Sunday, September 12, 2010

Why do I bother?

Got up this morning in time to see an unexpected entrant, Ryan Hall, demolish the Tioga Pass Run, which starts in front of the Mono Lake Committee and finishes at the entrance to Yosemite Park--a 3200 ft climb. Apparently, he does similar runs somewhat regularly--gez--especially on Rock Creek Rd. He ran over a full minute faster per mile, on average, than the second place finisher, which could have been me, except I took the easy way out and didn't run. But I was able to give Sara, his wife, and an elite runner as well, a lift to the top. We stopped at various turnouts to cheer him on; he hardly needed it. Nice to chat with her, though, and hear about life in Mammoth. At the top, Ryan declared, "I can't believe other people are doing this." Well said. People are amazing. I dropped them off in Lee Vining so that they could head up to the Whoa Nellie Deli for some grub.

I didn't run, until later in the day, that is. Fresh with inspiration, and guilt (I mean, if Ryan could take down Tioga Pass only a month from his goal race, the Chicago Marathon--and only a week from a half-marathon in Philly--then why couldn't I have, two months away from my race?), I took to Aqueduct Road. But goddamn if it wasn't very long until I was feeling lousy. On flat-to-rolling terrain, I was probably going slower than Ryan earlier in the day. Why do I bother? I thought. The legs were tired and tight--from yesterday, I suppose--and my stomach was churning. Only went 16, which was the plan. A good riddance run.

The most awkward (and funny) moments of the day, however, were atop Tioga Pass, where after the race numerous people began mistaking me for Ryan. They'd come over to shake hands, though I was wearing corduroys, a fleece, and flip flops, leaning idly against the stone wall beyond which was Yosemite. "I'm not Ryan," I had to say, several times. "He's cooling down." Sara joked that I should take the prize basket (if there was any) and make my get away.

When I got home, a friend of my housemates, who was visiting, said, "Didn't I just see you running up Tioga Pass?"

"No," I said, with a laugh, "that was someone else."

16 mi, 111 min; O+B on Aqueduct Rd from the base of Horse Meadows Rd to the backside of Grant Lake

Week total: 80 mi/6 days -- Not bad, considering. Gonna try harder next week.

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