Sunday, July 31, 2011

Waking up on the wrong side of the bed

Sunday I woke up in a bad mood. It was my birthday, which probably had a little something to do with it. I guess I can’t complain too much about turning 36, but just last week my 2-year-old pointed to my face and said, “What’s this, Mama?” “A wrinkle, sweetie.”
Quin was quickly forgiven, but not so much my husband Jon, who was rolling on the floor laughing. Despite caked-on sunblock, all these hours training in the sun are going to take their toll.

But regardless of my birthday, I was mostly annoyed because I should have been running in the Wharf to Wharf race in Santa Cruz County that morning. Due to a miscommunication with the race director, I didn't realize they had accepted me in the elite field. That's unfortunate because I really needed a race. I was going to use it as a tune up before my next two races, which will have some very tough competition. Some people use the term “rust buster” which is exactly what I needed seeing that I have not finished a high-level race successfully since competing in the Cross Country World Championships in Spain way back in March. That race feels like ages ago.

I guess I am not the only one who gets grumpy over races. My coach also works with a women who has won the Pittsburgh marathon in the past. Now, she is a good masters runner who usually wins local races and mostly runs for fun. She was just telling him of a recent race and how a young college girl ran just behind her the entire race and then kicked by her at the very end. This was upsetting, and I don’t blame her. It’s one of my pet-peeves when other people aren’t willing to share in the work of leading a race and then go for the win at the last possible second. As the late great Steve Prefontaine once said, “I run to see who has the most guts.” I hate gutless racers.

Even though I have not raced to get a benchmark lately, my coach is pretty good at predicting what kind of shape I'm in and is pleased with the progress we have made, particularly these last few weeks. Saturday I did a hilly tempo run for 6 miles, averaging 5 minutes and 18 seconds per mile and felt comfortable. We have been experimenting with a new course with more hills. The Marina Dunes State park has a newly paved bike path and has been working out great. It also has some of the best views of Monterey Bay.

I left Saturday’s workout feeling pleased with myself, which is why I was surprised to wake up in a foul mood knowing the race was going on without me. But as the day unfolded I slowly snapped out of my funk. I did a nice 18 mile run in Fort Ord, probably running a little too fast since I was frustrated. I drove home and found Jon pushing his bike up the hill with Quin’s bike and carrying Quin with his other arm. He was exhausted and out of breath. This time I got to chuckle. Pay back, buddy. While Jon recovered, Quin and I had lunch on the beach and played a while before naptime.

I did manage to milk my birthday for all it was worth. As Jon and I were relaxing on the couch during Quin’s nap I mentioned how I sure would love some frozen yogurt with lots of peanut butter cups. Jon was not too thrilled that he was going to have to brave Cannery Row on a Sunday afternoon, but got up and left with a sarcastic, “back in two hours.” Later Quin woke and wanted to ride his bike to the fire station — again. While we were down there on this beautiful afternoon, I could hardly remember why I woke up in such a bad mood.

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