After church one Sunday morning, 44-year old Chris Kimbrough rolls by the Bailey Middle School track in Austin, Texas, craning her neck to see if anyone is occupying the oval. She takes note of a man sauntering slowly down the backstretch at the otherwise vacant facility. Satisfied, she sinks her foot into the accelerator of her Toyota Sienna and races home.
“The track is empty, let’s go!” she says to her husband as she throws on her running clothes and blue New Balance training shoes. She grabs four cans of a local craft brew and a stopwatch as they rush out the door.
It’s November 2 and Daylight Savings Time kicked in the night before; there’s no way she’ll have time for this the rest of the week. Weekdays are booked solid shuttling around her six children, between 18 months and 16 years old. Plus, her four-year-old wants to go to the park later this afternoon and she has to cook dinner before her 13-year-old’s baptism tonight. It’s now or never.
Upon arriving at the track, Kimbrough spots a family she shares a swim-team carpool with playing nearby. She was hoping to be discreet, but she figures she can explain later. After a short warm-up, she toes the starting line.
On her husband’s mark, the 5-foot-3-inch, 108-pound Kimbrough cracks open a can of the ale and throws her head back, letting it drain down her throat like a fraternity pledge. Ten seconds later, the can is empty. She tosses it to the grassy infield and takes off on her first lap, barreling around the worn, rust-colored rubber track.