As part of my Charlie Alewine Marathon Trifecta, I wound up back where I first ran with them in 2016: The Long Beach Marina. Whereas that day in May ’16 I clocked a 3:31:29, today in July ’17 I ran a dispiriting 4:00:43.
It was six loops and I just never seemed to find an uptempo rhythm to run. I certainly can’t blame the prior night’s festivities. My old roommate Brandon and his wife Kara are packing up and leaving CA for the oil fields of Texas — a reverse Beverly Hillbillies, only B and K aren’t hillbillies. Kara is off to teach animation and production and Brandon is going to no doubt do something amazing… hopefully while rocking a giant novelty cowboy hat.
But I digress. Brandon and Kara had a sayanora karaoke party in Koreatown and I got to catch up with them and a lot of familiar faces. I’m going to miss the Oropallos, even if I didn’t hang out with them nearly enough. But the loss to Los Angeles is a huge gain for Texas. The lone star state just got exponentially better.
I ducked out early, partly begging the early 3:30 AM alarm for the run this morning and partly because I’m oh-so-terrible at good-byes.
Into Long Beach by 5 AM, I once again availed myself of CAR’s early start… only today there was just me and a guy who was there to run a 5K. Was it the loneliness of the course then that contributed to my underwhelming time? Cumulative miles and depression taking their toll? It’s been weeks since I had a really solid pace; today was 45 minutes and 43 seconds over my Boston Qualifying time requirement… and over an hour more than the moonshot goal for the end of this month. I’m ever more worried.
It had nothing to do with the volunteers working the aid station who once again proved supportive beyond all measures. And it wasn’t the eventual runners I would meet going round-and-round the marina and adjacent Colorado Lagoon of Long Beach. They were friendly and thumbs-up a poppin’. There are excuses and then there’s just the cold hard facts: I’m not nearly fast enough for the moon, but I remain tenacious. Besides, everything’s pre-paid… well, everything except the ridiculously overpriced rental car. Hoisted by my own invisible hand of supply and demand economics:
But before that, here are a few signs along the loop de loops of Long Beach:
The Long Beach Lifeguard Museum. In 2016 I previously made a joke about its connection to Baywatch… but all things old are new again. So imagine me running in slow motion past this thing… only it wasn’t me fake slow-motion running, it literally was me running in slow motion. As I said, it was a rough day.
I was intrigued by this warning sign on the bridge. There’s something about the phrasing that just seemed… google translated and then babel fish’d back into English. I can’t quite put my finger on it… but it’s just got an off-cadence… much like my own shambling round the course.
This has to be one of the greatest vanity plates I’ve ever seen. I tried to capture my maniacal laugh in support but instead I just seem awkward. Which, in case you’re missing the theme of this post, was par for me on the course. With the grace of an injured flamingo in a herd of gazelles, I was far from majestically awkward; I was just awkward.
Hey, man. I’m only slowing down because you told me to do so… it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m sucking wind and just plain sucking today on the run. Nothing at all to do with that. Moving on…
Obligatory drinking fountain shot. No more than a 4… and that’s only because I was desperate for some liquid H20. Lack of “oomph” in the stream, warm-ish, albeit the taste was ok.
How the day ended. Long Beach: The Aquatic Capital of America. The Aquatic Capital of America? Really? You know how they got to BE the Aquatic Capital of America? They trademarked it. Seriously.
Aquatic Capital of America Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was formed in 2008 to promote the myriad of aquatic activities offered in Long Beach, California; to recognize, honor and support the City of Long Beach and its aquatic athletes, coaches, and organizations; and to promote water safety and education. The Foundation also supports community and regional efforts to cleanse local waterways as well as to increase the number of local aquatic facilities.