Today's run powered by GUSTER.
Decided today was the day to kick off my training for the Bay to Breakers in San Francisco. It's only eight weeks away and I have not been running. Got to get my feet ready for 7 miles in my VFFs. I've run farther than that in them before but there's a lot of downhill from the entrance to Golden Gate Park to the finish at Ocean Beach...THAT's the part that needs some preparation.
Truth be told, I have been inspired this week by running things my pals are doing, and I just can't bear being left behind anymore. For example...
My friend Bob, who lives in Tokyo, survived last week's massive earthquake. Chances are you've heard me speak of him before. Bob's in his 60s...and a damned sight more serious about his marathon running than I've ever been. If memory serves, his goal in last year's Los Angeles Marathon was 3:04. He missed that goal by fewer minutes than fingers you have on one hand. He was glad the race was over, but not pleased he'd not met his goal. He's going back next week...to just do it this time. This after getting stuck in downtown Tokyo last Friday, as train service came to an abrupt halt. Buses and taxis were apparently no option, so, what did Bob do? He walked and jogged the nine miles home. One last training session for next Sunday in LaLaLand. If I were a betting man, I'd put serious cash down on Bob doing 3:03!
Then there's Patti. We've run many miles together, training and otherwise. We've both also fallen off the running bandwagon recently and have been looking for something to rekindle the spark. She has been toying with the idea of going barefoot or VFFs for sometime. Last week she tried barefootin...and was intrigued. Rumor is she may have purchased her Vibram Five Fingers today. She's running Bay to Breakers, too.
Patti and I invited her brother, John, to go on a run with us a couple or three years ago...back when he smoked. He huffed and puffed and kept up...and then decided to get serious. My secret hope at the time was that if we got him into running marathons with us...perhaps only a little bit faster than me, which is not fast by anyone's measure, he'd be one more guy to buy beers at the end of the race. He's now PRing nearly every race he runs, and has launched his triathalon adventures. We have created a monster. John, if we ever run the same event again, the brews are on you. It's only right.
And then there's my London friend, Marty. He's recently back from running the Tokyo Marathon and setting a 3:30 PR...while battling some serious leg pain. He's one of those folks who signs up, apparently, for marathons by the dozen...in some amazing places around the world...and then runs them! I'm not sure how he does it. The name of his blog is "For the Shirt"...but I expect there's more to his running passion than collecting free logo tees. We have only met online but have a standing agreement that the next time I am in my favorite place in the world (London, duh!) we will be sharing a brew or two, and some tasty stories.
As if having runner friends in London and Tokyo is not inspiration enough, how about having a dear friend in Athens, where this whole merrython thing began? I'll take it. I'll take Joanna. Her first ever marathon was Athens last year. She and her running club, the Slow Turtles, took me on board and got me into the race that I, so sadly, did NOT get to run. But she set a brilliant pace for her first-ever, and continues to run today. Her's is a passion for running that I once had, and hope to regain, with her as a model. Today, she ran a 20K race in 1:53. She's getting faster..and still smiling that Jo smile.
Last, but surely not least, there's another online-only-so-far friend, Rachel. Ah, youth! In her case, it would appear, it is not being wasted on the young. If I remember correctly, we connected online as she was training for Santa Barbara Marathon. Apparently she found something useful in my blogging about my 12in12. I then became intrigued by her commitment and passion for going long distance. As of this writing she has either just completed or is about to finish her first ultra marathon. She, too, has an amazing smile, if the more than 2000 pictures on her Facebook page are to be believed. I am hoping she's smiling this evening...at the end of 50k.
Today's five miler, and my 25 mile bike ride last Monday, gave me a fairly impressive mileage total for the week. I am hoping to keep it going. With friends like these, how could I not.
Gotta run! Gotta ride!