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Going the Distance

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Just over 15 years ago, I was in Australia for work and had a little downtime so I went and saw the movie “Supersize Me,” about the guy that ate McDonalds for a month straight. All the Australians were laughing and whispering a lot of comments along the lines of, “Typical out of shape obese Americans.”

I chuckled and as I was walking out I caught a glimpse of myself in a window. Now I’ve never been obese, but I was definitely what I call “skinny fat.” You know, just kinda puffy… like a slightly over inflated bike tire.

Anyway, I bought a pair of shoes and started running that day. I hated it, then tolerated it, then loved it, then let it become part of my identity.

About 5 months in I wanted to set a ridiculous goal, so I decided I was going to run the distance of the equatorial circumference of the earth… 24,902 miles.

I hit that goal 3 months before the pandemic, and I did at least 20,000 miles of that goal on our beloved Butler Hike and Bike Trail.

I’m not sure I could have done it anywhere else. The Trail is part of who I am today. It’s been my therapist, my motivator, helped through rough times and help me celebrate the best times. Hell, the day my daughter was born my wife told me to go celebrate by taking the full loop… bless her little heart.

Although I don’t talk to people there, I’ve made silent relationships with people I have seen over the last 16 years.

We nod almost everyday and smile.

We listen to Woody sing songs by the train track at the turn, we say “On your left!” passing strollers.

We grumble and yell at people on scooters.

We see the Trail of Lights from afar and listen to ACL in the summer.

We get to see the kites stuck in the trees early in the morning the day after Kite Fest.

We get to see the fog, enjoy the rain, and every once in a while hear the sleet on the crushed gravel.

We get to jump in Barton Springs free if wake up early enough after our runs.

And we’ve had the joy of watching Austin grow up.

When people ask, “What do you love about Austin the most?,” Its not the BBQ, the music, the festivals etc… it’s our trail.

It’s the heart of this city, and there is nothing like it that brings Austin together.

I finished my goal about 10 feet past the stairs under the bridge on the way to Barking Springs. Probably one of the best days of my life.

Looking forward to turning around a running the other way around the globe.


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