It was another cool October morning when I stepped out of my apartment and got into my car for the drive to Griffith Park. Still, it’s not so cold that we have to start wearing layers on our runs just yet. Here in Southern California we are still dealing with 80 degree days even though fall has arrived, and yet summer remains stubborn about becoming a distant memory. I brought my black Nike jacket with me in case it was colder in Burbank than I expected, but I was pretty certain I wouldn’t need it (and I didn't).
I managed to make it to the Team to End AIDS meeting spot just in the nick of time, having resisted the almost irresistible pull of those Batman reruns that were being shown on IFC (do they even show indie movies anymore?). The runners were still milling around when I got there, so I didn’t miss a thing. Then Coach JC came out and shouted, “GOOD MORNING T2!!!” For a guy who claims not to be comfortable talking in public, he can now yell so loudly that the employees at A Runner’s Circle in Los Feliz can hear him quite clearly. Heck, I bet even the workers at Sports Chalet could hear him to where those in the shoe department looked at one another as if to say, “What is pronation?”
Today’s run was 3 miles, but some of the alumni were still open to running 5. I decided to just stick with the 3 as I don’t want to overdo it at this point. I was under the assumption I had everything I would need for a short run: my Saucony running shoes, my Nine Inch Nails hat, my red Team to End AIDS shirt, my sunglasses, my water belt with two bottles of water and two bottles of orange low calorie Gatorade and a GU packet leftover from the 2014 Los Angeles Marathon. There was one problem; I forget my watches, one of which has interval timing. I usually bring my iPhone with me in case I need to call one of the coaches or take pictures, but this time I had to use it for a different purpose as it had a timer on it.
When I walked over to the starting line, I didn’t realize I was with the wrong pace group. Chris eventually pointed out that this was the 12 minute pace group, and Coach JC looked at me with a shock as if I was trying to turn this into a race for myself. Realizing my mistake, I was a little embarrassed but recovered in time to join the not yet named 13 minute pace group. JC also informed me that we would not be doing a “Bette Davis” on this run. I’ve been training for the LA Marathon for several years now so that running lingo is something I should know by now, but somehow this term eludes me. Hopefully I will relearn it again soon.
This run took us outside of Griffith Park and into familiar parts of Burbank as we went down Victory before turning left on Riverside. We were again running against traffic like before, and the bike riders we passed by were nice and not the least bit territorial. Let’s hope there’s more of that kind on the road in the coming weeks.
After running with the same people for the past few years, I found myself with a new group of people who I have no business being shy around. I got to meet Winston and John who were nice and, like the other people I should have said hello to, were careful to obey the traffic signs. No one was above the law on this October morning.
This week I found myself focusing on my form as Coach JC gave a speech before hand about running to where our body is open to where it gets the most oxygen. No running in a hunched position and no ridiculously long strides that have us landing on our heels as that will cause irreversible damage that our bodies will despise us for as we get older. I know my knees will never ever let me forget all the marathons I’ve ever ran, and when I get to the age of 60 (at which point I will still look like I’m 50) I know they will be telling me, “That’s what you get fool!”
When we got to Keystone we turned around and went back the way we came. Dammit, the term “turn around” still reminds me of that depressing song by Bonnie Tyler called Total Eclipse of the Heart. My dad loved that song when it first came on the radio back in the 80’s, but it always leaves me sad. How am I supposed to feel after listening to lyrics like these?
Every now and then
I get a little bit lonely
And you're never coming round
Every now and then
I get a little bit tired
Of listening to the sound of my tears
Every now and then
I get a little bit nervous
That the best of all the years have gone by…”
That last line keeps messing with my head.
Anyway, we made it back to Griffith Park in one piece and Coach JC had to double check his board to make sure that I didn't run a super-fast 5 miles. If only such a thing were possible. The Flash may have returned as a television series, but I have yet to match his velocity. Hey, anything’s possible!
So week two is over and done with, and it feels like everyone (even myself) is getting off to a good start. It also makes me glad that I got those two maintenance runs in this week as my body would have been pissed at me if I didn’t. I say bring on the more challenging runs sooner than later. Bring on the hills!
FUNDRAISING UPDATE: Well I had one hell of a week. As of this week I have raised $586 for AIDS Project LosAngeles, and that puts me at 59% towards my fundraising goal of $1,000. I usually never make it that far until the end of the year, so this just blows me away. If we can get to $1,000 by the end of November that would just rock my world (sorry, I couldn’t find a better way to say it). All donations are tax deductible so you can stick it to the man when the time comes. Trust me, I’m going to be like one of those endlessly annoying NPR fundraising breaks until I reach my goal!