The alarm went off at 4am. We were out of bed a few minutes later and eating breakfast ~ ugh. A rice cake with peanut butter and honey, a banana, some regular H20 and a few swigs of Vitamin Water. I'd rather eat nothing until the race is over, but I know the fuel and electrolytes will cause me to feel better as I run. It will be the last thing I put in my body before the finish line at the end of 13.1 miles, and I may get scolded for not drinking anything along the course ~ no water/Gatorade stops for me ~ but if you knew what it was like to live in my body, I don't think you would stop either. As soon as anything goes in, everything starts working and moving, and you really don't want to much "movement" on the race course!
We leave for downtown Austin at 5am, because all of the race info we've read says to be there and parked by 5:30. There are 20,000 people running which makes this the largest race we've ever participated in. The state capitol is the starting point, so we park nearby, and I snap a photo of
Rocky Robert and the rotunda. The capital is near the campus of The University of Texas where we both attended college, and we're both excited to be a part of a race that takes us to many parts of the beloved city where we met, dated, and were engaged!
We walk around a bit in the chilly morning air, and snap a few more photos for ourselves and others. We can't decide if we'll check our bag at the designated location or just walk it back to the parked van, because we'll need to to shed our jackets and my not-very-small camera.
As we walk, I'm even thinking that I really don't feel like running all that way, but that's how it usually goes for me. I think a lot of people have a sort of love/hate relationship with running, or any exercise for that matter! We just ran another half-marathon in Galveston two weeks prior ~ a training run for the Austin Half, Robert kept calling it. And I guess it was, but Galveston was FLAT (as in sea level flat, along the sea wall even!), and Austin was NOT. Have I even recovered from Galveston yet??? I guess I have, and even ran a 10 miler in between to stay trained up for this race.
Then, we meet up with cousin Zach, who lives in Austin, and was running in his first ever road race! At the start he tells us he'll follow behind us, since we've done this before, but it doesn't take him long at all to lock into a faster pace and cruise on ahead. In the end, he'll finish 10 minutes faster than us, and might have been even faster, but there were some killer hills AT. THE. END. Don't know who planned that race course, but miles 11-13 were just cruel! (Actually, miles 1-6 were sort of evil also, but the hills are difficult to avoid in this beginning-of-the-Texas-Hill-country-town, I guess.)
Even though I was hesitant to start, I felt great by mile 4, and this is why I will get up when the alarm blares at crazy hours of the morning to do a crazy thing like run 13.1 miles. (Only "half" as crazy as the 26.2 mile runners as one of the creative spectator's posters read!) It makes me feel good. It lifts my mood, and lightens my heart. Thoughts of gratitude fill my mind ~ for health, for strength, for my marriage, and running partner husband, for my kids, my church, for sabbatical, for friends. I'm not bogged down by worry or fear, but rather freed to have a godly perspective, free to trust the Lord with all sorts of anxieties. Free to recall God's Word and think on it. Free to remember both His Truth and His faithfulness to me
And I know there are physiological reasons for this, but even those are created by God!
I cracked up over this t-shirt that I discovered at the race expo the day before the race. Yes, I suppose running is my therapy and my drugs in this overly-psychoanalyzed and medicated culture, but really the positive effects are all accomplished by my Lord, and I'll keep racking up the races for as long as He allows.