Against the Wind

I have never run in a 5k race.  The distance seemed much too short for me to get up early and drive to the starting line.  I also believed this distance was for the more serious and much faster runners.  But, I did revisit this since I hadn’t been running much (if at all) and this shorter distance no longer seemed short.  An opportunity presented itself from the Dick Beardsley Foundation  (a non profit organisation assisting those suffering from chemical dependancy) to enter their virtual ATW5k on March 31st. 

Most runners have heard of Dick Beardsley, but for those of you that haven’t, in the 1980s he was one of the top U.S. runners.  At the age of 24, he ran against Alberto Salazar in the 1982 Boston Marathon.  Now known as the Duel in the Sun , these two elite runners battled it out while running five minute miles, leaving the other runners far behind and breaking the 2:09 barrier for the first time.  Beardsley’s time of 2:08:54 was a second place finish to Salazar’s 2:08:52 – A TWO SECOND DIFFERENCE on a very hot and hilly course.  I highly recommend the book, Duel in the Sun!  Subsequent to the race, Beardsley injured his leg in a tractor accident ending his running career.

What is a virtual race, you ask? A virtual race is a sporting event where everyone sets their own course and runs their own race wherever they happen to be on the planet.  You sign up online, receive a bib number, run your race competing with people from all over the world who are running the race on the same day. Since it is impossible to verify first, second, and third place, top prizes are awarded for various place finishers (e.g. 2nd place will be #1982 (the year of the Duel in the Sun race) and, obviously, you will not know where you rank until all the times are submitted.  Other prizes would be awarded randomly and there is also a virtual goody bag!

This  sounded like a no-brainer and the perfect venue for me.  Most normal runners would pick a course that was to their advantage and score a personal best, but knowing I was going to be in San Francisco that morning I immediately recruited Lucy to run with me.  Not being the friendliest dog on leash, I wanted to avoid all contact with other dogs (primarily so I wouldn’t trip over the leash  and do a face plant). I outlined a course through Dog Patch and Portero Hill which translates to several steep hills! I ‘should’ be running this distance in under 27 minutes and knowing that wasn’t going to happen I am looking forward to gaining a few PRs in the future (the only distance where this just might be possible).

Of course, rain was on the forecast!  Luckily when I awoke it was overcast, but dry.  With my Garmin in place we were out the door and enjoying a rather warm run (since I overdressed).  I should say I was enjoying it; Lucy thought I was a bit daft for leading her about the streets as I did.  I misjudged the distance with about 1/2 mile to go which meant another hill  and then the rain drops started.  They weren’t gentle and the wind was fierce. Running up 18th over the freeway overpass, I understood what Against the Wind meant in real time.  We had to leave the sidewalk to avoid the blowing tree branches and we couldn’t see with the rain blowing in our faces, but the end was near.  A huge shout out to the SF muni driver who just shook his head as he passed us with a wide berth!  It was over, I was freezing and Lucy was willing to continue!

I promised her the Whole Foods gift certificate should I win that for her boundless energy.  We won no prizes, but I did get a pair of New Balance running shoes since I was part of the Pub Runners’ team and they qualified in some category.  I loved this concept of running (a ‘fellow’ runner was competing off the coast of Angola, Africa where he was based on a Chevron oil rig – how cool is that?) with the low entry fee and complete freedom to run the distance as you choose!  More, please!

I was in San Francisco for a pre planned Paella Dinner which we turned into a birthday celebration for Mike.  I chose the paella menu as I had never made it before.  Since Christopher did all the planning and preparation I still haven’t cooked it!

No excuses, but it has been a wet several weeks and the morning temperatures have been in the low 30s and my YTD mileage is low and my training abysmal though there have been a few good hikes.  First quarter mileage: 151! Happy Easter to all!  Spring is here and I hope to see you on the roads and trails – virtually or in person!

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