Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Running inside the Coliseum

Did you know that once a week, anyone can run laps inside the Coliseum? That’s the massive circular-bowl stadium in LA with an oval Olympic-standard track around its playing field. The home field for the USC football team, it housed the 1932 and 1984 Olympics. The Brooklyn Dodgers played there when they moved out west. It hosted Super Bowls I and VII. It is a National Historic Landmark.

Every Tuesday morning they open it to runners. I have spent the last couple of days posting about "fixing" my Profile for the new year, but I haven’t told you where I have been. This morning I was running laps in the Coliseum at an RBF reunion set up by Bex, who now lives in LA. Also there were David, Rich and Jeanne. It was an unbelievable feeling to be inside the huge historic structure, standing on the broad composition orange-brown track with the bright white lines separating the eight lanes. I looked up and all I saw was the majestic sweep of stands rearing back all around me, except for one open end of the stadium where there were columns inside an arch housing two larger-than-life-size statues of semi-clad perfect Olympian athletes, a male and a female.

I was running fast laps with David. Rich, because he has a marathon next week, was taking it easy. Jeanne was running with Bex, but they appeared to be doing more talking than running. They used to work together and I guess they were catching up. Besides, Bex has a marathon in two weeks. David and I seemed to have some sort of competitive thing going, and we were passing the other RBFers practically every lap. David is doing a marathon in a few weeks, and he seems to be in tip-top form. He was almost impossible to keep ahead of.

It was warm and light at 7 am. This was a special workout and I was so appreciative of Bex for arranging this, and glad that the other RBFers could respond to the special invitation also. Despite the early hour, the stadium was alive. Several runners were circling the track. Other athletes were pounding up and down the stairs in the stands.

Because our laps seemed to be a little slow despite our hard running, David and I decided that the venerable old Coliseum track was a quarter mile in length, like all American tracks used to be, not the slightly shorter 400M, which is the length on almost all tracks today. We had done several repeats and were lining up to start another one. Bex and Jeanne were coming around the last curve towards us. I didn’t know where Rich was, I think he might have been sitting over by our bags, quaffing water. At that moment the alarm went off and I woke up. I have to tell you, I just hate it when that happens.


Rainmaker said...

So now I'm confused - do they actually open the track up on Tuesday mornings? Or was that part of the dream too? Cause I thought the track was gone.

peter said...

I have been to the California Science Center, and walked around the outside of the Coliseum. I have never been inside it. The dream actually occurred yesterday morning, and it was a nice workout while it lasted, so smooth and easy. But it was all a dream. I seriously doubt that anyone other than Trojan football players ever train inside of there, and the track the track very well might be removed.

I was trying a literary exercise, to draw the reader into a willing suspension of disbelief, disrupted at the end by the abrupt restoration of reality. I had to get inside the Coliseum somehow, I couldn't just suddenly be in California running laps, so I treated it like the Washington and Lee High School Track which the DC Roadrunners use once a week. I see instead of a "surprise" story I created a head-scratching situation. Back to the literary drawing board.

Thanks for the comment. People should go to your place to see all the interesting spots you have been to by bike, plane, helicoptor and aircraft carrier--the islands in the Pacific, the big navy base on the east coast, football in Philly, skiing in North America, travelling on the west coast and in New England, phew.

Susan said...

Oh man - you got me! It was like I was there.

Good work.

jeanne said...

i'm so excited to have featured in someone else's dream!

whatever you're taking, man, i want some!

David said...

I was wondering how the heck Jeanne got to California in her car; and I thought (without hyperlinking) you must know another David. I was jealous like nobody's business.
I was transported. Thanks for the ride.
With that, I highly recommend a similar cinematic dispatch to fantasy with at least one eye open: "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly." It's a work of art.

Rainmaker said...

Fear not - I got all the literary pieces (dream scene) - I just wasn't sure if by chance that little portion about the track being open was based on fact.

It was a good post though - something different, fun!