As the San Diego Rock N’ Roll is past, I’ve done some thinking that I have begun to effectuate on. A handful of “epiphanies” have made me aware that this road race in was much more than an accumulation of mileage directed towards accomplishing a goal. My uncontained eagerness has me asking what’s next. Last weekend’s race was not just a gathering of endorphin junkies that happen to control the roads, all with the hope of crossing the finish line in the desired time. Okay, maybe it is. Anyways, what this race, and so many other races across the globe represent, are the ultimate hodgepodge of people and, of course, stories. Beach bums, doctors, students, soccer moms, professional runners and everybody in between, all toe the starting line for a multitude of reasons. There is an unspoken respect amongst those participating in almost any race. Almost all have persevered gritty training runs, more than few times, in order to solidify the thought that one might achieve a race-day goal. Thus, resulting in a spectacular post-race environment. The post-race phantasmagorical feeling of euphoria, exhaustion and a much-desired IPA,
First off, arriving in San Diego a couple of days before was absolutely ideal. Surfboards loaded and a charged GoPro ready, we were fully prepared to embrace our advantageous proximity to Mission Beach. Our “routine” consisted of: killer breakfast and coffee overlooking Mission Bay, ocean, lunch, stretch, espresso beans and more ocean followed by dinner. Needless to say, I could get used to that type of schedule.
Finally, race day arrived. It was very dark and very early. We arrived on time, took care of the anticipatory bathroom stop and lined up in our coral. After a poignant moment of silence for those in Boston followed by a powerful National Anthem, we were ready. The intensified mood under the June gloom meant that it was time. It’s always amusing to watch so many people hammer down the first few miles out of the gate. It’s hard not to rev it up and keep up, but I have made that mistake before. You pay for it later. It sucks. Sans Garmin, I found a rhythm early on and cruised the first half in the desired time. Between miles 16-20, the goal was to maintain the groove and stay patient. The gradual climb up the 168 (miles 21-22) wouldn’t have been so bad if it weren’t the sharp stomachache that stuck like needles in my side. Anyways, that’s part of the race. Find a groove, experience an inevitable problem (major or minor), embrace the issue at hand and move on. My pain subsided quickly after what I witnessed while grimacing up a hill at mile 23. A wheelchair participant was having trouble gathering enough momentum to reach the peak was almost stalled before the top. Without even saying anything, a marathon runner caught the wheelchair participant, and proceeded to push him 100 or so yards up the hill. Mind you, this is mile 23. Marathoners are typically always wary of the clock so that they can meet their desired goal. This individual understood that helping the man up the hill was much more significant than his result. It was extremely humbling to witness such an unselfish act that I will not forget. The crowds grew larger at each turn along with my excitement. I saw the finish near Petco Park and fed off the crowd noise to finish strong. I crossed the finish line and met up with the crew after various failed attempts at trying to find a comfortable position, whether it be sitting or standing.
We were all stoked beyond belief because the race was the perfect cap to an outstanding weekend. Rob, Brit, Erica, Cat and Huddy all crushed it! The positivity was overflowing. The excitement of being there with this crew was inspiring. The post-race pizza and IPA in Ocean Beach was the perfect recovery fuel. Hahaha.
As we cruised the gloomy coastline back to the S.L.O., the thrill of excitement remained a constant until we arrived back, ragged and stoked, and crashed out. After a week’s reflection upon the past weekend’s experience, I appreciate these endurance events because they are indicative of so much more than just a race. No matter the distance, each race embodies some degree of self-discipline, sacrifice, progression, positivity, intensity, gratitude and a zeal for living life. Enough said. It is beyond inspiring being around so many enthusiastic and driven individuals. It is a constant reminder that we should appreciate the fact that we are able to live a healthy and active lifestyle with others. When we embrace that lifestyle, we will be progressing with like-minded, enthusiastic people. I consider that to be optimal living. Onward and upward we march into the future.
Song of the week: Ewert and the Two Dragons – Good Man Down. Catchy jam.