They call it the Hill Country because it’s hilly: A Marathon Story

Oops I did it again. And outside of Pike’s Peak, I chose the worst place to do it.

Last Sunday I ran my sixth marathon in Austin. And Austin is in the Hill Country. So I ran a marathon up and down and up and down and up and up and up and up and up.

My friend, Emily, joined me and ran the half marathon. So we carb loaded at Mandola’s the night before and were ready to rock on race day.

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We took off in the early morning and, unfortunately, the 7,000 half-marathon runners and 3,600 marathon runners all ran the first 12 miles together which made things…crowded.

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At mile 12, I was ready to quit but I knew I was eating nachos later and I needed to burn more calories.

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Thankfully, Emily met me at miles 18 and 22 with wheat thins, gatorade, encouragement, and beer from one of my favorite breweries.

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You’re thinking, “Beer? Who drinks beer at a marathon?” And I say, “Ummm…yes.” Just a sip, y’all. It helps with the energy levels.

The last 4 miles are always the worst and this race was no different. Soon, my Garmin read “26.0 miles” and I knew I was close. As I turned a corner, I saw it. A MOUNTAIN.

The hill finally leveled out and I found Emily who took the photos below.

My watch read “26.2 miles,” and the finish line wasn’t in sight.

“EMILY. WHO MAKES THE LAST .2 OF A RACE UPHILL?!? WHO DOES THAT?!? ALSO, MY WATCH SAYS “26.2.” WHERE IS THE DAMN FINISH LINE??? WHERE IS IT?!?”

At “26.4 miles” I crossed the finish line. I was very bitter.

Regardless, I finished and enjoyed the after-party with Emily and our old favorite from Longmont Colorado, Oskar Blues.

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After cleaning up, we enjoyed 10 pound can nachos from The Local Post. We were in bed watching the Olympics by 8pm. And we weren’t sad about it.

The next morning, we rolled out of bed, donned our medals, and headed out to explore. First, I needed chicken and waffles from the 24 Diner. It was so amazingly perfect.

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It was such a nice day outside that we found a patio to continue making up the calories we lost the day before.

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We found the Live Oak Brewery on our way out of town to soak up the last bit of our short vacation. I would totally go back.

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It was a great place for the old ladies to do what we normally do when we go out.

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Anyways, I’m taking a hiatus from marathons for now. Well, until I forget what it feels like and sign up for another.

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Savannah State of Mind

In October, Emily and I headed to the Florida vs A&M football game in Gainesville and took a few extra days in Savannah, Georgia afterward. I know. It’s January and this happened in October, but better late than never right?

First things first: We visited Gainesville to watch the Aggies BTHO the University of Florida. But more importantly, we got to see Kristen!!!

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We had a blast and won the game!

After a few days in Florida, we headed to Savannah. Now, it’s important that I tell you I had a wicked sore throat and was doing anything and everything to ease the pain. Cough drops. Pain Reliever. Cold medicine. EVERYTHING.

The first thing we did was take a bicycle tour to get to know the area. We were the only ones on the tour so I had only two people made fun of my lack of bicycle skill. Also, riding a bike after 20 years is not easy.

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Don’t worry. I only veered into traffic like eight times. Ok. Nine.

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Heres a fancy fountain in Forsyth Park.

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After the bike tour, we explored more of town and went shopping. Savannah is one of the few places where you can drink alcohol in public areas. So we took advantage.

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Alcohol definitely increased our spending limits. For instance, you never realize how many products made from bees you need until you have a few beers in your system.

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One night, we visited Jen’s & Friends Martini Bar. This place was AMAZING! We met the owner, Jen, who told us how accidentally throwing a mini candy bar into a martini glass gave her the idea to create these creative martinis.

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Emily liked the Reese’s Cup and Oreo martinis. I won’t tell you how many Rice Krispie Treat ones I had.

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We spent time at some fantastic places like the Olde Pink House, Sweet Melissa’s Pizza, Rocks on the Roof, and Moon River. Our waiter at Moon River gave us our own little ghost tour of their basement.

On our last night, we chose to do a bar crawl ghost tour. Unfortunately, the temperature dropped 20 degrees so we were FREEZING and my throat was slowing trying to kill me. But I was determined to see some ghosts.

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The ghost tour wasn’t exactly scary…or very ghosty. But, we learned about secret tunnels underneath the city and stopped at a bar every ten minutes to get out of the cold.

We had an early flight to catch the next morning and my throat was on fire. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t swallow. I wanted to curl into a ball and cry all the way home.

I went to the doctor as soon as I got home and was diagnosed with a wicked sinus infection. Did it help that I walked around Savannah in the cold with an occasional alcoholic beverage? Probably not. But I got medicated and was good to go in a few days.

Overall, Savannah was amazing. Minus the sore throat. And the amount of salt a gargled. Until next time, Georgia.

European Adventures with Shelley: Parisbound

On our last day in London, we had some important things to check off our list. First, I ran to Wimbledon and along the way, I saw my future home aka Kensington Palace.

 

Later in the day, we visited Hyde Park, the Tower of London and Herrod’s for afternoon tea.

 

We ended the day by seeing Wicked.

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Early the next morning, we were Parisbound. As soon as we stepped off the train, we were ready for our next adventure. Except…we realized immediately…that we don’t speak French. It may have taken us over an hour to figure out how to navigate the underground system and get to our hotel…but WE DID IT.

Here’s me. Trying to figure out Paris.

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We headed to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, Sacre Coeur. We climbed the million steps to the top, but it was worth it for the views. By then end of this day, my Garmins told me we had climbed 47 flights of stairs.

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Then we headed to Notre Dame. No hunchback was found, if you were wondering.

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Finally, we headed to see the Eiffel Tower.

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The next day, we headed to a traditional Parisian brunch at Claus and it was amazing.

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Once we loaded up on carbs and butter, we were excited to explore the Louvre. Thankfully, Shelley and I had a game plan because, otherwise, we would still be wondering around that place.

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The Code of Hammurabi, the Winged Victory, and the Pyramid du Louvre.

 

After our efficient exploring, we had a champagne cruise on the Seine. Life is the bubbles.

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A fellow passenger took our picture. I think she was a professional.

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After the cruise, we found a cafe close to the Tower so we could “catch it while it was sparkling.” After a few glasses of Bourdeaux and some Creme Brulee, we became fast friends with the waitstaff. When they learned we were from Texas, they immediately played Old Crow Medicine Show’s Wagon Wheel. It may not have been Texas country, but it was appreciated. Oh and they gave us free champagne. So they were our favorites.

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So if you’re keeping count, Shelley and I spent a whirlwind three days in London and two in Paris. It was quick, but perfect. Our next adventure will be in Spain and Portugal and it can’t come soon enough.