Writing and running in Austin, TX.
It’s late Wednesday night, and I just spent an hour and a half on a completely different and infinitely more frightening kind of writing. I wrote a toast for my best friend’s wedding.
Okay, so writing it wasn’t that scary, but the thought of actually reading it out loud to 100+ friends, former friends, and complete strangers is terrifying. First off, I have to sound like I’m not actually reading it. Secondly, I have to hope that I hit the right balance between funny and touching. Third, I have to hope my jokes don’t fall completely flat. And fourth, I have to hope her parents, aunts, uncles, etc. don’t judge me for that one joke…I mean, we did meet in college…alcohol was involved…
I’m also facing another–and admittedly far more selfish–fear about this trip. This is the first of two consecutive weekends of travel, which means the first of two consecutive weekends of long runs in strange cities all by myself. We’re looking at 14 miles in the safe but rural Charlottesville, VA, followed by 16 miles in the more urban, more mappable, and somewhat more frightening Washington, DC. (Yes, we’re flying back to Texas in between these trips. Yes, it sounds ridiculous. What, like you’ve never had to watch your vacation balance?)
My first brilliant thought for finding a 14-mile run in Charlottesville was to look up the Charlottesville marathon course and then run part of it. Unfortunately, that course appears to use some highway-esque roads that I imagine the Charlottesville PD aren’t going to shut down for my long run.
So then I decided to Google “Charlottesville running routes” and just “borrow” a route someone else had already figured out. Amazingly, I found one that was exactly 14 miles. Which I should have immediately realized was too good to be true, but of course I didn’t realize that until I had printed out the map and hand-written about 15 lines of “Left on Main, Right on 5th…”
It appears I’ll be running across some rather industrial-looking parking lots. And also swinging through trees near the river. I know Charlottesville has one of the lowest homicide rates in the nation, but I still might run this route by the bride to double-check how sketchy that forest is. In my opinion, this is not being paranoid. It’s being considerate. After all, I can’t leave my friend with a lop-sided number of attendants.
And now I must rush off and finish packing. Still up for debate: iPod, or no iPod? If I don’t bring it, I have 14 miles alone with my thoughts (which may or may not be how madness starts). If I do bring it, I have 14 miles of constantly trying to push those stupid useless little white ear buds that don’t actually fit in anyone’s ears back into place. (I’m convinced this act adds at least 30 seconds to my pace. If not 45. Because there’s no possible way I’m just lazier when I run alone…)
I hope to have time between trips to write a more thought-out post. And I also hope that post will revolve around my greatly successful 14-mile solo effort through a strange and distant land. Or upper-middle-class Virginia, as the case may be.