Sunday, July 24, 2016

A 50K self-indulgence for a good cause

And so, on Friday, the big day for which I had prepared for nearly six months finally arrived. Erudite Partner drove me the 36 miles to the trailhead near Point Reyes, arriving right on schedule at 7:00am. Good Friend Karen vastly exceeded any conception of comradely duty by showing up at this hour with a bag of donuts -- which I was too keyed up to eat. The fog was dense; the temperature in the low 50s. After a hug from EP, I started my watch and lumbered off into the gray.

Though excited, I wasn't worried. I knew I had done the work to make this course not only possible, but even enjoyable. Back in the day, in my early fifties, I completed 4 road marathons, all of which were uncomfortable and felt unsatisfactory. Eleven years ago, I completed a trail marathon and, for the first time, walked away from the finish both pleased with my effort and feeling good physically.

And then life intervened and I got busy (among other endeavors with this blog). I still "ran" close to 1000 miles a year, but without much focus. I used all this terribly slow and awkward locomotion for training for several hiking and trekking trips and it served me well. I learned that I could, mostly, control my chronic plantar fasciitis (foot pain) by sticking to trails and going slow. Sometimes it would flare up -- this feels as if someone is driving a nail into your heel -- but it always eventually calmed down.

This past winter, despite a nasty bout of PF, I decided that the time had come if I was ever going to venture farther than the marathon distance (26.2 miles) and I knew I wanted to do this on a trail.
The Bay Area Ridge Trail runs a convenient and gorgeous 31 mile distance, from Sir Francis Drake Blvd. to the Golden Gate Bridge. So I had a ready made path to follow.

What starts in a cow pasture becomes a wooded hill in sunshine after 11 miles.

Eleven miles after that, coming off Dias Ridge, the temperature was in the high 70s and I was feeling good. My faithful crew -- the EP and the FoN -- kept me fed and watered.

Nearly three hours later I pulled into the west Bridge parking lot, happy and relaxed. Not bad for an old lady. FoN (Force of Nature) hung a medal on a blue ribbon around my neck.

Anyone who is a "real" runner, whatever that means, might scoff at this effort. Here's the awful truth, the pure statistics.
But damn it, I trained for it, I did it, and I'm feeling great afterward. That's good enough for me.
***
And, together with Erudite Partner, we made this indulgence into a successful fundraiser for Californians for Justice on the 20th anniversary of that valuable organization. The Long Run for the Long Haul has raised over $5500 from over 60 donors. Enormous thanks to all of you!

Not bad for what FoN calls my "mad run." The donation site will stay up til the end of July, just in case someone is feeling motivated to chip in to help the next generation of agitators and organizers.

2 comments:

tina said...

Fantastic!!
In Arabic we congratulate by saying Mabrouk!

Darlene Costner said...

I am so proud that I know you, Jan. You are such a great inspiration to all who know you. Congratulations.

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