This morning on my run I actually saw a thin veneer of ice extending from the shore on one of the ponds I passed. Not quite enough for ice skating, but we’re talking cold here in the ATX. It’s been so frigid lately that I’ve had to resort to wearing the only two warm jackets I own: My high school and college letter jackets. Even after all these many years, they are still the comfiest, toastiest jackets in my closet.
Neither one of my jackets is even the least bit frayed. Neither am I.
Only reason I bring this up is they both still fit me like a glove. I’m not bragging about being in such super shape (I’m not) that my old jackets still fit. My point is that I typify most 50+ runners around here.
Points of reference: I graduated high school when LBJ was still in the White House. I lettered in baseball and cross-country as a freshman so my high-school jacket is closing in on 50 years.
Even so, pulling on one of my letter jackets doesn’t exactly flood me with athletic memories as much as remind me how, even after all these yrs, I haven’t changed all that much. At least not physically.
My jackets are the only article of anything I have had for so long and it probably says something about me. I might be balding beneath my baseball hat—OK, I’m bald—but I weigh about the same that I did in high school and college.
I’ll bet you do too. You might even be lighter now than you were way back when.
Nearly all my friends are runners and we all look and act nothing like our chronological age. Most of my running friends never ran in high school and the few who did, like me, weren’t especially good. But many of us are even fitter now than in high school and college.
The irony is I have so many friends, who were national-class runners 20-30 years ago, and today, most are hardly recognizable. The moment they quit competing, they quit running. (Dick Beardlsey is a notable exception.) Judging by Facebook posts from some of them–guys who had a body fat of less than five percent in their heyday—have mostly all gone to seed. And none of them could even attempt button their high-school or college jackets over their bellies.
They may have won all the races back in the ’70s and ’80s, but we’re winning the race now.
O The triathlon and running community has been rocked by the awful news over the Christmas holidays that Austin’s Amy Marsh—a long-time pro triathlete and coach—has been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) which is a cancer of bone marrow and blood. Amy is currently in Seton Medical Center receiving chemotherapy and finished her first round on New Year’s Eve. An account has been set up at The Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas (4300 N. Lamar) so folks can donate blood on her behalf. Blood type doesn’t matter. Amy will still get credit for it—and she’ll need it. Her husband and fellow coach and pro triguy Brandon Marsh said: “It is a less of question of will she need platelets and a transfusion and more a question of when she will need them.”
O The weather for the Rogue Distance Festival on Sunday in Cedar Park looks icy. The forecast has shifted to a strong possibility of freezing rain/ice/sleet as temps on Sunday morning will hover around freezing. As of this morning, the races are still on, but before you head up to Cedar Park on Sunday, check the Rogue page on Facebook, beginning at 4:30 a.m. for any announcement of postponement or cancellation.
O A small section of the Butler/Lady Bird Lake Trail near the Holly Power Plant (which is still being dissembled) has been closed and will probably remain closed for a few more days between 7:30-4 p.m. as work continues on electrical wires in that area. The closed trail section is right next to the power plant and there are signs and barricades warning runners and cyclists. Work is supposed to be completed by tomorrow, but it’s still closed and it’s unclear whether it will reopen for the weekend.
O Kristen Findley and Mia Behm of Rogue Elite have arrived in Scotland where they will both represent the United States on Saturday in the Bupa Great Edinburgh International Cross-Country Race. Jody Hawkins, who coaches at Northwood University in the Metroplex, is a member of the US team staff. The race will be streamed live on Saturday (January 10) at 7 a.m. (Austin time) on USATF.tv. To connect, go to USATF.com and go to the link to the live webcast.
O Last weekend in New Braunfels the River Road Half Marathon was won by Jacob Buhler of San Antonio in 1:12:39. Emily Wilson of New Braunfels won the women’s division (and was fourth overall) in 1:25:50. Buhler, an Army dentist at Fort Sam Houston, won the San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon last month and will run in the 3M Half Marathon in Austin in two weeks. Another notable making his road-race debut at 3M will be former UT stud Will Nation.
O Huge congrats to Kelly and Ashish Patel on the birth of their son Kai on Sunday. Also belated best wishes to my friend and chiro Kyler Brown and his wife Kelly on the birth of their son Edgar Benjamin Brown on December 22nd the day after Kyler’s birthday. Final congrats to my buddies Vance Taylor and Paul Williams on the birth of their granddaughter Caroline Grace Taylor on New Year’s Eve. Vance’s son Scott and Paul’s daughter Lindsey Williams Taylor are married and live up in the Metroplex.
O John Conley of Conley Sports announced this week that his Run Austin Project will start a new race series this winter-spring. He’s calling it the 5-K Spring Series and it will link up three smallish 5-K’s: The Paramount Break-a-Leg 5-K on February 15th (held in conjunction with the Austin Marathon), the ACC Fairway 5-K (held on Riverside Golf Course, right next to ACC) on March 1st and the 8th annual St. James Missions 5-K on March 28. Other than each race’s entry fee, there isn’t any additional cost to enter the series and everyone who finishes all three races will get a special shirt. But there won’t be any series standings or series awards. Conley Sports will cross-promote these races and Conley is undoubtedly hoping to rekindle interest in spring 5-K’s. We used to have a spring series of mainly 5-K’s, but all those races (Chuy’s and the Bun Run were the main ones) have either disappeared or moved venues and race dates. These three 5-K’s that will make up the Spring Series won’t replace them in importance, but it’s a start. For more info and/or to register for the Spring Series, go to www.run-austin.com.
O The US Half Marathon Championships are next week down in Houston (as part of the Aramco Houston Half) and several locals will be running. David Fuentes will be leading the local delegation which will include Decker winner Collin Smith and Jared Carson. Kiya Dandena of Houston, who races here occasionally, will run as will former Vista Ridge stud Zac Ornelas. Scott MacPherson is also running. Among the women, Rogue’s Allie Mendez, Juliane Masciana and Sarah Pease are running as well as trigal Kelly Williamson, Jennifer Bergman (her parents live here and she’s a part-time resident), Andrea Duke of Schertz and Lauren Smith of Lake Jackson. Duke, MacPherson, Bergman, Mendez and Fuentes already have their ’16 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifiers.
O In the pre-season track rankings, the UT men and women’s team are both ranked in the top 10. According to the rankings, the UT women are ranked fifth in the country; the men are eighth. UT shot and discus thrower Ryan Crouser has already been named to the pre-season watch list for The Bowerman (track’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy). Other Texas schools on the list include Texas A&M (men’s 4th, women’s 2nd), Texas Tech (men’s 9th, women’s 17th), Houston (men’s 18th), and TCU (men’s 25th)
O What I’m listening to this morning: “Hills and Valleys”, by The Flatlanders. Love this ’09 recording by Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock and Joe Ely.
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