Monday, July 25, 2005

Wharf-to-Wharf Weekend

I knew five people who were in the Wharf-to-Wharf run in Santa Cruz yesterday although it was such a big event, I didn't find anyone! So how did it go? From our little group, Lynn, Juliana, Caroline, and I were planning on being there. I heard from Lynn that she had a great time and it seemed as if she took the time to really appreciate the spectacles and music along the route. My approach, not surprisingly I suppose, was to run it as fast as possible with Jennifer (my wife) worried that I would give myself a heart attack.
It was hard getting out of the crowds (15,000 runners!) at the beginning although I had been warned (thanks, Tamra) that many people completely disregard the pace signs and there were quite a few walkers or very slow joggers packed up right near the starting line. I started probably within 50' of the start line. It still took me 15 seconds or more to get to the starting line after the gun went off and I was often blocked by slower runners during the first mile which was officially was 7 minutes 20 seconds. I ran hard, passing a lot of people in the first couple of miles. It seems like no matter how long the race is, I feel like stopping with about 2 miles to go! So I was getting fatigued around mile 4 and was very much looking forward to finishing but I tried to keep it all together and I hung on until the end. I was quite happy to see the finish line at the end of that long downhill. The announcer was calling out that the top 100 finishers were still coming in, so I pretty much sprinted the last couple hundred yards. In hindsight, I should have remembered based on the 2004 results that there was no way I could be in the top 100 males and that the announcer must have been referring to the women finishers. Anyway, I was pretty happy with my performance all-in-all, and my time of 40 minutes 20 seconds would've made me tie with the 62nd woman last year! (Hey, I have to look for positive reinforcement where I can get it!)
I did enjoy the sights and sounds, especially the Clock Man with the accordion. Wild! And the orchestra, marching band, rock bands, cheerleaders, spectators, water-sprayers, etc., were great. It is quite the event and I'll definitely (try to ) attend Wharf-to-Wharf again.

Rex Was a Good Dog

We celebrated July 4th with Jennifer's sister's family in Pacifica, where fireworks are legal. Unfortunately, here in Montara, even though fireworks are illegal, there were enough going on to have scared Rex. When we got home, around 11pm, Rex was nowhere to be found and he had dug a hole under the fence, including moving a 15 lb concrete block. I walked around the neighborhood, calling his name, for about 20 minutes, but there was no sign of him. Jennifer made fliers the next morning and I posted them around the neighborhood. Less than an hour later, someone called, said his name was Andy and that he had some bad news -- he had found a dog on Highway 1 that looked like ours. He insisted on bringing the body to me and he showed up a short while later with the body wrapped in cardboard, lying in the back of his pickup truck. The grief didn't hit me until I identified him as Rex. Poor stupid dog. He was about 8 and a half years old and never was very smart about cars and streets. I had the body cremated and Jennifer wants to have a little ceremony where we spread the ashes.

I was very grateful for the kindness of strangers. An older woman dropped by on Tuesday (7/5) saying she had found Rex running around and got a hold of him and brought him to our house (we weren't home yet) and put him in the back yard. So, he was saved once, but obviously he got out again. And of course I was very grateful for Andy's help. I wish I had gotten his phone # so that we could take him and his wife out to dinner or at least thank him again.

Claire took 4 or 5 days before she noticed that Rex was gone and she asked where he was. It's odd that she didn't grieve over him until days later, on three different occasions in particular. Her lamenting was heart breaking. We said he died, that he wasn't coming back, and that he was "OK" or "happy". Jennifer mentioned heaven once, in an effort to console her, even though neither of us believe that there's a literal heaven or hell, as described in popular culture. But myths can be useful, just like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. The heaven thing didn't work with Claire though -- "who's going to feed him? who will put on his leash? why won't he come back?". My take on it was to emphasize that Rex was not sad or hurt and he was OK and that we can remember him.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Claire's Birthday Party: 3 Years Old!

Gymtowne Gymnastics -- 2 hours of frenzied fun, yummy pizza, and delicious cake. Thank you everyone who attended, especially Claire's cousins, Owen and Rylan, who drove 4 or 5 hours to get here.