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Thankful for Being Given the Opportunity to Run Again

After her injury, Brittany is grateful to have the opportunity to run again

Most of us don’t actually realize how much we love running until it’s gone. Sure we love getting outdoors, making new friends, de-stressing. But imagine for a minute that you can’t run again. Brittany Drennan lived in that world for 18 months. That’s how long her rehab from a terrible hip injury took. Read her edition of My Running Story to understand how grateful she is to have the opportunity to run again and how hard she’s worked to get to the 2020 Austin Half Marathon start line.

Intro to running

Brittany Drennan poses with a half marathon finisher medal. Read her edition of My Running Story to learn how she's been given the opportunity to run again.I have always been an emotional person. It’s just who I am. I cry at sappy movies and symphonies. And I can’t even play an instrument. In 2008, I registered for the Baylor Bearathon (half marathon) and I still don’t know what possessed me to do that. I had never run more than the occasional 5K.

The Bearathon is grueling, with about 5-6 miles of rolling hills. Having only run about 6 miles as my “long run” and never doing hill work, I thought my legs were going to detach from my body after Mile 7. I vividly remember thinking, “Where is the school? Waco is not that big…” But I don’t remember finishing. The next day I cried trying to get out of my bunk bed, my body hurt so badly.

I ran the Bearathon consistently for several years and as I was preparing for the 2015 race, I lunged to catch a patient at work and felt a pop in my left hip. While running the next day, I fell to the ground due to a subluxation of my left hip. As I crawled back to the house, I began to panic, tears streaming down my face. If I can’t walk, how can I run? I forfeited my Bearathon entry that year and was absolutely devastated.

It took about 18 months to rehab my hip. I worked from the ground up; crying tears of frustration when my hip couldn’t even tolerate the recumbent bike. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever endured. Near constant pain with no end in sight. I’d ask myself, “Why am I doing this? What am I trying to prove?”

The opportunity to run again

More than two years later, I lined up for the 2017 Bearathon. I was choking back tears of anxiety and fear. What if my hip goes out? Will everything I’ve done be for not? Two and a half hours later, I crossed the finish line in near hysterics. But finally, FINALLY, my tears were not from pain or frustration or fear. They were tears of joy and gratitude. I had been given the opportunity to run again.

I completed my tenth half this past October. Now when I cross the finish line of every half I weep. I used to be embarrassed. It’s not like I won or anything similar. Now I realize that it’s just my body’s way of saying “thank you.” I can’t wait to cross the Austin Half Marathon finish line!

My Running Story is a series of blog submissions from runners just like yourself. They submitted their inspirational running stories as part of a contest to win an entry of their choice to the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. Their stories range from crossing their first finish line to drastic lifestyle change due to running. Everyone’s story is different and unique, impacting them in a specific way. While each story is specific to the author, everyone can resonate in some form or fashion because of the power of running. Other My Running Story submissions include Kayleigh Williamson, Kirsten Pasha, Michael Coffey, Samantha Santos, Tom Hamann, Erica Richart, Angela Clark, Rebecca Galvan, Jeremy Tavares, Axel Reissnecker, and Blair Nagel.

Free 5K Training Plan for Austin Marathon KXAN Simple Health 5K

FREE 12-week 5K training plan to get you ready for Austin Marathon KXAN Simple Health 5K

Professional triathlete and coach Paul “Barny” Matthews constructed a free 5K training plan to get you ready for the 2020 Austin Marathon KXAN Simple Health 5K benefiting Paramount Theatre on February 16th! Whether you’re new to running or returning from a lengthy absence, download this free 12-week 5K training plan and toe the start line with confidence. Training begins Sunday, Nov. 24th, and takes you all the way to the start line. Barny is the coach of Heather Lieberg, 2019 Austin Marathon female champ (2:42:27) and 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier.

Are you running the Austin Marathon or Austin Half Marathon? Download Barny’s free marathon or half marathon training plan today!

Train for your 5K with a pro

Barny is a world-class triathlete, winning or placing at numerous IRONMANs and 70.3s. He broke onto the triathlon scene at the 2014 IRONMAN Asia Pacific Championship in Melbourne. The native Australian finished second in his home country with a time of 8:02:14. He ran the marathon portion of the triathlon (final portion) in 2:44:09! During the marathon, Barny averaged 6:26 min/mile after swimming 2.4 miles and cycling 112 miles! His coaching style provides athletes with a blend of training knowledge he’s learned first-hand. Barny also includes lessons he’s been taught from other world-class runners and triathletes. Barny lives in Austin, but coaches athletes around the world.

This downloadable plan is geared for runners who’ve just discovered running or are returning from a lengthy absence. You can customize this training plan yourself by adjusting the specific workouts and their days to fit your busy life.

Pro tip: when you have a rest day, take it!

Take your training to the next level and contact Matthews today for personalized coaching. Make sure you ask for his special Austin Marathon coaching rate! Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see where he’s training and join him for a workout.

Enter your email to download the KXAN Simple Health 5K training plan!

Free 5K training plan for the month of November, designed by Paul "Barny" Matthews for the 2020 Austin Marathon KXAN Simple Health 5K.

Free 5K training plan for the month of December, designed by Paul "Barny" Matthews for the 2020 Austin Marathon KXAN Simple Health 5K.

Free 5K training plan for the month of January, designed by Paul "Barny" Matthews for the 2020 Austin Marathon KXAN Simple Health 5K.

Free 5K training plan for the month of February, designed by Paul "Barny" Matthews for the 2020 Austin Marathon KXAN Simple Health 5K.

Where to Get Coffee in South Austin along the Austin Marathon Course

These 7 south Austin coffee shops take their game to another level

You can get a cup of coffee from just about anywhere these days. Read about our seven favorite south Austin coffee shops along Miles 1-6 of the Austin Marathon course and order like an Austinite! Whether you need a cup before going to work or you’re meeting friends after your long run, put these south Austin coffee shops on your radar! Check out our blog featuring these seven south Austin breakfast spots if you’re planning brunch after the Austin Marathon. South Austin lunch and dinner blogs coming soon!

Image of iconic i love you so much mural. Take a picture with it when you visit one of the south Austin coffee shops on our list, Jo's Coffee.

i love you so much mural outside Jo’s Coffee.

Jo’s Coffee (Mile 1)

Jo’s Coffee (1300 S. Congress Ave.) opens every day at 7:00 a.m. and a line quickly forms at this Austin staple. They’ve been serving folks since 1999. Order the Iced Turbo and enjoy their sweet signature beverage! If you don’t like that much sweet in your coffee, order the Belgian Bomber. It’s half Turbo, half cold brew. Jo’s Coffee is home to the world-famous “i love you so much” mural and one of Austin’s fastest-growing running groups, The Morning Jos

Image of Cosmic Coffee's outdoor space. Cosmic Coffee made our list of our favorite south Austin coffee shops.

Cosmic Coffee has plenty of outdoor space and is dog-friendly! Credit – Cosmic Coffee Facebook.

Cosmic Coffee (Mile 2.5)

The area around Cosmic Coffee (121 Pickle Rd.) has transformed massively since it opened in 2017. What was once an open lot now features waterfalls, a coy pond, a chicken coop, and tons of outdoor seating with shade trees. Add amazing coffee, three food trucks preparing delicious food, and the fact that Cosmic is also a beer garden and you have an oasis. The smooth Nitro Cold Brew (on tap) is a must!

Plaza Colombian Coffee (Mile 3)

One of the newer spots in town, Plaza Colombian Coffee (3842 S. Congress Ave.), is family-owned and brings the flavor of Colombia to Austin. They roast 100% Cafe de Colombia in-house and often feature live music. In a hurry? Hit up their drive-thru!

Image of Summer Moon coffee. Summer Moon made the list of our 6 favorite south Austin coffee shops.

Try a Summermoon or Wintermoon, your choice! Credit – Summer Moon Facebook.

Summer Moon Coffee (Mile 4)

Austin has many Summer Moon locations, but 3115 S. 1st St. is their original location. Before you try anything on the menu, you need to delight your tastebuds with a Summermoon (hot) or a Wintermoon (cold) depending on your preference. Their secret ingredient is moon milk. Don’t even think about asking for the recipe; it’s top secret. They opened in 2002 and began crafting their own custom roasts by 2004 in their built-from-scratch roaster. Pro tip: if the full moons are too sweet, order a 3/4, half, or 1/4 moon.

Bouldin Creek Cafe (Mile 5)

Bouldin Creek Cafe (1900 S. 1st St.) is another go-to south Austin coffee shop. But if you prefer to obtain your caffeine from tea, they offer 25 different hot tea options. If you need a quick fix to your hangover, order The Leveler (Guinness, espresso, and chocolate). Want to check out an Austin mural? Bouldin Creek Cafe is one block from the “Greetings from Austin” mural.

Image of the Greetings from Austin mural. Snap a picture when you visit 2 of the south Austin coffee shops on our list!

Swing by the Greetings from Austin mural when you visit Bouldin Creek Cafe or Once Over Coffee Bar.

Once Over Coffee Bar (Mile 5)

This little gem with a creekside deck has been serving south Austin since 2009. Once Over (2009 S. 1st St.) opens at 7:00 a.m. every day except Sunday (8:00 a.m.). You can’t go wrong with any beverage on their menu. Their food comes from various local spots, but they’re cool with your bringing food as long as you order a drink from them. Whatever you decide, make sure you end up on the deck!

7th Flag Coffee (Mile 5.25)

The modern and clean look of the converted house to coffee shop offers no distractions, with good coffee and pastries to boot. They’re dog-friendly and have a great outdoor spot for when the weather is nice. If you’re spectating near 7th Flag Coffee (1506 S. 1st St.) on race day swing by when they open at 8:00 a.m.

Our favorite south Austin coffee shops are unique in their own way, helping keep Austin weird. We love them for that and know you will too! Grab one of our recommendations the next time you’re in the neighborhood. Did your favorite south Austin coffee shop not make the list? Let us know what it is on Facebook or Twitter.