Saturday, January 1, 2011

Why I moved to California

Watching the East Coast get pummeled by the first of many snowstorms this week, made me remember why I moved to California almost eight years ago.

Before coming to the Monterey Bay area, my husband Jon and I had moved from my hometown in North Carolina to Boston to work with Bob Sevene, who still coaches me today.

We moved to Boston in December and I remember calling Jon at work and asking why it was pitch dark at 4 p.m.

“Oh, I forgot to tell you,” he answered sheepishly, “it gets dark earlier here . . . oh, and it will be cold until about April.”

The censors keep me from reporting my reply, but suffice to say that after my rant I slammed the receiver down .

I am not sure how I endured the winter training back then. We used to meet our workout partners at an indoor track in Boston after work. Often we wouldn’t start workouts until 7:30 p.m. and we would warm-up and warm-down on the cold, icy streets of Boston.

It wasn’t the best part of town and it wasn’t uncommon for our cars to get broken into.

Once, my coach and another athlete caught a thief in the act. The athlete ran to get help. When the police arrived, Coach Sev was there waiting calmly, leaning against the car. The burglar was on the ground in a fetal position. Word to the wise: Don’t try to break into a car with my coach around.

In 2004, I was training for the Olympic Marathon Trials and my coach had already moved to Monterey. He convinced me to take a leave of absence from work because I was struggling to get quality workouts in with the cold and ice in February and March. Luckily, I had tons of vacation time saved up, so it worked out great to come train in nice weather the five weeks before the Trials. I was here about a week when I called my husband and said, “Sell the house. I’m not coming home.” Jon then said, “You are serious. . . . Fine, but I am bringing the kegerator!”

A kegerator keeps a beer keg cold and you don’t talk about moving those unless you’re deadly serious.

Jon flew out to see why I wanted to move and said he felt like he was on a junket.

Needless to say, here we are! Gone are the days of diving over snow banks to avoid being hit by a car or setting out on all my runs in the dark. I almost always can run in shorts and a T-shirt in Monterey weather.

Even Christmas Day I managed to get in a quick run before the storm hit.

There were lots of families out walking, and I even ran past of a pack of nine deer walking down a Pacific Grove street.

I never forget how much I love living and training here.

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