Monday, March 8, 2010

The Texas Independence Day 5K Run(s)

One of my New Year's resolutions was to re-dedicate myself to my Texanthropological research on this here blog. Well, January snuck by me, so I figured I'd make it a Chinese New Year's resolution... but here we are in March and I'm now behind according to several different calendars. Luckily International Women's Day is here, aaaaand seeing as how I'm an international woman (?) I'd better seize the day!

Maybe you're wondering what's been up with Texas. Well, a lot has been up with Texas -- in fact, way too much to cover in one blog post. So I'll start with the most recent thing: Texas Independence Day.

I was especially excited for this year's Texas Independence Day, seeing as how I'd accidentally left the state and completely missed this high holy day last year. The day itself (March 2, a Tuesday) passed without much fanfare other than a few Davy Crockett quotes getting thrown around, including the favorite: "You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas." (Said in response to a lost re-election bid in his home state of Tennessee. Davy and his coonskin cap were two of the key players at the famous battle of the Alamo. Remember?)

Anyway, to celebrate the great state of Texas and its proud, coonskinny history, I signed up for the Texas Independence Day 5K run this past Saturday. I had been expecting a Texas-sized turnout for this event, so the scanty group of a couple hundred runners at the starting line was slightly disappointing. What was NOT disappointing was the several-stories-tall Texas flag that was hanging from a crane over the Congress bridge, where the race started. Also disappointment-free: the dude in period costume who shot an antique rifle to signal the start of the race, the several people wearing Texas flag running shorts and the surly, mustachioed bikers who served as the pacesetters for the runners.

If you were one of the first 50 finishers, you would receive the highly coveted prize of a super nerdy baseball cap featuring a historic Texas flag: retail value $10. Thinking I was just out for a leisurely, Texas-appreciation-filled, Saturday morning jaunt, I didn't think much of this wearable trophy. That is until the last, oh, 20 steps of the 5K.

Throughout the race, I'd been steadily tramping along, passing several people along the way. But I definitely hadn't, like, "trained" or anything ahead of time, so I didn't think I was in contention for any sweet, red, white and blue headgear. Plus, I had boldly stuffed my face full of sausage pizza and spicy pasta the night before, thinking to myself, "Carbo loading! Yay!" But come Saturday morning, mid-5K, there was no yay. There were only angry tummy rumbles so sinister that I was afraid to even relieve any pressure (if you know what I mean).

But thanks to high school cross country, I could not bear to ease up, no matter how angry that spicy sausage became. I could see the finish line! I was Forest Gump! I passed six or seven pairs of Texas flag running shorts as I kicked it in. But then with 20 or so steps to go, my tummy exploded into intestinal gunfire the likes of which the Alamo never experienced. I slowed up slightly, concentrating all my efforts on keeping my insides inside. Just as my pace went from all-out sprint to medium jog, a couple of runners overtook me. And as they crossed the finish line, I heard the race official on the other side yell out, "Forty-niiiiiiine, FIFTY!" Damn you, spicy sausage pizza pasta binge! If not for you I would be wearing an ill-fitting, poorly designed, man-ish baseball cap right this minute! And every day for the rest of my life.

But no. The only thing you get for being #51 is the bitter taste of broken dreams and the clinging stench of failure. Or maybe those things were because of an urgent, post-race appointment with the port-o-potty. Hard to say which.

Anyway... go Texas!

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