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Hothouse Flowers

Recommended listening while reading this post:

We ran eight miles today. It was hard, but not horrible, so… yay!

We started with a 2-mile out-and-back on the Barton Creek Greenbelt, then ran through Zilker to do the 3-mile loop around the lake. The greenbelt was challenging: lots of scampering over rocks and crossing our fingers that we were following the correct leg of the trail. You can see our path here.

I was pretty unreasonable a few times: frustrated that I didn’t know which way to go; anxious about needing to complete eight miles to stay on our training schedule. I generally try not to be a whiner, but as Dave pointed out, not whining makes my “scared” voice sound a lot like my “angry” voice, so we had some tense moments that were 100% my fault. Damn. (I’m sorry, honey.) But running in the woods was more fun than not, and I’m glad we tried it. Next time, I will be braver and not a bitch at each fork in the trail.

Back at the car (and our halfway mark), I ate a Powerbar gel — tastes like chocolate frosting! — and drank some water and a little Rehydrate. Taking in the sugar was like putting a flower in water; I perked right up. My energy and mood was a little crazy during the last two miles of the hike & bike trail, but just about the time I really, really, really wanted to be done, I hit the Zilker park train tracks and was almost at the finish line. The song “Thing of Beauty” by Hothouse Flowers played on my iPod, and I kept turning my feet over (and over and over) ’til I hit the very end of the trail.

As we’ve already established, I’m a cryer. And I have a conditioned response to the song “Thing of Beauty.” I immediately get tears in my eyes and feel a surge in mood and energy that makes me know I can finish whatever it is I’m trying to tackle. Back in 1997, when Dave and I rode in the California AIDS Ride, “Thing of Beauty” was the theme song for the recruiting video we watched at our first “maybe we should do this crazy thing” meeting. So now it’s impossible to separate the lyrics and music from images of the video and our experiences on the Ride… “a thing of beauty is not a thing to ignore.”

A few years later, when I was driving to the Wildflower Half Ironman Triathlon — scared out of my wits — Dave cranked up a playlist that included “Thing of Beauty.” And now, like magic, whenever I need a boost, it seems my iPod ponies it up for me.

So even though my right hamstring was kinda twitching, and I had a stitch in my side, and there was annoying gravel in my shoes, and my long sleeves were bugging me with the way they kept sliding down to my wrists when I clearly indicated I wanted them UP by shoving them to my elbows, the last five minutes of my run were kind of awesome… “There is so much to breathe, see, know, understand, and do”… I cried, I smiled, I panted. And then, blessedly, I was done.

Eight miles.

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