Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Recovery Run on Singles Awareness Day

There’s nothing like a hot summer day in February. While the eastern states in America are dealing with infinitely frigid conditions and snowstorms which refuse to end, we Californians seemed to have skipped over the winter season and instead went straight to spring. This makes many of us want to move to a state that actually has seasons, and it also had us Team to End AIDS runners leaving our jackets at home as we knew we wouldn’t need them on this our 10 mile recovery run. 

I arrived in Griffith Park to see the runners all gathered around Coach JC and Coach Jennifer as they made their morning announcements, and I also saw Drea lathering herself with all the sunscreen that was available. Looking at her made me wonder if I had put enough on myself. I guess I’ll know the answer to that after the run. I haven’t had sunburn in ages, and the last time I can remember having it was when I was 10. Having it then was not fun as I became “appealing” in a very painful way.

Actually, seeing Drea and others putting on sunscreen got me thinking of one of those fake commercials in the god awful sequel that was Robocop 2 in which a woman advertises a new suntan lotion that will keep your skin from burning even though the ozone layer is now completely gone. It was this bluish lotion that made her look a bit like Mystique from the X-Men movies, and it made me think that we may not be far off from a reality like that. Climate change is real folks! All you global warming deniers can suck it!

A few days beforehand I had finally gotten around to buying a new pair of running shoes for which I was long overdue. I have been sticking with the Saucony brand these past few LA Marathons, but the shoe model they have this year proved to be a little too tight on my feet. Instead, I went with running shoes from Brooks which felt very comfortable in a way many other brands do not. I also made sure to break them in with a maintenance run this week as Coach JC encouraged us to do that instead of just trying them out on the day of our 23 mile run (which, coincidentally, is next week). Our feet will not be happy with us if we do that.

Another thing I had to contend with was that I had a phone interview with John Madden, the director of the upcoming sequel The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, at 9:50 am. This 10 mile run started at around 7:30 am so I figured I would be able to get back just in time. Then again, I ran into the same dilemma when I had that interview with Ethan Hawke about Predestination. When it came to that one, I got lucky in that my interview with him was delayed for about a half hour (WHEW!). 

Oh yeah, I should also mention that this recovery run was happening on Valentine’s Day or, as I’ve been calling it for years now, Singles Awareness Day. At the starting line I wished everyone one a Happy Singles Awareness Day which, of course, was greeted with much laughter. One of my fellow pace group runners, John, ended up thanking me and said that I didn’t know how much that meant to him. John may have been saying that sarcastically for all I know.

The new shoes worked out well for me on this run, but I kept wondering if I was slouching or leaning forward too much. I wasn’t always sure and I was conscious of things being off this time around, but I’m certain that I straightened up long before I crossed the finish line. I still need to get a watch with interval timing though.

Unlike last week though, I was not dragging behind everybody. I was keeping a good pace even as we ran past people walking their dogs who were more than interested in running with us. I also keep wondering if we will ever run into Adam Hendershot as we keep passing his house from time to time. Adam and I trained together for the 2012 LA Marathon, and he runs a photography business with his wife. I don’t know, maybe he is just happy to sleep in on Saturday mornings for a change.

I should admit that I did have a cocktail the night before this run. Usually I try to stay dry throughout the week especially when it comes to the longer runs, but I got invited to the birthday party of a friend of mine at the Sassafras Saloon in Hollywood and they had quite the drink menu. When I saw that they were serving the Sazerac, a delicious cocktail which has Rittenhouse Rye, Peychaud’s Bitters, Absinthe and cane sugar in it, I had to have one. But I only had one as the thing was $14 dollars, and I have no business spending that much money right now. For those disappointed in me, just be happy that the cocktail had cane sugar in it instead of high fructose corn syrup.

As we approached the end of the run, I suddenly realized that 9:50 am was coming up a lot sooner than I realized. Despite staying on pace, we did make some bathroom stops and had to say hi to the Bolivers who brought all their goodies including those delicious peanut butter pickle covered Ritz crackers. Like Boy George once sang, time won’t give me time and I was becoming concerned that I would end up answering my phone during the last portion of the run. Somehow, I don’t think it’s entirely professional to conduct a phone interview while I am running the streets of Burbank.

When we finally made it back onto Zoo Drive and the finish line was getting closer and closer, I ended up running the rest of the way to the finish line as it was now 9:48 in the morning and I wanted to beat John Madden to the finish line. I wasn’t sure the people at Fox Searchlight Pictures were going to be patient with me if I asked them to wait until I finished my run.

Anyway, I crossed the finish line and Coach JC looked at me and asked, “Where’s the rest of your team?” I explained my situation to him and then promptly retrieved my car key, jogged over to my car, opened the door, sat down in the driver’s seat, turned on the air conditioning as it was too damn hot in February, got out my Simpsons Moleskin diary where I had my questions written down, got out my digital recorder and waited for the good folks at Fox Searchlight Pictures to call me…

Well, it was actually around 10:15 am when they finally rang my phone. In the end, the delay really helped as it allowed me to catch my breath and think about any other questions I might like to ask. John was a real pleasure to talk with, and he apologized for being late to call me. I told him it was fine as I just finished a 10 mile run and that I was training for the 2015 LA Marathon, and he was very impressed to hear about me doing that.

I did the interview and breathed a huge sigh of relief that I didn’t miss it. From there I drove out to Steve “speed walking” Robinson’s house where he was holding a breakfast in honor of the Bolivers for their consistent support of our training each week. It was fun times as we sat back and were treated to bagels with cream cheese which we could top off with salmon and onions, pastries from Porto’s Bakery, fizzy water and an enormous box of chocolates. Floyd talked about his times in New York, Steve talked about how he and his partner manage to keep the sun from shining too brightly in their home, and other runners spoke of how sick they are of the heat. Granted, the east coast is sick of the freezing weather they are forced to deal with, but at least they live in states that have seasons.

All in all, it was an interesting way to spend Valentine’s Day and certainly a whole lot better than having to sit through Fifty Shades of Grey. Don’t waste your time on that one! See Kingsman: The Secret Service instead!


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