Vicarious Racing

30 Oct

It’s a strange feeling walking to campus on Sunday mornings…the sun is just rising, the world is still sleeping, and everything is eerily quiet. As I walked out of my apartment this morning, I passed the remnants of last night’s HARD Halloween festival and a few of downtown LA’s many homeless people searching the trashcans. It’s always a mixture of fear and sadness when I see them and wonder what they’re thinking about. I decided to warm up with a loop around campus, and as I rounded the corner, I was suddenly face to face with hundreds of runners coming straight towards me! Apparently this morning was the Rock n’ Roll LA Half-Marathon, and I was just in time. Two young kids who were heading over to watch the race spotted me and started cheering. No matter that I was going the opposite direction and didn’t have a race bib – I was still a runner in their eyes. I was suddenly overcome by a wave of energy and excitement…it was the runner’s high, a feeling I haven’t experienced since the LA Marathon last March. I was still smiling when I met up with my team and continued smiling until I arrived back at the Lyon Center after a successful 8 miles – the longest I’ve run in 6 months.

It was brutally hot, and I started to get low on glycogen and salt, but I focused on my stride and kept my pace steady. Definitely not the most enjoyable 8 miles of my life, but I was happy. I knew I was back to the running community.

Author and runner Leslie Haywood sums it up perfectly – “The Marathon is now a cultural event, an activity that has now become communally based. I love the endorphins, the sense of well-being, the boost to brain function, and the sense of immersion. And I love belonging to a world and community that is larger than myself.”

The rest of the day has been filled with stretching, physics, smoothies, physics, napping, physics, oh, and did I mention, physics? The wise Giancoli (author of my physics textbook) describes in detail the static equilibrium of muscles as they bear weight, and I have a feeling I’m going to be calculating the torque of my quads in my head next time I’m at the gym. Maybe ignorance IS bliss sometimes.

Back to work 🙂

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