Saturday, May 07, 2011

May is Here

The time is flying by.  May is here!  The fire season is set to kick off in this neck of the woods, and I can't wait for some business!  Winter has been boring, but the end of winter many thing changed the Humboldt lifestyle.  Running, hiking, a new car.  The car is probably by far the biggest of the bunch, as now I can explore around me the fullest, find new places and events to run, and discover hikes that take me deep into new territory. 

My first race was May 1st.  The Avenue of the Giants.  I was signed up for the 10k.  My son, Sam came over with his buddy, Dalton and family, to run the half-marathon as part of their senior project.  This turned out awesome.  I got to pick up Sam in Eureka and spend the day with him.  We watched a parade in Eureka, went to the Baymont for sushi, mmmmmmm, checked out College of the Redwoods, drove down to the race to pick up our race packets, then returned for Sam's first look at Dad's new place in Fortuna.  We went to Taco Loco, my favorite mexican in town, for a pre-race dinner.  Tasty!!

Race day was exciting, driving down to my first race.  Took off later than I wanted, but early enough to avoid too bad a jam for parking.  LOTS of people!  Was amazed at the number of people racing in each event.  Sam went looking for his friend, and I took off to the Marathon start to see if I could find Chandra, my friend running the marathon, and inspiration for returning to running.  Yeah, RIGHT!  Wasn't gonna find anyone with all those people!  I just soaked it all in and enjoyed the start, saw Sam and crew off shortly following on the Half, and got myself ready for my race, the last to start.

I was nervous and excited.  I had been nursing a sore knee and hadn't run the last few weeks.  I was in new shoes that had almost zero miles on them.  But I felt great!  Had 3 goals for the race: 1. Finish   2. Focus on form   3. Smile     I took off and didn't pay attention to anyone around me, just ran at my pace, with my form, steady.  I felt great.  I didn't need any drink at the aid stations and felt like my pace was good.  I had, of course, forgot to start my own stopwatch, grrrrr.  I just ran.  I kept a constant smile, that was very infectious, really enjoyed myself.  People passed me, I told them 'Great job!', I passed people, I said 'Great job'.  I was pretty cool.  Before I knew it I was at the halfway turn around.  I ate a few Power Blasts, and increased my pace ever so slightly.  On the way back I started to see the marathoners and half-marathoners.  I kept pumping away.  When I saw the bridge at the finish, I really started kickin it.  Came across the line with an official 56:16 for 6.2 miles.  A Personal Record (PR) for me, since its my first time ever.

I got my medal at the finish line and headed to the big bend in the course where marathoners were starting to come around.  From this point I could see both the marathoners or the half-marathoners.  Before long big tall Sam came jamming across the bridge, practically full sprint!  Sam finished his half-marathon at 1:53:37, awesome job, Sam!!!  Dalton came in a few minutes behind Sam, lookin good for not quite training as much as he had hoped.  They kicked it and were heading slowly homeward to Yreka.  Great times!!  I headed back to the bend and soon spotted Chandra reaching her half-way point with a big smile and looking  energetic and strong! Vroom, she was off! I sat around the finish line and enjoyed all the variety of people coming across the finish lines in their races.  Really neat experience.  Before I knew it, Chandra was coming to the finish line, a long 26.2 miles finally over.  I am in awe at anyone running that distance, and hope to one day reach that point.  Incredible!!

I finished the awesome day with more sushi at the Bayfront with Fern and Chandra, a couple Great Whites, and homeward.  I was so sore I could barely move.  I re-aggravated my knee a little but no where close to how it was, shouldn't be long before its stronger than before.

Already signed up for 2 more 10k runs down in Vacaville and Davis, where Christy and John live.  Be awesome to see them, share some brews, and I've been told, possibly enter the race with me.  I hope so, would be great!!  Also thinking of signing up for my first half-marathon Octoberish, the Redwoods one.  We'll see how the training, knee, and future races go to decide.

Another batch of beer is bubbling away.  Making a Honey Porter, from Austin Homebrew Supply (AHS). their recipes.  Great ingredients, really looking and tasting nice so far.  Just racked it into the glass carboy a few days ago, should be bottling next Thurs, 3 weeks aging for perfection.  

Started working the HIKE into my exercise routine.  Karen, my friend down south, inspired me to hit the hills, since she is non-stop pounding the trails into dust every day.  I got a nice trail book of the area (thx, Chandra!) and have been knocking out hikes, starting with ones close by.  I did some nice trails up in Russ Park in Ferndale, hit Centerville Beach North, trails through Rohnerville Park in FortunaMattole Rd, and hit Squaw Creek Ridge trail to Whiskey Flat Camp.  Was a nice 5.5 mile round trip.  Beautiful cool day.  Whiskey Flat was a neat grove of redwoods where an old whiskey still use to be during prohibition times.  My legs needed the hike, my knee didn't.  grrrrr, might have to solely bike for a few weeks till my knee is back. 

Have a ton of hikes planned, would be awfully nice to do them with someone, makes the time go so much quicker.  Also working on more runs.  My barefoot training is up to 30 second runs.  I have a new pair of 'barefoot' shoes.  They are not the five toe ones.  They are the Merrell Trail Gloves.  Love em.  Fit like a glove, zero drop, great soles and vibram tread.  Keeping my training short distances but it has helped my running form so much I incorporate some 'barefoot' training into every week.  Anyone who is interested in a great book, read  "Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen" by Christopher McDougall. This guy knows how to write a story!!  His storytelling is superb, fast-paced, compelling.  A truly incredible story for anyone.  

With the new car, got to visit back home.  Everyone is doing well.  Emily got lots of time driving in the new car, and shortly after I left, went through the Training Wheels program with a 97% completion!! AWESOME JOB!!  She is a great driver.  Little bit of time driving with mom now and she'll have her permit and license.  Sam has been incredibly busy with school, track, and his senior year.  I don't know how he keeps going.  Endless activities!!  Hope to head back over soon in spring/summer to help with a big garage sale that has been long overdue.  

Still haven't met any new friends in Humboldt.  Reconnected with a couple of friends in the area, Fern (Christy) and Chandra.  So its been nice to see some familiar faces now and again.  And to hear Fern, of course, on the local radio station, The Point, with her public service announcement!  Awesome!  Love it every time I hear it.  Reconnected with some others across the distances, which has been incredible.  really needing more of a social life here in Humboldt.  Really thought coming back over here I was somehow going to be coming back to something I remember from over 25 years ago.  HAAAHHAAA  Yeah, right!  I've changed, the world's changed, the area has really changed.  I relate to it in a whole different way.  But my newfound freedom in the car will allow me to explore and hopefully meet some new people.  We'll see.

For those who didn't know, my 'new' car is a used 2006 Hyundai Sonata, V6, fully loaded.  Really comfortable and plush car.  Rides like a dream.  For a V6 gets decent gas mileage.  Reset the computer when I drove it off the lot and have been able to maintain around 28 MPG so far.  Got 105,000 on it but from what I've read, this is break-in mileage for these cars.  Hope it sees a couple more hundred thousand before I give it up.  

Weather is starting to warm up a wee bit.  One more winter like we just went through, I will be looking for other living possibilities.  For someone into hiking and running, this last winter just killed me.  In the future: backpacking trip in August, 25 year reunion that I'm still unsure whether I'll attend (would be a great place to start doing some of that 'meeting people').  Few races, work.  I joined a local running club, the Six Rivers Running Club (they actually put on the Avenue marathon).  They have runs weekly, the only ones I can make are Saturday mornings through the Arcata Community Forest.  I should be able to make a few of those and look forward to it.  My bike that I cursed and parked should see some more activity while my knee gets fully healed.

Saw Thor in 3-D.  Was pretty awesome.  The story was so-so, but Marvel's 3-D experience was quite the trip.  Really enjoyed the 3-D, never ceases to amaze me.  This is in Real-D (not the red/green glasses) and is digital projected on a 30' tall screen.  Incredible!  With all the 3-D movies, I feel privileged to live near the only Real-D theater in Humboldt County to see these.  I'm shrinking.  All the activity has me down to 159.  Had to buy new pants because my old 36s I had to have a huge belt or pull them up.  32s are so much nicer.  Could use  a little more meat on my bones but no luck so far, no matter what I eat.  

Got some big upcoming events in the next month or so.  Really look forward to some incredible experiences and great times with some awesome possibilities.  We'll see how it goes!! Love everyone!

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