Monday, March 15, 2010

Sacramento Sunday

When I was a reporter for the Rebel Yell in college, the thing I liked most about the job was getting into places and meeting people that I otherwise wouldn't. I can say the same now, a million years later, about running.

Yesterday in Sacramento, the sun came up at 7:19, and by ten after eight, I was running across Tower Bridge on Capitol Avenue with the bright sun and the capitol building side by side in my view.

Right at the end of the bridge, there was a small crowd gathered for our group of runners and they cheered for me. A high point of the race, for sure.

At the 5K mark, I allowed myself a long glance at my GPS and was thrilled to see that I was 32 minutes in. WAY better than my slow, slow race in Prescott and right on track to beat my 7-mile practice run which took an hour and a half.

Topping every hill, (there were just a few, and they weren't as bad as in my neighborhood) I felt exhausted but counseled myself not to slow down or stop knowing I'd recover in a second. Once the recovery happened, I tried to speed up. It was the first time in a race that I coherently talked myself through some tough spots and kept up a little strategy.

Going into Old Town brought back memories of our Hanford days when we'd take the train up to Sacramento and visit the train museum with our two kids at the time. I ran by the museum with memories of those few visits and they kept me going - along with the nice little downhill right after the museum.

By mile 6, I was ready to stop. My right knee started to kill and I walked for the first time. Maybe ten steps, and then the thought of Mike waiting at the exchange zone got me jogging again. It was discouraging to look at the GPS and see my pace was over 12 minutes at that point. Then that glorious 7-mile marker appeared and next I saw Mike's face and he told me "An hour and twenty!" and high-fived me and took off. I stopped my watch, I shut down the i-Pod, which I don't have much memory of hearing, and walked around in a daze for just a minute before grabbing some water and pulling myself together to look for Layla and cheer for her finish.

Besides the thrill of running another race, and a new distance, the best part of this weekend was seeing old friends and meeting some new. It was a tiny bit wild to hang out with so many InterVarsity folks, with my student and staff life now so far in the past, but still has the same feeling of familiarity and fast friendship that it always did for me. I'm glad Rob inspired this, thrilled that Mike asked me to run with him, and grateful to have had the chance to see a million friends I've known for decades, plus see some of the "new generation" of Inter Varsity staff in my old area and beyond. What a dream. I'm still floating a little. Sore quads, but still floating. When's the next race?

Love to: partner Mike, host Heather, host Mike, little Martin, in-utero "Toby", Larry, Nina, Daniel, Shawn, Nathan, Layla, support-crew Lauren, Noemi, Madeline, water-and-wastewater-engineer-neighbor-to-the-Haights Mike, his tall friend, his wife the "other" Heather who I didn't see this time, Fleet Feet, Gustavo my new life coach (seriously, and he only charged ten bucks), Becca (sp?) and her whole family and their cool portrait with the tree and their plates from Marshalls, her boyfriend who ran great and had an equally great smile but whose name I've forgotten, Rob, Amy, Lucy, Lily and that amazing chocolate cake, James, Tina, Adam, Todd and Daniel. I didn't make it to the goat farm, but for the record, I thought of it.
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