Sunday February 21 - appox . 10:30pm local time - cueing up to board my 13 hour flight to Taipei (I've lost count of how many times I've made this journey, must be over 20 by now). Reading materials, check. iPod, check. Food and beverage to last the duration of the flight, check. Extra hoodie to combat the inevitable Arctic Chill setting of the airline A/C, check. Exit row seating - Score! Infant baby 5 seats away - only potential red flag in sight (patience is a virtue and I can outlast any crying infants until they zonk out from sheer exhaustion.
Tuesday February 23 - approx 5:30am local time - luggage pickup and hotel shuttle, minimal sleep on the plane isn't a big concern. Our first meeting is at 10:00am and we'll finish by early afternoon. First order of business was a swim at the pool - rooftop setting, 15 meters if I was lucky. I'm a tad zoned out as I walk past the ever crucial water quality stats. My mind was oblivious to the temperature conversion that it had just failed to perform.
WTF ! ! ! I know that I'm a complete sissy when it comes to long swims in cold water, but who in their right mind sets this pool at nearly 90 degrees Fahrenheit ? Note, there are lane lines which would suggest the potential for lap swimming.
30 minutes later my lungs are on fire and every muscle in my body has turned to jelly (jelly that's been sitting on the kitchen counter top for 5 hours because you neglected to put it back in the fridge immediately after use). Oh well, enjoyed the view and scenery. Of particular interest was the fact that I could see a vast blue sky (a rare occurrence to be sure), especially this time of year.
We capped off the meeting with a late lunch at Din Tai Fung (absolute steamed dumpling heaven), no doubt an impossible act to follow for all future meals during this visit now. A solid nights sleep and the early bird grabs the first available tread mill in the hotel dungeon (yawn). Better than nothing I guess. An uneventful and long day only meant an early morning flight over to Macau the next day.
Feb 12, 2010
First event of the season is in the books. For anyone that isn't in tune with the San Diego running or triathlon scene, the San Dieguito 1/2 Marathon is something of a local gem. I can't really classify it as a "low key" event (not with close to 3k participants) but somehow it has a very grass roots feel about it. Could be the location? Could be the modestly priced entry fee? Sure it's smack dab in the middle of February, although you wouldn't have guessed it this past Sunday. Mother Nature was smiling that day and gave us near perfect conditions to test our early season fitness.
What can I say about the race, I took off with a small group of fast guys (Jefferey, David, Nick and Ian were in the mix) and we stayed together until mile 3. Shortly after that the bunch began to string itself out and I felt good enough to test the legs on a few of the uphill sections (the course is predominantly rolling hills but nothing too crazy). Split times were yelled out at each mile and I knew it would be possible (although not probable) to set a PR for the open 1/2. When the body is in a state of steady exertion, the ability to truly be in the moment seems all the more difficult to capture, racing on such a picturesque course makes this challenge downright impossible. Future training runs along the local trails WILL be accompanied by photos ! Nearing the last few miles my legs still felt good, one final uphill kicker at the very end capped off a solid effort. No PR but still happy to cross the line just under 1:19.
Post race celebrations and war stories were shared by all (as is always the case). Nick and Carla were ever gracious for hosting the after breakfast at their home, a perfect way to complete the morning indeed. The take away from this race was (as will often be the case in San Diego) - I feel blessed to live and work here. In the 2 short years that I've called San Diego "home", I've met the most amazing group of friends that I've probably ever known - thank you all (even if you never read this).
Oh yes, I had planned to wear my "Zoonies" (photo above), as it seemed appropriate on several levels for race day. Sadly these were early samples and thus an odd fitting size 9 means they will become casual kicks for summer. See you at the races, eh.