Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017
Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Monday, February 15, 2016

Bob's Austin Mararthon Run - Sunday, February 14, 2016

Today was not a typical Valentine's Day. We were up at 4:30 a.m. I drove us to Austin so Bob could run the Austin Marathon. At 5:00 a.m. we left San Antonio for the 1-1/2 hour drive north. Thankfully, there was little traffic.

Humidity in the form of fog settled over the freeway from time to time, but didn't limit highway visibility. However, the fog floated around the lights creating an eerie feel in the early morning hours.

Bob was at the start line at 6:30 a.m., and was on the course at 7:01 a.m. He expected to take the full allotted seven hours to finish the 26.2 miles. I was worried about him the week before the race because his atrial fibrillation (a. fib.) was acting up and he wasn't feeling well.

The morning of the race, I asked him how he was feeling. He said he felt nervous, but couldn't tell if it was from the excitement about the race or if it was his a. fib.

We were both a bit worried that the weather would be hot and humid (80 degrees), but that was not the case. Starting temperature was 57 degrees and humid, but a little later the wind picked up and dried him out. The day stayed cloudy until almost 2:00 p.m. As he was coming down the road for the last mile or so, the sun came out. I don't think the temperature got much over 70.

After I dropped Bob off early in the morning, I headed to IHOP for breakfast since I hadn't eaten yet and was pretty hungry. Bob had eaten a bowl of oatmeal in the car while I drove.

With the whole day ahead of me, I decided to head to Mount Bonnell. I had a general idea of where it was, but I didn't know the exact freeway exit. As I was heading north on I-35 to Hwy 183, a gorgeous sunrise was happening. It was so pretty I didn't want to miss it. I pulled off onto the shoulder of Hwy. 183 and snapped a couple of photos. I was a little too late to catch the sun when it was bright red as it first rose over the horizon.

Sunrise over east Austin

From Hwy. 183, I headed south on MoPac and soon realized many of the exits in the area of Mt. Bonnell were closed due to the marathon. When I finally found an exit (I think it was Cesar Chavez) that was open, I took it. Well, wouldn't you know it, it was the marathon route and only one lane was open. Thankfully, I was early enough and the runners were just starting to round the bend onto the road. I kept driving on the road. Then I started seeing signs "Road Closed Ahead." Uh-oh. I was fortunate to make it through before the runners.

Side roads were barricaded and I wasn't sure what to do. I stopped to ask locals sitting alongside the road in lawn chairs how to get to Mt. Bonnell. They gave me good directions and I found my way to Covert Park at the top of Mt. Bonnell.

This is my stair-stepper exercise this morning!
View of Lake Austin from Covert Park
Mt. Bonnell stone
The flower in the photo below is the Bracted Twistflower. (Sorry for the poor quality, the photo was under glass and had a lot of glare.) According to the informational sign, "The bracted twistflower is a rare annual plant that is native to the Edwards Plateau (the Texas Hill Country). When in full bloom, bracted twistflower is impressively beautiful with vibrantly colored lavender-purple flowers. The plants are normally 1-3 feet tall but can reach a height of five feet under optimal conditions ... Bracted twistflower grows in a variety of habitats in juniper-oak woodlands on rocky limestone slopes and on terraces between such slopes, often above permanent flowing water."

Bracted Twistflower

View from a neighborhood atop Mt. Bonnell
When I finished driving through the beautiful homes atop Mt. Bonnell, I headed down (away from the marathon route).

The road down to Lake Austin from Mount Bonnell.
Along Lake Austin are some amazing homes. I didn't stop to take photos of them.

I worked my way over to MoPac and took it south not realizing it didn't hook up to I-35. When MoPac stopped at a traffic light on Slaughter, I took Slaughter east to I-35. I ended up at the exit just south of Austin's Lone Star Carefree RV Resort, one of Travelers World's sister parks in Texas. Having never seen the park, I stopped in for a tour.

At  the front desk I met John and Debra who, coincidentally, were headed to Travelers World for three nights as soon as they got off work. It's a small world. Anyway, John was nice enough to drive me around the park in the golf cart and I was able to see another Carefree property.

From there, I drove north one exit and stopped in at H-E-B (local Texas grocery store chain) to buy some snacks. I wanted to spend my day at McKinney Falls State Park reading and hanging out in nature.

When I got to the park, the Visitor Center where I was hoping to spend some time, was closed. In fact most of the main part of the park was closed due to damage from floods earlier in the year. The Upper Falls and most of the trails were closed as well. Lower Falls was open and the campground was open. I didn't go to Lower Falls as I figured it would be crowded.

Instead I headed to a quiet parking lot near the dining hall. I read my "Entertainment Weekly" magazine and ate some Valentine sugar cookies. As I was reading, I heard a tap, tap, tap and looked up to see a male cardinal attacking the rear-view mirror on my car. Apparently the bird in the mirror was invading his territory! My nature moments today included Mr. Cardinal looking in my windows and putting on a defensive display trying to chase himself away in my rear-view mirror! It was quite comical.

Must get that bird!
A moment of relative quiet
More attacks
Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.
How about objects ON the mirror?
He's looking in my front windshield.
Looks like the mirror got the better of him.
As I was reading and watching the cardinal come back to fight the mirror, I also kept an eye on where Bob was in the marathon. You see marathon runners tie a chip on their shoelace and as they run, their chip is tracked as they cross different checkpoints. I looked up his bib number online and was able to track where he was on the course. Bob was doing very well!

In the morning he hadn't been sure if he would do the half or full marathon, but when I checked around 10:30 a.m., he was at 13.1 miles heading toward 18 miles and his pace had been pretty steady at 15.11-minute miles. There was an estimated finish time online. Pretty cool. That made it easy for me to know approximately when he'd cross the finish line.

I napped for a little while in the car, watched the cardinal and read some more. When it was 1-1/2 hours before Bob was due to finish, I stopped at H-E-B again to buy a turkey sandwich for lunch, and headed north on I-35 into downtown Austin. Once I found a place to park, I headed to the finish line, then started walking along the course until I found Bob. He was just coming out of the University of Texas.

Eve and Bob in front of the University of TX
Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium
Bob introduced me to Eve. He had spent the last 13 miles walking with her.

Eve and Bob
Bob and Eve crossing the finish line together
He looks pretty happy to be finished!
Congratulations, Bob, you did a great job on the marathon today!

We headed home, but made one stop at Camping World. For Valentine's Day Bob gave me a gift card to Camping World. I had fun shopping.

At home, we had leftovers (from our Valentine's Dinner at Olive Garden last night) while we watched "60 Minutes."

Travel Bug out.


  1. I continue to be so impressed with you guys. I have done some 5Ks but never in my wildest dreams could I imagine trying to do a full marathon. Kudos to Bob.

    Love the pictures of the cardinal. Very cool. What is it with Cardinals? I have one that has been attacking my back picture window all week.

    1. It seems that male cardinals are very territorial. They must think the bird in the mirror/window is a real bird.

  2. Sounds like it was a good day for both of you.

  3. Congratulations on your marathon! Well done!


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