25K (plus 13 Miles) So Far In Summer

So since my last blog entry (which was admittedly quite a while ago), Lucie and I have been taking part in several activities that, if you had suggested to us we'd be doing a couple of years ago, we'd have laughed at you for even suggesting; some of which were done with my sister joining us (or rather, joining me; since this allows Lucie to jog instead of feeling like she has to limit herself by walking with her slow and gimpy husband.)

I *think* that sentence makes sense; lots of different tenses, though, so grammar might very well be way off.  Then again, this is a blog, so grammar don't matter none (or speling neither.)

Anyway, since our first foray into doing 5Ks, we've taken part in quite a few events; let's relive them in order:

5/18: The Color Run, benefitting the American Diabetes Association

Like a few other races, this one started at the soon-to-be-renamed HP Pavilion in downtown San Jose.  The Color Run is actually a for-profit business, although they do make charitable donations to local organizations; in the San Jose event, they donated to the American Diabetes Organization.  In the Color Run, participants start off wearing white or light colored clothing; at each kilometer marker is a "color station", where race volunteers fling brightly colored powders at the runners as they pass.  In the pictures I took, our clothing eventually goes from white, to white and pink, to white and pink and yellow, then adding orange, then blue, then purple.  At the end of the race is essentially a big rave, with loud dance music and hundreds if not thousands of dyed people jumping and dancing and -- in ten-minute intervals -- throwing clouds of bright powders into the air to color the crowd around them.  It's fun, but Lucie and I both feel WAY too old (and antisocial) to rave along with the young kids, so we throw our included-with-the-race-packet bags of colored powder at each other and some people nearby, then head back home.

The Color Run was fun but felt a little too "young" for us; we're glad we did it and would recommend it to other people wanting to have a fun time, but will probably pass next year and leave it to younger and more festive participants.  I did enjoy getting a custom dye job on my clothes, though.

6/2: The Race for Literacy on behalf of the San Jose Public Library, benefitting the India Literacy Project

A race suggested by and done with my sister, the Race for Literacy took place at Vasona Park.  We join the SJPL race team, and get spiffy race shirts customized with the team name.  For this race, the three of us walk together for the first five minutes as Lucie warms up, then she jogs ahead while my sister and I walk and keep each other company.  Laura and I chat as we walk the crowded path along the lake, pause for a bit as my bad knee gets aggravated when I walk uphill without being careful enough, and meet up with Lucie at the finish line, where she completed the race about 10-15 minutes before we do.

The paths at Vasona Park are a little narrow for a big crowded event like this, and the volunteers seem a little subdued rather than supportive; but it's for a good cause, it's a nice day, and the three of us enjoy a nice breakfast at The Breakfast Place afterward... all in all, this makes for a very enjoyable day.

6/29: USO Salutes Our Heroes, benefitting the USO

Another race starting at the still-named-this-but-soon-to-be-renamed,-honest HP Pavilion, this is the first in a hopefully long run of annual events to support the USO.  Laura joins us for this event as well. Other than the three of us, the turnout for this event is unfortunately pretty small -- a combination, we suspect, of this being an inaugural event and inadequate word-of-mouth and marketing -- but the support staff (as should be expected of the USO) is outstanding; numerous, and very well organized, and vocally supportive of both the event and the participants. Plus, S. J. Sharkie shows up, as well as Darth Vader, an Imperial Stormtrooper, an Imperial Scout Trooper (and yes, I recognized the difference between the two) and a generic Imperial commander; so total geek bonus points.

The timing on the event is a little unfortunate, as San Jose is going through its annual mini heat wave (as hot as the Bay Area gets, at any rate), so Laura and I sweat profusely as we walk the route along the Guadalupe Creek Trail (and Lucie sweats more as she does her walk/jog combination ["wogging", she calls it]) but we manage to survive the ordeal.  Despite the heat, though, we consider this a great event -- thanks in no small part to the USO volunteers and staff -- and we really hope they continue this event as an annual thing.

7/13: Rotary Run at the Fig, benefitting the Rotary Club of Fresno

Laura decides to be selfish and stay in San Jose with our mom who's visiting from New Mexico instead of driving the four hours down to Fresno just for this event, but whatever.    Instead, Lucie and I head down to Fresno to take part in a race on her birthday; Lucie takes part in the 5K and I do the 2-mile walk (as my bad knee is currently dictating my exercise regimen.)  Because this is in Fresno, during the summer, the race begins at 6:30 in the morning... so we do show up at the Fig Garden in Fresno a few seconds late (as in literally, Lucie starts the 5K about 10 seconds after the rest of the crowd.)  

The route is questionable, as it winds its way through the nearby neighborhoods; and the end point of the race is not as racer-friendly as we'd like (I get a nice picture of the delivery truck after it tries to go under the balloon arch shortly after the 2-mile walk is over and gets stuck); and even though we start way freaking early it's still scorchingly hot by the time we finish... It's not our shiniest race day moment, but Lucie gets an Achievement Unlocked! for her goal of running a 5K on her birthday.  Plus, I get a cool shot of me, my awesome Fresno-based nephew (also wearing some tie dye), and the mascot of frozen yogurt joint Yodigity in all of our bright and festive colors.  So, that's pretty sweet.

7/21: West Valley Dash of Hope, benefitting West Valley Community Services

Another 5K at Vasona Park, and another event with my sister.  Although this takes place in the same park, the route itself is different, with more changes in elevation and -- for at least part of the race -- wider paths, so it definitely comes across as less crowded, which is nice.  It's also a lot more competitive in feel, which isn't as nice because Laura and I lag well behind almost everyone and come in very close to last since we're probably the only ones walking the course instead of running (or wogging.)  We do get a nice photo of us jogging the last couple hundred feet or so toward the finish line as the crowd of runners who finished ahead of us cheer us on, which is nice; and Lucie gets a personal best time for wogging the route.  It's still a warm day, but Vasona has much better shade than the Guadalupe Creek Trail or suburban Fresno, so we're not as affected.  There's an uphill stretch near the end that goes over some rocky dirt, though, and my knee doesn't take it very well -- it's throbbing a bit as we finish the race (and jogging on it for that last section probably didn't help too much either, to be sure) but it's still a nice race and a good time.

Also some good support at this event, with volunteers handing out bagels, bananas, and drinks; and a Jamba Juice tent selling their tasty fruit smoothies (with proceeds going toward West Valley Community Services, the charity of the day.)  If my knee gets better (or replaced), we're going to do this one again next year.  Good race, good cause, and good location.

7/27: Wipeout Cancer Sports Day for Charity

This is another first-year event, started by a woman who was diagnosed with colon cancer after having won on the TV show Wipeout and taken part in American Ninja Warrior on two different seasons; the charity she created for cancer research is named for her experience on the show.  Taking place at the Campbell Community Center, the day consists of a children's obstacle course, adult volleyball tournament, and bicycle rides; all of which are her favorite sports pastimes.  Lucie and I opt for the 13-mile family fun ride rather than the 30-mile or 60-mile competitive rides because we're sane people.

From the Campbell Community Center, we ride through downtown Campbell to the Los Gatos Creek trail, then head south; following the trail through Los Gatos Creek Park (where Lucie and I had participated in Kaiser's "Personal Best" fitness program earlier in the year), then further south through Vasona Park (following, in part, the same trails we'd taken in both of our 5K events [we seem to be doing an awful lot more physical activities than we have ever done, we reflect as we ride]) and all the way into Los Gatos, where we rest for a few minutes before heading back along the same path.

This ends up being about a 13.5 mile round trip bike ride... or at least, it would have been if I didn't get a flat tire and walk my bike for about half a mile before someone  else in our group stops and helps me with some emergency roadside assistance.  I never did get the guy's name, but probably made him a little uncomfortable with how profusely I was thanking him as he popped off my rear wheel, found the root cause which had been giving me issues for the last couple of weeks (the bike shop in Fresno had apparently damaged my rim when they put in heavy-duty tubes, creating a sharp chunk of aluminum right next to the valve stem, which chewed its way through three different inner tubes before it was discovered -- gonna have to give them a negative review on Yelp about that, methinks), replaced the bad tube (which was actually missing the valve stem, as it had blown completely off [lost a brand-spankin'-new pink ribbon stem cap along with it, too]), used my emergency CO2 inflator, and had me back up and running (technically pedaling, I suppose) in just a couple of minutes.  Whoever you are, thanks again.

Anyway, we get back to the Campbell Community Center, partake briefly of the lunch offered (High Tech Burrito, out of Los Gatos), and get my bike fixed at Mike's Bikes before heading home.  Other than the frustrating flat tire incident -- this being the third flat tire in as many rides, I was incredibly tempted to throw my bike into the creek in a fit of impulsive rage -- this was a good day.  Our first biking event, my newish bike being fixed (haven't had a flat tire since, despite over 50 miles ridden, which is a good sign), and some more exercise in the sun.  And a tasty burrito, too.


So there you have it -- including the first 5K at Great America, we've taken part in six different 5K events, one bike ride, and a kayak ride (more on that one another time) in just the last few months.  If you had suggested even a year and a half ago that we'd be doing this, even the thought of that being a possibility would have had us laughing our butts off... now, we're walking / wogging / biking them off instead.

Hey -- whatever works.