Last May, I returned to the city of my birth, meeting up with K and J to run the Cleveland half marathon. We had a blast (my injury notwithstanding) and I hoped someday to show her my city. Well, eleven months later, K and her family came to Austin. Or as she put it, the mountain came to Mohammed.
See, leading up to Cleveland, we were virtual training partners, texting each other every day. I remember when she ran her first double-digit run; then there were the “Did you run today?” texts, and lots of encouragement. When the race day weather forecast showed rain, we both panicked and sped out–separately–to buy water-resistant jackets just in case. And when race day came, we lined up together for her first half marathon and my third. Due to my aforementioned injury, I sent her ahead at mile eight, and I could not have been prouder of her for finishing strong.
So today, I got to return the favor. Sort of. We didn’t have a race (although I tried to get her to stick around for the Austin Capitol 10K this Sunday) but I convinced her to come to my Wednesday night Rogue training run. After three days of Mexican food–Powered by Enchiladas–we were ready for a speed workout.
On the drive over, I pointed out not tourist sights, but locations I’ve mentioned in my texts and blog posts. The long stretch of Brushy Creek Road. The street at the bottom of Heely Sonova. The path for the Rogue Running Mad half marathon last summer. The cactus in the snow. The crashed fence. The middle school track. That fucking tree.
The last two days, the weather has been cloudy and breezy, but warm. This afternoon, under an overcast sky, we took obligatory Texas bluebonnet pictures, and it drizzled a couple of times when we took the kids to the park. Yet as we arrived at Rogue, the clouds broke and the sun came out. Considering Cleveland got snow the other day, this sunny-and-warm thing was kind of alien to her.
Tonight’s run was a track workout. K was concerned because she hasn’t run in two weeks due to
the plague a respiratory thing, but I assured her she could go at her own pace and rest if she needed to. So we headed out for the 1.25-mile warmup to the middle school track.
She was underwhelmed by that fucking tree, saying by my description she expected it to be a monstrous Whomping Willow kind of thing. “It’s barely six feet tall!” she exclaimed, and shook her head. Even when I made her run on the right side of the sidewalk and duck underneath it, she remained unimpressed.
At the track, we ran 2.5 laps at half-marathon pace, a half-lap walking, repeat four times. The Team Rogue Prep middle school kids were out there too–nothing like having a pack of pre-teens fly past you on the track, huh? We just kept reminding ourselves we were running a half-marathon pace, not a sprint.
Usually I run with headphones and either a podcast or a power playlist. Tonight, we chatted. A couple of times, when I slowed for the walking section, K asked, “Don’t we have one more lap before we rest?” Nope. Clearly we did a good job blocking out the demoralizing kid-sprinters and sticking to our own thing, because the laps went by pretty quickly. And Texas didn’t kill her–she ran strong, didn’t cough up a lung, and ended up finishing close to six miles by the time we dodged that fucking tree and got back to Rogue.
Powered by Enchiladas, indeed. Yeah baby, yeah!