Friday, June 08, 2012

With a Little Help From My Friends


The week of my aunt's services was also the same week my daughter and grandson moved out and the same week leading into half marathon #19.

My daughter did not move out in one fell swoop.  The first day she rented truck and moved her larger items, then slowly boxed and moved everything else in the days to follow.  I was so consumed with my aunt's passing and the upcoming half marathon that I didn't have time to digest that my daughter was FINALLY going to be on her own, with her son.  Hubs and I had some concerns at first, such as her finances, but she needs to learn and grow and make her own decisions.  This move was long overdue.  It didn't hit me that both my daughter and grandson were gone until that first Saturday morning without the sounds of my grandson's cheery morning voice and the voice of my daughter inquiring about his breakfast desires.  The house was way too quiet.  It was a little bit sad that I didn't get to see them off the way I wanted to, but before I had the chance to become overly melancholy, they were back at the house for another carload of things to move.

Half marathon Friday evening was the track club's annual pasta dinner.  It's so much fun to see that everyone cleans up so well. John Bingham, better known as "The Penguin," was our guest speaker.  I never laughed so much at one of these pasta dinners.  He was hilarious. Sometimes that evening track club friends Michelle and Cathy were discussing PRs, and we all made a pact to break 2 hours.  I've never made a pact to break a time barrier.  I guess I'm committed.  The good thing is that we didn't give ourselves a time frame to break 2 hours.  Both Michelle and Cathy are within close reach of that goal, but I have my work cut out, even though it's not an impossible feat.  I was close at one point, with an unofficial 13.1 mile training run clocking in at 2:02, and ( post surgery) official half marathon time of 2:13 and change. 

Saturday and race day eve, Jill  (Run With Jill)  came into San Diego and we planned to rendezvous for an early dinner at PF Changs.  I know, not the most original place in town, but at least it was centrally located and relatively easy to get to, except for the unusually dense traffic that day at the mall that afternoon.  Mary (Journey of a Running Green Girl) and Jill's daughter Abbey also joined us.  During the course of conversation, Jill mentioned that she would run with me.  I was a little perplexed because I'm currently running the slowest I've EVER run due to on going fatigue issues, and Jill is faster than me - even at her slowest, but I wholeheartedly welcomed her company. No one has ever offered to run an entire half marathon race with me.  Ever.

Race day - Sunday morning, and my friend Rich is at our front door at about a quarter to 5 AM.  I bribed Rich into driving us to the marathon starting area with a bag of whole bean coffee and the use of my car.  I'm pretty much good to go, but as usual, Hubs is still fumbling around with something.  We probably leave the house just a couple of minutes before 5, and shortly thereafter text Jill that we're on our way to pick her up at her hotel.  Getting to the hotel and driving to the starting area was relatively seamless since we went the back way, and was way less congested than if we took the main route to the start.   We had time for a photo op with the track club and a short warm up run, which I cut even shorter because I wasn't quite awake yet.  Jill stayed with me. 

I didn't stick around for the track club stretch, I wanted to dump my stuff at bag check and find a port-o-potty.  We lost hubs somewhere after the warm-up run since he ran the entire warm up run and did the group stretch, but I knew we'd see each other at the end of the race. 

Jill could not get over how many people there were.  I don't think this was the largest San Diego Rock 'n' Roll event, but it was still pretty crowded.  Even though Jill was slated for corral 3, she joined me in corral 10.  Hubs was slated for corral 19.  FYI - there were over 40 corrals.  It wasn't long until we were off and going.  Jill asked if the crowd would ever thin out.  It became a little less crowded as we went, but by crowd standards it was the usual busy SDRNR race.   Jill kept me posted with pace, which was fine at first, but I became fatigued and I just didn't want to know any more.  I wasn't racing, I was just checking off half marathon #19. Jill stopped to take photos along the way and easily caught up with me since I was going THAT slow. There was a rare port-o-potty stop for me somewhere into mile 6, but it only took a minute and a half off of my already slow pace, so no major loss there.  Jill did a lot of sight seeing on the race and also notice that there wasn't a lot of rock 'n' roll music being played until we passed a band playing "Freebird."   During the race I was trying to spot my cousin's wife who was going to be somewhere into mile 7 cheering on her running group. Apparently, I did "see" her, but she had a straw hat and sunglasses on, and I didn't recognize her.  I later found out through Facebook that she was there and I looked right at her, but she said nothing to acknowledge me.  She probably thought I was some crazy runner until after I passed.  Ah, well.  A really cool thing to note is that one of my track club friends, Kelly, was running people in at the end.  She ran with Jill and I for about a half mile stretch before the finish line.  Kelly is pretty chatty anyway, so it was fun to hear her talk and tell corny jokes. (Q - What did the doe say when she came out of the woods?  A - "I'll never do that for two bucks again!"  LOL.)  After a few turns towards South Shores Park, just adjacent to Sea World,  I sort of picked up the pace for the finish, just to make it look good at the end.  Jill was right with me.  We clocked in at 2:33:01.

Done.  Check.

The race weather was rather humid and a little warm, but once we stopped running the marine layer remained and cooled the temperatures way down.  For whatever reason the race peeps were being stingy with mylar blankets. We made our way through the usual post race medals, photo ops, water and food.  We still had to wait for Hubs who insisted on getting his free beer.  Jill was cold and left her jacket in the car with Rich.  Luckily I had an extra jacket in my bag.  As soon as Hubs was done we walked to meet Rich at the volunteer parking lot area and took Jill back to the hotel, then we weaved our way back home around road closures.  (I live near the marathon route.)

At the SDTC tent.  There is a chilly Jill behind me!

Certainly, there are a lot of details that I left out, but each race is definitely a learning experience.  I've learned that running an entire race with a friend did help me.  I was so ready to walk somewhere before mile 10, but with Jill next to me I kept running, albeit slow. I've  also realized that I still have it within myself to have faster, better races because I was able to pick up the pace at the very end.  I just need to get back to basics and get strong again.  I also need to work on getting excited about races.  Yes, the head isn't quite there, either. Once I get my head and body in sync, then I'll be back at it.  I believe I have a sub 2 hour half marathon in me, still.   

I also realized that I got out of the habit of taking pictures.  I guess I had just assumed that someone would always be taking pictures, which IS true, but there were a lot of missed photo ops from my perspective.

This race was also my last race of age 52,  as I always celebrate my birthday about a week after the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll event.  I'm looking forward to 53 and for all the exiting things life has to offer.

Song from Wednesday, June 6, 2012:
Whatever Will Be Will Be - Doris Day


PS:  I went and signed up for a fun run, not a race, but it's The Color Run in San Diego, November 2, 2012.


Jill said...

First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I hope you're out there enjoying your evening with the hubs and he's treating you like the queen bee for the night. You so deserve it!

You are so much stronger than you think...or thought... when we started. Shows how much grit you really have and I know that sub-2 is within you when you get stronger. I'll be happy to come out (or you here) and pace you to that sub-2 (funny thing...when you mentioned at PF Changs you made a vow with friends to run a sub-2, I thought you meant at the race the NEXT DAY. I was seriously thinking there was no way I'd be able to pull it off, my legs were dead from the races this month, but if that was your goal then I was going to do it for you!! Such a relief that it wasn't your next day's goal. hahah).

Two weeks earlier, I ran a friend to her first sub-2 half and that was the first time I ever ran a whole race with someone, but I almost crocked and didn't enjoy it. I had a great time looking at the sights of San Diego with you, such a rare treat for me to just relax and enjoy a race. Thank you so much for being my race buddy - I had a great time. You are such an inspiration, truly!!


Black Knight said...

Happy happy birthday.
Joe Cocker, I went to his concert in Rome last year.
Glad you ran with Jill; congrats to you both.
I am sure that your next half will be a sub 2.

Teamarcia said...

Happy Birthday Irene! So sorry to hear about your aunt's passing. Lots of changes in your neck of the woods. Glad you had fun running with Jill. Congrats to both of you!