Cold Feet

Sunday was the Houston Half Marathon.

It’s the first of three parts of the warm-up series for the Chevron Houston Marathon.

I’ve completed this race 3 times, all of which were a little on the chilly side (I am a Texan, after all, so anything below 70 warrants a coat, gloves, ski hat and bourbon).

But Sunday, it was chilly AND rainy.

You’ll see how chilly it is in every single one of my photos from the race (a bit nippy, you might say).

Let’s rewind to Saturday night.

I drove from Dallas to Houston, and met with Amy (she and her fiancé invited me to stay at their house, since mine is currently devoid of all furniture) at Escalante’s for a late lunch, where we proceeded to devour 3 baskets of chips and guac, along with their incredible chicken tortilla soup. We tooted around Highland Village and did some last minute wedding shopping (for her), and then headed to her house to watch the Texas Tech game (which was a really stressful, yet fun, game to watch). After the game, we moseyed up to Central Market to get some pre-race food.

Now, on almost every single day of the year (with the exclusion of my birthday), I am the easiest person when it comes to food. As long as it’s high quality, I will eat everything (except pudding). The only other time I’m picky with my food, is the night before a race.

The night before, I MUST, no matter what, eat a turkey sandwich. And it can’t be made at home. I have to go somewhere, have it prepared by someone else, pick out the perfect side item and dessert, and then feast. When I ran the Seattle Half Marathon this summer with Megan, we spent the entire week leading up to the race, googling places to get me the right turkey sandwich (in case you’re wondering, we ended up at Honey Hole, which was mindblowingly good, and also where everyone in the gayborhood thought we were taking engagement photos with each other [but that’s another story, for another day]).

We arrive at Central Market, I pick out just the right Bosc Pear (race day breakfast), grab a bottle of water, and have them make my ultimate turkey sandwich. We chomp on our glorious manna from heaven and make our way back to the house.  Our film du jour was “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” (it’s harder than you think, y’all), and Amy and yours truly both promptly passed out snuggled up on the couch. I woke up around 11:30 pm, went to my room, stripped down and conked out again.

At 1 am, I woke up. Wide awake. I was ready to run. Obviously it wasn’t time, so I caught up on emails, admired people’s photos of clever Halloween costumes, and judged the images of the various characters that girls somehow turned skanky (unless you’re between the ages of 19-22, put on some damn clothes. No one wants to see your 40 year old ba donk a donk hanging out of your skirt. F’realz.). But I just couldn’t fall back asleep (if you know me IRL, you know that I only sleep 2-4 hours a night, every night).

Finally at 5 am, I got up, put on my scarlet and black (Wreck ‘Em!), ate my pear and drove downtown to the starting line. I parked three blocks from the finish, and made my way over to meet my friend Ashley that had graciously picked up my race bib, since I wasn’t able to.

As I was walking, I felt some rain sprinkling on my shoulders. I didn’t know it was supposed to rain, and had not planned accordingly. After searching through multiple trashcans trying to find an extra trash bag, I finally found a man at the food tent who had a bag I could have. Except there was trash in it. Gah-ross. I made the executive decision to take my chances with that bag. I dumped out the empty water bottles and banana peels from the bag and went to wait under the results tent for Ashley.

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This look is called Trash Bag Chic. I was soooooo certain this would garner me a gentleman caller, but no such luck.

No sooner than I step under the tent, does it start to rain. Torrential downpour. Suddenly there are 80 of my new closest friends huddled next to me, shivering. Within minutes, we’re stranded in 2 inches of standing water in the grass, which has since turned to thick, goopy, sticky mud. We hear the race directors saying something over the intercom, but the thunder was so loud that we couldn’t hear him.

Naturally, I took to twitter. The fingers that be had tweeted that the race has been delayed an hour. I also find out that a handful of people I know are in the tent directly adjacent to me, but far enough away that I’m gonna get wet. I carefully make my way over to the Chevron Houston Marathon tent (almost face planting it, in the process). Everyone there is just as wet, and cold. A man comes by with extra trash bags, so they all make rain coats (if you’re a novice runner, a trash bag is better than a rain jacket in some cases when it’s raining, because you can just toss it and don’t have to hang onto a jacket once the rain stops, or if you get hot). We’re still all standing with wet feet in the mud.

We wait for about 30 minutes with lightening, thunder and some serious showers pelting down all around us. By this point it was quite a gaggle of gals- some ladies from the Chevron Houston Marathon Committee, Vicky (wrangler of the ambassadors), Kristin (my sorority sister and friend), and a bunch of other strangers are all squished together, when they announce to take our place at the starting line.

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Dirty paws.  Not just a song.

I was soaked to the bone. And shivering. And there was a 83.96% chance that my feet were no longer attached to my body, because I couldn’t feel them (which is a scary thing when you’re about to run 13.1 miles).

I had a serious case of cold feet.

We meander over to the starting line, and I get my iPhone ready to play my music.

I hit play.

NOTHING.

I look at Kristin, panicked.

MY $#!?&*@ MUSIC WON’T WORK.

She looks at me calmly and says:

I just lost a tooth.

And swallowed it.

Things were going from bad, to worse.

And then the gun went off.

So we did what any normal humans would do. We ran.

I continued to mess with my music, but all I got was silence.

Irritated, I left the device alone and started to fidget with the bag I had placed on my head for warmth. Besides looking good, I clearly possessed the most aerodynamic makeshift hat of any homeless person running the streets of Houston. It was driving me bonkers, but I couldn’t risk getting colder, so I finally just left it alone. And went back to figuring out why my music wouldn’t play.

The first three miles felt surprisingly good. I wasn’t ready to shed my fierce outfit made by Gladso I kept on trucking through the cats and dogs.

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Sexy times with Kristin and our ensembles.

I saw Vicky (ambassador wrangler extraordinaire) a little bit ahead of me, so I unhitched the trailer, and tried to keep pace with her.  We chatted briefly (said hello to Nick as he whizzed past), and then put our heads down to pound the pavement in the relentless rain.

Suddenly, mid-step, my music came blaring on! Never in my life have I been so happy to hear Petey Pablo. I kinda freek-a-leeked out, I was so excited.

Around mile 5, I started to finally feel warm again (hallelujah!), and just happened to spot two cute guys in Ironman shirts, so I sprinted ahead of them and proceeded to rip my trash bag off as provocatively as possible in the middle of Memorial Drive. . .in a thunderstorm.

And my friends wonder why I’m single.

Those men must have liked what they saw (that was hard to write without laughing), because they joined me as we trotted past the halfway point.  We flirted and were discussing other races and what not, when a man tapped me on the shoulder.

I looked at him and had never seen him before in my life.

Stranger: I would really like to meet your brother. He sounds like a really neat man.

ANB: [blank stare] 

Stranger: You’re Avery, right?

ANB: Yes, but I’m a little confused, have we met. . .I don’t recall-

Stranger: I read your blog. About the marathon.

HOLY HECK. Someone besides my mother has read my website (in truth, I don’t even think my own brother reads this verbose blather). I wanted to hug the man, but tried to play it cool.

ANB: Oh wow, I’ll have to tell him he has a fan. 

And then the Stranger ran past me. (also Stranger, if you’re reading this, thanks for reading!)

I turned back to the two dudes. They weren’t impressed with my badass fan. Whatever, I didn’t like them anyway. Jerks.

We turned back towards downtown at the 610 loop, and I had to make a potty break (good job Houston Half for having ample port-o-potties), so the two guys carried on without me.

As I kept on trucking in the rain, I started to feel defeated (I wasn’t even that tired) and began mentally beating myself up for not training. And I started to walk. And walk. And walk. For no reason. My lungs weren’t tired. I had no cramps. I just felt like walking.

I walked miles 8, 9, and 10. And not a power walk, but a lazy stroll.

And then something happened. I feel another tap on my shoulder.

It’s a lady I met at the Lucky Trail Marathon Challenge a few years ago and have run several races with her since. Her name is Theresa and every time I see her she brightens my day. She is such a genuine and lovely person, it’s hard not to be happy when you’re around her. Y’all she had her 14th wedding anniversary this week, and equally as impressive, Sunday’s race was her 50th (FIFTIETH!) half marathon (which, she PR’d!). Talk about someone to admire. She gave me some words of encouragement (she reads my blog too! I mean, that makes me a Houston celebrity now, right?), and I ran with her for the next two miles or so. 

She picked up her pace, and I wasn’t about to keep up with her, so I jogged my way into the finish line a few minutes behind her. I don’t really care about times (because, I finished! I didn’t poop my pants!), but I did okay at 2:19:20, considering my training consisted of drinking margaritas and shoveling queso into my mouth. I also didn’t feel so bad about my pace, when I took my shoes off (first time to race in them), and discovered I had identical hives covering both feet (I later found out my shoes have latex in them, which I’m allergic to [and one of three reasons that I’m the perfect woman, but this isn’t the time or place for that list]). So when it was all said and done, I was happy. And happy to have another medal to add to the growing collection.

Like I have said a million times, I’m sooooooo NOT a runner, and sometimes, I really don’t even like to run (see mile 8, 9, 10). But even with cold wet feet, matted hair, and freezing my patookus off, this race reminded me why I still run.

It’s the community.  Seeing people that are encouraging, happy and full of energy (even after 13.1 miles) brings me so much joy. Week after week, it’s the same smiling faces pounding the pavement.

Maybe running 13.1, 26.2 or even 50 miles doesn’t interest you.

I get that. Believe me, I get it.

But don’t have cold feet. Go give a 5k a shot. You might just make some new friends.

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See how happy Frida Kahlo I look. Even though it was freeeezzzzzinnngggg.

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That Word

That word.

You know which one I’m talking about.

You probably hear or say it hundreds of times a week.

That word is my least favorite word in the American vernacular.

Worse than floppy.

More disgusting than moist.

Even more vomit inducing than pudding.

BUSY.

*chills*

If you’re like me, you have that conversation (mine’s usually at Whole Foods or running in the park) on a daily basis:

MeHey sexy gentleman who doesn’t have a brain cell to spare, that I haven’t seen in months (since I stopped returning your phone calls). How’s it going?

HimOh, the usual. Just busy. Busy with work.

I despise that conversation. In fact, in the past few years, I’ve made it a point to not use that term. Mostly because I believe that people prioritize what is important, and if you’re “too busy” to do something, it’s usually because that thing/person/event/plan is pretty stinkin’ low on your life’s totem pole. I get that it’s easier to say that word because it’s less taxing than explaining what you’ve actually been up to. But that word is just not authentic.

All of that was to say, is that I’ve been penciling -in marking things in sharpie on my calendar a little differently the past few weeks.

I sat at the hospital almost the entire day with a family member.                                Because it was important and essential.

Mexican food and guys night before the big move went ahead of a personal training sesh. Those friends are my heart and soul funny-bone.

Tailgating and watching football replaced my movers coming.                                    Moving could be pushed back and it’s not every day your team is the best in Texas.

A paltry two dates in two weeks.                                                                                 Karaoke with girlfriends trumps a lousy first date anyway.

The list could go on and on and on (which is probably how most of you feel when reading my silly little website).

There are more than enough hours in the day to go for a run or cross train. I’ve been choosing not to. Which will be interesting when I run the Houston Half this Sunday (I’ll be surprised if I even make it to mile 9 before the walking commences).

I’m making a concerted effort with my brother over the next 3 weeks (since I’m running the Dallas Marathon in a month, YIKES, 26.2!) to try and run/workout at least three times a week. Feel free to hold me accountable, interwebs.

Because let’s get real, I’m not too. . .that word.

Barefoot in the park

The most common question people ask me when I’m running around town (both for exercise and errands) is “how do you like your shoes?”.

My response is always “I LOVE them!”

For the past 5 years I have been wearing Vibram Five fingers, which I’ve heard called everything from “frog feet” to “alien shoes”. While I don’t think these are for everyone, they are literally the only thing I can put on my feet that makes my entire body feel phenomenal (even if they are absolutely hideous).

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Running my first Chevron Houston Marathon in my Vibrams.

I was first introduced to these by the brother of my boyfriend (TOTGA), who wore them when we hiked the Jewel Basin (which nearly killed me because I was such a sloth). Fascinated by the ideas behind this heinous footwear, I returned home and promptly purchased a pair off their website.

A few weeks later was the first time I wore them. I made the mistake of doing the Great Urban Race (which ended up being about 8 miles traversing across the Bayou City) in a new pair of shoes. Rookie move, Burns.

I should have properly worn them walking around and built up to running in them. Instead, I felt like an evil kitten had ripped my calves to shreds and placed sandbags where the muscles had previously resided. For two solid months.

Shortly after that fiasco, I started doing short 1 mile runs in them, completely pain free. I was hooked.

I went from being less active than Jessica Simpson during a pregnancy, to running a marathon in about 7 months. These shoes changed my life.

Fast forward to 2011 and I see a man running along the bayou, completely barefoot. Intrigued, I nearly killed myself chasing him down. When I finally caught him (Andrew Blaquerie was his name, I believe), I inquired about his bare feet.  He happily explained that he transitioned from Vibrams to going completely barefoot in a matter of weeks. Skeptical, I asked to see the bottom of his feet. They were surprisingly normal looking.

When I arrived home, I researched and found a book on barefoot running and not being patient enough to wait for the mailman, went to Whole Earth Provisions, and bought (and read) it that day.

feet, yo.

These are my feet. I hope there is never a day I regret posting this on the internet (I’m looking at you creepy foot fetish people).

A few days later, I got up the nerve to try running in Hermann Park. . .naked.

Foot naked. I said foot naked, right?

The doorman at my building thought I had lost my damn mind when I walked out dressed for a run without shoes on. He warned me of the danger my precious tooties would encounter in the park. He regaled me with tales of glass, sticks and stones. And worst of all, steaming dog dookie. Deep in my heart, I knew he was right, but being stubborn, I needed to learn for myself.

Do you know what happened?

The doorman was wrong.

*side note: every time I write “doorman” I think of this scene from “Knocked Up” and it cracks me up.*

I ran 3 miles around Hermann and LOVED IT. I felt. . .

Joyful.

Childlike.

FREE.

Did my feet feel a little tender and sore? Of course.

Did people look at me like I was a vagrant (in expensive running clothes)? Duh.

Did I do it again? Absolutely.

Since that day, I  have alternated between shoes and no shoes.  I typically like to run on concrete paths barefoot (it’s easier to see potential danger) and when it’s below 95 degrees (above that it burns my foot pads). I’ve also never run more than 8 miles barefoot, although I’d like to one day run a marathon sans shoes.  If it’s a trail run, or somewhere I am not familiar with, I will 100% wear my running shoes. Y’all would never hear the end of it if I got a stick lodged into my one of my giant paws.

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Running on air. Reason 340298433 I love my shoes.

As I’ve said a million times, I’m not a runner, or an expert on feet (is that even a real thing?), but have found these two (somewhat unconventional) things to work for me.

Do any of y’all have shoes (or feet) that you absolutely love?

Thunder Thighs

On Monday night we had a meeting of the minds (or maybe it was a meeting of the feet) for the ambassadors of the Chevron Houston Marathon and the Aramco Half Marathon.

I was really pumped to meet the other people deemed worthy of representing my favorite race, in my favorite city in the entire world. After being seated and chomping on California Pizza Kitchen, we started chatting and getting to know each other a little better. They really picked a phenomenal cast of characters:

First up was Glauco, who I knew in passing from Brian O’Neil’s Running Club (which I’ve been going to for the past 3 years- it’s a running club with beer, what’s not to like?). He’s such a charming gentleman and a seasoned runner.  Post meeting he shared some hilarious race stories and gave me my new favorite phrase: “What doesn’t kill you makes for a great story.”

Then there was Shirin. Can you say gregarious and an absolute hoot? This gal is a super fit (her arms were incredible, so jealous!) and she was going running post meeting (that blew my mind). She’s running the Marine Marathon in a few weeks and I could tell that girlfriend means business.

To my left was Rebecca, in the middle of training for Ironman Texas. That’s 140.6 miles. REPEAT. 140.6 miles. Chew on that.

Next was Kelli, who runs six days a week (SIX!). And is working on qualifying for Boston. She’s also running the OKC marathon this weekend and then getting married. She was so laid back and calm, you would never have known her plate was so full.

Finally there was Heather, who I know through my favorite person to run races with (Trisha). I might know Heather a little better (we’ve run a ton of the same races together), except for she might be the fastest person I know IRL. So there is like zero possibility we would ever chat during a run. She is such a doll, and an incredible runner. I remember during the Lucky Trail Challenge (you run a half marathon on Saturday, celebrate St. Patty’s day and then run a full marathon on Sunday) a few years ago, we would see her whizzing past us since the trail was multiple loops. And she was at the finish line cheering for us as we finished what felt like hours later.  She’s also run the Comrades Marathon at least TWICE, which is easily the most badass thing I’ve ever heard.

It was a great brainstorming meeting and a true pleasure learning more about everyone. And Vicky with the Chevron Houston Marathon was so darling and patient with our incessant questioning. It was lovely as far as meetings go.

But I walked out of that meeting feeling like a lazy fat ass (at best). And horribly INADEQUATE.

I almost died when I did the half Ironman last year (like literally almost died). And if I run once a week, I consider it a productive week. My only goal when I start a race is “finish and don’t poop my pants“. Seriously.

I actually hung around after the meeting because I was deeply considering telling Vicky that I probably wasn’t a good person to represent the Chevron Houston Marathon. These people are athletes. And runners. And serious. And fit.

I’m just an uncoordinated and goofy blonde that likes medals and wearing tight running pants.

(And to be perfectly candid, flirting with hot shirtless guys at the beer tent)

I stayed up ALL night thinking and writing about how I felt (this is probably the 8th version of this post). And I finally came to this conclusion:

Not everyone that is running the Chevron Houston Marathon is a perfect athletic specimen.

There might even be some other non-runners who struggle to find time to train (because, really and truly going on a date is wayyyy more fun than running 17 miles alone).

And maybe, just maybe, there is at least one other person training for this race that is more proud that they ate 4 cupcakes after lunch and didn’t barf, than of their best 10k time.

And if that ONE person that could maybe relate does exist, then I’m going to keep plugging along both here and on the pavement. If my thunder thighs can make it 26.2 miles (no matter how long it takes), then so can yours. 

A Beginners Guide to Running a Marathon

Can I tell you a secret, interwebs?

I am 100% NOT a runner.

Ask my dear friend Amy. She always laughs when people ask me about running, or think I’m this great runner, because she KNOWS that I’m not. I am huffing and puffing on our 6 mile walks around Rice every day. And training? Well that’s a funny topic. I don’t follow a training schedule, because it just doesn’t fit with my hectic lifestyle (i.e., I’d rather go on a date with the cute guy I met at the doctors office than go for a run). Somewhere all the real runners are judging me, and I’m a-okay with that (and the Chevron Houston Marathon is probably wishing they hadn’t picked me to be an ambassador).

Let me tell you a little story before I give my 10 tips on how to start training for your FIRST marathon (if you don’t want to read my little story, just use the scrolly button on the right side of your screen).

Back when I first moved to Houston, I had never run more than a mile (except maybe when forced back in high school). I started dating this guy who my friends and I commonly refer to as “TOTGA” (the one that got away). I was head over heels for this guy because he was the kindest and most brilliant person I had ever met. To this day, I can only find one flaw with him- HE LIKED TO EXERCISE (what a jerk, right?).

At that time in my life, I still had great metabolism and superb muscle tone, so I didn’t really need to exercise. But TOTGA was a former collegiate athlete. And he enjoyed doing activities that made you sweat (read into that what you want. . .except you, Mom).

One blistering hot afternoon, in the middle of a Houston summer, he suggested we take Sadie Burns  to go run around Rice. Wanting to do something that made him happy, I obliged. I could not tell you the last time I had run before that day, but it became apparent after about a quarter of a mile that I was DYING. Even Sadie Burns was out running me. I was panting. And sweating. And I ended up walking almost the entire 3 mile loop. I was beyond mortified. Here I was, this cute little (and immature) 23 year old, and my 32 year old boyfriend out ran me. My copout solution was to never run with him again, and when he suggested it, I would ride my bike along side him as he ran. Maybe that’s why he really was TOTGA.

Fast-forward to a few years later. I finally found the right shoes that didn’t make my back, or neck, or feet hurt. I signed up for the Blue-Bell 10k with some girlfriends and my boyfriend (like 3 boyfriends after TOTGA). Truth be told, the only reason I signed up for the Blue-Bell 10k was because I was PROMISED unlimited ice-cream post race (it’s totally true). I ran that 10k and didn’t stop running (except up hills, because I don’t do hills) the entire race.

My heart felt like it was going to explode.

My lungs were on the verge of collapsing.

My feet hurt like a bitch.

Then, I was finished. And I ate 3 ice cream sandwiches and 2 popsicles. It was glorious.

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This was my boyfriend. Just kidding, this is Jim and we ran together because we both had an affinity for Texas flag shorts. Note the popsicle. And my sheer happiness.

And that’s how I got hooked on running (I ran my first marathon roughly 7 months later). I just needed the right motivation (and for me, it was, and always will be, FOOD).

And now I present to you my 10 tips to training for your first marathon:

1. Find the right shoes. I have worn Vibrams or run completely barefoot for almost 5 years, but those don’t work for everyone. They don’t have to be expensive shoes, but they do need to fit your foot. There are so many specialty running shoe stores now that can help you find what works for you.

2. Set a goal. I’ve been running for a while now, and I still have days where my ONLY goal is to run the entire way through a song on my playlist without walking. My goals change every day. Sometimes I start with a goal to run 2 miles without walking, and it’s a “good running day”, and I end up running 12 miles because it feels right. And there are days where I suck wind, my feet hurt, and I tell myself it’s my last run ever. But whatever my goal is, I try to stick to it.

3. Get a running buddy, or join a running club. I walk every week day with Amy, but I run a couple of times a week with my friend Megan and virtually plan runs with my brother Preston. Megan and I are at a similar pace, and it helps to have someone to push you. We always pick a point in our run where we race each other to get our hearts really pumping, which I love.

4. SIGN UP FOR A RACE. I don’t exactly “train” for races , but I sign up for a boatload of races so that there is always something on the horizon. When my pocketbook is directly tied to something, you can bet that I’m going to get up and get the most bang for my buck.

5. Make a playlist you LOVE.  It helps me keep a good pace, and “get in the zone”. Some races don’t allow music, so make sure to check before putting your headphones on.

6. Figure out at what distances you might need “fuel”. I try to run always run with a snack (I like slices of apple or Kind Bars) in case I feel faint or get “hunger pains” in my back. My deal is that I get terribly sick (think runners trots) and crampy if I eat/drink more than 100 calories per hour, but do what works for you.

7. Find your second wind. Let’s get real y’all. I thought the second wind was just a myth. Or something my boyfriend would do after dinner. But it’s real. I can’t tell you how to find it, except to push through the pain until you start to feel awesome.

8. Get supporters. My friends are so sick of me asking them to come to my races, but do you know what? Sometimes the only thing that keeps me from calling a cab mid-run (which I’ve done before), is knowing that my friends are waiting on me at the finish line so we can all go have brunch. And pick them up. That way they can sleep in the car, and you can guarantee they’ll be there.

9. Walk the water stations in a race. It gives you mini-milestones to look forward to. I typically pick out the hottest guy at a water station, take my hat off, and pour water all over my body. I’d like to think I look sexy, but I’ve been told I just look like a moron. Whatever makes you happy, I guess.

10. Find your motivation. Mine is food and medals. You know what YOU love, make that your reward.

Do y’all have other tips for people considering doing their first race, like my friend Chad?

Running Buddy

If you’ve ever run further than, I dunno, say around the block, you know that it’s helpful to have a running buddy (or two) to keep you motivated and hold you accountable. Especially if you are training for a longer race.

This is the twisted story of how I obtained my running buddy for the 2014 Chevron Houston Marathon.

Last year, I went to go visit my brother Preston at his mountain home in Colorado.  I don’t remember exactly what we were doing (I think we might have been rock climbing, or something that I was really not good at), but I came up with this wacky idea that I wanted Preston to run a marathon with me.

A little background on my little younger brother- he is 6’2″ and 98% muscle (I’m 5’11” and 2% muscle). He volunteers multiple hours a week rescuing people off the sides of mountains, or when they get lost in the wilderness. Remember the floods that happened in September? When the national guard couldn’t get to people, they called my brother’s team to save them, because they are the experts in swift water rescue in Colorado. I’ve never seen Preston try something and not be exceptional at it. He is handsome and incredibly smart. He gets along with everyone and is hilarious and quirky. Basically, every good gene that my parents possessed, was given to him (which is a pretty decent explanation of how I turned out to be so medicore).

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Here we are together, right after I challenged him to a swimming competition (because I’m actually an excellent swimmer). But of course, he won. In my defense, it was close.

So what was I thinking, begging him to run a marathon with me?

I was thinking that he HATES to run.

And maybe, just maybe, this would be the thing that I was better at doing.

So I suggested that he run a Turkey Trot  with me.

His response?

HELL NO.

Hmmmmmmmm.

Perplexed, I came at it a different way. I suggested we make a wager. If he would run a marathon with me, then I would climb a 14,000 ft mountain (better known as a Fourteener) with him. Surprisingly, he agreed to it (and for what it’s worth, his first race ever was that Turkey Trot, [that he ran in someone else’s shoes because he forgot his], and he came in like 10th place, further proving that he is seriously good at everything).

And that’s the story of how I got my running buddy for the Chevron Houston Marathon. We’re doing training runs together across the country, and encouraging each other via texts and the “challenge” section of the Nike+ training app. This will be his first time in Houston and I am thrilled that he’ll get to see so much of the city I love, by running it.

A funny thing happened after Preston was accepted into the Chevron Houston Marathon lottery. He went and bought REAL running shoes. And he started running (up mountains, because that’s totally normal, right?). And then HE started sending ME links to other races we could run together. Turns out, Preston has learned to love running. Maybe if we’re lucky, he’ll guest blog one day about his experience thus far (hint, hint).

And in case you’re wondering, he is 100% going to kick my ass. Even my biggest fan (our mom) agrees.

Do you have any training suggestions for Preston’s first big race?  Who do you think is going to win between the Burns siblings (vote in our poll below!)?

-anb