ell, it was an event, all full of dramatic pursuits, missing diamond rings and mood-setting rainstorms.
So I was on setup this year and helped the boss load and transport over. Gray day and getting grayer. Set up went okay but there was some confusion with the wife driving about downtown and me jogging up and down streets trying to catch her (saw her go by twice). It was like some bloody Buster Keaton bit. Sheesh.
Anyway, everything set up as planned. Hung out and had a granola bar. Chatted with people. My brother and niece showed up – always good to see them. Drifted over for the race and got a pretty good start position (8 minutes back from the line).
Hung out under a tree with work buddies Omar and Manjula. The latter is my personal nemesis – we’ve been beating each other at this race for years. I won my first time, then she buried me last year.
So the race got going, at least it did. My garman watch couldn’t find any bloody satellites to GPS my effort. Five minutes of “scanning”. You stupid bitch – this is what I bought you for! I’ve been using you for a year in anticipation of this event! So, 17,999 people crossing the start line, with one screwing with what is pretty much an inert timepiece. Glanced over and manually marked my time across the line. Should have brought the pocket fob.
Anyway, it was a good run for me. The usual bit – going around the time-liars who push up early and walk, getting around the clots and clusters, mindful of that stripe-on-the-bricks slick spot. Manjula pulled away early and I gave up on that, just finding a pace and keeping it it. Calves were usually my biggest problem (thought I was starting to cramp going in) but everything worked well. Running in a 56 year old body is like those B-17 movies where the plane is shot up and they are feathering their props, trying to make the coast.
I didn’t really remember much of the race this time. The rain kept the usual morale-booster bands away, alas. East to Bumby, up to Robinson, and then back. No water for me – I run in the noonday sun and if I don’t need water there, I really don’t need it for a 5k in the rain at night. At water stations, I swing to the middle of the street to avoid the newbies.
Halfway down Robinson, and suddenly there was my nemesis (shoulda kept up with the noon running, Manjula!). Passed her with a “Bu-bye!” And damned if she didn’t speed up and dog me for 100 yards. Managed to squeak through a couple of walkers and give her the slip but I didn’t know where she was now and could only keep running.
Air became the big problem down the front of the park – was sucking in and couldn’t quite fill my lungs so I had to slow. With the drizzle, nobody from the corp was out cheering people on. Kinda disappointed there – no cheering section. Around onto Central and put in a last sprint and crossed the line exactly thirty-two minutes after my start. Grabbed a taco from our tent and went out to find my wife and walk her over the line too, watching the fireworks.
Found out later, not only did I put Manjula away by a minute (she gave me an Indian bow of grace today) but I beat my brother by two seconds! Hurah!
Oh, and the ring? When we were rolling my boss’s seats back to load his car, I saw this ring and pointed it out. He shrugged it off – though it was one of his kids’ Barbie rings. Turns out it was actually his wife’s engagement ring, recently lost, and secretly (and frantically) looked for. So I got a call at 11pm from her, offering me gushing thanks for finding it.
So yeah, it was a good day.