Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dressed like the Radon Lady

It's COLD.

We got about 2 new inches of snow overnight and maybe another inch so far today. I met Felix at City Park this morning and we ran for about an hour, through the cemetery and around the lake at City Park. It was 6 degrees when we started. I wore four layers, including my wind pants on top of two pairs of tights, my Drymax cold weather running socks, and my big floppy size 8 shoes so I'd have room for my toes to stay warm with the thick socks.

It was Felix's first time running in a cemetery, so I gave him the tour and told him all the old cemetery running stories. I believe I still hold the record for most laps completed in one run in the cemetery. That was 31 laps. I did a 50 Km training run there once.

I used to run in Grandview Cemetery a lot when we lived on Mountain Avenue when I was in graduate school. The cemetery has an nearly perfect one mile loop around it if you take the outermost road. Great for mile repeats. The surface is packed dirt, and it's flat with a slight grade in each direction, but not enough to notice.

The one story I forgot to tell Felix was this one about the Radon Lady. Back in the early 90s when I ran in the cemetery there was this one older woman in town who did a lot of running. She used to come into the running store and buy her shoes. I remember she had big feet. I think she wore size 10s, and they were either extra wide or they were men's shoes.

But the thing that was most unusual about her was the way she dressed. She would wear this outfit that looked like part Hazmat/Badwater suit, part Halloween costume. She wore zinc oxide on her face, it was always completely white. She was covered from head to toe in this sun protective gear and these big old shoes, all year, regardless of the weather. She had a distinctive running style too, kicking her feet out a certain way as she plodded along, and she ran laps in the cemetery.

We called her the Radon Lady. By the time we left Fort Collins in 1998 I didn't see her much anymore. I didn't know if she stopped running, or left town. I forgot about the radon lady.

A few years after we moved to Arizona, I went up to Eugene, Oregon to visit a friend who had moved up there from Fort Collins around the time we left for Arizona. I was out on the running paths Eugene is famous for, and I was coming down this long stretch through a forested area, and I saw this runner coming toward me, slowly, overdressed, with big feet and a clunky, awkward style. As I got closer, it reminded me of the radon lady.

By the time I passed her, I was sure it was her. I ran past her, in the opposite direction and made a U-turn. WAS she the Radon Lady? I had to know.

It was. She had moved up there to Eugene when she retired.

The running world is small.

I rarely run in the cemetery these days, we don't live as close and it's flat. Usually I need the hills so I run up at Horsetooth. The Thursday night running group used to do a route through the cemetery but I usually work Thursdays and I end up missing those runs. It was nice to rediscover an old favorite route.

I just got an idea. My 45th birthday is coming up and I was thinking of doing a long run for it. Maybe I should run 45 miles in the cemetery and call it the "One Foot in the Grave Run". No entry fee, no t-shirts, no aid, no awards, no whining. And then maybe go to the Rio afterwards for margaritas. Not a bad idea. Any takers?


David Ray said...

Interesting story on the Radon Lady. And 45 miles in a cemetary? What if there's some funerals going on?

Felix said...

LOL about "One Foot in the Grave"... sign me up. For the run I mean, not for the grave! Anyhow, great running with you yesterday. Today is so warm, double-digit temps even. :)

Alene Gone Bad said...

Lots of options, it's a big cemetery with all sorts of running loops. The convenience is if the hole is already dug, they can just roll me in on one of the shortcuts. FYI I'd prefer to be cremated.

Gotta look at the calendar and pick a date for the run.

Nick said...

Darwin to Lone Pine on the flat, count me in. Just make it a weekend.