Monday, June 2, 2008

Looping the Loop

Well I had a great time again this weekend volunteering at the Loop 30k. Summary as follows - worked packets, marked trail, did setup, drank beer, did various odd jobs, cheered on runners, talked to friends (some of whom I hadn't seen for a while), ate some hot dogs, did some teardown, drank more beer, went home, slept. I've discovered that working these races is almost as much fun as running them (sometimes more so). I've also been challenged to emulate a very impressive move on a stability ball (involving a plank rolling up into pike rolling up into a handstand) before the next race (we had a few quiet moments at packet pickup). Now that's me out of the way, let's move on to the real story.

Nancy ran the 30k - only her second race of this distance (her first was the Maze) and enjoyed herself. She did really well, especially considering she was only running road 5ks up until this year. Since January, she's run two road half marathons, and two 25k and two 30k trail races. She was worried beforehand that she wouldn't be able to make the cutoff because she's not fast, but she's got a lot of heart and if I had to put money on anyone to finish a race I'd put it on her. I'd been out marking the first half of the course the evening before and I knew how rocky parts of it were (no real big hills, but almost constant up and down), but it turns out she prefers this terrain to the windy dirt trails of Walnut Creek.

She was going to run with another friend of ours - Celeste - who was running her first 30k trail race. I've known Celeste for a number of years - we both joined the same running group to train for our first marathon four or five years ago. She was the first person I met on the first day, both wondering what we'd gotten ourselves into. Back then we'd just found out that Nancy was expecting and all season Celeste would ask me how "little Iestyn" was doing (Iestyn was our top pick for a boy's name, but when he was born we both thought he looked more like a Gavin). We've kept in touch ever since, but how strange that they'd end up training and running trails together.

Anyway, the girls had a very enjoyable run and I think they chatted the entire way. Every time they came through the start/finish they had big smiles, and I'd refill Nancy's handheld with pedialtye (my secret weapon) and make sure they were both getting enough salty stuff. They finished together in around 4 hours and 50 minutes so they were well ahead of the cutoff, but more importantly they really enjoyed running together.

Reward supper last night was my "Greek" hamburger - basically lean beef patties (I guess for really authentic Greek it should have been lamb) stuffed with feta cheese, and seasoned with black pepper and rock salt. The sauce was a mustard/mayo/relish/ketchup/garlic/red onion combination with some tomato, lettuce and pickle served on grilled wholewheat buns with some spicy potato wedges on the side. They were pretty good.

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