Scatter my ashes here...

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

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

There's No Place Like Home

Except Manhattan Beach...

Last weekend Dennis and I went out to LA to hang out with my dad and stepmom at the place they are staying for the month of August. Right on the beach, known as, "The Strand"...

We were listening to the waves crash on the sand all night because the beach and ocean were literally in our front yard. Not a bad way to spend a long weekend.

When I knew we were going, I decided to find a 5K to run while we were there. I figured there had to be a 5K somewhere close by in a city the size of LA. I was right, the Jet to Jetty 5K/10K was happening just north of where we were staying, within warmup running distance.

Dennis being freshly out of his boot from his toe fracture, he was unable to run but rode the bike up there to watch. He could have slept in that morning, but he was a good sport about it. We went up the Strand and the bike path, about 4 miles, until we came to Dockweiler State Beach, which is west of LAX. All the jets fly right overhead.

I was my usual self, a total dork before the race, in my Walmart tank top, greasing up my armpits with Aquaphor so I wouldn't chafe.

Dennis was wearing his Badwater t-shirt and this guy in a yellow turban went up to him and asked him if he ran the race. He pointed at me, "No, but SHE did." Turned out the guy in the turban was Gabriel Flores, who won the Badwater race in 1998 and was featured in the documentary Running on the Sun. That made my day! Gabriel was running the 5K with his son. We talked Badwater for a little while as we were lining up at the start.

Running a 5K in LA is really different. First, there are A LOT of people, second, they actually have certified courses, third, they have hardware in 5 year age groups, and fourth, they have signs at the starting area that tell you to line up according to your pace: 6, 7, 8, 9, or whatever minute miles you run, fifth, they have chip timing...not to mention the nice gray cloudy sky that keeps the sun from being intense first thing in the morning, and the humidity and ocean breezes.

I lined up about where I thought would be right, a few fit-looking men around my age, not many kids, and probably a dozen or so women visible ahead of me. I was right there in front of the 7 minute per mile pace sign. I had no idea how I'd feel at sea level and I didn't want to risk going out too fast but I knew I should be able to better my 7 and a half minute pace I've been doing lately.

The gun went off and within a half mile I realized I felt good and wasn't having trouble with my starting pace. Before we hit the one mile mark we turned around in a U-turn and it freaked me out to see less than 10 women ahead of me. Then I got scared. Oh shit, what if I went out in a 6 minute mile? Fortunately when we hit the one mile mark I was at 6:42. I knew that was fast but it didn't feel bad.

I purposely backed off the pace a little bit in that middle mile, hoping I'd be able to run the last mile hard. I hit the two mile mark in 13:50, which was better than I expected but still feeling comfortable. Then it was time to pick it up. The last mile was straight on the road and a slight downhill grade for about a quarter mile of it. I passed several women in the last mile.

I actually had enough leg turnover that I was able to hold one of them off and gain on her, then pass her going into the finish area. When I hit the finish line I was at 21:38, which sort of blew me away. I really didn't expect to run that fast even at sea level. That's about a 6:57 per mile average pace, whch surprised me.

But I know I can run much faster than that if I do speedwork. So I'm really not overly surprised. Just happy. I ended up with hardware, was 4th overall woman, won my age group, but the kicker was, there was a woman who beat me by 13 seconds, and she was 56 years old! I got SHARPEI'D!!! But that's a good thing, there's hope for aging chicks.

I got about 21 miles of running in that day between the 5K and some extra running I did afterwards. The rest of the weekend we spent on the beach, drinking margaritas, eating, and just hanging out. It was relaxing, and perfect, and I hope that next year we can go back again and spend even longer. And if we're there for that 5K again, I'm training for it!

On the way back I was reminded of Tank Girl, anyone remember that movie from the mid-90s where she takes on the evil Water and Power and tries to save the world? I was feeling very tank girl-like after my 5K and long run with all that oxygen!

When we came home Iris and Isabelle wouldn't let me out of their sight, not even to take a shower. Manhattan Beach was awesome, but what was missing were the Buffaloes, and it's so great to be home when someone is so happy to see you!

Last week I got over 60 miles of running in, including a tempo run and a 5K, with two 20ish mile days. That feels more like what I should be doing at this point in my training for Across the Years. Only 2 months until Oklahoma City, and I have plans for at least another 5K, a 10K, and a half marathon before then.

This is fun!

So then the other thing that happened is that I worked today and it was a zoo in town, a good day to be locked away in the hospital. We had a visit from President Obama and traffic was a nightmare due to security. A lot of our patients ended up being late for their appointments because they couldn't get around town!

Fort Collins is not used to Presidential visits, this was our first one. That was pretty obvious from the way the traffic was routed. I think we need more practice. Obama came here before the election in 2008 and he was a rock star then, but he wasn't President yet, so the whole security thing was nowhere near as intense.

So, I hope I won't have a work hangover tomorrow, having only worked one day since we got back. Tomorrow is tempo day again, already. It's supposed to be in the mid 90s again. September is just around the corner. Maybe one of these days it won't be summer anymore.

Or maybe I could win the lottery and buy some prime real estate on The Strand in Manhattan Beach become one of the beautiful people (plastic surgery is the only thing that would do that for me), and run away with Dennis and the Buffaloes. Then summer would be perfect, ocean breezes, surfing, swimming, running 5Ks...and monkeys might fly out of my butt!

I guess I'll stay in Fort Collins. There's no place like home...


HappyTrails said...

NICE!!! I am feeling the warm sand sifting through my toes and the gentle sea breezes wafting in my hair..... :-) Can't believe you let a blue-hair beat you in the race, though! :-) Awesome race-you are one fast lady. The blue-hair is yours next year once you get a little more speed work under your belt! I bet the girls were literally glued to you - and you are right - as nice as it is to get away and see fun, new places, there still is no place like home!

Alene Gone Bad said...


Next year I'll almost be a blue hair. I'm working on it! But I'll be faster than that other blue hair...

And the Buffaloes are still glued to me!

Mike said...

One of my favorite lines in "Running on the Sun" was Gabriel's, when he talked about after winning 1998, he was never going to do it again, "this race is just for crazy people"...then in his next breath he was talking about how he was going to beat the course record.

Alene Gone Bad said...

I remember that! Gabe and his brothers, climbing Townes Pass, he refused to stop even when puking (a skill that I found valuable in 2008).