Six months ago today was the worst day of my life. Or the culmination of the worst four days of my life. Like anything, sometimes it seems like it was a much longer time ago and other times it feels like it was just yesterday. As you can imagine, I still think about my dad all the time. Sometimes it's just memories of the regular stuff and sometimes I can't help but think of all of the things we went through with him at the hospital leading up to the end. Given where I am and the fact that I wouldn't expect to see him here makes it a little easier. It's just that when I call home I only talk to my mother instead of one of those three-way calls with Mom on one phone and Dad on the other, telling me that training better be going well because he wants to go to Hawaii. Recently I was e-mailing with my brother and I asked him if every once in a while he ever just thought, wow, did that actually happen? Because I do it all the time, and so does he.
I don't know why it suddenly occurred to me that today marked six months, but I wish it didn't. As a result, it was not a good day. And I can't decide if it's better or worse that I don't have anyone to talk to. I'm not sure I'd want to talk about it even if someone was available. But anyway....
Let's not talk about that anymore. The remainder of my rest week was uneventful and boring. I got really restless without anything to do. Although I did at least take the time on my second day off to cook up some food for the week. It's much easier to eat what I need to eat when I've already cooked up and stored a bunch of stir fry that only needs to be reheated. Boring? Yep. But it gets the job done. I also ran a race this weekend. I haven't toed the start line of a race since September 5th. I was definitely not excited about it, although I also wasn't dreading it completely, which was a good sign. It was a low-key, small local 10K. I've run very few 10K races in my career. The last one was one of my many, many unmitigated disasters of the 2010 season, though I tried to blame it on the bear that crossed the street in front of me around mile 5.
Well, there are no bears in Tucson. At least none that I'm aware of. I had to get up at 5:30 to eat breakfast because for some reason the race started at 7:30. Little early for a 10K, but oh, well. I had my pacing and tried not to think about the fact that most of my teammates run that pace for their recovery runs. Not to mention my previous ability to run a marathon not much slower than that, but whatever. I lined up with the rest of the racers on a bright and sunny 50-ish degree morning and took off.
For I think the first time ever, I did not go out way too fast. That is not to say I couldn't have run the first mile faster, but for once I was able to hold off and hit my splits dead on for the first couple of miles and it didn't feel too bad. Just for reference on my poor pacing ability, you would not believe the amount of half marathons in which I've run the first mile in about 6:30. I've never broken 1:30, though. There was a 5K being run at the same time and of course after my first loop I would've loved to have stopped, but I still had 3.1 more miles to go. Of course it got tougher the second time around, after a brief delusional period in which I wondered if maybe I'd be able to pick it up for the last mile or two and beat my goal. My pace slipped only slightly, my legs were burning and I was breathing way harder than I thought I should be considering the pace, but at least it was almost over and I could tell there was no way I was going to crash nearly as badly as I did in the last 10K I ran.
While the course was quite flat compared to most races I run, the last mile was mostly (though only slightly) uphill, which made for a painful stretch and my slowest mile, but in the end, I was incredibly close to my goal and could at least be happy with that fact. Given my time that would put me way behind every single runner I know back home apparently I actually came in second in my age group but left before the awards. I wonder what I would've won? It's been about five years since I got an award for a run race. But let's just say that the competition wasn't exactly deep. Had I run the 5K, I would've come in third and won cash. And I wouldn't have had to run any faster than my 10K pace.
So that was the "big" first race of the season. Again, I'm tired of running slow, but at least executing a race well made me feel pretty good about the effort. It's also quite nice when your stomach doesn't give you troubles and there are real bathrooms with no lines instead of porta-potties with huge lines. Often makes me just want to do these sorts of races exclusively from now on.
One other "fun" thing that happened to me this week is that my computer got a virus. Who gets a computer virus anymore? Apparently I do. I couldn't open a word document, an excel file, any web pages, nothing. My anti-virus software was useless. As was the extended protection plan I bought for my lap top from Best Buy. Nope, still costing me $200 to get it fixed. If my brother-in-law was around I'm sure he could fix it. But I can't wait another six weeks to get it back. Makes me want to go into the computer fixing business because that price just seems absurd. Better than the computer screen quote they gave me a few months ago, which was $700, or exactly the price I paid for the computer in the first place. Fortunately I got it fixed elsewhere.
So that's it for now. I'm tired and I've barely really even gotten started again with the training block. Only a few weeks to go until California and leaving Tucson behind. While I've enjoyed my time here and I'm glad I did it, I'm feeling ready to get back to my old training routes. I miss trees. And less traffic. And rolling hills and good pavement. And having more than 7 channels on my TV. And my family and friends. But for now I will take consolation in the fact that it's going to be 80 degrees out for the rest of the week.