Apr 212015
On an April 11 Saturday much nicer than it had any right to be, the threat of heavy rain fortuitously replaced by a cool misted morning, 2897 runners took to blockaded streets of Austin for the annual Longhorn Run.  Just over half were students, the balance made up of staff and public participants.  All appeared to have a splendid time.

I arrived the afternoon before to pick up my race packet.  There was a service at Gregory Gym to customize jerseys but unfortunately I got there just a few minutes too late to take advantage.


Gatorade was extra

I chose to stay at Drifter Jack’s Hostel during my trip for a few key reasons: it’s within walking distance of the UT campus, it was an opportunity to meet new people, and it was cheap.  I’ll blog more on that experience later.  Short version: I had a blast.


Drifter Jack’s (eclectic) Hostel

The short walk to the race was a good opportunity to limber up.


Runners on their way to the starting line.  Tutus not mandatory but welcome.

Participants assembled at the plaza in front of the UT tower before 8:00 AM, and the

666... hook 'em horns... hmm

666… hook ’em horns… hmm

excitement was tangible.  I felt more a collective spirit of fun than competition.  But then, this is no marathon, but two sets of relatively short races: 10 and 5 kilometers.

As a runner out of practice for over a decade, I elected to enter the 5K this time out (my first official race also).  Good thing, too: on a practice run a few days before I strained the quadriceps muscles in both legs, so even the 5K was making me wonder.  I massaged my thighs during the entire drive from Fort Worth to Austin the day before, for good measure!

Since the 10K was slated to begin 20 minutes before the 5K (and actually started a bit later than scheduled), I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures.  One of my favorites was the guy (unknown) who posed in cheerful defiance with the ominous number 666 on his bib.

Inspiration courtesy Nike

Inspiration courtesy Nike

The eyes of Texas are upon you

The eyes of Texas are upon you

And the 10K runners are off!  Led by one fast pink gorilla.

And the 10K runners are off! Led by one fast pink gorilla.

Concerned about holding anyone back, I elected to line up at the tail end for the 5K…

I think here is where I actually got nervous...

I think here is where I actually got nervous…

Surprisingly, I managed much better than I had anticipated, leg strain and all.  The course started off flat and quickly hit a downhill grade, which helped.  There wasn’t much of anything uphill.  I wound up passing a lot of people half my age or less.

This looked like a final stretch.  It wasn't a final stretch.

This looked like a final stretch. It wasn’t a final stretch.

I’m still not up to actually running the entire 5K yet, but I did cover about 1/3 of the course

Just did it.  And not really annoyed, just tired.

Just did it. And not really annoyed, just tired.

at a reasonable clip.  I didn’t even push myself, so coming in 519th out of 1391 was a pleasant surprise; I could have easily cut that in half with some good old you-will-PAY-tomorrow effort.

As I related on Facebook recently, I have running in my blood but had never formally competed.  I had one goal in mind for participating in this: prove to myself that recent health issues were not going to dictate what I do with my life.  I’m pleased enough with my results that I’m planning on actually doing the 10K next year.  Plenty of time to work on stamina.

In closing I want to of course thank everyone involved, but specifically, the pacers and various boosters along the route.  You were all great and boosted morale.  Even the lady who shouted that velociraptors were after us.

See you next year!


Race site: http://www.utlonghornrun.com/
10K results: http://www.cadencesports.com/eResults.php?raceid=932&event=10K%20Searchable%20Results
5K results: http://www.cadencesports.com/eResults.php?raceid=932&event=5K%20Searchable%20Results

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