What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

30 May 2011

Congress Avenue Mile

Once a year, the fastest mile runners in the state of Texas all come to Austin in late May to show what their hard work has brought them to. They start in front of the state capitol and zoom all the way across the river, a gradual downhill mile. They grimace, they sweat, they dig deep, they probably don't even bother breathing more than necessary as they race each other, as they race themselves, to the finish line.

In under five minutes.

I've been hearing about this little race for months and wanted to watch. There are a whole bunch of categories: 40 & over, 39 & under, elementary school, middle school, family fun run, and elites. But the highlight of the day, the crown jewel, is the high school championship at the end. Students get into this race by invitation only, and they are divided into four teams: West, East, North, and South. Now Chad and I have spent all but one year of our Texas lives in West Texas, so that's who we were planning to cheer for. As we walked down the street to our chosen cheering spot, we saw three of the four teams warming up, and were wondering where our West Texans were, when from around the corner came a young lady with a West singlet who had obviously just come from warming up.

Just imagine this street
with running teenagers
instead of cars. That's
what it looked like.
Chad: Are you the only West Texas runner?
West: No, but I don't really do group warm-ups. I had to go do my own thing.
Chad: Cool. We'd seen every team except West, so we wondered where you guys were!
West: giggles
Me: Good luck! We'll be cheering for y'all.
West: Thanks! (She ended up finishing second, by the way, so warming up by herself seems to have been a good choice.)

There were not many spectators at this race, which really surprised me. Apparently one only goes to the Congress Avenue mile to run or to watch one's child run, and for the general public to turn up and cheer is unusual. Just doing our part to Keep Austin Weird, I always say. But really, I can't understand why anyone who likes running and lives nearby would want to miss it. Watching the fastest teens in Texas was so inspiring-- these young people have worked so hard, early and late, to get where they are. They're the living answer to those who would write off "kids these days". My only regret after watching them is that I can't get to Indiana often enough to watch one of my young cousins-- Eldest Cousin's (yes, it's a terrible nickname) firstborn is also a runner, and could hold his own with these Texan teens. So since I can't watch Running Cousin (another terrible nickname), I watched these students instead. It was remarkable. And when we went running afterwards, Chad kept warning me against being so revved up and going out too fast. Oops.

What inspires you to work harder? Doesn't have to be running related-- it can be anything!


....Petty Witter said...

An interesting post - a special well done to all those runners aged 40 and over.

To answer your question ..... the thought that I might be making a small difference to someones day inspires me to work harder.

Su said...

It's amazing how many over-40 runners there are! And almost all of them run faster than me. :/ I don't mind, of course; I was born to run slowly. I checked the results & it looks like there were about 40 women & 90 men in that age group!

And that's a great way to be inspired. Good for you!

The Golden Eagle said...

What inspires me to work harder? Often, that's thinking of the positive things I could do once I've achieved something through the work.

Karen Peterson said...

It seems that way with a lot of things these days. People only get into events they are personally involved in. It's too bad. But this is a good reminder that I need to be more supportive of local events!

Su said...

@Eagle: Very cool! Great idea!

@Karen: Too true! No one can do everything, of course, but it's cool to do some things, I think!

Laura said...

Hi Su - think maybe you have been spammed above :( Also, when I loaded your blog, I was re-directed to some weird virus page that wouldn't let me off until I restarted my computer... don't know if it may be linked?

Anyways - being left to my own devices tends to make me work harder. I'm a bit contrary - if someone tells me what to do, in go the heels, and I resist in true donkey style...
Lovely post

Misha said...

The dreams I have for my life makes me work harder to make them come true.


Susanna Leonard Hill said...

I love watching the New York City Marathon - I always feel inspired to run after that!

Su said...

@Laura: Thanks for the heads up! I'm not sure what went wrong, but I'll double-check everything.

@Misha: Great inspiration!

@Susanna: Oh, yeah, that would totally work for me, too! ;)