Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cinco de Mayo AREC Run

The start of A Running Experience Club’s marathon training program for the Long Beach Marathon happened to fall on Cinco de Mayo. There were no Mexican decorations though, and the first day sign ups were more sparse than the last few years, but this is due to the Orange County Marathon on Seis de Mayo and the following weeks’ Wine Country Marathon. A lot of the usual participants were tapering for those and didn’t show up. Or...they kicked off their Cinco de Mayo celebration early and were knocking down Coronas at 7 in the morning. There were so few people that there was no line at the registration table nor the t-shirt or jacket table (the technical shirts were for first timers and the packable nylon jackets were for returning members). Well I was finally able to pick up my jacket 5 months after paying my annual dues and that’s because I never show up in the Wednesday evening runs. The style of the jacket was fairly nice with a hand warmer pouch, a front zip pocket, and a hoodie but it was made of cheap nylon cloth and very thin for a windbreaker. At least it had a nice club logo. Oh, by the way, Nadine, the person in charge of registration told me it was good that I was a small or medium because they ran out of large and extra large. When I tried on the small, it was still big for me. Oh the sizing woes of a petite sized man in a vanity sizing country. You can look up what vanity sizing means on your own. The main reason I showed up on the first day of training was to pick up that jacket. The week before, I was undecided whether to try running or walk like I did last year. After doing a 33 minute test run on the treadmill last Thursday and upon seeing that a couple of my running buddies were pacing the 12 minutes per mile group, I decided that I’ll try running with them, barring any residual pain in my ankles.
Because there were lesser people last Saturday, the usual long speeches were cut short. The distances for the day was 3 miles for the half marathoners and 5 miles for the full marathoners. I figured I may be able to run 5 miles in an hour. Besides I wanted to rejoin my running buddies whom I haven’t seen since last year. Michael and Rosie paced that group and I tagged along with them. They had become very experienced runners since finishing their first marathon 4 years ago and have run numerous halfs and fulls since then. I was in good hands or in this case, feet. After a mile and half I ran alongside Kathy whom I met two years ago when she was running about 9 ½ pace. I knew she had been injured too but wasn’t sure how long ago. It turns out that this was her first recovery run since running 21 miles at the Big Sur Marathon the week before. I had read in Runner’s World Magazine beforehand about the option of running “just” 21 miles or the full marathon. I hadn’t worn my GPS watch so I asked Kathy what our pace was at the turnaround point and she said about 11:45. Apparently she started loosening up at that after that because I felt the pace speed up just a little bit. At 4 miles, I told her that if she felt like picking it up and finishing strong to go for it. I didn’t mind getting left behind because my right ankle started to protest since mile 3. She stayed with me though and pulled me the rest of the way to the finish. For me, there was no pick up, no push, no charging up the last hill, and just barely hung on for dear ankles. The course a just short of 5 miles but that was good enough for me.
After catching up with friends before, during, and after the run, for this one day, I felt like I became part of the running community again. Sigh…did I miss running with all those people…
 Well, that concludes 5 straight days of blogging - a new record for me. I'm all tapped out of ideas. Till next time folks!
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