Tonight was a special run, one I’ve been anticipating for weeks. I took the 225 bus from Lafayette to Boulder (listened to Road to Ensenada by Lyle Lovett and read part of a novel in manuscript about a female ultramarathoner–stay tuned for more), and met Brother (initials: IK) near where he teaches middle school history. First, we went to REI where we were going to pick out his birthday gift–he’s 19 months younger than I am, and just turned 34 on Election Day. I told him, “Gear!” and he said “Heart rate monitor!” After much comparison shopping (Suunto or Polar?), we zeroed in on the Garmin Forerunner 50, which comes with a footpod, unlike the other brands. Sold! And gifted. And oh yeah, I got some new SmartWool socks (my favorites), and tried on about 10 pairs of sunglasses, but ultimately couldn’t commit.
While we were at REI, I used one of the power outlets behind their customer service desk to charge little G. He’d gone dark about 10 minutes before I was supposed to leave for the bus, so I grabbed the charger and brought it with me, banking on some Boulderite goodwill. I really wanted little G to record the run with my brother so I could have the route mapped, and our splits charted, more for sentimental reasons than for training purposes. As suspected, the trim, fresh-faced women behind the counter were eager to help, and even cooed, “Ooh you have the 405? We love the green!”
Finally, though, IK and I were off and running up the well-known and exceedingly popular Boulder Creek Path, with a pocket plan of 5 miles total. It was dark, so all I could see of the scenery was the full moon, which glowed white, and the solid black mass of mountains rising in the west. Brother told me, “The way you love running in sight of your city’s skyline, and over your bridge? That’s how I feel about what surrounds me when I run on this path.” Because of the altitude, I couldn’t really hold up my end of the conversation, so instead I listened to his training and race plans for 2009, which include at least two triathlons, several stroke and strides, and at least one marathon (NYC with me, and he’s already trash-talking).
My shins bothered me again, they were both throbbing and making it painful to bend my ankles. My breathing didn’t really get comfortable until about 3 miles into the run. (My red gloves were not helping my cause the way they had on Monday.) By this point, however, my brother had taken a wrong turn somewhere, and we were seriously off the path. Like, so off the path that we’d begun cutting through parking lots, plazas, and up and down a lot of curbs to get back on track. We were never lost-IK knows Boulder so well-but all of the cutting left and right, curb-jumping, and running on an angle across driveways aggravated my recovering body. Somewhere around Mile 4 my left leg began hurting in its entirety, and by the time I most reluctantly stopped little G and cut the workout short (after 4.39 miles in 43:23), I was limping. This truly bummed me out, not only because I was hurt but also because I wasn’t ready to end my run with Brother. There were so many more things I wanted to ask him about, to catch up on before we headed home. But something tells me that even if we’d run 15 miles, I’d have still wanted more time to run shoulder to shoulder, and talk heart to heart, with my little brother.
Once we were back at the house, we did have a lot of fun setting up his new toy, though. My sister-in-law laughed at us and called us total geeks as Brother and I confirmed all the features our Garmins have in common, sorted out how to calibrate the footpod, and determined that in fact he can’t take advantage of the wireless synch (he has a Mac, and Garmin’s system is only PC-compatible).