.  The first quarter mile is on a cow trail.  We expected pavement but apparently Twisted X had trouble with the permits.  I’m fine with this, I love trail running.  Grass and trails are slower though.

I start out running behind both Ken and Steve on the trail.  I pass Ken once we hit the street and start to run alongside Steve.  He pulls in front of me as we climb a monster hill.  This is just before the one mile marker, which we cross in 6:28.  I’m concerned because this is 20 seconds faster than my race plan, but it does help explain why I’m so winded.

3rd PlaceThe street doesn’t last long and we soon find ourselves back in a cow pasture.  I pass Steve around the half way point as his stomach begins to cramp.  I wish I could say it was because I sped up.  As we return to the street and run back down the huge hill, Ken passes me.  This is just at the two mile point.  I run this second mile in 6:42 which I consider excellent.  I’m on pace to PR.  Of course, I’d feel even better if Ken didn’t just pass me but I still feel strong and am able to stay close behind him.  I catch my breath running down the hill and run alongside Ken for the next half mile.

We’re both breathing hard with spit spraying out of our gaping mouths and snot flying out our nostrils.  We’re in a race.  Ken is five years older than me but the age division for this race is 50 to 59 and he’s not backing off.  The street turns to trail again for the final quarter mile and I’m able to shoot ahead of him.  I can’t wait until the last 100 yards to out sprint Ken because for one, I don’t know that I can.  And two, I might hurt myself sprinting.  My early kick pays off and I cross the finish line 3 seconds ahead of Ken in 20:28 – a personal record – having run 6:44 for my final mile.  My 6:36 pace is good enough for third place in my age division, 10th place overall.  Steve takes second place in the 40-49 group.  We win custom-made bottle openers – exactly what to expect from a brewery.

GodspellThis will be my last Texas race for awhile.  My three weeks are coming to a close.  I saw some old friends, work colleagues and family.  I ate Thai for dinner last night, Pad Ped Gang Dang with Karen’s brother Steve and his wife Susan.  We watched their daughter Lucy in a church play Godspell, with her Grandparents.  That was fun.  And I met Chris Amaro for lunch Thursday.  He’s another running buddy from Texas State.  He graduated with a physics degree and went to work in Vegas for the Reagan Star Wars industry.  He works now as a physicist for the State of Texas Department of Health.  Chris was more into marathons at a younger age, running four in high school.  He last ran the Austin Marathon in 2007, but plans to train for another soon.  I come down every year to spend quality time with my mom but it’s nice to see other friends and family and get in some low altitude racing.  My next race might be the Bolder Boulder 10K at 5,400 feet.  Adios Texas.