Sunday, March 30, 2014

100 Days Project ~ Day 1

I love to write. I'm a writer. But I haven't been acting like one for, well, ever. I want to get back to it. So I'm going to do the "100 Days Project," and every day for 100 days, I'm going to write a blog entry. No rules about length or topic...just entries with writing. Here I go.

I did the Fresno Urban Run this morning. Soooooo fun! It's been a long time since I've done an organized run AND had Bob there as my personal paparazzi -- it was like old times.

This was the inaugural Fresno Urban Run. The start line was in Chukchansi Stadium and it finished at the top of the Grand Tower. For those of you non-Fresno-ans, Chukchansi is the ballpark for our minor league baseball team, The Fresno Grizzlies (a San Francisco Giants farm team). It's downtown, near the Fulton Mall, a walking-mall-type area.

Felicia at Pinnacle Training Systems is still coaching me, and she's had me running stairs for some time to get ready for this. I love to climb when I'm on the bike. I love to climb when I'm running. I have no idea what's that's about, but it simply is. And The Fresno Urban Run had plenty 'o climbing.

When Bob and I got to the park, I first had to decide which self-selected starting corral I should be in.
Hmmmmmm...Corral A for elite runners? I think not. After all, that's Maia Pucay there, starting from Corral A. She's the Site Supervisor at Campus Children Center, one of our Child Development Labs at Fresno State, and, on a regular basis, she qualifies for runs like the Boston Marathon. One of her current goals is to run a marathon on every continent...the only ones she still has to go are Africa and Antarctica. Certainly not the corral for me. I seem to be a "middle-of-the-road" athlete in all the sports I try, so I unashamedly headed back to Corral B for intermediate runners. Even that made me a little nervous.
I mingled with a few folks I knew back there, like Jonna Hooker and Jamie Eropkin, from my cycling days. Used to coach for the Team in Training Cycling Team with Jonna, and I think she has done multiple centuries every year since our introduction to cycling back in 1999. Amazing.And just like when we were cycling together, at the start line, I'm praying that I'll survive, and Jonna's all calm-and-collected.
We heard there were 250 people allowed to register, and that even included firefighters in full gear. Those are some tough dudes.
Unlike any other race that I've ever done, runners were sent off one at a time at the start since we'd be running so many stairs. We started at one end of the ballpark, and ran up and down each section of stairs through the entire lower tier. Not only did the individual starts keep us far enough apart to be safe, but it provided a lovely opportunity for any friends who started behind you to cheer...which Jonna, Jamie, and their group kindly did for me as I headed out.
It rained the night before, so the concrete was a bit wet, but other than trying to be careful because of that, I went as hard as I could. I was only one of a few people, though, who took the steps one at a time on the way up each flight...I tried two, but am just short enough that I was afraid I'd do a face-plant if I kept that up. After all, I've been known to do face-plants on flat ground.
We got a list of "Final Instructions" before the start, and one of the instructions for inside Chukchansi Stadium was "Do not run/step on top of dugout. Doing so will result in a DQ." Glad they told me that, or I woulda been all over 'em. After running up and down all the stairs, we exited the park at the north end.
Bob didn't see me again until the end, as he went back to get the car and drive it to the finish. So I'll do my best to recreate the course (with a little help from Google Images). The course then took us onto Fulton Mall...
...and into a 6-story circular parking garage.
We ran up the winding ramp on one end, and down the other. Though I at first thought I might get dizzy from all the running-in-circles, this actually was super fun, especially running down. To and from the garage, one of the course instructions was "Do not dumpster dive."
Though I was tempted, of course, I pushed on...and made it down the length of the Fulton Mall and to the base of the Grand Tower.
This was the grand finale, as I now had to "run" up 10 stories. Believe it or not, I loved it. And I felt like I looked like this...
And I felt as happy as if I'd seen these on my way up...
But more than likely, by about the 9th floor, I probably looked like this...
Once at the top, after being cheered by course volunteers, I took the elevator down with about 6 other contestants. I'm thinking that elevator needed A LOT of Febreeze at the end of the race. Back on the ground, I found Bob, and he took this lovely shot of me with the miniature bat I earned by finishing the race.
We then headed over to the "After Party" in a nearby parking lot, and enjoyed a complimentary Michelob Ultra while visiting some local vendor's booths. We bought some great citrus from a vendor from Sanger, and I tasted some delicious iced tea from Raizana Teas, a local husband-and-wife tea shop that opened on Tuloumne Street in 2009. Delicious! And, of course, we had to check out the finisher's list.
I don't know how many women ran, but I feel good about how I felt and finished (22nd for women). Of course, now that I know there are stair runs -- "run-ups" -- all over the world, I just found out about this woman...
Suzy Walshman of Australia. In February, she won the Empire State Building Run-Up for the fifth time. 40 years old. 1,576 stairs. In just over 11 minutes. Apparently it takes most participants about an hour. Wow. I'm happy with my finisher's bat from the first-ever Fresno Urban Run, though. Who knows. Maybe I'll do a "run-up" on every continent.

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