Well friends, it’s been awhile. I’ve been gallivanting across California doing really unfortunate things like going to the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl, spending time with my brothers and friends and hanging out in 72 degree weather. I discovered on this trip that being a runner is awesome and makes life easier… in many ways.
Our schedule for the Rose Bowl/Parade/Festivities was… how you say… intense. We started at 5am and I didn’t get home until 2. And there was no resting and hanging out in there– it was go, go, go! In a lot of ways, it actually felt like a marathon! I woke up at 5am, made oatmeal and coffee and got ready for the day. I had my clothes laid out, coffee made the night before and all my bags ready to go. I knew the day would involve quite a bit of walking so I felt pretty good when I put on my running shoes (as an aside, I think wearing running shoes and jeans is awful but I knew I’d be on my feet a ton so I sacrificed) and thought to myself, “I should be ok. I literally ran a marathon in these shoes and socks.” I started laughing like a hyena at 5:45 when I realized that I was going through my pre-race routine without even knowing it! I was also considerably more cheerful than the rest of the house (and less hungover but that’s a whole ‘nother Oprah for a whole ‘nother day).
We headed to the parade around 6am and settled into our seats roughly 1.5 miles from the car. I love parades more than anything so I was really, really excited about all the floats. My family tried to go three years ago but it was the one year in 97 that it rained like a monsoon and it was not very fun at all. This year, it was a blast.
So after the parade it was time for the game. The reason we were there. Parking at the Rose Bowl on a regular day is terrible, parking or driving or even walking the day of the Rose Parade and game is heinous. So, my runner instincts kicked in again. I decided that 5 miles from our seats to the stadium “sounded like a nice walk” and forced the family on a 5 mile jaunt into the canyon where the stadium is. To me, 5 miles sounded “not very far.” To my credit, we were in and out of the stadium far faster than if we’d taken the shuttle or driven. I’m just saying. I calmed the family by telling them that if worse came to worse I was wearing my running shoes and had a banana and that I’d run to the car after the game if they were too tired to walk.
This was the first of many times during the day when I took a tiny second to reflect on how grateful I am to be young, in good shape and ready for anything. I knew that if worse came to worse I really could run to the car and that while I’d probably be a sweaty disaster, it wouldn’t be a big deal.
So anyway, we headed to the game (and as an aside I was convinced I saw Galen Rupp hanging out on the sidelines but who knows) and I immediately downed a giant hot dog. I only eat hot dogs in stadiums, on the 4th of July or camping which works out to about 3 per year and I love them so very much.
The Rose Bowl was gorgeous and although I am a faithful Bruin and will be forever, the game was a ton of fun. The Rose Bowl is a big deal and one of those once in a lifetime, bucket list kind of things, so I was so happy to get to go and even happier to go with my brothers. Plus, I love college football and being back in the Rose Bowl brought back all kinds of fun college memories.
After the game we were faced with the task of getting back to the car. After a 5am wakeup call and an already full day, we decided hailing a cab was the best idea. But none would take us. And the busses weren’t running… so we hiked it back bringing our daily mileage to somewhere in the 11-12 range. I actually kind of wish I’d worn my garmin on Saturday just because I think it would have been pretty fun to track our comings and goings. But while I’ll wear running shoes and jeans, I will not wear my garmin in public with a normal outfit. That’s a line I’m not ready to cross.
And although I was tired at the end of the day, I was considerably less wrecked than everyone else. I attribute this to the fact that as a runner I am very in tune with my body– I know when I need to drink water, eat a snack and most importantly, how to power through when I’m exhausted and don’t want to go another step. Something just kicked in at the end of the day and I was able to push through without much trouble. I realized that all the brain training I’ve done as a runner was kicking in and I was easily able to block out the pain and focus. I loved it. Ok, I didn’t love it, but I was fine.
After this we drove home to Sacramento… 6 hours… getting me home at 2am. And because I was the least wreck I drove all but about a half an hour. Awesome. And although I was LIVID by the end of the drive and my brother nearly lost an arm in the process, all things considered, I felt ok. Driving home that night wasn’t my first choice, but I made it and everyone lived. And I was the only one without blisters 🙂
The next morning I woke up and was treated to a surprise– a 6 mile run that felt pretty speedy and nearly devoid of IT Band pain. Nearly devoid. I’m not excited yet, but it looks like the PT and ART is helping and that I may be turning a corner. Hooray!
Today I chose to rest my leg since my glute was quite sore from all the time sitting in the car and instead worked in my yard for oh… 5 hours with my mom. I was again grateful for my conditioning and the fact that I had roughly 6 pair of used running shoes to choose from to ruin in the mud.
I guess what this rambling post is trying to say is that all those hours spent on the trails have rewards beyond medals, PRs, great race photos and leaner, fitter bodies. I felt totally prepared for my marathon of a day and wasn’t ruined to boot. And although I’ve been questioning how hard I want to go at this year– this weekend reminded me that running actually makes me stronger and more fun to be around.
And that’s it from here. Happy New Year guys. 2010 is going to be fantastic.