Wednesday, December 17, 2014

5 Miles After the Storm

The past few days have had California drenched in massive rainstorms to where even tornados were reported in South Los Angeles. The winds were blow and the rain came pouring down in a way we’ve been waiting for it too. And yet, when the heavy clouds went away and the sun slowly started to peak its way out of the clouds, none of this was enough to end California’s most serious drought in years! What gives anyway?!

Well, by the time Saturday, December 13, 2014 (12/13/14) came around, the clouds were nowhere as heavy as they were before, and the Team to End AIDS runners ended up having a rain-free day as they did their 5 mile run through the streets of Burbank. 

I ended up having a lot of trouble getting to sleep the night before and couldn’t get myself to fall into a deep slumber before 1 a.m. which sucked because I had to get up at 6. Now this may have had to do with me going to Pink’s in Hollywood last night and having The Hollywood Walk of Fame Dog, a 9 inch stretch dog topped with coleslaw and chopped tomatoes. On yeah, I also had that with a side order of onion rings and a Mexican Coca-Cola. I don’t know, I guess I was feeling a big naughty last night and felt the need to eat at a historic Hollywood landmark. Plus, the line at Pink’s was a lot shorter than usual.

Look on the bright side; my hot dog was covered with diced tomatoes.

The other thing was that I had just seen Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice and was still trying to figure what the hell it was all about. The movie was so densely layered and had so many things on its mind that it became impossible to keep up with all that was going on. The acting was great and Anderson has not lost any of his ability as a filmmaker, but I could never get on the same wavelength with his latest movie and I desperately wanted to.

So Inherent Vice was still playing in my head as I tried to get some shut-eye, but my mind was still racing to where my body kept saying, “No let’s stay up a little while longer.” Then my next door neighbors started making out, and hearing them climax at the same time made more envious than usual. As a result, Rod Stewart’s “Some Guys Have All The Luck” started playing in my head, a reminder of how much luck I have with women these days (which is to say, none).

Anyway, my alarm did wake me up at the tender hour of 6 a.m. and I hauled my ass out of bed for another day of marathon training. But of course, I did get seduced by cable TV which was showing John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China, one of the most entertaining movies ever made. If you can, see it with an audience as few experiences in a movie theater will be anywhere as much fun as that one is.

The Team to End AIDS runners meet in Griffith Park at 7 a.m., but we typically don’t start running until about 7:20 or 7:30. As I was running a bit behind, I figured I would arrive just as everyone was heading over to the starting line. But once I got there, I discovered that everyone had already left which led to me kicking myself literally and figuratively speaking. How dare I get to Griffith Park after everyone has left! Who do I think I am anyway? I’d tell you who, but that would require me naming a manager I once had who I really need to stop thinking about altogether.

But fortunately Coach JC was there and offered to give me ride to where the Lucky 13 pace group was at in their run. Meanwhile, Coach Dene was keeping a close eye on the key bucket which everyone leaves their car keys in. Heaven forbid we put them in our pockets during our run and end up losing them in the process. That bucket is there to ensure that such a tragedy never happens. But with the way Dene was looking at those keys, both JC and I couldn’t help but wonder if she was going to trade in a car for one of ours. 

Fortunately, the Lucky 13 pace group (which remains the largest of all the T2EA pace groups) was only a few yards away, so we didn’t have to travel far after all. JC assured me that I would still be doing a 5 mile run as he realized that the run actually measured out to 5.1 miles. Well, that was still good to know. 

I figured my fellow runners would give me a hard time about being late, but for the most part they were glad to see me. One of them said I was getting special treatment with Coach JC driving me to them. I’m not sure I deserve special treatment, so I was a little modest about that. I also informed everyone that I did make my interviews with the cast and director of Predestination and that Ethan Hawke was a lot of fun to talk to.

It turns out that everyone left for their run earlier than usual because it was really cold. That’s right, colder temperatures have finally arrived in Southern California after a rather lengthy delay and just in time for Christmas. As I was getting out of my car, I kept wondering if I should put on my black Nike jacket or not. It’s a good thing I decided to wear it as even the first mile or so of this run did not warm up as quickly other training runs have. If nothing else, this is a clear sign that winter will be here before we know it.

I’ve been noticing how the muscles in my lower legs keep getting this burning sensation, and it makes me wonder if I’m doing something wrong. The sensation does go away, but it feels a little more painful than it should. Maybe I should have someone look into it more.
For us, the big thing to look out for was all the wet leaves and broken tree branches strewn all over the road. The leaves may be dead, but they are still very easy to slip on. As for the tree branches, they were just sitting there on the road as if to tell us, “Go ahead, come here and trip on us. You’re too busy running anyway so how can you even notice us?” Well we did notice them and nobody tripped and fell down thank goodness.

Once again, I kept checking myself to make sure I was running with my back straight and not hunching over. I’m all about the perfect running form these days, and I think I might be getting a little closer to achieving it. Of course, I may be just fooling myself as I have quite the talent for that.
The one thing the Lucky 13 pace group were unlucky in this week was staying on pace. Eventually we had to realize that we were running too fast and had to slow down a bit. I could certainly sense that I was running faster than usual, and I didn’t have to worry about being at a press junket on time either. I don’t know, maybe I was trying to rid myself of whatever negative thoughts were buzzing around in my head so I could make room for all those endorphins which come in handy for those dealing with anxiety and depression. That’s the danger of not exercising on a regular basis; you forget how good they make you feel.

The Bolivers were on hand once again to treat us to all the snacks, water and Gatorade we needed for the rest of our run. It doesn’t matter what the weather’s like because this married couple continues to drive all the way from Covina to Burbank to give us the fuel and the support we need to help us run just a few more miles. Those peanut butter and pickle covered Ritz crackers remain as addictive as ever, and I soon lost track of how many I had while I was at the Boliver rest stop. It got to where my stomach started telling me, “I thought we were going to free up some space here and thin things out.” As for my knees, they have long since given up complaining with me and are now just saying, “I’m going to miss all the cartilage.”

When we made the final turn towards the finish line, it was so nice to feel that gust of wind come in our direction as the sun had finally arisen and things were beginning to warm up. As we approached the end, we threw our 3:1 pace out the window so that we could cross the finish line running instead of walking. Somehow the thought of just walking across it felt all wrong. 

So that concludes another 5 mile run, and we managed to escape the pouring rain in the process which was nice. Next Saturday our mileage increases to 12 miles, and my guess is we might have a hill or two to climb over. If we don’t, then something might be seriously wrong with our training
As the sun came up over the hills in Griffith Park, it shone down brightly over the late Scott Boliver’s tree which continues to grow there. Scott may be gone, but he’s always with us in spirit.

FUNDRAISING UPDATE: As you know I have reached my fundraising goal for AIDS Project Los Angeles, but people are still donating regardless of that fact. To date I have raised $1,086, and I encourage you to keep donating to this non-profit company that has done so much for so many people over the years. One of these we will deal the death blow to the AIDS virus, but there’s still a lot we can do in the meantime before that happens. 

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