2015 Austin Half-Marathon

The 2015 Austin Marathon was originally planned to be the crowning achievement of the running season, but after the twins were born, I completely failed at training. A month before the race, I switched to the half distance. The 2015 Austin Half-Marathon doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, though.

Whoever thought having the race near Valentine’s Day—I’m curious the rationale. After spending time away from my wife to train, I’m going to disrupt the annual romantic-for-no-reason-besides-a-random-date-on-the-calendar celebration to be in fighting form for the race?

The day before the race was Valentine’s Day, but more importantly, the twins went to sleep early for the first time in a long time. Sure, I could have called it a night early. Instead Vanessa and I talked—something that isn’t as simple as it used to be since there’s almost one of the five kids needs some type of attention or something else needed to keep the household running.

To keep the story short, we talked for a few hours and had a glass of champaign. Perfect pre-race preparation.
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98% Women

A pack of women running a race.

It’ll look something like this (Photo Credit: flickr.com/donjuanna)

Vanessa and I are running a half-marathon in October. I mentioned this yesterday, but what I failed to mention was which half-marathon we were running.

See Jane Run is hosting their first Austin event on October 9th. The event includes a half-marathon, a 5K, a Stroller 5K for joggin’ mamas and a kids run. The finisher prize is chocolate and champagne, which expressly will not be given to any male finisher.

See Jane Run’s FAQ says that men are welcome to run, but beware that 98% of participants are women. 98%. That’s a lot. I searched the registration list and saw that there is only one other man from Austin running the half-marathon. Maybe a good number of men travel across the state to run in a virtually women-only run?

I’m not terribly sure what to expect from a field of all women nor sure if there is anything different to expect.

Though, I will avoid testing out any women’s products in a bathroom near a hairdryer and a bathtub the night before. (Confused? What Women Want)

Go Big or Go Home


Runners grabbing water during a marathon

I didn’t look this happy when I ran a marathon (Photo Credit: flickr.com/nordearigamarathon/)

The crowning achievement of my athletic life was the 2008 Austin Marathon. Ran (more or less) 26.2 miles. If you’ve met me in person, I would be the last person you’d expect to run a marathon; nevertheless, I did it.

That was also my last major exercise achievement. I ran a half-marathon in 2010, but without training and very poorly. Vanessa hasn’t run since the 2008 marathon and, in the mean time, got married and had two kids.

When we saw a Facebook Deal for 50% off registration for a half-marathon in October, it caught my interest. When I saw that the start/finish line was in a park a block away from my house, it kept my interest. I mentioned it to Vanessa, expecting her to flush the idea out of my mind. Read More

Bike Day

I took my weekly day off this week and decided to make it a bike day. I haven’t jumped on the two-wheeler in a couple of months and it needs some work (it won’t shift down to the lowest gears), but the weather has been too great and I’ve really been itching to ride.

I rode from home to San Juan Diego, where Vanessa works, to deliver her lunch. Rode from there to the UCC. From the UCC, I just went riding. After all is said and done, I transversed just shy of 22 miles of Austin’s travel lanes, bike lanes and trails.

I think I’m going to sleep well tonight.

if we thought of heaven as a marathon

I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.

2 Timothy 4:7

Training to run a marathon is not unlike our training efforts towards our eternal reward in heaven. Each Saturday morning, despite it being my day off of work and there is nothing that I must do, I wake up at 6:30 am to head to the corner of Riverside and South Congress to join with a number of other folks to run.

The first few weeks, we ran little. Two miles the first couple of weeks, then three miles, then a huge jump to five miles. The first week, running two miles, was very difficult, much more than it should have been. I had boast to my friends that I ran cross country in high school and while I was not great at it, I could run three miles a day without a problem.

In addition to that, on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday after work, I go home, change into running clothes and hit the trails, sidewalks or whatever surface I’m going to run on that day. By the time I arrive back home, shower, change into something comfortable, it is already 7:30 or 8 p.m.

At first, this was both hard and fun. Once I walked in the door to my apartment after work, I would jump into my running clothes and sprint to the door. Alas, in the time August, my motiviation has lacked some recently.

Now, last Saturday, we ran 13.4 miles. My finance and I had to cut it short from the planned 15.5 miles because we had appointments all day for wedding vendors, but we did not cut it short because we couldn’t do it. We now think of a five mile run as “short”.

At the same however, the idea of running tonight, tomorrow night or 18 or 21 miles in the upcoming Saturdays is now the last thing I want to do. I’ll do it anyhow, but it is not the top thing of my list.

How is this like heaven and our “training” for it?

Prayer and good words should be key to our training. Developing and enacting a solid prayer routine isn’t easy. Time and patience is needed to develop an attitude and habit of prayer. For example, someone who has not spent any dedicated time in prayer probably shouldn’t attempt to start praying every hour of the Liturgy of the Hours with a rosary between Evening Prayer and Night Prayer. If they made it through a day, they wouldn’t make it through too many more.

We have to always push ourselves to the next step though. The training might start with spending a few minutes in silence, reflecting upon the day. Maybe next, we’ll do that and read a parable of the Gospel each night. Early on, we might add a spiritual director to be our coach. Over time, as we become more comfortable with the level of prayer and the energy it takes, we can step up to our next desired level. If we set ourselves to this goal, soon enough, we’ll find ourselves praying each morning, noon and night complete with daily Mass.

With prayer too, we will find ourselves in moments like I am today with running. Despite that early on exercising our spiritual side and nurturing our desire to explore our relationship with God might have been a little exciting, now it might just seem like a drag. It might feel like that, but we can’t let that dictate our actions. Just like running, once you get out there and stretch your legs, you’d be glad you did.

Heaven is the marathon for which we all strive. Unlike the 26 miles of a running marathon that we can lay out on a course and know the exact route, this marathon route is only known to God and in the inner most depths of our heart. We all must set our sights on finishing the marathon, but we have to train ourselves to be able to find the course, run it well and in the end, keep the faith.