There are many definitions for the word, "Pride."
And I saw pretty much all of them while running this morning.
Today's training schedule called for a 10-mile run, with no particular speed in mind. I've got to run 20 miles tomorrow, so Hal doesn't want me to push myself too heavily on this day. I decided to run my usual 10 course, but to take the easy way around the circle. We slept in a little bit this morning, but I was still out the door at a reasonable hour, and felt great as I started the run.
Then, I happened upon Austin's Pride Fest, or rather, I happened upon several people who were heading to said Fest. It was rather refreshing on a long run to look around at girls in wings and glitter, and men in shirts thanking their "fairy godmothers." At 2.5 miles into the run, I'd barely felt any stress whatsoever.
Heading up through the downtown area, I saw several people situated along what I believe to have been the Pride Parade route, as well as passing a homeless man who felt the need to preach his beliefs on the topic to anyone in earshot. Past this, I made it to the Texas Capitol building and headed up the hill to my right, followed by a slightly larger hill before to got the big downhill of my day. The joy that I passed was unsurpassed, and the word "pride" showed itself above and beyond any definition I know.
Until I hit campus, that is. You see, as I passed the Capitol and headed a bit farther north, I dropped myself directly into Longhorn country, and while they (apparently) don't start as early as the ND tailgates to which I am accustomed, they are far more professional in their presentation. There were television sets at pretty much every table. I know now to check a city's tailgating traditions before I try to run (as several events caused me to slightly alter my route), but there was a very different kind of joy up here, which was no less motivational than that I had already seen.
The rest of my run was downright uneventful, by the standards I'd set for myself. As I headed down the hill, I passed some more closed-off streets for Pride, but did not see any more participants. And then, as I rejoined the trail, I saw one more kind of pride.
This was the quiet pride. It was the strength of personality that comes from getting out and doing the work, whether anyone is watching or not. Every person on that trail this morning had a great deal of pride in what they were doing. And there may not have been 80,000 fans cheering or hundreds of spectators sitting along the route yelling, but there was still victory here. And there was still joy here.
I'm proud to live in Austin.
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