It’s been far too long since I’ve made it to Colorado to visit my little brother, his wife and their two wonderful children. I come to visit them, to just merge into their suburban nest for a few days, but inevitably I always revel in other things: the weather (always drier and more hospitable than NYC), the shopping (grocery stores are so spacious, and stocked with designer health foods), and the scenery (really now–a view of the Rockies from their front porch? Hello?). My niece is nearly 4, and she is just a perfectly verbal creature, stopping me in my tracks with expressions like, “Actually Tia, it’s better if you use the downstairs bathroom” and “I am just so happy to see you!” My nephew is nearly 2, and he is just a little ball of boy energy; I have no idea what to do with him yet. He bangs, he shouts, he demands. When he was 9 months old he just nestled into me, but now he’s all sorts of fiesty so I think I’ll just wait it out and see if I can figure him out when I’m here next, for Mother’s Day (the Title 9k is a tradition with me & the sis-in-law). Endearing herself to me even further (as if she isn’t already the #1 little girl in my heart), this morning my niece said as I got ready to drive to Denver to run with Matt (the voice of the DRC), “I’ll just quickly get dressed and then how about I go for a run with you too?” She said this standing at the top of the steps, gazing at me placidly in her pink pajamas, as if there was no possible way I could refuse such an offer. So I scooped her up, gave her a million kisses and told her one day that’s exactly what we would do.
Then I headed out the door, warmed up the family jalopy, found the country music radio station (yesss!), and peeled out for Denver. I was nervous; Matt is a fast runner and I am an average runner from sea level suddenly trying to do my thing at altitude. Silly me; it was just Matt, my favorite podcaster, running buddy, and teammate for this year’s Green Mountain Relay. He opened his front door and I immediately noticed his Jingle Bells race tee-shirt; I remember when he podcasted his race report on that. I used his bathroom (had been chugging water since my flight took off from Laguardia in the hopes of avoiding altitude dehydration) and smiled to see the copy of Advanced Marathoning and a few back issues of Running Times in the cabinet (it had glass doors, people–I’m not a complete snoop). And so we were off, for 10 miles.
We started off around his development, which is well-known in Denver (I learned from my brother & suster-in-law after the fact). I loved how there was a sandy trail that ran through the neighborhood, just steps from his front door. I loved how when I lifted my chin and looked around, I could see for miles. I loved how there was a nature preserve we could just pop into and swirl around over the trails, and then pop back out for some street running. (Matt was wearing some stylish trail running sneaks; I would have worn them as just regular ole around town sneaks, they looked that good.) I loved how there was a paved rec path that ran along & below the highway, so theoretically you could run into the city without having to deal with the dangerous clusterfucks I must contend with when I run home from work. I loved how Matt didn’t rush me, kept up the conversation, and felt free to disagree. It’s funny and great how we “know” people in common through this wonderful world of online social networking (Joe, Sarah–you both came up).
The only part that I less-than loved was the extra 2 miles we ran. You all know how it works, the mental preparation for the distance. Plus, I am embarrassed to admit, the last two miles were hard! I got a cramp in my side which I blame 100% on the altitude, (aren’t those cramps all about lack of oxygen?) and my lower back started to ache which only meant one thing: I was pushing too hard. But I’ve done it myself–you are running, plotting the route as you go along, and all of a sudden simple mathematics become much more than your brain can process. So I understood about the two extra miles, and as soon as I inhaled that pint glass of blue Gatorade Matt gave me after our run, I was back in form.
Context. That’s what I got this morning when I saw his office where he records his podcast. So now, whenever I listen to the newest episode of the Dump Runners Club, I will always imagine Matt sitting at his big black desk, in front of his giant Mac monitor and silver microphone, waxing philosophical about his training, his racing, and the elites’ performances. And, whenever Matt tweets about one of his tempo runs or long training runs, I’ll be able to imagine him dashing alongside the highway on that dun colored path, or weaving through the trails of his nature preserve as he startles small animals and slow joggers alike.
And I hope, that whenever he reads my blog, Matt will now be able to imagine my pigtails and saucy attitude as I shoulder my way through New York City traffic, chasing down a new marathon PR.
12.38 miles in 1:51:57. Average pace 9:03; slowest mile 9:18; fastest mile 8:49. Damn woman.