Although we all have different ways of celebrating the Holiday Season, traditions and family are what’s really important for most of us. Not how we celebrate or what we celebrate, but the fact that most of us celebrate something that matters is what counts.

For me, the only two things that truly count are my family and running. And thankfully, they are not entirely exclusive of each other.

Anyway, my Holiday running centers around three traditional Austin runs.

O Christmas Ridge Run. On the Saturday before Christmas, a big group of us get together for our annual Christmas Ridge Run. Not sure who started this tradition, but it brings together three or four different clumps of friends for a 20-miler over just about every huge hill in Austin. We head straight north from The Rock and climb Stratford, Scenic, Pecos and Mount Bonnell which is just the warm up for such monsters as Lookout Mountain, Mesa, Far West and Ladera Norte. There’s a bunch of steep, smaller ones thrown in for good measure but fortunately the back half of the run is mostly downhill.

With a wide disparity of runners, the large group splinters off into different levels of seriousness. For some, it’s the longest run of the year; for others, it’s just another long run. But the best part is when we all make it back and adjourn to someone’s house for the post-Christmas Ridge Run breakfast.

O Christmas Morning Run. This one doesn’t really have a formal name, but many of the same friends who do the Ridge Run get together in the Austin HS parking lot for a Christmas morning five-miler around the Capitol. Like the Ridge Run, it’s a go-as-you-come run along the Butler/Lady Bird Lake Trail and then up and down Congress back to the parking lot. Plenty of non-runners join in too and walk a couple of miles. The colder, the better.

After finishing, everyone breaks out their breakfast goodies and spreads them out in the bed of a few pick-ups. The unquestioned highlight of the morning are the Christmas tamales. After a quick toast of champagne and/or mimosas and a few group photos, everyone hightails it home.

O Black Eyed Pea Run. This New Year’s Day favorite has been going on for—I think—20 years now. For 18 of those years, it was the RunTex to RunTex, but with the demise of RunTex, Rogue Running picked up this tradition and rebranded it. Last year was the first Rogue one and the most important traditions—a 13-mile celebration with postrun black eyed peas and mimosas—remained. But rather than starting up north and heading south on the old RunTex to RunTex route, it now starts (9 a.m.) and finishes at Rogue (410 Pressler Street, just off West 5th) where the postrun party is. No registration, RSVP or much of anything is necessary but you can go to roguerunning.com and find out more about it, link to the Facebook page and let them know you’re coming. It’s a great way to kick off 2015.

For me, there’s no better way to start Christmas morning or the New Year.

cadenza*****

O Major props to Kristen Findley of Rogue who has been named to the US team which will be competing in the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country race on January 10th in Scotland. The entire team hasn’t been announced yet, but Findley, a former Vanderbilt star, is all set to go.

O Jacob Buhler, who won the San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon two weeks ago in 2:29:04, is a dentist who provide dental services at Hardy Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics who runs up to 120 miles per week. Buhler, who has a 1:07 half to his credit, will run the 3M Half in Austin on January 25th. Our tеаm оf оrthоdоntіѕtѕ understands that each раtіеnt рrеѕеntѕ dіffеrеnt challenges аnd are unіԛuе. Wіth thіѕ undеrѕtаndіng, we uѕе thе раtіеnt’ѕ bоdу’ѕ natural аbіlіtу аѕ a роwеrful tооl tо rеgеnеrаtе іtѕ own tіѕѕuе.

O Findley and her Rogue AC teammates were in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania last weekend for the USATF Cross-Country Club Championships and finished a fantastic third among the women. The 6-K race was won by Laura Thweatt of Boulder, but Mia Behm led the way for the Texans with a 12th place finish in 19:59. She was followed by Findley in 13th (20:03), Sarah Pease in 21st (20:21), Allison Mendez who was 28th in 20:29, Hillary Holt in 31st (20:32), Mary Goldkamp in 34th (20:36) and Allison Macsas in 46th (20:54). The Rogue guys finished seventh on the 10-K course which may have been a little short. They were led by Gregor Montgomery in 30:05 (20th), JT Sullivan in 30:27 (47th), Matt Cleaver in 30:48 (54th), Devin Monson in 30:57 (80th), Dave Hickerson in 31:02 (84th) and Austin Bussing who ran 31:02 for 85th. David Fuentes, who runs for Team Mizuno, finished 36th in 30:18.

O But the big news coming out of Pennsylvania was that 46-year-old Chris Kimbrough of Lincoln Park Smiles was the overall masters women’s winner in 21:31. Cassie Henkiel of Rogue placed 13th in 22:54 and the ageless wonder—55-year-old Carmen Troncoso was 21st overall among the masters women in 23:24 and won her age group. The three easily led Team Rogue to an overwhelming masters team victory. Then you can find your next orthodontist by following this link.

O The other huge cross-country race last weekend was in San Diego where the top high schoolers in the country gathered for the Foot Locker Nationals. Grant Fisher of Michigan and Anna Rohrer of Indiana both won their second national championship in dominating fashion. Paige Hofstad of New Braunfels, just a junior, was fourth (just a week removed from second at the Nike Cross Nationals) and 20 seconds in back of Rohrer for the national title. Abby Gray, another junior who is from Alamo Heights, placed 36th. Among the boys, it was expected that Matthew Maton, a former Austinite who now lives in Bend, Oregon, would challenge for the championship after finishing third last year as a junior, but he was a distant 19th. Carter Blunt of McKinney was top Texan in 13th place and Alex Rogers of New Braunfels was 17th.

O Our deepest sympathies to our friends Peg Treadwell and her daughter Lindsay Rosenthal on the loss of their husband and father John Treadwell earlier this week at the age of 73. John wasn’t much of a runner, but was a helluva athlete. He was one of the last of the two-way players (center and linebacker) on the great UT football teams of the early 60s. A lifelong Austinite, Tread, who wore number 60 before Tommy Nobis immortalized it, was a veterinarian for 37 years and a tireless supporter of the academic and athletic exploits of his four daughters. The father-in-law of Austin HS football coach Mike Rosenthal, John suffered from dementia in the final years of his life. There will be a reception on Sunday, December 28th a at 1 at 2500 Hartley Drive to celebrate his life.

O Congrats to two friends who announced their engagements this week. Two of Gilberts Gazelles—Jesse Devlyn and Marina Popovich—are getting hitched in June. And former Longhorn distance runner Owen Washburn got engaged last Friday to Katie Colton. Washburn, who earned his masters at the LBJ School of Public Affairs while running as a postgrad for UT, is now a senior adviser at The Brookings Institute.

O Another new Texas marathon will sprout next fall. The South Padre Island Marathon and Half will be held on November 14th on a flat course which will start in Port Isabel and finish on the beach. For more info and/or to register, go to runspi.com.

O Paul and Meredith Terranova are an amazing couple. Paul, once a gifted triboy and road racer, is now a top-ranked ultramarathoner, while Meredith has always been one. To celebrate her 40th birthday, Meredith tackled the three day Ultraman World Champs on the Big Island of Hawaii a couple of weeks ago. To the uninitiated, the Ultraman consists of a 6.2-mile swim, 261 miles on the bike and capped off with a 52.4-mile run. Yasuko Miyazaki of Japan won the women’s division in 25:40:49, but Terranova placed fourth among the women in 29:09. Meredith’s strength is the run and in the double marathon she posted the second fastest run (8:09) among the women.

O A&M sprinter Deon Lendore was awarded the Bowerman Trophy on Wednesday night as the most outstanding male collegiate track & field athlete for the 2013-14 season. Lendore, who is from Trinidad and Tobago, was untouchable in the 400 meters, winning every race, including the indoor and outdoor NCAA titles. UT sprinter Courtney Okolo was a finalist for the women’s Bowerman which went to 800-meter runner Laura Roesler of Oregon.

O Craig Lutz of UT finished second last weekend in the indoor 5000 meters at the Hoosier Open in a time of 13:47.09. That time ranks second all time on the Longhorn indoor list and betters his outdoor PR of 14:00

O Heard Around the Lake is taking a two-week break before starting up in 2015.

O What I’m listening to this morning: “Taking the Long Way” by the Dixie Chicks. Still holding out hope the sisters get back together with Natalie Maines sometime soon.

Have any news for me? If you have something, send it along to wish@texasrunningpost.com.

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