Thing is, when I walked out the door today, I knew where I wanted to finish my run, I just didn’t know exactly how to get there. What the hell. I figured I’d figure it out along the way. What good is a run without some form of doubt lingering in an anal retentive state of mind. Let’s just call it therapy.
I tried to keep the gear basic. Old school hand-held with water only, ball cap and headphones. The shorts with no pockets were new for me, but I was able to stuff the wad of TP under the elastic belt around my waist. Emergencies? Not a problem. All good until I glanced at my shadow on the trail and saw the TP flickering like a five foot birthday streamer from my ass. Why were those people laughing at me?
Ok, I have to admit it. I hate being passed by other runners. I don’t care if I’m doing an hour-long tempo run, or a five-hour long run. I just can’t let it go. So when this portly guy and his yellow lab ran by me on the way up the climb out of Buck Gully, I told myself to remain calm, to not get worked up. To consider this just a form of therapy.
As soon as he stopped to walk, I seized the moment and sprinted by him and refused to look back. Therapy assignment blown.
It wasn’t more than an hour later when I was startled by the sound of more feet seeking to dethrone my appointed pace. I know the term neurotic might be entering your mind now, but give me a minute here. There were three of them, two men and one woman, and they blew by me like a freight train. It happened so fast I just shook my head and told myself to ignore it. Why ruin my long run by chasing them, I thought to myself.
Then I looked up and noticed two of them were wearing Hoka’s, and now I was just a couple of feet behind them. None of them were carrying water. They surged ahead again, but I stayed with them. Next thing I know I’m running next to the lead runner complementing him on his pace. This, I assume, provoked the hammer to be thrown down by him, which meant the race was on. We quickly dropped his friends and continued to pick up the pace. I guess my training is working because, again, I refused to look back. Now that was therapeutic.
By now I realized I’d blown my goal of going easy and long. Today was, well, just long. And I still had not made it to my destination! Turns out I had to hit some city streets to make it all the way to this gem. But when I arrived, I realized all the neurosis was worth it.
From Newport Beach to Swallows Inn, San Juan Capistrano, 26 miles via the circuitous route. Try it sometime, you just might obsess on it.
Keep it real runners.