I can't believe I'm back and that I am officially a HALF-MARATHONER!! My trip to Austin was absolutely perfect - seriously, it couldn't have gone better. I feel so incredibly blessed and lucky to have had such a wonderful first Half-Marathon experience and AH-mazing support from my friends and family (including all of y'all on Twitter and Facebook!!). This is going to be a pretty long post so I'm just going to dive right in! (Also, I'm writing this in a hurry, whilst laying in bed and watching Bones, so please forgive me for the short, awkward sentences and major typos.)
Friday: After switching out rental cars and grabbing a breakfast of bfast taco & iced coffee from the gorgeous flagship Whole Foods on Lamar/5th, I got ready and headed downtown to visit my old firm and have lunch with some of my fave former coworkers. Everyone was so nice, and I felt so lucky to have kept such great relationships with the attorneys there. One senior associate with whom I worked half-jokingly asked if I was ready to come back... I am decidedly NOT. ;) Afterwards, I met up with my friend Stina who drove down from Temple, TX. We shopped at Target then headed to North by Northwest to enjoy a beer on the patio. The weather was GORGEOUS!
That night we also visited my most favorite movie theater EVER, Alamo Drafthouse, and saw No Strings Attached, which was surprisingly cute and funny!
Saturday: Race day prep! Jenny and I woke up and headed straight to El Chilito for some breakfast.
We picked up some Starbucks on the way, and I was pretty stoked that they spelled my name correctly (it never happens - always "Caroline").
I sat outside for several of my meals. Amazing!
After breakfast, we went to the Expo to peruse and to pick up my race packet.
That night we went to Botticelli's on South Congress for some serious carbo-loading.
Beautiful Jenny who could not have been a better coach/hostess/friend during my entire weekend with her!
After I inhaled tons of bread, veggies and pasta, we headed home to get ready for a very early bedtime. Laid out all my race day gear...
Body Glide, bib, Garmin, chapstick, iPod, Spibelt (they included one with race packets - I gave mine to Jenny b/c I already had one)
Sunday: Alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. Painful. Woke up, had bagel and iced coffee, got dressed and headed downtown. My stomach was a bundle of nerves, and I was completely unhappy about having to pee in a port-a-potty. But I persevered. I even popped a squat behind a giant trash can b/c the lines were too long. Oh yeah I am HARD CORE. And then, before I knew it, it was time to go.
Miles 1-3 FLEW by. I just couldn't believe how great it felt to be running in downtown Austin! There were some hills, but nothing this Central Park master couldn't handle. I stopped during mile 2 to pee, and ohmygaw, you would not believe how disgusting the port-a-potty's were...
Miles 4-6 sucked. We ran ALL the way down South Congress to Ben White (this means nothing to you non-Austinites), and it was basically uphill the entire way. I wanted. to. die.
Miles 6-8 were deliciously downhill. I saw a giant dead possum in the middle of the road. I also saw lots of people running barefoot. Are you CRAZY? These miles flew by, seriously. I felt like I could run forever. I was smiling, singing along to Glee and Justin Bieber and high on life.
Miles 9-11 were hilly, and I started to feel tired for the first time. But I knew my friends Danny and Craig would be waiting around Mile 11 so I kept my game face on. I cannot express to you how good it felt to see familiar faces! We squealed, high-fived, and I felt energized!
Mile 12-13 were beyond brutal. I knew the ginormous hill was at Mile 12... I've known it since the day I signed up for the race. Everyone told me about it. I wish I could've taken a picture of it because it was ridiculous. (Actually you can see it in this hilarious post - scroll down to the "WTF IS THAT??" pic.) But I was determined to conquer it and run the entire way. Unfortunately, my legs weren't cooperating and half way up the hill, I felt myself slow down. Then I felt someone grab my hand, scream "you can do it!" and pull me up the rest of the way. This woman was a complete stranger and my total savior. Yes, this stuff actually happens, y'all.
Mile 13-13.1 was hilly but once I turned that final corner, I sprinted like I've never sprinted before to cross that finish line. It felt phenomenal, and I couldn't believe it was over! I grabbed a bottle of water and a banana and spent the next hour looking for Jenny and asking myself, "Did I really just run a Half-Marathon?" over and over again. I finished in 2:19 and felt really good about my first time. Jenny was proud. :D
After we finally made it home, Jenny gave me an ice bath (yes, me in cold water + ice), I took a hot shower and then we headed to an amazing new burger joint in Austin called HopDoddy. Fresh made buns, house cut fries and Maine Root Beer and Dublin Dr. Pepper on TAP? You gotta be kidding me.
You better believe I inhaled the entire thing, ate all my fries and drank about 3 cups of Maine Root Beer. It was heavenly.
And then we hobbled home, got into PJs and passed out for about 2.5 hours. Glorious. Sunday night I packed up my stuff, said goodbye to Jenny and headed over to one of my FAVE families EVER to stay in their gorgeous, ginormous house in the hills. That night, the wife and I headed to Sago for some Mexican food and outdoor dining. I had queso and fajitas and could not have been happier. I went to bed happy, full of love and gratitude, and a very content, albeit overstuffed, belly.
Monday: Woke up to cloudy skies and a growling tummy. Headed over to one of my fave indie, Austin coffeeshops for MORE breakfast tacos and iced coffee.
The rest of my day went something like this: ridiculously heavenly ah-mazing perfect worth every penny 90-minute massage w/ my fave masseuse, lunch with my former trainer/dear friend, afternoon of perusing and enjoying my beloved Austin, meeting with Dr. G (remember Dr. G?? SO good to see her!), and dinner with the family (more fajitas and queso - this time from El Chile - YUM). More happy, overstuffed belly syndrome.
Tuesday: My last full day in Austin! Insert sad face. Began my day with breakfast tacos then headed to Kim, my beloved hair stylist for 6 years, and ombre-ed out my hair, y'all. It's super subtle, super awesome and will allow me to go a very long time without having to dye it. Win! Had lunch with a good friend/mentor of mine at Jo's on 2nd street, got a deluxe pedicure at Milk and Honey, had dinner with my darling Matty at Blue Star Cafeteria, grabbed some Amy's with law school bud Danny and dropped by Jenny's for one final goodbye.
Wednesday: Woke up at 7 so I could see the kiddos before they headed off to school. I am in LOVE with these kids and babysat them back in the day when I studied abroad in London (the Dad and I went to law school together). The little boy made me a Valentine, and I just about died. If only boys my age could be this cute and sweet!
Finished packing and managed to hit up Taco Deli one last time for my final breakfast tacos... Oh man, I will miss these BIG time.
I plan to recreate these for my roomie Annika and even brought home some real TX salsa in order to do so.
I was super sad to leave Austin and plan to elaborate more on this in a separate blog post. It was a WONDERFUL trip, and I wouldn't change one thing about it (except to maybe eat more Mexican food). Luckily, I have badass roomies and came home to this:
Cupcakes and pink nailpolish. Love.
THANKS AGAIN FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT!!! I kinda wanna start training for something else... :D