Trail of Lights 5K

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Bill and I joined 8,000 participants at the Trail of Lights 5K last Saturday, one evening before the Zilker Park light display opened to the general public. This year’s race crowd was larger than usual. We think that’s because the weather was warm (in the 60’s) and everyone was excited to have the Trail of Lights back after a two-year hiatus (due to lack of funding).

Turkey Trot: 2012

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I am now a Turkey Trotter. 

Bill usually runs in the Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot, but Thanksgiving Day logistics had deterred me from entering in previous years. But Thursday’s forecast sounded like perfect running weather (for me), and Bill and I were walking right past packet pick-up (at RunTex), and we knew that proceeds went to a good cause (Caritas of Austin)…and so we both signed up.

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Austin Race for the Cure: 2012

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The sun was shining down on this year’s Komen Race for the Cure, but all was not well in Pink Ribbon Land. Due to the recent uproar over the national organization’s off-and-on-again support for Planned Parenthood, Austin’s Komen Race attendance was down to just 15,000 this year. Donations were considerably lower as well. The walk still felt crowded but we did notice that there were fewer sponsor booths with less free giveaways.  

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Ready or Not…Here Comes F1

IMG_6614-001As I compose this entry tonight, Formula One race fans from around the world are descending on Austin. Downtown is starting to bustle. F1 teams have been sighted at downtown hotels. Tractor trailer loads of beer have been unloaded into the local bars. Wait staffs in downtown restaurants are hoping for big tips. Fancy expensive cars are out on display.

Keep Austin Weird 5K

Our fair city’s official slogan is “Live Music Capital of the World”, but many Austinites also support the unofficial slogan, “Keep Austin Weird”. Several thousand of the more active KAW supporters participated in this weekend’s Keep Austin Weird 5K.

Costumes were encouraged; the weirder, the better. Some runners painted their bodies. You can just imagine what that looked like after three-plus miles.

Bill and I like to run in the downtown 5Ks but we passed on this one. The temperature was still 100 degrees at the 7 PM race time. We were sweating while just standing still and  watching the runners go by.

Capital of Texas Triathlon: 2012

The Capital of Texas Triathlon took over downtown Austin on the morning of Memorial Day. Over 3,000 triathletes participated.

The swim portion was in Lady Bird Lake in front of Auditorium Shores. The bike route went over the First Street Bridge and along west Cesar Chavez and Congress Avenue. The running loop went across the Congress Avenue Bridge and along east Cesar Chavez. So if you were trying to drive through downtown on Monday morning, you were in big trouble.

Those pro triathletes still looked fresh even as they finished the Olympic distance: a 1.5K (.93 mile) swim, a 40K (25 mile) bike ride and a 10K (6.2 mile) run. Hunter Kemper and Andy Potts placed first and second for the men, in the opposite order of last year’s race. Sarah Haskins was the women’s winner.

For the first time, the CapTexTri was combined with the USA Paratriathlon National Championship. About 70 paratriathletes entered under different classifications such as Visually Impaired:Legally Blind, Severe Leg Impairment or Arm Impairment. The logistics for paratriathlons are interesting. For example, in the Paraplegic, Quadriplegic, Polio, Double Leg Amputee category, the athlete must use a long-seat handcycle for the bike section and a racing wheelchair for the run.

Vision-impaired/blind athletes are tethered to a guide for the swim and run routes. For the bike portion, the paratriathlete pedals on the back of a tandem bike with a guide pedaling and steering in front. 

The determination and tenacity of the paratriathletes is impressive. Anyone who can finish a triathlon is a winner, no matter what their time!

March for Babies: 2012

March for Babies is a fundraiser for the March of Dimes, supporting their mission to promote full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. Over 900 walks are held throughout the US each year. Yesterday’s Austin walk started at Auditorium Shores, then went across the First Street Bridge, over two blocks on Cesar Chavez, and up Congress Avenue, circling the Texas State Capitol Grounds before following the same path back to the starting line.

According to local TV station KVUE, nearly 7,000 participated in this year’s March for BabiesTexas grocer H-E-B probably had the largest contingent, but there were also many smaller groups walking in honor or memory of a family member. I walked with the Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin team.

Local band Will Taylor and Strings Attached played as the walkers returned to Auditorium Shores. Unlike the local 5K runs, most of the tents were reserved for specific teams so   after the walk ended, teams gathered around their own tents for food and beverages.

Bun Run: 2012

Bill and I agree that last weekend’s Bun Run is the best 5K in Austin. Here’s why:

Dry-fit short-sleeve shirts with a colorful logo, replacing those why-are-they-giving-us-long-sleeves-in-April ones from previous years.

A catchy and motivating slogan. Plus race proceeds benefit Austin Sunshine Camps.
A scenic and flat route right near our apartment.
Everyone is welcome to participate.
Free hot sauce from race sponsor Scholtzsky’s.
Free cupcakes from the Hey Cupcake! trailer. 

Free Carvel ice cream with sprinkles.