Monday, May 25, 2009

A Memorial Day 3K

It's been a long and eventful weekend, full of running.

Friday I did eight miles of hillwork. Next month I am running Leg 2 of the DeCelle Memorial Lake Tahoe Relay on a team assembled by my old running buddy, Bex. Described by her as the second toughest of the seven legs, Leg 2 is 8.4 miles long at over 6,000 feet elevation, with the last half being one long hill where the highway rises from lake level to climb 700 feet up a mountain pass.

Bex told all the team members to get busy working hills. Not Born to Run used to call Bex the L'il Dictator when she lived in DC, so I paid heed to Bex's admonishment.

Saturday I did my club's Saturday Long Run. It was a hot day and the schedule called for 12 miles on the Mall. I only ran 10K, however. I made it to Capitol Hill and ran up that incline for hillwork, but then, enervated by the humidity, I went to my nearby office and worked for awhile before taking Metro to a two-hour meeting I had scheduled with other club officials for after the run.

Sunday morning I ran ten miles on the W&OD with a friend who was in town for the weekend. She was bemoaning a 3:29 marathon she ran last month, impacted by a hamstring injury, while I was bemoaning a 4:15 marathon I ran last month, impacted by a toe injury. That shows the disparity in our running abilities.

We had a nice time catching up, although I cringed when she commented , "Eight forty-five miles are just perfect for today." I was barely holding on at that pace as the miles rolled on by.

Since we ran west from Falls Church, we traversed two pedestrian bridges over the beltway highway network. People were lining the overpass railings, waving to the scores of motorcycle riders of Rolling Thunder as they passed by underneath in a steady thrum of deep-sounding engines, heading into the District for a Memorial weekend tribute to fallen and missing American service personnel, flags snapping and popping from the back of their machines.

At church service later that morning, the priest, who had been delayed in getting to the service by traffic tie-ups associated with the hundreds of motorcyclists, tied the phenomena of Rolling Thunder to the formation of the Christian Church. Once, each movement was outside of the culture, he said, and innovative although misunderstood or even feared. Then each became institutionalized, and no longer shaped or changed society, rather, society shaped and changed it. Each movement became an institution, a very different thing, with interests to protect rather than to promote. Dare to be different, he urged.

I like this Episcopal priest and closely listen to each of his sermons. In another time, my time, he would have been termed a hippie, maybe. That's the Episcopal Church I remember growing up with, a big tent with room for all. Afterwards during communion, I reflected upon the memory of my father and my mother, who passed in 1986 and 1999 respectively, and others.

I reflected upon upon the following letter, slightly edited for length, I sent last week to the last known address of my youngest son, Danny. He no longer lives there at his Mother's old address, a house which was sold this past autumn. My ex steadfastly refuses to give me the current address of any of our children. She "won" the divorce wars, see, because my children disdain me. I no longer try to communicate with my two other sons anymore, since they are both over 21 now and have ignored all of my communications for years.

May 2009

Dear Dan,

How are you? I am fine. I hope things are well with you. How is school?

I hope you were able to get something nice with that birthday check I sent to you. Is everything going well with the pre-paid college tuition plan that I own for your benefit? Are 100% of your tuition and fees getting paid by it? If not, let me know and I’ll see what I can do.

I spent a quiet birthday last month, making supper at home and opening a couple of cards I received from your aunts. A friend gave me an Obama wristwatch for my birthday, which was kind of cute. It doesn’t make a good stopwatch, though, so it’s not good for running.

A week from now is Memorial Day. Remember when we ran in the Falls Church Memorial Day 3K race together a decade ago? That was fun. With all the soccer teammates of yours we ran by that morning, I could have conducted a team practice at the finish line.

I have run that Memorial Day 3K race for the last several years. I would love to run it with you again, this year. We could go out for breakfast afterwards at the Original Pancake House in Falls Church. We can meet on my front porch on Monday at 8:45 and go over to the start line from there. Bring your UnderArmour togs!

Please call me and let me know whether or not you’d like to do this, so I can make plans. I look forward to hearing from you.

I miss you! Gosh, it’s been over half a decade since I last saw you for more than a few seconds, and over two years since I last spoke with you. I haven’t heard from you in any fashion since the summer of 2007; I hope you’ve gotten all the Christmas/birthday/special-event cards and presents I have sent to you. I remember when that divorce lawyer in Fairfax [William Reichhardt], amazingly, was taking mail I sent to you and turning it into a court exhibit! I hope you get this, perhaps your mail is still being manipulated by others, even though you are no longer a child like you were then.

I’ll fill you in on all your cousins, aunts, etc. on my side of the family when you call. There isn't a single one of them who has heard from you in over half a decade! You can’t be mad at all of my blood-relatives, having accepted the trust fund that my mother scrimped to amass and set aside to be used for your benefit.

I am enclosing some snapshots, of Uncle Jack, your room, my best marathon, and last Christmas, to help you start catching up!

Anyway, no need to thank me for that birthday check. I’m glad you received it! I just look forward to speaking with you soon.



8:45 on Monday morning came and went with an aching sameness. I went and ran the 3K race in 13:47. I scanned the collected diners at the Original Pancake House without recognizing any of them.

Then a friend called, who had just struck a deer on I-66 east of Ballston which had jumped over the fence lining the Metro tracks in the center median and into her path. She was lucky to be alive, much less unhurt.

The State Trooper on the scene had never seen a deer that close in on the busy highway before. I went to help my friend pick up the pieces and get her car to the dealership for repair. It looks totaled to me.

Happy Memorial day.


Sunshine said...

Congratulations on the running.
So sorry for the saddness.
A deer charged us a week after we purchased our last car. Glad your friend was OK.

Yea to DC area for "most fit city".
You make your contribution!

ShirleyPerly said...

Great way to spend the holiday weekend! How wonderful to have so many runners about in your area. I agree with Sunshine that no doubt you have helped with that. Hope someday a familiar face does walk back into your life.

jeanne said...

EIGHT MILES OF HILLS?! Stick a fork in you, you're done.

did i miss your birthday? I can't remember. If so, happy belated.

Your story is so sad. I'm so sorry.

Anne said...

This post saddened me. I think you would have wanted to spend the holiday differently. Now I won't be able to past an Original Pancake House without thinking of you.