Ryan and I had been talking about running the Nike Human Race 10K in Austin, but I hadn't been with it enough to sign up. I ended up asking my brother, Tim, the day before if he could go pick up our packets. And (doh!) sign us up because online registration was closed. He and my mom did some detective work to get our info (birthdates, etc.) and got us signed up.
At about noon we drove to Austin. On the way there we passed about 20 empty charter busses going east, we assumed to help with evacuations. We made it in time to have a nice chat with Tim & Julie while Stella was napping. And then she woke up and was very pleased to see us. My mom came over and Tim, Mom, Ryan, and I went to catch the bus downtown. I started getting more and more excited as we got closer and saw more and more people in (nearly) identical red shirts.
Mom and I ran together and we talked and I helped her with a longer race than she's used to. She runs 5Ks and hikes and all that. I did force her to drink a few cups of Gatorade to help with hydration and to get a few calories in her. I was just hot. I'm used to running, or at least starting to run before dawn and this run started at 6:30PM. And the hills. Oh, my, the hills. They just kept going and then you'd get to the top and turn a corner and there's be another one. We ran a few and walked a few, but we kept passing people. We were feeling pretty well and ran the last 1.5 miles a little faster than we'd run before, which is always a good sign. At the end, you turn and you could see the finish line and behind that the Capitol building lit up. Very cool. I was very, very proud of us.
4156 in women in Austin
8837 in Austin
203,084 in the world
None of these are spectularly good, but who cares. I had a great time. And how cool to be a part of a worldwide multi-city event? Oh, and we were running for charity, too.
Getting a bus back to my brother's house was a bit of an adventure. Traffic was diverted because of the street closures, so it was unclear where we needed to be to catch the bus we wanted. My innards had decided to revolt and I was trying not to barf (or worse) in the street and Ryan checked the other corner to see if he could find a bus or a cab. Or maybe a cheeseburger since we hadn't eaten since about 1PM and it was 9 and we had all run 6+ miles. My heart rate monitor said I burned almost 1,000 calories. So, we were glad to get the bus back, change into dry clothes and get on the road. After we got some cheeseburgers, we magically felt human again.
We were alert enough to drive home even though it was late. The last half of the trip home is along I-10 and we passed convoys of charter busses, with police escort. 30 busses in each, except for 1 with 60. A total of 240 that we saw. And imagine how many had already passed. We didn't know what to say. Here in Houston, we know a certain amount about hurricanes and evacuation. We know about what happened in 2005 during Katrina and Rita. And we know people who left Louisiana, New Orleans, specifically, in 2005 and haven't gone back. I couldn't help thinking about the people on those busses. I was glad they were getting out of harm's way, but how hard must that be to get onto a bus with your family and a suitcase and hope that you'd have something to come home to.
So, thinking and praying for everyone along the Gulf Coast right now.